The Warren Cup, from the British Museum. Roman man anally penetrating a youth, possibly a slave. Circa 1st century AD.

Many ordinary Christians are deeply conflicted by their desire to embrace homosexual brethren in the fellowship of the church, when some of their leaders are telling them that these people are sinners. The matter has raised it’s head again with the furore surrounding the comments of Australian rugby player Israel Folau who claimed homosexuals were going to Hell, a statement which offended his employer, resulting in a court case.

Numbers of people inside the Church and out feel very discomfited by the current debate.

So let’s pause for a moment: what is the “Biblical” teaching on gays?

Opponents of homosexuality almost always treat scripture as being “literally true” in a historical sense. Certainly, that is the case currently.

It follows, therefore, that any rebuttal of their claims about homosexuality should also adhere to this assumption, if it is to convince them that they are wrong.

I personally believe the early stories in the Bible are no more “literally” true than ancient Norse myths. But I am prepared to put that aside for one moment, and consider this issue under the rules that the “literalists” would apply, because many argue that the oft-trotted-out “Biblical” case against homosexuality simply doesn’t appear to “stack up”.

Genesis 19: 1-28

The ancient story of Sodom and Gomorrah has been used throughout the centuries as a condemnation of homosexuality, to the point where anal sex is referred to as “Sodomy”.

And that’s the problem. It’s become a cliché. We assume it’s true, because it’s been around so long.

The verses in this story most commonly referred to as proof that the Sodomites were homosexual are verses 4 and 5: “Before they could lie down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, from boy to old man, all the people in one mob. And they kept calling out to Lot and saying to him: ‘Where are the men who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intercourse with them.”

Examining this scripture, the first thing we see is that all the people, in one mob, demanded that Lot bring out the visitors to them. If we are to believe that the account of Sodom & Gomorrah is a condemnation of homosexuality, then we must also accept the conclusion that the entire city consisted of homosexuals.

But if we look in the previous chapter, Genesis 18: 16-33, we see an account of Abraham negotiating with God to spare the people of Sodom, with the final outcome of God promising “I shall not bring it to ruin on account of the ten” (verse 33).

God promised Abraham that Sodom would not be destroyed if only ten “righteous men” could be found in the city.

If we are to accept the previous logic, this would mean that the “righteous men” referred to were then, per se, heterosexuals.

Now it is a matter of Biblical “fact” that God (or rather, his angels) didn’t find anyone at all worth saving. But at this point, we then need to ask ourselves: what would be the odds of less than ten people in the entire region of Sodom & Gomorrah being heterosexual?

The obvious answer to that is “impossible”, of course. If for no other reason than we then need to ask, “Well, where did all the population come from?” They were all gay immigrants, presumably, begat by parents left behind in other places that were heteroesexual? No, we think not.

So if homosexuality was not being referred to in this passage, then what was? Looking at the scriptures in Hebrew, we find an interesting usage of a couple of different words.

When the mob cries out “Where are the men who came in to you tonight?”, the Hebrew word that is customarily translated men is actually ‘enowsh which, literally translated, means “mortal” or “human”.

This indicates that the mob knew that Lot had visitors, but were unsure of what sex they were.

We can divine this because the Hebrew word for “man” (utilized in this same passage in Genesis 19:8) is entirely different. And one really has to ask: why would a bunch of apparently rabid homosexuals want to have sex with two strangers if they were unsure of what sex they were?

The passage translated as “Bring them out so that we may have intercourse with them” needs further examination as well.

Other Bible translations read “so that we may know them”. The Hebrew word that is commonly translated as “have intercourse”, or “know” is yada.

But this word, yada, appears in the Hebrew Scriptures a total of 943 times. And in all but ten of these usages, the word is used in the context of getting acquainted with someone.

Had the writer intended for his reading audience to believe that the mob wanted to have sexual intercourse with the strangers, he could simply have used the Hebrew word shakab, which vividly denotes sexual activity.

Many people argue, therefore, that the correct translation should be rendered something to the effect of: “Where are the people who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may get acquainted with them.”

So then, if the story of Sodom & Gomorrah was not a condemnation of homosexuality, what was it trying to convey?

Two verses in Exekiel sum up the story this way: “Look! This is what proved to be the error of Sodom your sister: Pride, sufficiency of bread and the carefreeness of keeping undisturbed were what happened to belong to her and her dependent towns, and the hand of the afflicted one and the poor one she did not strengthen. And they continued to be haughty and to carry on a detestable thing before me, and I finally removed them, just as I saw [fit]”. (Ezekiel 16: 49, 50.)

It is commonly assumed, because we’re referring to Sodom, that the “detestable thing” referred to in this passage is homosexuality.

But in fact, the Hebrew word utilised here is tow’ebah, which translated literally means “to commit idol worship”.

This can be seen in the original Genesis passage, chapter 19, verse 8: “Please, here I have two daughters who have never had intercourse with a man. Please let me bring them out to you. Then do to them as is good in your eyes.”

One has to ask: If Lot’s house was surrounded by homosexuals, which presumably he’d know as everyone in the entire region was gay apart from him and his family, why would he offer the mob women?

Note also that these women were virgins. And that the Sodomites were pagans.

Virgin sacrifices to idols were a common practice in this era. Therefore, it can easily be concluded that Lot was offering his daughters as a virgin sacrifice to appease the mob in an effort to protect the visitors.

In the Greek scriptures, the story of Sodom is summed up this way: “and by reducing the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them, setting a pattern for ungodly persons of things to come”.

This corroborates Ezekiel’s summation, once again showing that these were “ungodly persons”; in other words, idolaters, they were not worshippers of the true God.

If we have difficulty with the logic of 100% of any population being gay, can we rather believe in 100% of a population being adherents of a particular pagan cult? Yes, we certainly can. If for no other reason that there was no tolerance of those who didn’t share pagan beliefs in many early societies. Not to agree was to invite exclusion or execution. You were in, or you were out. The Jews themselves exercise this attitude continually throughout the Old Testament.

So the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, therefore, is almost certainly intended as a condemnation of idol worshippers, and of a greedy and inhospitable society that sought to treat visitors in a threatening manner – which was also a sin, to the early Jews, by the way.

Many people argue, therefore, that it is perfectly reasonable to propose that this key text on God’s judgement on this region had nothing – absolutely nothing – to do with homosexuality!

Leviticus 18:22 & Leviticus 20:13

The message was clear to the ancient Israelites: semen was to be used for one purpose alone – procreation.

Wasted semen, whether by masturbation, anal penetration, or homosexuality, was not to be tolerated.

We have to place these edicts in some sort of historical context in order to understand them, if not to agree or disagree with them.

Life in those days was a “numbers game”. One of the Bible’s earliest edicts, a theme repeated through the Old Testament, was to “be fruitful and multiply”. If your tribe was numerically stronger than those around it, then good things would flow from that dominance.

(The same argument is currently used by people like the British National Party to argue for white Anglo-Saxon women having more children, but that’s another story.)

It’s an undeniable fact that many strict regulations were imposed on the ancient Israelites. The “chosen ones of God” understood each of these regulations to be equally important.

In the Greek scriptures, James points this fact out by stating: “For whoever observes all the law but makes a false step in one point, he has become an offender against them all.”

Fundamentalist Christians, however, selectively cite the two scriptures in Leviticus as a condemnation of homosexuality, blithely overlooking James’ words which state, in essence, that if you’ve broken just one of the laws, then you’ve broken them all.

So why do some Christians focus so frequently on homosexuality?

Leviticus 19:27, for example, condemns haircuts and shaving. How many long-haired, bearded males attend your local Church? Or to put it another way, do we have agonised debates about Ministers who might have short hair?

Leviticus 19:19 also condemns wearing clothing made of more than one type of thread. Anybody reading this wear clothing made of 50% cotton and 50% polyester?

Taking the Bible literally, such individuals are equally guilty as homosexuals.

This leaves aside, of course, any concerns about whether or not it is still OK for us to grab our neighbours and use them as slaves, or to go around killing anyone who works on the Sabbath.

When questioned by the Pharisees regarding these ancient laws, Jesus’ reply was “I came, not to destroy, but to fulfil”. In other words, Christianity and love of God and fellow man was a replacement for the strict ancient codes, many of which were no longer practical or relevant.

But let us forget, for a moment, putting things in an historical context, or the fundamentalists will simply argue that we’re “messing with the truth”. Let us look at the arguments of those who believe these two passages don’t really condemn homosexuality at all.

Looking at the scriptures in Hebrew, one sees a different condemnation. Leviticus 20:13 states, in part, and was historically translated as, “When a man lies down with a male the same as one lies down with a woman”.

But had the writer intended to convey homosexuality being condemned here, he would surely have used the Hebrew word ‘iysh, which means “man”, or “male person”.

Instead, the author utilises a much more complicated Hebrew word, zakar, which literally translated means “A person worthy of recognition”.

Zakar was used to refer to high priests of the surrounding idolatrous religions.

In ancient societies, surrounding the early Jews, it was believed that by granting sexual favours to the high priest (a fertility rite), one would be guaranteed an abundance of children and crops.

Taking Leviticus 18: 22 into proper context, then, one should also look at the preceding verse 21: “And you must not allow the devoting of any of your offspring to Molech”.

So what we almost certainly see here are warnings to the Israelites not to engage in the fertility rituals of the worshippers of Molech, which often required the granting of sexual favours to the priest.

Many believe that if this been a mere condemnation of homosexuals, the writer would undoubtedly have used clearer or simpler language.

Romans 1: 26-27, 1 Cor. 6: 9-11, 1 Tim. 1: 9-11

Greek, like Hebrew, is a much more descriptive language than English. As an example, while we have the word “love”, Greek has agape, storge, philia, and eros – each describing a different form of love.

Further, just as with English, the meanings of words can change over generations. Ironically, “gay” is a classic example.

Some say that it is easy to understand why words in ancient Greek could be misinterpreted, as are the terms “men who lie with men”, “abusers of mankind”, “homosexual”, and “pervert” in the above referenced scriptures.

The two words in Greek used in the above scriptures that are commonly mistranslated as such are arsenokoites and malakoi.

Bible scholars now believe arsenokoites to mean “male temple prostitute”, as mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures at Deut. 23: 17-18.

The actual meaning of this word, however, has been lost in history, as it was a slang term which, literally translated, means “lift bed”.

The Greek malakoi, literally translated, means “spineless” (some linguistics scholars translate it as “limp”, or “coward”).

What is important to note here is that both of these words are nouns. In ancient Greek, there is no known noun to define homosexuality. It was always expressed as a verb.

So just as in the Hebrew scriptures examined earlier, it appears that the Greek scriptures actually make reference to those who engaged in idolatrous practices, much of which, as we know, centred around sex in return for favours.

Neither the homosexual nor the direct idea of homosexuality appears anywhere in these passages. Had the writer intended to make a clear point about condemnation of gays, surely the Greek verb for homosexual behaviour would have been utilised rather than these nouns which are directly related to cowardice and idolatry?

But last – and by no means least – what about Paul’s apparently incontrovertible statement at Romans 1 where “females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature and likewise even the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust towards one another”?

This would appear to be a simple, trenchant condemnation of homosexuality. But perhaps, yet again. the truth is actually more subtle than that.

A clue lies in Paul’s words in the earlier verses 22 and 23: “Although asserting they were wise, they became foolish and turned the glory of the incorruptible God into something like the image of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed creatures and creeping things.”

So obviously, again, Paul’s reference here is to worshippers drawn into the ever-present danger of idolatry, one danger of which is unbridled sexual licentiousness of the kind that a conservative Jew like Paul would have found abhorrent. Especially when put in the context of his mission to the Roman Empire, with its endless parade of cults and religions, and very lax sexual behaviour generally.

As mentioned above in examining the Hebrew scriptures, many pagan idol-worshipping religions of Paul’s day also taught that by granting sexual favours to priests, the one giving the favour would be rewarded with fertility of crops and offspring.

Indeed, many such cults were, in reality, little more than brothels with quasi-religious overtones.

Unfortunately, of course, we have to read Paul’s words without the benefit of knowing all the background to his letters, but it certainly seems reasonable to suppose that his attack here is on a complex set of behaviours to do with people who reject the message of Christianity and continue to adhere to older religions.

It seems clear that Paul’s reference was not a dedicated attack on loving same-sex relationships, but his condemnation was focused instead on people who were normally heterosexuals who had been prevailed upon to rebel against their own sexual nature, in the granting of sexual favours to the leaders of pagan religions, in expectation of reward by the pagan gods.

So whilst his apparent rejection of homosexual behaviour seems unambiguous, the context of the comments is much more complex.

In conclusion, nowhere in the Bible, according to many Biblical scholars, is any unambiguously negative reference made to stable, loving same-sex relationships. And after all, it is now widely agreed that anything up to 5-10% of the population identify themselves as predominantly “gay” as regards their sexual preferences. So are 5-10% of those sections of the Bible discussing relationships dedicated to condemning their choice? Undoubtedly not. In all he is recorded as saying, does Christ ever address any remarks condemning homosexuality to one-in-20 of the population, or one-in-10?

No, not a word.

In fact, many gays argue that two positive references appear in the Hebrew scriptures of love between two people of the same sex:

2 Samuel 1:26 states: “I am distressed over you, my brother Jonathan, very pleasant you were to me. More wonderful was your love to me than the love from women.”

Ruth 1: 16, 17 states: “And Ruth proceeded to say: ‘Do not plead with me to abandon you, to turn back from accompanying you; for where you go I shall go, and where you spend the night I shall spend the night. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I shall die, and there is where I shall be buried. May Jehovah do so to me and add to it if anything but death should make a separation between me and you’.”

And while it must immediately be conceded that no mention is made of actual sexual activity between these people, it must also be pointed out that these couples had therefore made covenants with each other. And to the ancient Israelites, a covenant was viewed as a holy bond; a powerful uniting of two people.

We all have to wrestle with the truth of this matter in our hearts. Personally, I find it much more helpful to see what the Bible is arguing for, rather than what it is arguing against. Those who are currently affected by some Christians’ negative stance towards gays and lesbians should perhaps also seek comfort in the much greater preponderance in the Bible of messages of inclusion, acceptance, tolerance and understanding.

And the injunction, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

Post Scriptum

A correspondent kindly reminded me of this hilarious spearing of the literal truth of the Old Testament, from 2002. The introductory quotation is from that era:

The power of logic and quiet humour – “Dr Laura’s” anti-gay viewpoints – for which she later apologised – sparked a worldwide internet phenomenon which did more to mock anti-gay beliefs based on the OT than anyone could have imagined.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show.

Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.

When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,

  1. Excellent article Yolly. Sadly, it’s nearly imposssible to open a closed mind.


  2. Very well done! As Mark says, though I would remove the nearly, it is impossible to open a closed mind. Taking off from the Dr. Laura letter, this is one of my favorite scenes from West Wing.


  3. Lillian says:

    Exelente, exelente. Terrifique!


  4. I think you summed it up best — “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”


  5. This is great: “Personally, I find it much more helpful to see what the Bible is arguing for, rather than what it is arguing against. Those who are currently affected by some Christians’ negative stance towards gays and lesbians should perhaps also seek comfort in the much greater preponderance in the Bible of messages of inclusion, acceptance, tolerance and understanding.”



  6. jvdix says:

    I was reminded of the “skin of a dead pig” quotation recently when some of the rhetoric came from Notre Dame U.


  7. Kenny Duit says:

    Your knowledge of scripture is your greatest ammunition against the absurdity of blind faith. I salute your willingness to become an expert on a topic that you find distasteful, in order to nullify it from within. Please feel free to visit my FB page (The Atheist Advocate) to post future blogs. I will now post a link to your blog, so my fellow Atheists and fans can learn how to conduct themselves by your example. Intellect humbles hostility.


    • Thank you Kenny, I very much appreciate your kind words – generous words, in fact. Civility and knowledge goes a long way – after all, we are all seekers after truth. You would not, Ifear, be at all surprised at some of the vitriol that I have received from my fellow “Christians”.


  8. This is an amazing article. I can honestly say that I have only heard about 25% of this information regarding the bible. I know that I’ll try to spread this around, your knowledge really deserves to get around.


    • Thank you very much – I would appreciate anything you can do to spread news of the story. And your kind words are very much appreciated 🙂


    • The Roman Catholic Church, in common with most other Christian communions, is not anti-gay.
      In 1997 Cardinal Hume, the then Archbishop of Westminster, summarised the teachings of the Church on homosexuality.
      He said firstly that the Church recognises the dignity of all people and does not define, or label them in term of their sexual orientation.
      He went on to say that love between two persons of the same sex, or of a different sex, is to be treasured and respected, for to love another is to have entered the area of the richest human experience; but genital expression of love must find itself exclusively within marriage between a man and a woman.
      Cardinal Hume then dealt with the growth of ‘’homophobia’’quoting a 1979 Bishops Conference report-‘’as a group that has suffered more than it share of oppression and contempt, the homosexual community has particular claim on the concern of the Church’’.
      Turning now to the original topic, the recognition of gay marriage is said to be based on the need of all people to have equal rights. It seems to me that we in the ‘’West’’ pick and choose which minorities should have equal rights. Some people would like to have more than one spouse, so why not regard polygamy and polyandry as legitimate life styles and allow such marriages. On the other hand, again, some people have a deep love for their siblings; why would they not be allowed to marry?
      Two reasons suggest themselves for this discrimination; firstly, the minorities concerned lack the strength and effectiveness of the gay lobby. The second reason is that these forms of marriage are not part of Western culture. This throws new light on the effort of Western Anglicans to persuade their fellow Anglicans in Africa and elsewhere to accept gay marriage. It is good old-fashioned cultural imperialism.


      • Thanks for commenting, Bernard, but you reassurance that RC’s don’t discrimiate against homosexuals will sound peculiar to those who are not permitted to take communion in many places around the world unless they “hide” their sexual preference. In any event, what does this have to do with my article, which shows that the Bible says nothing about homosexuality, genitally-focussed or otherwise?


        • I am sorry that this contribution to the ‘’Why is the Church anti-gay…..?’’ debate is somewhat belated..
          My earlier note was not about your article, but about the contention that the Church is anti-gay.
          I do not want to discuss Biblical exegesis, about which I know nothing, except to point out that it far from being an exact science.
          What you have shown is that it is possible to re-interpret Old Testament passages in order to change their generally accepted meaning.
          Re-interpretation of scripture is, of course, not new. Many people, some of them rich, point out that when Jesus spoke of the difficulty that rich men have in reaching the Kingdom of Heaven, he was talking, not about a sewing needle, but an architectural feature located in Jerusalem.
          An ever-present problem when discussing same-sex relationships is one of definition; what do we mean by the words ‘’gay’, homosexuality, homosexual?
          A few years ago, a study was carried out in support of a campaign for conjugal rights for inmates of British prisons. It revealed that 30% of prisoners had had sex with other male prisoners.
          Were these people homosexuals? Did they continue to be homosexuals after they left prison?
          Anyone who a travelled much in Mediterranean countries, or the Middle East, will know that in these places same-sex activity is not confined to ‘’homosexuals’’
          looking again at the quoted passage from Genesis it could well be that, far from all the men being homosexual, it could be that none of them were.
          So it might be more exact to describe some Christians as being anti-anal intercourse, rather than anti-gay, or anti-homosexual.


          • I would be interested to read your comments on my note of May 15th


          • My apologies for not replying in more detail sooner.

            It appears to me that the Church – in its broadest sense – is frequently anti-gay. Pastors rail against gay sex – I believe an active and happy sex life is an indisputible part of being alive – and therefore, by implication, discriminate against gays. Gay people are told they can be participating Church members if they are celibate. This places them under ridiculous pressure to conform to a particular translation of biblical texts that I consider incorrect – as do many biblical scholars. The Catholic Church is official anti-gay when many of its own priests are homosexual. It’s all a nonsense.

            Certainly many non homosexuals engage in same-sex sexual activity from time to time, for a variety of reasons. I don’t think that’s what gets the Church irked. It is annoyed that many people depart from their view of a single heterosexual union between adults as the only form of sexual practice permissable. The most blatant disregard for their opinion comes from homosexuals, simply because they are the largest such minority …


  9. […] Why is the Church anti-gay, if the Bible isn’t? ( […]


  10. […] Why is the Church anti-gay, if the Bible isn’t? ( […]


  11. sweetmother says:

    um, this is fantastic. glad you found me and then i found you. 😉 sweet mother


  12. […] have been warned.Advertising F*** Up Of The Year #4Gratuitously offensive politically incorrect jokeWhy is the Church anti-gay, if the Bible isn't?Completely inappropriate, non-PC jokes about the wreck of the Costa Concordia. Er, sorry, and all […]


  13. […] Why is the Church anti-gay, if the Bible isn’t? ( […]


  14. Please let me know of any evidence/references you have on the uses of the terms zakar and iysh. I have been trying to find them myself, but cannot anywhere online. Great article, and thank you.


  15. Wendy says:

    I’m never going to be clever enough to judge the merits (or otherwise ) of your arguments but my heart hopes you’re 100% right. I’m sick of listening to “Christians” judge gay people on the issue of sin harshly whilst engaging in their own (my own?) lying/greed/dishonesty/unfair judgments. My gut feeling (based on nothin’ learned whatsoever) is that ultimately this issue is like the issue of slavery a century or two ago; people used scripture endlessly to support enslaving others . . . . now it’s culturally and religiously not acceptable.


  16. […] Why is the Church anti-gay, if the Bible isn’t? ( […]


  17. […] Why is the Church anti-gay, if the Bible isn’t? ( Share|Share this:DiggPrintEmailRedditFacebookStumbleUpon Posted in Blogging / Technical, Scripture. Tags: affirmative scripture, Bible, Good News Bible, Queer Bible Commentary, Queer Scripture. RSS feed for comments on this post.. TrackBack URL. /* […]


  18. […] with the benefit of modern textual analysis, studying the original languages not the translations, (which, for example, can be used to argue that the Bible actually says nothing at all about gays) and taking full advantage of archaeology when we […]


  19. […] example: the few lines that are (incorrectly in my opinion) supposed to be about homosexuality, which have caused misery, persecution and death for millions of […]


  20. […] Phelps, however, was mis-informed and wilfully ignorant, as you can read here: […]


  21. Cindi says:

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  22. Michael Lynch says:

    Well argued piece Yolly, and thoroughly researched and written to provide a conclusion that should be obvious _ that it is the goodness in people that is important, and the sense of inclusion contained in the scriptures and theological works that is essential, rather than some ancient prohibitions based on ancient interpretations _ some with very ”politically motivated” purposes _ that some in contemporary society wish to preserve for their own reasons


  23. Ruthi says:

    Interesting and enlightening analysis. Just a couple of points though on the use of the word ‘zakar’ in Leviticus. I am not familiar with its use as referring to a high priest, but even in the bible itself it is used very obviously to mean simply ‘male’ – in the story of Noah’s Ark, he is told to chose animals for the ark ‘zakar u’nekeva’ . ‘Nekeva’ means ‘female’, so ‘zakar’ in this case is obviously used as meaning ‘male’ in this case.

    The bible is a very literary-minded piece of writing, it doesn’t like to repeat a word in the same sentence (unless it makes for good styling), so it is very possible that the use of the word ‘zakar’ in this context is so as not to repeat the word iysh too much…


  24. […] meanings of words change over time. Religious concerns about homosexuality are often based on the fallacious belief that sodomy, as it was expressed in the Bible, was about homosexuality – a word that didn’t […]


  25. Ron Boehm says:

    Your article makes a gross assumption and is very telling of your insincerity 9n the matter. To claim that if ten righteous men are found they would be hetero-sexual men, and that that category alone is the criteria for “righteousness” is plainly ignorant of what the author of the scripture means. Would they be hetero-sexual? Let me ask you, ” Does Genesis speak of a different creation than Adam or Havah, (Eve), ? Then Sodom practiced a preversion of the original Creation. You will have to take that up with the Creator if you disagree.


    • Stephen Yolland says:

      You are entitled to your point of view. You will also have to defend when you stand there on the Day of Judgement. Be sure you are right.


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