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Let's talk about it. The Bible says some stuff, and our culture says a lot.
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Put homosexuals to death?

Postby Numbers » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:38 pm

What are your thoughts about passages that command to put homosexuals to death/stone victims of rape?

Why do you think a loving god would put something so hateful in their "holy word"?

Re: Put homosexuals to death?

Postby jimwalton » Fri May 04, 2018 5:32 pm

First of all, victims of rape are not commanded to be put to death. In Deut. 22.23, the rape of a virgin in town assumes the woman had an opportunity to cry out so people would hear her but didn't, meaning that she was consenting. So it wasn't rape at all, but premeditated adultery between consenting adults.

In Leviticus 18-20, these commands are for the covenant people. They aren't lists of rules to be obeyed, but legal wisdom to circumscribe for God's people the bounds of civil, legal, and ritual order. They hare hypothetical examples to illustrate underlying principles (just like we use word problems to teach math. You can ignore what the words are about as long as you are getting how to do math. The purpose isn't to teach about trains, building, running, or apples, but to learn trigonometry.). The point was to shape Israelite society in such a way that God's presence would remain with them, not to provide a set of instructions.

The sexual practices written here defiles the people in the presence of God. The word used ("detestable") identifies the behavior as contrary to the character of God. These situations give examples of behavior that violates the purity of the covenant community. The violation of sexual codes is placed on par with idolatry. They were believed to undermine the relationship with God and to undermine the family as the foundational element of Israelite society, and therefore to undermine the covenant itself. There is never any clue that these guidelines were applicable to anyone except Israel, God's covenant community.

The overriding concerns of the ancient world pertained to order, non-order, and disorder. (We have no such worldview in modern society.) In the ancient world, some aspects of cultic and sexual behavior were regarded as not conducive to order, and therefore "detestable" (which is not a great translation, in actuality. The term applies to things inappropriate, idolatrous, icky [sick people in the minds of well people, undesirable [good people in the minds of bad people], or anything deviating from convention). Basically the Hebrew term describes behaviors or attitudes contrary to order. (We have no English term for such a thing.) They were never meant to pertain to universal standards, but only with regard to God's order for His people and meaning that is relative to sacred space.

Please don't jump so quickly to God being hateful. Please explore the subject before arriving at a conclusion.

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