2. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin

Lordy, I'm tired of this one. Why religious zealots feel they can pick and choose the parts of the Bible they think best support their own secular desires — and ignore the rest — is beyond me. Add to that the raging debates still on-going as to how to interpret the original faded, non-vowel-using, hand-written, euphemistic writings, and it's painfully obvious anyone stating they know exactly what the Bible says — is full of it.

Here's a fascinating and thoughtful discussion of the hotly contested translation difficulties surrounding Leviticus 18:22. When absolutely literally translated from the Hebrew, it reads, "And with a male you shall not lay lyings of a woman." Confusing, isn't it?

If the link is dead, try the archived version of translation difficulties

Also fascinating is how that one verse is the one most focused on. In that particular chapter of Leviticus alone there are admonitions against obeying the laws of the land you live in, as opposed to following only Jewish law; incest; sex with a menstruating woman; sex with your neighbor's wife; giving your children to a rival god; bestiality; or allowing strangers living among you to obey any laws of the realm, excepting only Judaic law.

But do we have people orchestrating hate campaigns against adulterers, or those who obey the laws of the land and disobey Judaic law? No, of course not. Stirring up hatred against adulterers wouldn't get any takers, because a majority of the populace has done so. Agitating to ignore the laws of the land would just get the agitators arrested. So those who seek power through manipulation of others turn their focus to homosexuals — because they're a minority group, and easier to pick on. It reminds me of the bumper sticker:

"People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it's easier to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs."

Reality check

Secondly, I'd have to cast some doubt on the relevance of the Bible to modern day. As a woman, I find the book to be a fascinating historical and literary document. However, as a model of how to live I'd have to say it, and the church purportedly based on its teachings, are both appallingly out of touch with the modern world.

Let's face it — we're no longer a nomadic tribe of goat-herding, war-like, invading barbarians. We don't stone adulterers or forcibly marry rape victims to their rapists, we don't murder or enslave non-believers in our religion in order to get their stuff, we make all the graven images we want, we eat shellfish with pleasure, and we don't regard women as property equivalent to herds of goats or sheep.

People and cultures change over time. When we were children we did what was right because we were punished if we didn't. One of the signs of maturity, though, is doing the right thing because we know it is right — not because we fear punishment.

A religion which predicates future punishment for bad behavior, from a murderously vengeful father figure, is not going to succeed in creating good behavior in the long run. Any competent animal trainer can tell you training by fear only works when feedback is immediate — and it's never learned as quickly, remembered as well, or performed as willingly as behavior based on reward.

Barring a person having some mental disorder, doing good simply feels better than harming others. Isn't it time for us to start doing the right thing because we know it is right — not because of childhood fears based on an outdated book?

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