Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Whenever I have a lot to say in reply to something, I try to take it out of the Comments and into its own entry, so as to "free up" the Comments of the original post and to keep things specific. In the comments to my earlier post, David (the Virginia Gentleman) argues against my opposition to homosexuality (yes, this has been discussed before). Also, he sort-of argues against women's ordination, though I'm pretty sure that was merely for comparison and not a reflection of his actual position.
Regarding women's ordination, I don't favor it. However, I think that there are enough plausible (though not necessarily correct) arguments for the ordination of women to not be able to declare it a closed issue. Specifically, the selection of women as judges in Israel and the presence of deaconesses in the New Testament, while not convincing to me, nonetheless have enough merit to prevent me from making a definitive statement.
In terms of homosexuals (and by this I of course refer to those who practice, rather than are only inclined), I don't see any evidence that might support their ordination. Being a woman is not a sin; practicing homosexuality is. Biblical-era people certainly knew what homosexuality was, and I have to admit that I'm astounded that you would say otherwise. The Jews certainly knew about it due to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Mosaic Law. The Greeks definitely knew about it, and practiced it openly. In his Republic, Plato specifically condemns homosexual relationships between grown men and adolescents (his support for nonsexual relations between them is why we call such relationships "platonic"). Christ did not specifically preach on homosexuality (though he did condemn sexual sin, which I believe includes it), as it was something all good Jews already knew was wrong. The reason Paul addresses it is because it was an accepted, and even encouraged, part of Greek life. It is similar to how Christ never preached against eating food sacrificed to idols, as this was a pagan custom and was something the Jews already had a prohibition against.
Now, I believe that, especially today, struggling with homosexuality is one of the toughest things to have to do spiritually. I'm extremely grateful that it is not a temptation of mine. I have enough trouble struggling with temptation towards girls, knowing that eventually I may be able to get married, without having to struggle with a desire that I know can never be blessed. It is for this reason that I have tremendous respect for those homosexuals who choose to live chastely. However, recognizing that homosexuality is a sin, similar to alcoholism, the practice of homosexuality cannot be condoned any more than can those who maintain an alcoholic lifestyle. I know this is not a popular opinion, but my reading of Scripture leaves me no other possible view.