Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Which way do you swing?

I recently have been having some interesting discussions on Homosexuality and Sin as viewed from the Christian perspective on Nakedpastor.com It got me thinking about how we used to view people who are left handed. Now back in the day of my parents and before, it was viewed in a negative light. It seems much of this viewpoint was taken because of Biblical material. It seems that many positive references are given to right handed people, e.g. "The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the lord is exalted" (Psalm 118 vv15,16). Also the left is commonly held with disdain as noted by this, "The left hand does worst in the parable of the sheep and goats. The sheep are set on Christ's right hand and the goats on the left. Those on the right inherit the kingdom of god while those on the left depart into everlasting fire". For years the Nuns tried to "correct" people who were left handed because of the misguided belief that there was something wrong with them. Now fortunately we have grown in our understanding of the brain and how genetic predispositions work. Unfortunately it doesnt seem to hold true for some Christians in regards to Homosexuality. They still hold firm to the idea that it is a "Sin" to be gay and that it is some kind of character flaw. They seem to disregard the evidence that is pointing to the genetic markings of gay people. A gay person is no different than a heterosexual individual other than their brain has them attracted to the same sex. I wonder if it is a wiring, like that of a "Left" handed individual. If so, how can that be considered bad? I hope for the day when people can view other individuals like a Baseball coach/manager would view rookies at spring training.

Rookie: "I bat right"
Coach: "Very good Son"

Rookie: "I bat left"
Coach: "You will have a unique role on this team."

Rookie: "Im a switch hitter."
Coach: "Oh my God, you are Divine."

20 comments:

practicallyhealthy said...

Good one!
What I don't get, is the way some Christians can so harshly judge the ones who are gay and yet say practically nothing for those who abuse alcohol and/or drugs. In the christian view, aren't all sins equal?

societyvs said...

Unbeknownest to many, I am huge advocate for gay people attending and participating in anything church related (including leadership roles). I have come a long way in 3 years or so.

About 3 years ago I was rather unsure about the direction I should take on such an issue - not being gay and all and knowing little about the whole thing (except via gay friends and what they would say). Basically I decided to not make my mind up and listen to the knowledge out there.

I have come to conclude that gay people are born into the path of being 'gay'. Who would pick such a path in face of the danger and ostracization?

Luke said...

hahahahaha! brilliant.

and i would preface Christians by "some" or more directly, "conservative".

i've been thinking on the sin idea and will come up with a post here after Boogie is born.

you still RAWK! love your responses on that post... and i gotta find out who anglican gurl is.. it's drive'n me nuts!

Yael said...

John,
I may be telling you something you already know, but in Latin the word for left is sinister. Just me tossing in a bit of trivia here....

I have always preferred hanging out with lesbians to being around straight women. Most of my best friends are either lesbians or guys. I'm sure many people think I'm a lesbian but I never bother to tell anyone one way or the other since I find it all amusing and irrelevant. Who am I to disabuse people of their idea that gender is limited to two categories: male and female even though people's gender identities seem instead to be quite varied over a spectrum?

Switch hitting just means you get to have twice as many opportunities to admire the view!

Gotta love how people get so fixated on other people's sex lives. So some women like other women and some men like other men. I don't get why should this matter to me in the least.

One of my cousins has been with his partner for 40 years now. Talk about home stability, most hetero couples don't come close to staying together that long!

Denise,
Ah, but some sins are more equal than others, don't you know? LOL I have always loved how some will pull out the 'abomination' thing as a God said thing, even though eating pork and having sex with a woman who didn't go to the mikvah after her period, also labeled by Torah as abominations, are ignored. As I have said before it seems the 'abominations' that affect other people are to be taken with the greatest of seriousness, while the 'abominations' that might affect the bulk of the church faithful are totally ignored as no big deal anymore. Don't expect anyone to give up their pork chops but hey, you over there, don't you dare love the wrong person!!

Yep. Makes sense to me....

Steve Martin said...

TfT,

Interesting post!

I like the baseball stuff (I'm an old ballplayer)

Heading out in a few minutes to catch a kid who is trying to make it to the major leagues.

He's 6'7" and throws smoke!

Anyway, I digress.

No 'gay gene' has yet been discovered.

I think that men are predisposed towards trying to have sex with as many gals as possible...but that doesn't make it right.

I acted like that when I was younger. I'm ashamed of it now, but it was a lot of fun in the day.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Great analogy with the baseball coach. I find it interesting that Christians say "love the sinner, hate the sin" when referring to homosexuals. Just that little saying itself says it all. They see it as sin, but I disagree.

I like the point your lovely wife made...aren't all sins equal? Only on paper not in practice.

Wow, you mentioned Naked Pastor! I used to read him all the time and have one of his paintings!!! I need to go visit him.

faithlessinfatima said...

Yael...don't forget fast-handed women...Deut.25:11

freestyleroadtrip said...

John. I really like the left hand stuff. I was going to point out the latin stuff, but Yael snuck in before me. Took two years of latin when I was in, get this, a Catholic High School For Boys of all things as the son of a Nazarene preacher. The Latin has been worthless. Should have been Spanish. I digress...

I am not as far along this path as all of you, but I am searching. As I have ventured away from fairly strict fundamentalism this has been one of the things that has lagged behind a bit. It was drilled into me so hard that this was just about the worst thing out there that it has been harder to break down. I will say that I am not offended by gays and lesbians and deal with them often in my practice. My knowledge is skewed because the far majority of this population with whom I have contact are terribly broken individuals. I do not have any contact with gays or lesbians that are stable, solid individuals, but I do know that they exist. I think about things like your left hand example and other things like the world being flat and the earth being the center of the universe and other things that Christianity used to hold to dogmatically and wonder if this issue is the same. But I just don't know. I'm trying to keep an open mind though. I think in some way my difficulty in this is tied to another issue, that being the idea of heaven and hell with a God who will punish versus a God of love who intends that love to be shared and felt by all. Some of those fundy things are so hard to get resolved. But I'm searching.

mac said...

A lot of christians point to Leviticus as their reasoning for their disdain towards gays.

You know (to paraphrase)the whole, "Man should not lay withj a man as he does a woman; it is an abomination".

The only problem with that arguement? They seem perfectly comfortable tossing out most of the other Levitical laws like: not eating pork, shellfish, catfish, not laying with ones wife when she menstruates.

I hear Jesus died, thereby changing THOSE laws. Yet not the "No Homosexuality" ones??

I'm not gay, but, I can't see anything wrong with loving who you are drawn to love.
If god made these people, surely he knows they are gay, surely he didn't make a mistake by making them gay. Or did he?

phd in yogurtry said...

Interestingly, I think switch-hitters are the most distrusted in the sexual world.

But I absolutely agree with your left-handed analogy. Just because it's different, doesn't mean we have to villify it.

Sexual preference could be hard wired (there is evidence of heredity) but there's also the possibility that it's determined in utero by hormones and timing.

It's pretty plain to me that the "choice" aspect is the fulcrum of the debate for the religious (anti-gay) arguement. Otherwise, "God made me this way therefore I can't be wrong" is pretty hard to argue against.

And religious types seem to conveniently disregard the fact that intersex individuals (hermaphrodites, who were born with some combination of male and female sex organs). What about them? Who do they love? They're biological make up doesn't lent them to "choosing" the "appropriate" sexual partner.

Gary Means said...

Conservative Christians do not take the Bible very seriously. They claim to be taking the scripture literally when preaching against homosexuality. But they are very selective in which scriptures they take literally.

The Torah also prohibits heterosexual intercourse when a woman has her period, eating fruit from a young tree, wearing clothes that are made from a textile blend, tattoos, shaving or getting a hair cut, charging of interest on a loan, and letting a mildly-to-severely disabled person from becoming a priest.

Further, the Hebrew Scriptures require the killing of all who engage in homosexual sex, a child if he/she curses his/her parent, a person who takes the Lord’s name in vain, and all persons guilty of adultery.

It also requires that every woman sacrifice two doves or young pigeons as a burnt offering on the eight day after her period ends to atone for her "unclean discharge."

It commands killing rape victims in certain cases. An engaged woman who is raped in the city must be killed because she could have cried out and stopped it. But if she is raped in the country, and no one could have heard her, she need not be killed.

If a man's son, daughter, or wife tries to entice him to worship other gods, he must "show no mercy, but immediately put them to death."

And finally, "If you do not follow all of God's laws, God will see that when you are engaged, another man will rape your fiance. God will take delight in ruining and destroying you. He will afflict you with hemorrhoids, scurvy, and the itch, and you will find no cure. He will strike you with foul ulcers, boils, and tumors from from which there will be no cure, from the sole of your foot to the top of your head. God will strike you with madness, blindness and confusion until you grope your way around at noon like a blind man groping in the dark, and your steps lead you nowhere. God will send wild animals to attack you. You will eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters. God will strike you down with consumption, fever, rash, drought, blight, and mildew. Your dead body will be carrion for all wild birds and all wild animals, with no one to scare them away. All these curses will befall you for not having obeyed the voice of God by keeping his laws which he has laid down for you."

God mellowed out a bit by the New Testament, but not entirely.

Gary Means said...

As for amidexterity, I am cross-dominant. An ambidexterious person can do things equally well with either hand. A mixed-dominance person has certain body parts that are left-dominant and others that are right-dominant. Often a mixed-dominant person has to think about which handedness to use. Mixed-dominant persons tend to be more clumsy and make poor athletes. One example is in target shooting, where the handedness leads the person to want to hold the gun in one hand, the other eye is the dominant eye, making aiming very difficult.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-dominance

societyvs said...

"Conservative Christians do not take the Bible very seriously. They claim to be taking the scripture literally when preaching against homosexuality. But they are very selective in which scriptures they take literally." (Gary)

Oh I think they take it seriously - just that they don't stick to every point concerning literalness.

As per literalness, I think this is where mistakes are made. Even Judaism does not adhere to a 100% literal reading of the texts - and as far as is known - never has. I think the point most of the time was to show the severity of certain actions in regards to the community.

It is known in Jewish circles that penalties of death for almost anything was quite unheard of. The law functioned as the 'bottom line' more or less and was there as a societal guide for the community (like it is to this day).

Now I do not understand some of the aspects of the law (like mixing of certain fabrics as being criminal) but others have some obvious sense to them (ie: do not committ adultery). Regardless, Judaism does not take the law literally either - does this mean they do not take the law serious?

The problem is never the actual document - but the way that docuement is squeezed by one's mind or denomination. In this case, the churches short-sightedness on an issue as homosexuality actually goes back to their concrete nature versus Judaism's open approach to debating the law.

Dean said...

Nice post! I loved the way that you compared homosexuality with being left handed. I was a lefty until I was re-educated by the school that I attended.

I think you stopped short of actually pointing out the contradictorily nature of a christian who believes in the letter of the good book, but at the same time supports homosexuality. The bible has a smattering of homosexual references - most, if not all, are negative.

"Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable."
(Leviticus 18:22)

Personally, I don't see homosexuality as a threat to my family. This isn't true for many others who fear changing gender roles and stereotypes.

We also live in a very prude country. A country where violence is favored over the naked body. Perhaps this also has a role to play?

Luke said...

just a thought:

who are these people asking for gay marriage? gay ordination? gay participation and acceptance in the church?

THOSE ALREADY IN THE CHURCH!!!!!

with religion declining, churches close'n left and right, and ministers in short supply, you think people would wake up and stop kicking out the faithful.

The Jesting Fool said...

I like the baseball analogy. I have some Christian friends who have no problem embracing pre-marital sex, drunkenness, and a pervasive use of profanity... yet when it comes to homosexuality, their brains suddenly freeze up and they declare that it's "wrong."

Hello?

Tit for Tat said...

TJF

Thanks for stopping by. So which way do you bat. ;)

The Jesting Fool said...

Tit for Tat,

I bat right-handed. But I have left-handed friends, and I'm perfectly fine with that!

Anonymous said...

In the Bible it states that Jesus sits at God's right hand, leaving God to sit at Jesus' left... food for thought. I prayed in my heart for a left handed child. Don't know why. My husband and I and our 3 boys are all right handed and our girl is left handed. It is the best present ever. I believe they have a advantage over right handers and that they grow up stronger.

Anonymous said...

In the Bible it states that Jesus sits at God's right hand, leaving God to sit at Jesus' left... food for thought. I prayed in my heart for a left handed child. Don't know why. My husband and I and our 3 boys are all right handed and our girl is left handed. It is the best present ever. I believe they have a advantage over right handers and that they grow up stronger.