This page deals specifically with the subject of LGBT people in sacred texts. For an overview of the positions of various religions on this topic, Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity historical and current beliefs, refer to this page at the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance site [external site].
References to the scriptures are being used as the backbone of much of the heated discussion about gay people in a way that has not been seen since the Scopes evolution trial. It is thus crucial to examine the actual texts, and the context in which they were written.
This page, which has taken months of research to write, provides all available scriptural quotes on this subject, with links into the full texts, also available at this site. Also included are the complete text of several books on the subjectscanned specially to provide background information for this page. The Bible, the Qur'an, and Baha'i and Zoroastrian scriptures have a few passages which condemn homosexuality. An out of context interpretation of these passages has been used as justification for persecution of homosexuals, ranging from ridicule, exclusion, and attempts to alter behavior, to imprisonment and even execution.
Typically these quotes are employed not because the entire range of scriptural injunctions are being applied consistently, but because the power structure needs cherry-picked scriptural justification for their actions.
Colonialism subsequently imposed this prejudice on a number of non-western societies which did not previously have "Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity" sort of persecution. Other major world religions, particularly Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Shinto, don't condemn homosexuals in their sacred texts, let alone mention the subject except in passing. This doesn't mean that societies where these religions are dominant
Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity practiced are or are not tolerant of LGBT people; simply that whatever discrimination or persecution may be present is not based on religious grounds.
Modern studies of the nature of gender have found that human sexual preference is innate; homosexuality occurs in hundreds Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity species; and gender and sexual behavior is a continuum rather than two compartmentalized poles.
Psychologists no longer consider homosexuality a personality defect or mental illness. There will always be some that prefer not to accept the findings of science.
For instance, there are a handful of Christians who believe that the Earth is flat because the Bible refers to the 'four corners of the Earth'. Some literalist Christians reject the Copernican solar system for similar scriptural reasons.
However, many religions, even the most conservative, have shown a capability to incorporate advances in knowledge-- for instance, astronomy, geology and biology--that were previously contradicted by, or simply unknown to, scripture and religious tradition. For instance, modern Roman Catholic doctrine states that scientific theories of cosmology, including the 'Big Bang', are not incompatible with the concept of a creation by the deity-- this from the church that only recently lifted its pro forma censorship of the works of Galileo.
Values of tolerance and acceptance for others can be found at the core of all world religions.
Many religious groups have not found it difficult to extend tolerance to LGBT people, even if this does not lead to acceptance within their religion, or sanctioning of same-sex unions or homosexual clergy. And most religious groups and people, across the spectrum, are opposed to violence against gays and other violations of their human and civil rights, regardless of their other beliefs on Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity subject.
The systematic persecution of LGBT people simply did not exist until comparatively recently in world history. Alexander the Great is well-known to have been bisexual. The Emperor Hadrian attempted to deify his male life-companion, Antinous.
In Greek mythology, we have the myth of Tiresias, who changed his gender from male to female and back; Zeus, among his other loves, took Ganymede; the nymph Hermaphrodite was transformed from a woman into an intersex being. Shamanism in Siberia from Aboriginal Siberia, by M.
This was also widespread through North America and Polynesia. The Symposium of Plato In this colloquium on the nature of companionship, Plato proposed a theory of the origin of humanity in which Zeus created three genders: The androgynes were split into two and since then each half has been searching for the other.
This is actually not an unusual creation story.
It includes an account of her cross-dressing, transgender priests. Mimes of the Courtesans This unexpurgated translation of Lucian's comic dialogues about the Hetaerae includes two pieces which illustrate late classical attitudes about LGBT people. This results from cultural attitudes imposed by the British during their long occupation of India. There is no condemnation of homosexuality in the ancient Hindu texts, and no bias against LGBT people is evident up to the 19th century.
In a few Hindu lawbooks, same-gender sexuality is described as producing a state of impurity, but it can be expunged by a ritual bath. The ancient Hindu attitude was that sexuality should be fully integrated into the fabric of life, and nothing to be ashamed of. For instance, in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, IV: Homosexuality is discussed frankly and without condemnation in the ancient Hindu sexual treatises.
In the Kama Sutra, Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity Chapter VIlesbianism in harems is described, and in Chapter IXmale and female homosexuality in the context of a discussion of oral sex. There are many accounts of beings who transformed their gender by supernatural means in the ancient Hindu epics and Puranas.
One prominent example occurs in the Mahabharata. A transgender person, Sikhandin, plays a pivotal role in that ancient Hindu epic. In book 5, Chapterthe origin of Sikhandin is related. Sikhandin was born as the daughter of King Drupada of the Panchalas, who had previously been childless. Druapada begged the God Mahadeva, to give him a son. He told him that "Thou shalt have a child
Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity will be a female and male.
Desist, O king, it will not be otherwise. His wife gives birth to a baby girl, Sikhandin. King Drupada conceals the gender of his child and proclaims a male heir has been born, and Sikhandin is raised as a boy.
When Sikhandin comes of age, a marriage is arranged with an unnamed daughter of King Hiranyavarman, of the Dasrnakas. Hiranyavarman is described as Drupada's brother. The two women are married, " At this juncture, Sikhandin flees into the forest, where she encounters a Yaksha, a demon, named Sthunakarna.
Sthunakarna says that he will grant one boon to Sikhandin, who
Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity to become a male, the swap to be temporary until the situation with King Hiranyavarman is cleared up.
So the princess exchanges gender with demon; and, now a prince, returns to the city which the army of King Hiranyavarman is about to besiege. King Drupada tells his brother, now truthfully, that Sikhandin is a man, and that he can prove it.
King Hiranyavarman sends "a number of young ladies of great beauty" to Sikhandin, and they report back that he is "a powerful person of the masculine sex. Sikhandin grows into a mighty warrior.
Sikhandin later plays an important role during the cataclysmic battle which is the central part of the Mahabharata. In the climax of Book 8 of the Mahabharata, Bhishma, one of the chief protagonists, is killed because he refuses to attack Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity charge which is led by Sikhandin, because Sikhandin was born female.
This ends up being the turning point in the battle and the war. In this story we see what might, hypothetically, be an very old tale of a same-sex union woven into the vast epic of the Mahabharata. How old may be indicated by the fact that cousins are being married, which is typical of tribal societies worldwide. In Ancient Egypt women who attained positions of power wore male clothing, including false beards, in order to formally establish their leadership; for such a woman to marry a woman as a political maneuver would not be inconceivable.
Sikhandin, raised as a boy, is ready and willing to exchange gender magically.
Once having switched to the male gender, he excels at the role, and becomes a famous and very skilled warrior. Sikhandin is reconciled with his transformed masculine identity, despite the fatal display of chivalry by his opponent Bhishma in battle. This brings into relief the contradictions of ancient Hindu society with regard to gender roles.
There are about half a dozen direct references to what we today term homosexuality in the Tanach and NT, and a few others which are relevant but not direct. Two of the most negative passages are found in the book of Leviticus, alongside a mass of ancient Jewish food and incest taboos, purification rituals and medical protocols.
In the New Testament, there are several instances in the Epistles where Paul disparages homosexuality. Notably, at no point in the "Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity" narrative does Jesus condemn homosexuality. Another point to note is that there was no word for homosexuality, in the sense that we now use the term, in ancient Hebrew or Greek. So the text of the Tanach and NT uses circumlocutions or eumphemisms in these passages. As far as lesbianism goes, the Bible is silent.
There is no explicit mention or condemnation of
Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity homosexuality in the Tanach, and it turns up only once very tangentially in the NT. It was whispered that "Elizabeth was King: Now James is Queen.
James I was responsible for reaffirming the Buggery Act ofwhich criminalized sodomy in the UK. However, James I had several well-documented homosexual relationships. Although he had eight children with his wife, Anne of Denmark, they eventually decided to live apart. In he met Robert Carr, then age 17, at a joust, and had an on-going relationship with him for nearly a decade, which ended in a messy breakup.
Inhe started a relationship with George Villiers, a commoner, eventually making him Duke of Buckingham in InJames wrote Villiers a letter in which he asked "whether you loved me now Some esoteric Jewish traditions hold that God is hermaphroditic in nature, and that Adam was originally an hermaphrodite.
This is based on a reading of Genesis 1: Rabbi Samuel-bar-Nachman is quoted by Carpenter as saying "Adam, when God created him, was a man-woman androgyne ".
Then there is the story of the destruction of the city of Sodom, Genesis Sodom has given its name to the now somewhat quaint-sounding term 'Sodomy', which originally meant a specific male homosexual sex act.
Eventually it was expanded to mean any form of sexual Sacred texts homosexuality in christianity which happened to be illegal, including things that married heterosexual couples do every day. However, a close reading reveals the name to be a bit of a misnomer.