Categories
Abortion and Other Evils

A Biblical Defense of Traditional Marriage

The following is a post which I have been hoping to write for some time. This is about homosexuality. I propose to defend the traditional viewpoint that it is immoral from Scripture and that a marriage is specifically between one man and one woman. Before you ask, I am not writing on James Martin. I am writing on certain Protestants of what is called the “Affirmation” camp. To end all questions, the Council of Trent Session XXIV, Doctrine on the Sacrament of Matrimony, states: “Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. But, that by this bond two only are united and joined together, our Lord taught more plainly, when rehearsing those last words as having been uttered by God, He said, therefore now they are not two, but one flesh.” The Council certainly does not seem to allow room for a man to cleave to his husband or a woman her wife, nor are Councils to be read exactly as Scripture since they are written in a clearer manner. Now we shall discuss what the Scriptures say about the issue. As usual, first I shall discuss the biblical passages which are used in the Affirmation camp.

“The inspired authors did not know about loving, committed homosexual relationships, for which reason their commentaries on same-sex marriage.”

I do not see why they should be unaware of committed same-sex relationships as they were common in the Roman Empire at the time (hence Paul condemned it on multiple occasions). They may not have been recognized by law as equal, but neither were they now until relatively recently, so I could hardly say this is reason to suppose that they knew less about same-sex relationships than we do now. Furthermore, in the relevant passages, the Bible is not so specific and simply condemns two people of the same gender having relations with each other.

“There seems to be a trajectory. There are multiple passages in Scripture which seem to sanction slavery, yet now we accept it as evil. Hence if for slavery there may be a trajectory from acceptance to condemnation, there should be one for homosexuality from condemnation to acceptance.” 

I will write an entire article discussion slavery in Scripture eventually. For now let it suffice that we see this in the New Testament. “Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother.” (Philemon 15-16) One cannot be brothers with one’s slave. However, as will be shown, there does not seem to be much of a reference, even in seed form to condemning homosexuality.

“But our Lord, God Incarnate said nothing about same-sex relationships. Therefore, homosexuality must not be a sin.”

Jesus was also silent on rape, incest, and bestiality, three things about which we can fairly assume he disagreed. Now, Jesus came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The Jews did not practice homosexuality, for which reason He had no cause to condemn it. However, Paul, who spoke to a wider audience of Gentiles did have cause to do so. Jesus at another time said, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mark 10:6-9) This suggests that He did believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

As for inclusivity, Jesus did welcome many people, but this does not mean he approved of their behavior. At one point Jesus explains: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32) Thus His welcoming to them is meant to lead to repentance. Hence in John 8:11, Jesus says to the woman caught in adultery: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” So Jesus allows the woman to go on the condition that she does not sin again. I hope I have done well to name all the major counterarguments. Now, on the contrary…

Leviticus 18 & 20

Leviticus 18:22 states: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Likewise, according to Leviticus 20:13 “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.” To this there are two general objections which could be brought up. The first is that this is the Old Law, made to set the Jews apart from the Gentiles, similar to the kosher laws, and do not apply now. Second, some say that due to the word “abomination”, is frequently used to describe idolatry, God may be referring to cultic or even man-boy relationships connected to pagan temples.

To answer the first claim, that this was not carried into the New Testament, in Leviticus 18, God also condemns incest, adultery, devoting one’s children to Molech, and bestiality, which most Christians would still oppose. Following this, God says: “Do not defile yourselves by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am casting out before you defiled themselves; and the land became defiled, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.” (Lev. 18:24-25) So it seems that it displeased God to do this to the Gentiles as well. As for the second supposition, that this has something to do with cultic practices, the words are not so specific. It only refers to a man lying with a man, around which, as noted there are other sins which are clearly sexual. Note also the words: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” In other words, they are jointly responsible, suggesting that this is consensual on the sides of both parties.

Romans 1:26-27

In Romans 1, Paul writes about unrighteousness in God’s sight. In Romans 1:18-32, he writes specifically on the Gentile world. In Romans 1:26-27, he states: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”

Paul calls these desires “unnatural”—hence not what God originally intended. Some would contend that Paul is only talking about “unnatural” sexual behaviors according to one’s sexuality. In other words, Paul is condemning persons with heterosexual attractions engaging in homosexual behavior. However, God refers to these acts as “passions”. The greek is πᾰ́θος/páthos, meaning any strong feeling, passion, or emotion. No man with heterosexual inclinations has such passions for another man. Nor can this refer to man-boy relationships, since Paul makes a reference to lesbianism, nor are these words so specific.

1 Corinthians 6

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God,” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) says Paul. And again, “Now we know that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, immoral persons, sodomites, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.” (1 Timothy 1:8-10)

Now, what does this have to do with homosexuality? Well, the words used in the Revised Standard Version are “sexual perverts” in Corinthians and “sodomites” in Timothy, but this is different in other translations. The English Standard Version says “men who practice homosexuality”.

Now there are multiple terms in Greek which could refer to homosexuals. The first is μαλακοὶ (malakoi), which literally means “soft ones”. It can mean a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man or a male prostitute. In 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul refers to both μαλακοὶ (malakoi) and ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai). The second word, ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai), comes from two Greek words, ἀρσεν “male” and κοίτης, “bed”, especially referring to a marriage bed as in intercourse. The word ἀρσενοκοῖται therefore means “those who lie with men”. This word, to the best of my knowledge, is rarely or never used outside of the New Testament. However, the two words which make it up are used in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, suggesting that Paul is drawing a parallel to what was condemned then. So the pairing of μαλακοὶ (malakoi) with ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitoi) suggests that there is a difference. Unlike in the case of malakoi necessarily, which may well have referred to man-boy relationships, arsenokoitai seems to condemn both active and passive partners as equals.

I would conclude therefore that God did wish marriage to be between one man and one woman. I hope I represented the opposing viewpoint fairly enough.

Bonum Certamen Certemus

I am the Catholic of Honor

All Scripture verses are from the Revised Standard Version

Categories
On Orthodox & Mormons

They Neither Marry Nor Are Given in Marriage

And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths.

Doctrine and Covenants 132:19

Basically the doctrine which I would like to discuss would be Eternal Marriage, as espoused by the Church of Latter-day Saints. Basically, in LDS doctrine, when a Mormon is married in a temple, marriage does not end in death, but lasts into eternity in the Resurrection. This, of course, differs from the Catholic doctrine, in which marriage basically lasts “until death do us part”. In the Resurrection, the preordained number of individuals will exist, for which reason there will be no purpose of marriage, which exists for procreation. A Latter-day Saint would often quote “So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matt. 18:6) But God who joined it does have the authority to put it asunder by death. This is why Catholics believe widowed individuals are free to remarry. The usual verse brought up in this debate is Luke 20:27-36,

There came to him some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children; and the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.” And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”

The following objections are taken directly from the Church of Latter-day Saints’ website, which can be found here.

Objection 1: “First, we see that it was made in response to an attempt by the Sadducees to trap the Lord. Consequently, it would not have been the Lord’s final word on the subject. Why should the Lord scatter pearls before them that they would only trample underfoot? (See Matt. 7:6.) They were no more prepared to listen to a discourse on eternal marriage than they were prepared to accept the reality of the resurrection.”

To this I respond that first of all, Jesus was willing to defend the Resurrection. Following Jesus words on marriage, He says in verses 37-38, “But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.” Would not the Resurrection be a little more relatable to this world if he introduced to them the idea that marriage still exists in the next life? Besides, concerning marriage Jesus was willing to introduce an even harder saying in Matthew 18:8-9: “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.” This must have been shocking to the Jews who were used to an escape route if their relationship did not work out. In verse 10 the disciples say, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.” Now, compared to our Lord’s teaching on divorce, would Eternal Marriage really be so difficult to accept? Now, the LDS viewpoint in answer to the question is simple: the first one. Is it really so incredible for Jesus to say this? When one thinks about it, such an idea of marriage in heaven would be much more relatable than the idea that there will be no reason to marry at all.

Objection 2: “Second, the Lord did not say there would be no people in the married state in the resurrection, but that there would be no marriages made in the resurrection.”

To this I respond that this is correct, but irrelevant. The question which the Sadducees asked Him was concerning those whom she had married in this life. So if this is what our Lord meant, His answer was irrelevant to the question.

Objection 3: “Third, we must be clear about the “they” who are neither marrying nor being given in marriage. The context of the scriptures just cited suggests a generic rather than a specific meaning. Simply put, that means no marriages are made in the resurrection. The Lord was warning the Sadducees. They were Jews of the day who had rejected him and therefore had no access to the higher ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood. How could these men, whom Jesus had called a “generation of vipers” (Matt. 3:7), qualify for the highest blessings of the celestial kingdom?”

To this I respond that the original question was about a hypothetical woman. Doctrine and Covenants 132:37 states specifically: “Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.” So Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob became gods. As eternal marriage is essential for exaltation to the Celestial Kingdom and deification, I would assume they had access to it before Christ. Jesus said “they” not “you”. As far as I can tell (and LDS are free to inform me if I am wrong) Eternal Marriage is still considered to have existed in the Old Testament.

Bonum Certamen Certemus

I am the Catholic of Honor

All Scripture verses are from the Revised Standard Version

Categories
Abortion and Other Evils

Philosophy on Homosexuality

Disclaimer: I will have to write about sex to some extent (although not to a graphic degree). I felt uncomfortable writing it so if the reader easily gets uncomfortable about such topics, I do not recommend this post. I certainly would not recommend this for anyone younger than ten or maybe twelve. Also, if the reader is easily offended, do not read this. My own views on homosexuality are not exactly popular nowadays.

So we speak of homosexuality, a sensitive issue nowadays. By homosexuality I mean specifically sexual activity between two men or two women, rather than how it is sometimes used to mean the simple sexual attraction, over which people often have little or no control.

When discussing marriage and whether it is a necessary property of marriage to be between one man and one woman, it would first be right to define marriage. There is all this controversy as to which persons should marry which, yet rarely do persons bother to define terms. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has this to say:

1 a: the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law

b: the mutual relation of married persons

c: the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage

2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected. especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities

3: an intimate or close union

The definition of marriage as the mutual relation of two married persons is the classic definition of a word by itself. As for “the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage”—seriously? This is how they define marriage? Now definition 1a basically says that law must recognize what is or is not a marriage, which is not useful for discovering what is intrinsically moral or immoral, as the State often errs by passing laws contrary to the moral law (a prime example of this in our modern day would be the practice of slavery). If it means the moral law, what that is is exactly what we mean to determine. Definition 2 is more like it, “an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected.” But one can still question what constitutes such a rite or ceremony and so it helps us little. The final definition, “an intimate or close union” is most helpful to out purpose, as we are talking about a lasting marriage, not the act of matrimony. Still, I do not think it a good definition, as there are many things I could call an intimate or close union of which the term “marriage” is doubtful. After all, if I were to adopt a child (if I am legally allowed to do so at my age), it would not be a marriage. Yet it would be a close union and I would promise to love my child to the rest of my life. The best addition to this which I could add would be that marriage is an intimate or close union wherein sexual behavior is permissible.

So (as much as I hate to write about this as I am an erotophobic Christian teenager) the question we must ask is: when is sex permissible? To answer this, one must discover the core purpose of sex. Now some would call it intimacy. However, I have an intimate union with my family and friends. Surely, the fact that I love my family does not mean that I can have conjugal relations with them. If you do think I should have such relations with them, you are a creep because that would be incest. So with this said, I would say that the core reason which has led us to evolve sexual attractions is to procreate. This is why the most common attraction is heterosexual. It is natural. Indeed, without heterosexual relations, humanity would die out, but without homosexual relations, the species would survive. The natural way for humanity to continue is through heterosexual relations. Nowadays, of course, it is possible to make babies artificially, but this can hardly be said to be derived from nature, since without advanced technology it would be impossible. To put it another way, I have various systems in my body, all of which are complete without another person except one, that being the reproductive system. Homosexual relations have no biological purpose other than sexual pleasure. But the purpose for which humanity was given sexual pleasure was for procreation.

So with this in mind I would say that marriage is an intimate union the prime object of which is to maintain and multiply human life. As noted earlier, I needed to add to the definition that this is a union in which sex is permissible, because not all love-relationships involve sex. People frequently say when defending homosexuality “Let them love each other. Love is love, is it not?”—although not in these words. But I love my parents, yet I cannot have relations with them, since such a practice would be incest. I would also not have relations with my best friend, although I would love him (if I had one) deeply. I will probably be accused of being a right-wing homophobe for writing this, but before you angrily comment saying so, please try to be respectful of other people’s views.

Bonum Certamen Certemus

I am the Catholic of Honor