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Homosexuality’s Christian roots Even in the bedroom we are shaped by the past

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo/Getty Images

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo/Getty Images


April 2, 2021   7 mins

It was 20 years ago today. On 1st April 2001, same-sex marriage became legal in the Netherlands. The Dutch, liberalism’s most celebrated trend-setters, had done it again. Where they led, others quickly followed. Scenes of gay couples cutting wedding cakes and spraying champagne over each other became common around the world. Today, same-sex marriage is recognised as legal in 29 countries. What even 30 years ago would have seemed to most gay people an impossible dream has come to be widely accepted — and not only by gay people — as entirely normal. The most startling thing about the institution, it can often seem, is that people ever found it startling.

Except, of course, that there are large stretches of the world where the idea that men might legally marry men, or women legally marry women, continues to be seen as abhorrent, grotesque, immoral. The list of countries that license same-sex marriage is a highly distinctive one. All of them, with the sole exception of Taiwan, are culturally Christian. All of them, to a greater or lesser extent, have witnessed a decline over recent years in church-attendance. In many of them, indeed, this decline has been precipitous.

The temptation, then, might be to cast the legalisation of same-sex marriage across much of the West as a decisive repudiation of Christian assumptions. If countries like Sweden or Canada have blazed a trail yet to be followed by countries like Iran or India, then that, so the presumption goes, is simply because the decline of religion has further to go in the non-Western world. How long, though, can its ultimate collapse be put off? Reason, progress and tolerance, it might be hoped, cannot forever be bucked. Surely, then, given time, we shall see bearded couples cutting wedding cake in Qom?

What, though, if the prevalence of same-sex marriage in culturally Christian countries is due less to the repudiation of Christian assumptions, and more to their enduring influence? What if it is in truth a bloom with roots deep in a very particular seed-bed? Even in the bedroom, after all, we are shaped by the past. Much that we take for granted is relative, and much that we assume to be “human nature” is in truth the result of decades, centuries, millennia worth of cultural weathering.

The category of “homosexuality”, far from being something that has been universally recognised, is of very recent origin. Like “television”, it is a portmanteau word coined to define a concept that would have baffled previous generations. Although formed out of Greek and Latin, neither the Greeks nor the Romans had a word for it. Suetonius, in his biographies of the Caesars, noted as interesting foibles that Claudius only ever slept with women, and Galba only ever slept with men — but he did not dwell upon it.

To the Romans, a preference for fucking males over females no more defined a man than did a preference for brunettes over blondes. The sword-stab of a penis was, of course, precisely what the female body had been shaped by the gods to receive; but the male body, too, was not lacking in orifices. A thrust or two, deep and quick, like the stabbing of a sword into the guts, and the business was done. Whether into the vagina, the anus or the mouth, it made no real difference — just so long as it was masterful.

Only one crucial qualification, one crucial safeguard, had to be respected. Free-born Romans, male and female both: these were strictly, absolutely off-limits. Conversely, it was the duty of slaves to serve a master’s every conceivable sexual need. They knew, as a matter of course, that the threat of rape might be realised at any moment.

All of which, of course, is liable to seem unfathomably alien to us. Why, though, do we find it shocking? Because, over the course of the centuries, Christian teachings on sex and marriage served radically to rewire the sexual imaginings of the ancient world. Paul, as a Jew, believed that every human body was created in the image of God, and therefore to be respected as such. Nevertheless, on his conviction that to rape was to offend against the divine, he put a novel spin.

The only acceptable sexual relationship, he argued, was one in which a man played the part of Christ, and the woman the part of the Church — which in turn left the head of a household no leeway to force himself on housemaids or pageboys. For Roman converts to Christianity, this required a radical recalibration of their most fundamental assumptions about sex. It was a recalibration from which we, in the West, have never turned back.

Something else, however, followed from Paul’s insistence on marriage between a man and a woman as the only acceptable sexual relationship. Almost incidentally, in his letter to the Romans, he paired men sleeping with men and women sleeping with women as comparable actions. Here was an acorn from which a mighty oak was destined to grow. Never before had the category of same sex relationships been defined in quite this way: as a unity.

It is the measure of how novel it was that it took centuries even to coin a word for it. The word “sodomy”, which began to be used in the 11th century, signified not what we call “homosexuality”, but rather a deviant sexual act. It might just as well refer to anal sex between a man and a woman as to anal sex between two men, or indeed to bestiality, or to masturbation. It was a sinful act that, by definition, required from the person who committed it a surrender to sin. That was why it stood condemned.

Then came Darwin. The functioning of natural selection, as developed in The Origin of Species, depended on reproduction. The mating habits of humans were therefore no less legitimate a field of study than those of the birds or the bees. Here, for scientists, was a licence to investigate the entire range of human sexual behaviour. In 1886, when a German psychiatrist named Richard von Krafft-Ebing published a survey of what he termed “pathological fetishism”, the sheer scope of his research rendered his book a focus of interest far beyond the scholarly circles at which it was aimed.

One word in particular stuck out. HomosexualitĂ€t had originally been coined in 1869, to serve the writer of a pamphlet on Prussian morality laws as shorthand for sexual relations between people of the same gender. This, of course, was precisely the category of behaviour that Paul, in his letter to the Romans, had so roundly excoriated, and which the Church had come to define as “sodomy”.

Nevertheless, in the 19th century as in the Middle Ages, the word had remained a slippery one. Now, though, with the precision of an anatomist pinning down a kidney for the benefit of watching students, Krafft-Ebing had succeeded at last in identifying with a single word the category of sexual behaviour condemned by Paul.

Only a medical man, perhaps, could have done it. Krafft-Ebing’s interest in same sex relations was as a scientist, not a moralist. Why — in seeming defiance of Darwin’s theory — did men or women choose to sleep with people of their own sex? The traditional explanation, that such people were lustful predators whose failure to control their appetites had led them to weary of what God had ordained as natural, increasingly appeared to psychiatrists inadequate. Much likelier, Krafft-Ebing believed, “homosexuals” were the victims of an underlying morbid condition.

Whether this was to be viewed as something degenerative, an ailment passed down the generations, or as the result of an accident suffered in the uterus, it was clear to him that homosexuality should be regarded, not as a sin, but as something very different: an immutable condition. Homosexuals, he argued, were the creatures of their proclivities. As such — Christian concern for the unfortunate being what it was — they deserved to be treated, not with contempt, but with generosity and compassion.

Most Christians, it is fair to say, were unpersuaded. Yet if Krafft-Ebing’s research represented a challenge to Christian assumptions about sexual morality, then so also were they a fortification of them. His conclusions were not nearly as clinical as either his critics or his admirers cared to think. Raised a Catholic, he took for granted the primacy of the Christian model of marriage. The great labour of the Church in fashioning and upholding monogamy as a lifelong institution was one that he deeply valued.

“Christianity raised the union of the sexes to a sublime position by making woman socially the equal of man and by elevating the bond of love to a moral and religious institution.” It was not despite believing this, but because of it, that Krafft-Ebing, by the end of his career, had come to believe that sodomy should be decriminalised. Homosexuals, he ringingly declared, might be no less familiar with “the noblest inspirations of the heart” than any married couple. Huge numbers of them, inspired by his researchs, duly wrote to him, sharing their most intimate yearnings and secrets. It was on the basis of this correspondence that Krafft-Ebing was able to arrive at a paradoxical conclusion. The sexual practice condemned by the Church as “sodomy” was perfectly compatible with the ideal that he saw as Christianity’s great contribution to civilisation: lifelong monogamy. Homosexuality, as defined by the first scientist ever to attempt a detailed categorisation of it, constituted the seamless union of Christian sin with Christian love.

In cool and dispassionate language, Krafft-Ebing served to put the seal on a revolution in the dimensions of the erotic without parallel in history. Paul, by twinning men who slept with men and women who slept with women, had set in train a recalibration of the sexual order that now, in an age of science, attained its apotheosis.

But “homosexuality” was not the only medical-sounding compound of Greek and Latin to which Psychopathia Sexualis introduced the world. There was a second as well: “heterosexuality”. All the other categories of sexual behaviour that Krafft-Ebing had identified — sadism, masochism, fetishistic obsessions with silk, or mourning ribbons, or gloves — were mere variations of the one great and fundamental divide: that which existed between heterosexual and homosexual desire. Categories which had taken almost two millennia to evolve were now impregnably defined. Soon enough, people came to forget that they had ever not been there.

All of which, for the Churches today, presents an agonising dilemma. Should homosexuality be condemned as sodomy or praised as love? Should same-sex marriage be slated as an abomination against God’s creation or cherished as a sacrament? Should an entire conceptualisation of sexual behaviour, unyoked as it has been from the theology that gave it birth, be repudiated by Christians as a bastard mutation or embraced as their own?

None of these questions is easily answered. Among those who take them seriously, they have ensured endless and pained debate. Among those who do not, they have provided confirmation that popes and pastors are not merely irrelevant but malign. Certainly, seen in the broad perspective of Christianity’s history, there is nothing paradoxical about the legal blessing given by so many Christian countries to an innovation that has put churches painfully on the spot. Nor does it seem very likely that there will be same-sex marriages in Qom any time soon.


Tom Holland is a writer, popular historian and cricketer. He is not an actor. His most recent book is PAX

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Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

At the time I was in favour of civil partnerships.
I was tolerant, hip and visionary.
Today, I’m still in favour of civil partnerships and I’m a reprehensible bigot.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

I would be in favour now of rescinding every last piece of such legislation, “civil” or otherwise. Problem is, even the non-perverted are pretty far gone, we can’t exactly say to homosexuals: “See, be like us moral, sane heterosexuals, or at least keep it decent in public.” Dark times.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

What is your view on rape?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

You are well off-target there. No-one is calling for the abolition of civil partnerships. They were extended in 2019, very logically, to opposite sex couples, as they should have been all along.

I have a civil partnership with my (same-sex) partner out of choice, when marriage was available. Despite Tom Holland’s always interesting views, marriage in the West had never been until modern times a remotely equal relationship. Many couples, both gay and straight, therefore do not wish to be associated with the baggage of that institution. One which remember allowed the rape of the wife by the husband, (or more accurately that such an act could not exist), as well as denying her own property and any agency in a host of financial and legal matters.

Eventually a successful court case was launched by a heterosexual couple which in its turn finally led to the change in the law on civil partnership.

jon Flanagan
jon Flanagan
2 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

Loving the by line. Though remember Sidney not to move the gangplank, you might want to get back on board. Mr Falco, who I did not ask to sit at this table….

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

As a traditional Jew I hesitate to comment on what seems to me to be a serious internal debate within the Christian community.
From a Jewish perspective though, the article is profoundly ignorant.
The term “Sodomy” is usually understood to come from the biblical city of Sedom or Sodom, which is very close to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea in Southern Israel. That city was destroyed – in spite of the pleas of Abraham to save it if there were a minimum of 10 decent people – because the people were considered very wicked, and one of their perversions was – according to all traditional Jewish commentators going back to talmudic times 2000 years ago – a very aggressive homosexuality.
Genuine loving relationships between people of the same sex is very much accepted in the Jewish Tenach or Bible, it is same-sex sex especially between men that is not accepted, and the widely understood main reason for that is because the most fundamental Jewish principle other than belief in God is the continuation of human life through having children, which until very recently in human history could only be achieved by a male sperm fertilizing a female egg through sexual contact, even if nowadays there are slightly different ways of achieving the same goal. Homosexuality as in same-sex sex – not just two people loving each other – by definition prevents or interferes with that if it is a ‘permanent’ state, not the occasional indulgences as described in Rome, Greece, or other past civilizations.
The Jewish Bible or Tenach most definitely gives examples of very loving relationships between two people of the same sex, but not sexual relations except to prohibit those.
Same-sex marriage was never even contemplated in Jewish tradition, whatever today’s North American reform movement may practice, there are references in the commentaries of perhaps the greatest ever Jewish scholar and law decisor Rambam or Maimonides ridiculing same-sex marriages in certain countries, and what even many traditional Jews don’t know is that 2000 years ago in the talmud there is an explicit reference to early pagan behaviour, and the talmud teacher Abbaye is quoted as saying that even considering all unacceptable pagan behaviours there were 3 things they did not indulge in – one of which was same-sex marriage.
So those who think same-sex marriage is such a great advance of tolerant modern liberal society might just for a moment ponder that, that it is a behaviour that even early pagans rejected.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

Homosexuality as in same-sex sex … by definition prevents or interferes with that [having children] if it is a ‘permanent’ state.
But only if it is truly ‘permanent’ or exclusive. Gay men and lesbians have found ways of having children throughout history.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

that is the problem with labelling people as if there exist such fixed states – which is scientifically incorrect – and it is more correct to talk of sexual preference, which in many people can vary according to time and circumstance in a person’s life, even if in a smaller group of people it appears to them that their preference is fixed and always has been so. I emphasize ‘appears to them’.

Alex S
Alex S
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

which in many people can vary according to time and circumstance in a person’s life, even if in a smaller group of people it appears to them that their preference is fixed and always has been so. I emphasize ‘appears to them’.

Does it only appear so to homosexuals, or do you also believe that heterosexual are subject to this delusion?

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Yes, they generally had children because they were married to the opposite sex and dallied on the side.
The modern fad of buying an IVF baby will not end well because the child’s rights are not just denied, they are abused, and artificial conception has its own mental, physical and spiritual problems, even if society likes to ignore them.

Daniel Shaw
Daniel Shaw
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Hi Anthea. Can you please elaborate on your last paragraph please. I’m interested in your rationale especially regards to physical and spiritual problems. Thanks.

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

What’s even more impressive is the remarkable consistency of teaching on this subject from ancient Judaism to Christianity

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

And nowhere else. Why are Jews and Christians so obsessed with sex?

Antonino Ioviero
Antonino Ioviero
3 years ago

Maybe because that’s how babies are created?

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

Joseph, Christianity is Jewish!

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

Why is there no thou shalt not in the Ten Commandments re rape?

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
3 years ago

If you believe in god that is a question for him, if you do not believe, or perhaps consider the possibility but choose not to worship (despite the modern practice of elevating egotistical drama queens, they are rarely models of morality) it is moot.

Antonino Ioviero
Antonino Ioviero
3 years ago

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

There are many things that aren’t in the Ten Commandments but are elaborated elsewhere in Jewish and other religious texts. The Ten Commandments are but a basic outline, for us Jews they are the fundamental constitution of the Jewish People, with the first 5 relating to our understanding of the place of God in our lives, and the second 5 being the simplest absolutes for a civil society.
Serious students of the major religions then go to other texts for the details.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
3 years ago

The commandments talk elsewhere about coveting. That’s basically entertaining the notion that “I can take anything I want” wouldn’t that include rape & much more?

K Sheedy
K Sheedy
3 years ago

Oh but there is. Coveting another mans property, cows, gold, wives, it’s always frowned upon. (btw this is sarcasm.)

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

I would hesitate to call Tom Holland ignorant, and he elsewhere makes the point that Judaism and Christianity are closely related. The latter developed to a major degree from the former, but they diverged on crucial theological (the divinity of Christ obviously) and some social aspects.

It is a bit different to see exactly what your point is: I see absolutely no evidence that Orthodox Jews today let alone hundreds of years ago are in general remotely tolerant of same sex relationships, with or without sex. We know from the case of Spinoza and many other cases just how ‘intolerant’ (as modern Westerners would put it) medieval and early modern Jewish authorities were to social deviation. This was little different from the extreme social conservatism of the Roman, Orthodox and Reformed Churches in the Christian world

Strong asexual friendships that overrode the traditional emphasis on marriage and procreation would be considered very socially disruptive, despite the story of David and Jonathan.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andrew Fisher
Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I don’t see why a strong loving relationship between two people of the same sex “over-rides” marriage or procreation, to use your example, King David was quite randy even into old age, and even into fathering different children by different wives to the extent that there were fights and rebellions as to who would succeed him, and there was the story of Amnon and Tamar, two of his children by different wives, i.e half-brother and sister, and Amnon became infatuated with Tamar, seduced her and then dumped her with the words Bill Clinton made famous “that woman”, neither came to a happy end, Tamar committed suicide and Amnon was killed in a revenge killing.

Amy Malek
Amy Malek
2 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

Ezekiel 16:49
“Now this was the sin of your Sister Sodom:
She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned, they did not help the poor and needy.”
At least that is what my Bible reads.
Recovering Southern Baptist here.
If those words were taken seriously, there would be many cities worldwide needing to do an about face.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

Joseph, the Hebrew Scriptures are an important part of Christian belief because the relationship between mankind and God, between individual humans and the reasons we live in such a broken world are spelled out there. Additionally, the promise of a messiah is given to Abraham and often mentioned; Isaiah 53 is a clear example.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 years ago

Don‘t understand why homosexual partners need the blessing of the Catholic Church. A lot of other Christian churches already have blessings or even weddings. The Catholic Church is like a club, you are welcome if you join, but the rules, although moderately changing over the centuries, stay the same. Reassuring and respected by their flock. If you don‘t like them leave. Same goes for abortion. Mostly non-Catholic or people who already abandoned the Church are its fiercest critic.
The Catholic Church sees marriage as a sacrament to create life and protect life.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

“Don‘t understand why homosexual partners need the blessing of the Catholic Church.”
Spite Stephanie. Pure, raging, spite.
I’m with you on this however, if you don’t like Church teaching, you can always leave.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Yea, I think they want to force the Catholic Church to accept them through church sanctions such as marriage. So far they haven’t been able to. And then why would you want to be a catholic if you don’t believe in the teaching of that church?
That’s why it always seems so odd that people like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi who publicly support abortion, on demand no less, also insist they are Catholics. They really aren’t.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago

Maybe the Catholics who support abortion do believe that salvation is only for Catholics.
It’s a sort of insurance belief.

Last edited 3 years ago by Judy Johnson
Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

and in Israel there have always been Jewish leaders who identify themselves as firmly Jewish while not observing many of the principles of religious Judaism.
Politicians are politicians, not to be believed on most matters, not reliable, to principled, in simple English the nicest term. most polite term perhaps, is to call them lapsed Catholics, or Christians, or Jews, or Moslems.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

I remember being in Israel briefly as a tourist in 1996. Our tour guide said only about 30% of the population practiced Judaism. I’m guessing it will be less than that now. People often mistake modern Israel as a Jewish State, in the religious sense. It’s clearly not.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Judaism is not the state religion of Israel in the way that catholicism was for most of Europe for generations, or Islam is for many Arab countries.
judaism is the religion practised to a greater or lesser extent by the majority of Israel’s Jewish inhabitants, but unlike most of its neighbours freedom of religion is preserved very strongly in Israel and so there are many churches and mosques.
Given the enormous growth of the very religious community in Israel with very large – 10+ children – families, and the well-recognized fact that even the majority of not particularly religious Israeli Jews still observe in some way the main festivals, the attachment to Judaism in Israel in fact is very much stronger than ever, and growing. There is indeed secular opposition, particularly in the big city Tel Aviv, but the overwhelming majority of Israelis are happy with being Jewish, and can practise more or less according to their own personal level of comfort. There is zero coercion in the country per se, but like anywhere else there may be individual, family, and community coercion on a personal level.

ed adams
ed adams
3 years ago

90% of American Catholics support contraceptives. Despite the Church’s teaching against it.
Does that mean that 90% of American Catholics aren’t real Catholics?
53% are pro-choice and more than 60% support same-sex marriage. Are all of those not real Catholics?
If you go on with your purity cancel culture as you seem to be doing, there aren’t going to be very many “real” Catholics left.

Geoff H
Geoff H
3 years ago

I think that comes under:
‘ …holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.’ Amplified Bible

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago

This comment is beyond dumb

Chris Scott
Chris Scott
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Or, one could always set up your own church as people have been doing for ages and adjust the scriptures as necessary like most churches have done. You could even ‘discover’ new scriptures buried long ago in Kemptown, Brighton like Jose Smith of the Mormons fame did one day in the USofA. You could even have a Nicaea moment down the local where doctrine is discussed and codified.

ed adams
ed adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

90% of Catholics approve of contraceptives, despite the teaching of the Church.
Should they all leave?
Won’t be many Catholics in the pews.
Which would be fine by me.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

Except a huge proportion of members don’t abide by the rules on contraception. So then, it becomes a debate about which members are allowed to break the rules and which aren’t.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

If members of the Church break the Church’s law, it is a sin. It is like people breaking government laws, they are fined or go to prison. If you break the Church‘s law, you are faced with your conscience and internal struggle. The Church’ laws are like a rail, which guides and supports us. Most of them are eternal, not being thrown over by the whims of some Catholics.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
3 years ago

They don’t need it, and I’m sure most of us who are don’t care. But I grew up in the Church of England (who care more about music than god, thank god!), so what do I know….

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

I just don’t see the force of what Tom Holland is trying to say. If you actually read what St. Paul is saying in Romans1.24-27 he is in no way putting a positive slant on homosexual activity. He is not defining it, he is condemning it as an illustration of the disorder brought to relationships when humanity turns its back on God.
I don’t think we will ever understand the traditional view of sexual ethics held by the 3 major monotheistic faiths until we realise it flows from a theocentric base and not a human centric base. This is very counter-cultural but it’s validity remains. The fundamental question is what is God’s will and purpose for sex .He created this powerful and pleasurable drive. It therefore follows that He would guide His creatures into the way of its most positive and fulfilling use, namely within the context of a loving and committed union of a man and woman. Hence the insistence within Christianity, Judaism and Islam that the best and proper use of the experience of sex is within the orbit of a loving, faithful,”for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health” heterosexual marriage.
For the Christian living this way is not only a matter of following the Creator’s excellent advice as it were, but also a matter of expressing loving and joyful obedience to the Creator. He wants every marriage to be a reflection of the love and commitment between His Son and His Church, and so in loving obedience to God Christian couples seek to live up to that with the help of His Grace.
Traditional sexual ethics based on the will and purpose of God are a challenge to all, straight and gay, married and unmarried but there are also powerful spiritual resources available from Him enabling restraint, virtue, faithfulness and love in relationships, and joyful obedience to God.

Last edited 3 years ago by Michael Whittock
Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago

an excellent summary – I believe – of a traditional Christian religious position

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

Actually, it is the orthodox position of all 3 Abrahamaic religions.
The fact that only the Christian West has embraced gay marriage underines the author’s case since it implies not a root in Christianity, but a root in the Enlightenment, the great divorce of Western philosophy from its Judeo-Christian theological roots.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago

A root in Christianity and watering by the spring rains of the enlightenment.

Colin Reeves
Colin Reeves
3 years ago

Yes. Tom Holland completely overlooks the Old Testament; e.g. Lev.18, where the homosexual act is described as an abomination, and one of the reasons why the Canaanites were to be destroyed. Paul (drawing on the Greek translation of the OT) did come up with a new word for those who “lie with a man as with a woman”– arsenokoitai.
And yes, too – arsenokoital ‘marriage’ should be traced back to the so-called Enlightenment (a name which expresses the opposite of what that movement really entailed). No spring rain (see infra), but a violent flash flood whose effects are still with us.

ed adams
ed adams
3 years ago

The problem is that “gods” are productions of the human mind. So it’s human-centric all the way down. The holy books merely reflect the values and the limitations of the men who wrote them.
When civilizations evolve beyond the understanding of the humans who created the holy books, then the holy books become irrelevant, or worse destructive.
That’s what is happening now as Western civilization passes into its post-Christian phase. Those 2000 year old documents have lost much of their relevance. Especially their understanding of human sexuality is too far from reality to make them credible sources of advice for human thought and behavior.

Geoff H
Geoff H
3 years ago

Quite so. But people don’t want to do what God wants, they want to do what they want. So they ‘accumulate teachers to have their ears tickled’; religious leaders who tell their flock exactly what they want to hear, and such leaders in turn, have bestowed upon them the accolades of ‘Progressive, enlightened, forward thinking’ and so forth, and that tickles their ears.
The whole thing is dishonest. Those who want to lead a Godless life still want God’s blessing on it. Why? Is it because in their hearts they know it is contrary to God’s will?
If a person wants to lead a debauched, Godless life, fine go and do it, but stop shoving it in peoples faces and looking to have it sanctified by some religion and ‘blessed’, as if that will make it alright. God is pretty clear on things, ‘Do not be deceived: God is not to be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return.’

Last edited 3 years ago by Geoff H
Nate D.
Nate D.
3 years ago

Perhaps these Christian societies saw homosexuals asking for marriage much like the father that gave the prodigal his inheritance. In that, he didn’t agree with him, but gave him the freedom to loose himself from the family’s morality to pursue his own.
Or it could be, that these societies, by the time they’ve embraced homosexuality are actually post-Christian.
The Bible is all too clear on the issue. While Christ never mentions homosexuality (or a whole slew of other sins), when discussing marriage he quotes Genesis, saying that a man shall cling to his wife and become one with her. As long as the Bible is central to the Christian faith, greater Christendom will never embrace homosexuality as moral. Some smaller denominations might do so, but they will either shrink and disappear or morph into something non-Christian. More than likely, the amount of derision and scorn heaped upon Christians for its antiquated sexual mores will result in a) nominal “Christians” abandoning the faith (as we’re already seeing); and b) a more resolved, yet smaller Christian community that is willing to endure that persecution in order to maintain the integrity of their faith (as we’ve seen throughout history).
Orthodox Christians honestly believe that celebrating any sex that happens outside the confines of heterosexual covenant marriage is corrosive to a society; that a society embraces such behaviors at its own doom. That the acceptance of these behaviors portends general unhappiness, sexual confusion and brokenness, familial breakdown, anxiety, and moral decline within society.

Last edited 3 years ago by Nate D.
Matt R
Matt R
3 years ago
Reply to  Nate D.

Your comments are a textbook display of the Dunning-Kruger effecting action, and your blatant condemnation of Homosexuality is evidence that you suffer from ATP.
The Bible is not “all-too clear on the issue”, and that line from Genesis “saying that a man shall cling to his wife and become one with her.”, is just you splitting hairs and making a mountain out of a molehill. Being Gay is not a sin, and you cannot keep on lying to yourself.
At the core of Christianity, you have to have accepted Jesus into your heart and made a commitment to live for him. There is no evidence whatsoever that God wants all men to get hitched to a woman, and you have no right to talk about yourself as if your some perfect ambassador for “greater Christendom” by spouting homophobia left, right and centre.
Finally, on your frankly bullshit assessment of how “acceptance of these behaviours portends general unhappiness, sexual confusion and brokenness, familial breakdown, anxiety, and moral decline within society.” Find me some hard evidence to back up that point, or just go home and rethink your approach to Godliness. You’re a judgemental hypocrite, and you have no right to tell Christians who are perfectly committed to their faith that they’re lesser for not conforming to an idea that they need to marry someone they’re not attracted to.

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt R

The evidence of moral decline is pervasive. It’s correlation with rejection of God clear. Causation can debated but a reasonable conclusion can be made.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Nate D.

Matthew is all too clear on justice and mercy for the poor. Read Matthew 25:31-46 and see what you have to do to get to heaven.

Are you doing it …or are you a goat?

Colin Reeves
Colin Reeves
3 years ago
Reply to  Nate D.

Amen, brother! The Bible is very clear. Sadly, Matt R (infra) does not understand what being a Christian entails. Jesus requires faith in Him and repentance of (turning from) sin. And he made clear that even the desire to commit a sinful act is also sinful. Happily, Paul says of the arsenokoitai he addresses in 1Cor 6 that “you used to be like that.” It is possible for them to be changed by the Holy Spirit, just as it is for the adulterers, thieves, drunkards, etc whom he also mentions. And “respectable” sinners like me, whose rebellion against God takes other forms.

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Reeves

John 8:10-11

10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Emphasis- leave your life of sin. Reconciliation is by faith and repentance. All will fall short but life gets better as we grow in our relationship with Christ.

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Brigham

Authorised Version: John 8: 10-12
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Now comes the trans movement, as destabilizing a force to gays as there has ever been. In decades past, young males and tomboys grew up and found their own path. Today, they are subject to medical experimentation that includes surgical intervention. And it’s not Christianity or any other mainstream religion doing it.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
3 years ago

Humans are more likely to be bisexual and no doubt, same-sex relations have always been around to some minor degree. It is only in this age that they have been elevated to fad if not cult status.
It is irrelevant what people choose to do in the bedroom but, encouraging the concept that being homosexual is no different to being heterosexual is delusional. Males and females are designed for sexual intercourse or humanity would not survive. Most males are attracted to females and vice-versa and that should be encouraged.
What other games humans might choose to play should be kept generally private without the flaunting we see today and the delusion that it doesn’t matter how one gets their sexual kicks. It does matter.
However problematic and dysfunctional heterosexual relationships might be, the difficulties increase, not diminish, in same-sex relationships because of the inherent distortions. Some people can be more than content in a same-sex relationship but many cannot. More people find more satisfaction in a male/female relationship than same-sex relationships and cultures.
It is ironic that heterosexuals, particularly males, are condemned for great age disparities in relationships and yet this factor is common in homosexual cultures, whether male or female. And same-sex ‘marriages’ break up at an even faster rate and also have high levels of violence.
Homosexuality can and should be socially accepted,but there is no need for it to be promoted. Life is hard enough without telling children it doesn’t matter if they are gay. It does matter and for some it matters very much.

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
3 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

I very much agree with your final paragraph. As a recent Bishop of Oxford noted, same-sex attraction can be seen as an evolutionary spin-off and part of the freedom God has allowed His creation; as such, it should be compassionately accepted by Christians, but not actively promoted. Heterosexual sexual relationships are clearly the God-given norm; homosexual sexual relationships are essentially dysfunctional in biological terms.

jandhhorgan
jandhhorgan
3 years ago

Holland is half right. Permission for homosexual marriage has developed first in Christian countries, though not just Protestant like The Netherlands. It is also legal in a number of historically Roman Catholic countries. Indeed Krafft-Ebing was active in the Habsburg Empire. I suspect the Romantic movement, parasitic as it was on Christian ideals of beauty and fulfillment, is a more likely cause.
But the statistics on lifelong monogamy in heterosexual marriage and homosexual marriage stack up how, precisely? And this is before we get into discussions of the role of marriage in connection with bearing and raising children.

Last edited 3 years ago by jandhhorgan
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

Unnecessarily vulgar even for April Fool’s Day or are you attempting to be Catullus?

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago

How is it vulgar when you know of Catullus? Partake, dude, partake! Maybe you are bi…

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago

Biology dictates that procreation of the species requires a mother and a father. Christians choose, to make a virtue of a necessity.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Procreation of the species hardly requires everyone to be a mother or a father. Biology dictates that many can be neither due to infertility, though modern techniques are reducing their numbers.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Perkins
J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Shortly, they will have removed their DNA from our gene pool. In the long run, they’re utterly irrelevant to our species?

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Alan Turing and Sappho, among millions of others, utterly irrelevant?
And legalisation and acceptance of homosexuals probably makes it more likely their DNA will remain a part of the human gene pool.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Perkins
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

In terms of species procreation, yes. Despite his technological genius, genetically, Turing is irrrelevant becuase he had no children.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago

You are irrelevant because you are a dumbkopf.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Appears to be organized effort going on to deny thumbs ups …

Last edited 3 years ago by Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Oh so you are a biology major now? What about evolution?

patroklus
patroklus
3 years ago

Some of us gays were a bit suspicious of same-sex marriage because it seemed like a conservative move to make us ‘safe’ and dull like hetero couples. Sanitised, monogamous, de-fanged. This article suggests we were not totally wide of the mark.
Civil partnerships were welcome for those of us in long-term relationships for the unromantic reason that they put us on an equal legal footing. Before then, inheritance rules and ‘next of kin’ decisions on medical interventions ruined many lives. Those of us old enough to remember, and still alive, recall the cruelty of families cutting off their dead son’s partner during the AIDS plague years. “Leave the home and the life you built together. And you’re not welcome at the funeral” was too often the message.
But “marriage”? Not exactly the ticket for self-styled sexual radicals and critics of the patriarchy.
The Christian response to same-sex marriage has, largely, been as unpleasant and unchristian as we have come to expect. And, as some of the delightful commentators here have suggested, many of us poofs and lezzers have left our respective churches behind. We know when we are not wanted.
We rejoice in the knowledge though that any place where men are on their knees is a place of worship.
Happy Easter!

Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  patroklus

My partner died (alas by his own hand) many years ago but you are right to point out how things were. I went to the funeral – very beautiful and deeply upsetting – but I was merely part of the congregation, hidden behind a pillar. To be fair I had no wish to embarrass his parents who had never met me nor even knew their only son was a ‘poof’, and I felt had enough to contend with at their age. But his sister, whom I did know fairly well and knew everything, was kind and remained a friend till she died of cancer. Had he lived would we have married ? No we would not. We would not have done so because we were both Christians and would not have been able to reconcile this state with the Church. We would have entered into a Civil Partnership so all the problems you mention such as inheritance, ‘next of kin’ etc, etc, etc would have been addressed. I have long believed that Cameron should have ‘handed back’ marriage to the Church (and other religions) and all civil ceremonies should have been Civil Partnerships.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

a very dignified response

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Yorks

So sorry for your loss Andy. Interestingly in Russia you cannot legally marry in a church. The state regulates all marriages & they must take place in a government facility. Christians usually hold a church or family celebration afterwards. Of course Russia is hardly a beacon of hope for members of the gay community

Simon Cooper
Simon Cooper
3 years ago

Only someone who is prepared to disregard the teaching of the Bible, old and new testament could come to the conclusion that there is a dilemma about whether this is right or wrong in Christianity. The dilemma is whether to leave Bible on the side in order to accept sin in the church so to achieve the dubious ‘success’ of remaining ‘relevant’ to a society that has lost its moral compass or to get more bums on seats for the sake of it. Neither is the historical aim nor successful outworking of the Gospel.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Cooper

Have you discarded Matthew 25:31-46? Give it a read to see if you are eligible for heaven…

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I agree. I doubt many churches are looking to psychiatrists for guidance on the subject.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago

Most churches don’t seem to be looking for guidance from the Bible either.

clements.jb
clements.jb
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

But see Philip Jenkins, The New Faces of Christianity : Believing the Bible in the Global South.

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago

I admire Tom Holland greatly as a person and a scholar and teacher, and indeed his ongoing search, but on this topic I’m afraid, we must part company. Where he no doubt sees ‘echoes’ or ‘ripples’ of the Christian roots of the West (pace Dominion) in same-sex ‘marriage’, many others, myself included, see the tree pulling away from it’s roots. I presume this piece has been provoked by the pope’s recent reiteration of the teaching of the church on the topic vis-a-vis her understanding of marriage as a sacrament (a visible sign of an invisible reality), the timing of which btw has a lot to do with concerns in Rome at the moment over current events within the church in Germany. Sigh!

Sodomy, the act and it’s consequences, incidentally, comes from the Old Testament. I speak here as a Catholic btw, but what the church has always condemned is sodomy, the act, in as much as it is one act amongst others that are immoral by virtue of the fact that they occur outside sacramental marriage. As far as the church is concerned there is no such thing as ‘gay people’, just people, their virtues and their sins. Is this difficult teaching? Yep! Does the church know this? Yep! Does that mean it should/will change? Nope! It is challenging teaching, where we ALL fall (v. often) in a myriad of different ways. Paul suggests that this is to keep us humble, ‘thorn in the flesh’. But, it is important teaching. A look again at the significance of marriage is the key: unity, creation, salvation. It is (a human, imperfect) ‘icon’ of the Divine. It’s transgression ergo is idolatry. I have always found that the clearest scriptural passage on the significance all these teachings is Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). It’s all there: woman and man, Jew and gentile, the covenant with Israel, the right way to worship God, salvation, baptism, prophethood, marriage, monogamy, and at the end the disciples return and the children appear. Beautiful and enlightening.

Btw, it is important to point out that the ‘acceptance’ of this in the West is relatively recent, and if one is being honest has been ‘achieved’ by a great deal of judicial activism, media saturation, all under threat of politically-correct ‘cancellation’. Hardly evidence of ringing endorsement.

There are quite a few saints too who had experience of same-sex attraction. Ambrose of Milan and Anselm of Canterbury, I think.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

One of the things I love about Catholic theology is that it always allows for redemption. A person is never just their sins (thank the Lord!) Saying “he’s gay” is so dismissive. Making someone’s sexual behaviors the feature that defines their entire existence is profoundly unChristian.

People struggle with a variety of sins. Sexual sins (whether adultary, pornography, homosexuality, or others) are uniquely difficult they touch a deep part of our purpose as humans: procreation and the creation of new life.

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago

True, people are so much more than their sins. Also, the ‘genius’ of Catholicism (if one may be so bold!) for me has always been it’s refusal to ‘lower the bar’ (doctrinally) while pastorally ‘reaching-out’ to what in is in practice a lot less, often, a hell of a lot less. Happy and holy Easter.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Matthew25:31-46. Are you going to heaven or not?

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago

I agree with you wholeheartedly friend, however the passage you’re highlighting is dealing with a different sin than the one under discussion here (???)

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago

People struggle with sins of omission … like failing to heed what Jesus directly said in Matthew 25:31-46 about justice for the poor. Are you a goat?

As far as procreation and creation of new life, roaches do that too.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

again, I think this is a good presentation of a traditional authentic Christian position that in principle – excluding Jesus – we Jews agree with,

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

Thank you brother. Remember us Christians in your prayers. A happy and holy Passover to you.

ralph bell
ralph bell
3 years ago

Thoroghly enjoyable artlcle on the historic influences of the Churches position origins relative to society and the cultural changes in sexual behaviour back in Roman times.
I have long thought the Christian Churches’ leadership needs to change their position, but who will have the courage?

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  ralph bell

Pope Francis.

Gorgia Verolini-Wright
Gorgia Verolini-Wright
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Not wholly.

Daniel Goldstein
Daniel Goldstein
3 years ago
Reply to  ralph bell

The problem with religion is that it doesn’t change, unlike political parties. Religions don’t move with the times. This is their downfall.

Greg Greg
Greg Greg
3 years ago

In the Christian understanding, sex is a sacrament, a visible expression of an invisible, transcendent reality, namely the Trinity. In other words, the heterosexual marriage bed is the frame within which the (physical and covenental) unity and (the bodily) diversity of the Trinity is made, beautifully, visible. Sexual unity that is not comprised of bodily diversity (ie between same sex partners) is a distortion of the Trinity and as such, no longer qualified as a sacrament. That is why the church (that is the orthodox Catholic, Protestant and Eastern church) must always defend the sacrament of marriage from those who, perhaps with the best of intentions, would corrupt it. Let Caesar grant civic unions, if he wishes. However, Caesar has no jurisdiction over the sacrament of marriage. That is a trust given to the church. In doing so, the church also renders unto Caesar a reminder that he simultaneously resents and needs: Namely, that his sphere of sovereignty is limited precisely because Christ, not Caesar, is Lord.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
3 years ago

John – you explain the absurdity of this article in a nutshell: what Romans did to their slaves (in addition to keeping them as slaves) is irrelevant to God revealed in Christ and maintained by the Church , and what a German thinker in the 19th century thought about same-sex-sex (whether he was a Catholic or not) also makes for an obscure “argument” at best. According to Holland, Paul (almost in a fit of pique) invented the morality about sex that had been illustrated by the destruction of Sodom centuries before.

I read “Dominion” with relish, especially the history of Irenaeus, Anselm etc. However, Holland seems to think (in this article and at the end of the book) that Christianity has only to do with Tolerance of all behavior, and, in só doing, justifies the spirit if Wokeness, is idiotic. But, we take the good with the bad.

Alan Hawkes
Alan Hawkes
3 years ago

I’m with Mrs Patrick Campbell, “So long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.” (“them” referring to same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.)

K Sheedy
K Sheedy
3 years ago

If you make the ‘leap of faith’ and believe in any god, they you are also entitled to also (irrationally) believe whatever you like about heterosexual and homosexual sex, love, and marriage. Just don’t require anyone else to agree with you or follow your adopted rules. Tolerate everything except intolerance.
And the Christians didn’t define homosexuality (or heterosexuality) that stuff predates all of the monotheistic cults.

Andrew McGee
Andrew McGee
3 years ago

It’s an interesting article, but it just illustrates what absurd philosophical and moral contortions xtians have got themselves into. I suppose this is not the subject on which to suggest that they are likely to disappaear up their own….
But to those of us who are not tied down to and by religious belief, it all looks very eay. Sexual conduct is a matter between consenting partners, and there is little more to be said.

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McGee

The problem is St Paul. Jesus had nothing to say on the subject at all. In fact the only thing I can find that he said about sex was about desire and fidelity. I prefer to give primacy to what Christ said or didn’t say. His message is one of love and sacrifice. If two people of the same sex love each other enough to commit to a life together, I presume to the exclusion of sexual experience with anyone else, then what could possibly be UnChristian about that? Marriages/CPs between several of my gay friends have now outlasted most of the straight marriages I know. Make what you will of that.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

What Christians make of that is, it’s not a marriage; it is whatever it is.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Nonsense. Homosexual ‘marriages’ are very unstable, far more than normal people’s – interestingly the most unstable (and violent, astonishingly) are lesbian marriages. And as for Jesus, well, he didn’t condemn bestiality or incest as such, what of it?

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

50% Herero divorce rate is stable? And highest online porn use in the Christian South?

Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

I’ve heard this argument before. First of all, the problem with this “silence equals support” assertion is that it can be applied to a multitude of issues. Jesus never spoke specifically about child molestation or abortion either. Does that mean he condoned those actions? Secondly, the case can be made that Jesus DID say something, specifically, about homosexuality. In Matthew 15:19, when Jesus is describing the condition of mankind’s heart, and that all sin comes from a sinful heart, he lists the following: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. (ESV)” There is little doubt that a first-century Jewish audience would have understood “sexual immorality” to include homosexuality.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Anderson

Check out Matthew 25:31-46. You aren’t headed for heaven, pal.

Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson
3 years ago

I’m well aware of Matthew 25, thanks. However, Matthew 25 speaks to how we love one another. Suggesting that homosexual acts are outside God’s plan (and therefore Jesus’) has no bearing on how we love those who suffer from gender dysphoria. Admittedly, the church has, historically, done a horrific job of that, and it’s one that I would like to see change. That said, it’s possible to love someone and show them them grace without sacrificing the veracity of Scripture. We can certainly debate what Scripture does and does not say about homosexual acts, but that’s not what I was responding to in my initial post. I was, specifically, responding to the assertion that since Jesus himeself never condemed homosexual acts, he must have condoned them, which is a position that I believe is wholly unsupported in Scripture.

Amy Malek
Amy Malek
2 years ago
Reply to  Gary Anderson

But Jesus *did * condemn divorce and remarriage (save but for the cause of adultery).
He even says that those who remarry without this exception live in continued adultery with their new spouse.
(Matthew 19:9)
I’m not seeing the Christian Church enforcing lifelong celibacy on many heterosexual divorced folks as gay Christians would be required to follow.
Why is that?

Last edited 2 years ago by Amy Malek
Andy Yorks
Andy Yorks
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Anderson

The Authorised Version.
Mathew 15:19
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:” 

Spiro Spero
Spiro Spero
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Ah! The old Paul chestnut!

‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast 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 separate.’ (Matt. 19: 4-6)

Covers a lot that, an unambiguously.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Spiro Spero

Check out Matthew 25:31-46. You aren’t headed for heaven, my friend.

Geoff H
Geoff H
3 years ago

Galatians 6:7Do not be deceived: God is not to be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return. 8The one who sows to please his flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; but the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Malachi 3:6“Because I, the LORD, do not change, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed. 7Yet from the days of your fathers, you have turned away from My statutes and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Hosts.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

“If two people of the same sex love each other enough to commit to a life together, I presume to the exclusion of sexual experience with anyone else, then what could possibly be UnChristian about that?”
Only someone steeped in Enlightenment liberal philosophy could make such a statement.

Abrahamaic philosophy teaches that human existence has a purpose, and since sexual behavior’s purpose is the creation of a new human, it is uniquely tied to an understanding of Man being made in the image of God. In short, using what God has designated for the sacred creation of new life for something as pedestrian as fleeting human pleasure profoundly violates the orthodox Judeo/Christian/Islamic view of the world. It matters not whether it’s gay sex, adultery, or pornography; what matters is the violation of the telos of this part of human nature.

That’s why “two people loving each other” isn’t enough. Because it’s not just about those 2 people; it’s about the nature of Man.

Last edited 3 years ago by Brian Villanueva
Matt R
Matt R
3 years ago

That comment of yours is not intelligent at all, Brian, it’s willful ignorance at work.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt R

Ad-hominem doesn’t work here, Matt. Please explain where my argument is wrong.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago

Check out Matthew 25:31-46. You aren’t headed for heaven,oh learned one .

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Paulianity.

Jeremy Cavanagh
Jeremy Cavanagh
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McGee

I don’t understand what what the absurd philosophical and moral contortions Xtians are making? Is this purely a position you hold as an un-Xtian? I’m assuming that by describing these people as Xtians you are an un-Xtain and not using your term ‘Xtian’ as a perjorative term, heaven forbid. That would be labelling people, in this case Xtians, putting them in a position to be perhaps judged, looked down upon, etc. I’m sure you weren’t setting out to do such a thing and that labelling them ‘Xtians’ is a mere convenience and that you are happy to called an un-Xtian in solidarity with those you call ‘Xtians’.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McGee

Xtian? believer in the unknown quantity? That’s you, isn’t it ?

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Check out Matthew 25:31-46. You aren’t headed for heaven, not-a-saint.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McGee

What a perfect embodiment of Enlightenment liberal philosophy: “Sexual conduct is a matter between consenting partners”.

Do you realize is how weird that is historically? All 3 of the worlds monotheistic religions teach that Man is created with design or purpose (in Greek: telos). The short case: God is rational, the Creation reflects God, therefore all parts of the Creation exist for a reason. (That’s greatly abridged but you get the point.) Of all human behaviors, the telos of sexual conduct is the most obvious: the creation of new life.

Orthodox Christians/Jews/Muslims aren’t opposed to homosexuality per-se, but to a cosmology that treats human sexual behavior (and human existence itself) as purposeless — “affecting only the consenting partners.”

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

I’ve been interested and informed by much of what you’ve written today Brian – Thankyou

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago

Thanks Michael. That actually means a lot from someone here, since I often find myself learning from many of my fellow unHerd commenters.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago

For man’s design snd purpose, Check out Matthew 25:31-46. You aren’t headed for heaven, pal.

Peter McKenna
Peter McKenna
3 years ago

I assume this is an April Fool. It is such a weak (and pointless) argument.

ippmar4
ippmar4
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter McKenna

Not pointless but real with all species,Perhaps were still evolving!

parkalot01
parkalot01
3 years ago

I’m confused by this article. Not sure how the author establishes the “how” of how Christianity “created” homosexuality. Prefer another interpretation by the Texan sage Rick Roderick, who intoned that because Christianity exhorts everyone to love everyone and so they do.

Last edited 3 years ago by parkalot01
Jeremy Cavanagh
Jeremy Cavanagh
3 years ago
Reply to  parkalot01

If you read the article, it didn’t.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago

I often read that the abhorrence and outlawing of homosexuality in many African countries is something introduced by Christians.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Believe everything you read?

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

If I did, do you think I’d have begun with ‘I often read that’?
However, there appears to be something to it, with missionaries trying to enforce heterosexual norms, end cross-dressing shamanistic practices, and so on.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Believe this: Check out Matthew 25:31-46. You aren’t headed for heaven, pal.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

Nope. Some tribes were already pretty set against it. Some weren’t of course, but none of them thought that two males or two female could get ‘married’.

Thomas Prentice
Thomas Prentice
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Bisexuality of Indigenous Peoples in the Western Hemisphere was what Christians abhorred most which is why grnocidal killing of them by good white moral Christians was the norm.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

Ooops! Maybe we need not choose at all.
“Krafft-Ebing considered procreation the purpose of sexual desire and that any form of recreational sex was a perversion of the sex drive. “With opportunity for the natural satisfaction of the sexual instinct, every expression of it that does not correspond with the purpose of nature—i.e., propagation,—must be regarded as perverse.”
 Psychopathia Sexualis, 7th ed. translation, pg 56, 12th ed. translation, pg 79

Last edited 3 years ago by Aaron Kevali
Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

In that case, homosexuality should have been eliminated by Evolution long since, but it evidently was not. So it must serve some purpose conducive to survival and reproduction.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Why would that follow? People who can’t have children haven’t been eliminated by evolution.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

not necessarily,

Cuckoo Creations
Cuckoo Creations
1 year ago

Interesting article. Nice
Thanks