Re: RE: Rom 1:26-27
On Wed, 28 Sep 1994, Vincent Broman wrote:
> If I may be permitted to interpret Litwak on "kinds of homosexuals"
> (or at least provide a stereo effect) I would word it this way...
> Neither in Paul, nor anywhere in the OT or NT is any moral distinction
> ever drawn between on the one hand blameworthy homosexual acts performed
> (a) in adultery, (b) for filthy lucre, or (c) as part of idolatrous worship,
> and on the other hand homosexual acts sanctified by their being motivated by
> erotic impulses/feelings/attitudes rooted in the unconscious mind.
If this is in reference to my proposal, I want to say I never said
anything about the "unconscious mind" as having any relevance for Paul or
any Biblical author. But as to "sanctified" as opposed to "unsanctified"
acts, I have already cited the passages I believe indicate distinct
qualifications of homosexual behavior which imply there is and was no
blanket condemnation, at least in the Biblical texts (their lives
might have been another matter).
> I wouldn't recommend a retreat to the "love is all that's needed"
> approach, because a lot of things the modern world thinks of as
> victimless are not what Paul would classify as "love".
> Patronizing prostitutes might be a good example. Paul condemns
> this in 1 Cor 6 not because the prostitute is a victim of exploitation,
> nor because the exchange of money corrupts something beautiful, but rather
> because the christian patron becomes "one flesh" with the prostitute,
> and because he defiles his own body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Paul recognized patronizing prostitutes might not be obviously sinful,
which is why he goes to the trouble of explaining a reason. Instead of
being a violation of one's neighbor, it "eis to idion sOma hamartanei"
(v. 18), sinning against one's own body.
This is Paul's conclusion after like this: a Christian's body is a
bodypart of Christ's (v. 15). Having sex with a prostitute makes a
Christian man one with her (v. 16), because what happens in prostitution
is the same thing that happens in marriage - Paul even cites the Genesis
text Jesus cited to prove the indissolubility of marriage (Matthew
19:5). Needless to say, this doesn't make prostitution look very sinful,
and it is hard to see any further clarification. In fact, he concludes
with a flourish in which he announces to the Christian, 'you are already
a whore!' - v. 20, God has already "bought" you with his money (there is
a pun on _timEs_, "price", which also means "honor"). Perhaps his
argument is that a whore has no business whoremongering.
The bottom line is that Paul did seem to consider prostitution wrong in a
practical sense for Christians, but his logic here is not opposed to the
"law of love of neighbor" which naturally includes "love of self" and
"love of God." More apropos would be seeing here a reflection of the
Jerusalem Council, which aimed to keep peace with Jews by asking Gentiles
to follow a few rules only (Acts 15:29), one of them being _porneia_
(prostitution/adultery), and all of them seeming to refer to idolatrous
practices. Homosexuality is not mentioned. Paul is explicitly said to
have agreed to this negotiation, despite apparent reluctance.
> Does anyone suppose that Paul would, consistent with this expression,
> view unmarried Christian sodomy as a pure expression of love, and
> not as a defiling method of "becoming one flesh"?
Sodomy is a post-Biblical term. Marriage in antiquity was usually not a
matter of "pure expression of love" but more one of property arrangements
and negotiations, as in all traditional societies. It is unlikely
homosexuals would have been expected to involve themselves in those
material concerns which were the basis of ancient marriage, although
same-sex marriages were not exactly unknown. In the running debates
between homosexuals and heterosexuals in antiquity, the homosexuals were
always the ones to say that their way of love, in fact, was the only one
that was a "pure expression of love," Plato's "heavenly love", not the
earthly lust of heterosexuality. (I'm not taking Plato's position, BTW,
just citing it as evidence of ancient attitudes). Last but not least,
even if you think Paul condemned homosexuality, e.g., that _arsenokoitai_
meant all homosexuals, it would not have been subsumed under _porneia_
since Paul clearly distinguishes homosexuals from _pornoi_, who are
men on the prowl for other men's wives, or husbands on the loose.