|Pagan religious faith and gays|
The Christian Right interprets the bible at face value they insist by cherry picking the bible to find clobber verses against gays. Yet, those with a good Christian conscience guided by the Holy Spirit would be troubled by the inconsistency of using these verses alone against gays. If we were to be consistent, then we are also sinners by not following the many more remaining Jewish laws however ritualistic they may be.
The Jewish commandments have 613 laws or Mitzvot. When we accuse gays using a few clobber verses, we should feel guilty for not following the rest of the 600 laws. We don't sacrifice a gentle lamb for our sins, nor released a scapegoat into the wilderness to bear our sins at the St. Andrews Cathedral in Singapore. If we had released a scapegoat in Singapore, it would have likely be killed by traffic! before reaching the Bukit Timah reserves.. What about the many foods that the bible outwardly condemned, yet few would mention it!
The problem with Christianity today is that we have little conscience. Organizations such as Focus on the Family, and Exodus have no qualms on spinning the truth against gays. All is fair play. The Pastor Rony Tan interviewed a Lesbian and then somehow used her testimony as an example about gay men seducing young boys! They don't mind repeating the Christian Right aggenda against gays as if Gospel truth.
The assertions of the Christian Right against gays could not be supported, but yet they peddled it as pseudo science because the annectodal evidence that gays are born as such are beyond a reasonable doubt. As more gays come out of the closet at a younger age in a more open society, the stronger the annectodal evidence becomes across culture, race and religions.
The Christian Right were trying to help "God" because their interpretation of the bible says that homosexuality was a sin so they take it upon themselves to spin stories to support and rationalise their "biblical" position. We try to help God fearing that if we can't blame gays for being the worst sinners, the bible may condemn our own sins. We have to lie to cover a mis-interpretation of the bible, and another lie to cover up a lie. Are we deliberately mis-interpeting the bible out of context? when the historical facts of these pagan religions are no secret!
The bible was never meant to be stand alone. It spoke to a people, and assumes quite rightly that it need not give a detailed account of the pagan religious background of the ancient world. The meaning of the bible is always based on the context and circumstances.
One of the religions that was dominant in ancient times was the worship of the goddess Cybel, the goddess of fertility. Her consort was a handsome young men who dies after castrating himself and is resurrected annually. The worship was a celebration with drums, flutes and cymbals celebrating the return. We are reminded that when Moses went up in the mountain of God, he heard a loud commotion at the Jewish base camp worshiping the idol. Indeed, the goddess Cybel had many names and appearances in different cultures since the ancient of times:-
The priests of Cybele were Eunuchs. The young men who wanted to avail themselves to the goddess would castrate themselves at the height of the celebration and dressed with women's clothing. The worshippers would have anal sex with the priests to join themselves spiritually to the goddess. They were men having anal sex with the Eunuch priests but they were defintely not gay nor motivated by same sex love. In Romans, when Paul talked about exchanging the natural for the unnatural, he was talking about the pagan priests who had unnaturally changed their sex to become a woman by castrating themselves.
Therefore when Jesus said in Mat 19:12 of those who make themselves "Eunuchs" for Kingdom sake, all would have known that these were priests of Cybele who has castrated themselves to worship the goddess. Jesus clearly distinguished these counterfeit straight eunuchs with eunuchs that are born as such from their mother's womb ie naturally without an attraction to women. Some have tried to spin it as celibacy but I don't see many catholic priests castrating themselves.
Imagined if we have in Singapore, a religious sect where the men have mass sexual orgies with anal sex in public with the priests with bloody scenes of new priests castrating themselves in a frenzy of gross religious worship. These would not have been gay men, who would truly have treasured their sexual organs.
Yet, the Christian Right "ex-transexuals" such Sy Rogers who once had desired to castrate themselves just like the priests of Cybele kept on insisting that they were gays! trying to force gays into a historical and religious framework that never existed.
Few Christians would attempt to understand ancient religious practices and their context to the bible.
a) As these violent and sexually charged religions were widespread in ancient Rome and Israel, it would have meant that these gods were truly contradictory to their universalist approach to faith. How can these major religions practised then by so many be "about love"! or different shades of the same God. For example, Pastor Jay Bakker had no choice but to declare that at face value the bible is against homosexuality, for to say otherwise is to acknowlege the existence of demonic entities being worshipped by men as part of their religious faith which put into doubt his universalist beliefs. Some kept insisting that the bible have mistakes, are inconsistent, and are written based on men's construction because the demonic spiritual reality in the bible is inconsistent with their theological construction.
b) As these religions were so widespread, it would have been straight people committing it out of religious duty and not because of sexual orientation. It therefore speaks to the religious fundamentalism - how lawless they could have been even under the religious laws. This was Paul's arguments in Romans on how they had worshipped the created rather than the creator even under the Torah. For the conservatives who had insisted on following the religious laws, this revelation would be frightening because it speaks of walking by faith where there is no fixed journey rather than following blindly a simple set of religious laws to obtain our salvation. There are no absolutes other than Christ for all are to be led by the Spirit of God.
It is said that there are few thinking Christians, but the reality may be that most are thinking Christians but do not want to reflect too much and check their theological constructions for inconsistencies and ulterior motives which may open up a can of worms and stumbled their faith. The reality of faith for many is not strong as to be easily stumbled just because two men or two women are in love with each other, or when the sacraments and religious laws are taken away.
They are not really against gays nor were homophobic! but just like the worship of Cybele they make lots of sounds and noises against the basic rights of gays - not to protect marriage but to protect their faith theological constructions. Their faith is not strongly based on a relationship with the Holy Spirit but on religious laws, or intellectual reasoning and justification. Few would read the bible in the pagan religious context, lest the devil be released in the details to consume our predictable faith.
Christ calls us today to wholeness and a clear conscience before God and men. We are to reflect the integrity and purity of Christ. The Christian Faith is at a cross road. Whilsts we hear the sounds of loud worship at the mega churches, God is calling us to a simple, quiet and humble walk abiding with the Holy Spirit. There is a sweet and quiet voice of the Holy Spirit pleading with us to cause no more harm lest we quench the Holy Spirit in the church leaving us a loud band but no active move and presence of God in our midst.