I’m confused

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Today I’m asking for help.  Specifically I’m asking for help from my friends who are deeply religious.  Most of you will be Christians, but I’m quoting from the Old Testament, a book also revered by Jews and Muslims, so please feel free to comment if you are of either of those beliefs as well.  Yes, I know I’m leaving some of you on the curb on this one.  Sorry.

I’vee said it before and I’ll say it again- I am in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. For me it’s not a religious issue at all- it’s about everyone having equal rights under the law which is supposed to be what the USA is all about.  However, I know this IS a religious issue for many others- including people I care deeply about- and that’s why I’m asking these questions today.

Leviticus 18 verse 22 says “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable”.  This verse is commonly quoted by people who are against legalizing same-sex marriage. But here s where I struggle with that- there are a lot of other things in Leviticus- even Leviticus 18!- that no ones quotes or lives by today.  Here are just a few examples:

Lev 18 verse 19: Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.

Lev 19 verse 19: Do not mate different kinds of animals Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.

Lev 17 verse 13: Anyone among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth.

Here are a couple from Deuteronomy as well:

Det 22, verses 28- 29:  If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

Det 22, verses 23-24:  If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her,  you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the young woman because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife.

I don’t think anyone with even half a brain thinks forcing a rapist to marry his victim is a good idea.  I’ve never seen anyone protesting t shirts that are a 50-50 blend of cotton and polyester. I’ve never heard a sermon condemning couples choosing to make love during “that time of the month”.  But this is exactly where it gets me- if we have decided as religious law that Leviticus 18 verse 19 doesn’t apply to us in the year 2013, then why does Leviticus 18 verse 22? 

This is a serious question that has been bothering me for quite a while now and I am hoping and praying for serious answers.

Thank you.

All Bible verses are quoted from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible. 

2 thoughts on “I’m confused

  1. stasisonline

    Adam, sorry but many would disagree with you. I think youre kinda right about the old covenant being cast off, but I dont think it's as unauthoritative for Christians as you portray. Neither do I think that there are only ten or eleven rules given by God for Christians to follow. It's true that Jesus criticised the Jews for following the rules/laws of men at the expense of the rules/laws of God. But Jesus depicts more than ten rules of the Old Testament as valid. EG as early as 4 chapters into the New Testament, we see Jesus citing an Old Testament rule/law as authoritative, when he says "It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” (Matthew 4:7). And even after Jesus had died and ascended, we still find in the New Testament references to rules/laws in the Old Testament as remaining valid, EG 1 Corinthians 1:31, 1 Peter 1:16.

    So having established that there are any more than eleven laws/rules in the Bible that remain valid for Christians, we are left with Becky's original question. Namely, the question of why are some laws/rules in the Bible regarded by Christians as valid and other laws/rules in the Bible not treated as valid, and on what grounds a distinction is made. In my opinion, the answer is not clearcut. Yes, Adam is right that Jesus' did away with the Old Covenant laws (Hebrews 9:15), but he did away with them as a sole method of achieving God's approval. Some say that it was really the ceremonial laws of the Old Covenant that were done away with, but that other rules/laws of the Old Covenant remain in place. Others know more about this than I do, EG http://www.redeemer.com/news_and_events/newsletter/?aid=363

    So sometimes we find it difficult to know whether something that is depicted in the Old Covenant as sin, is still regarded as sin under the New Covenant. EG the mixing of different sorts of materials. But this one is only condemned in the Old Testament, and not the new, so it seems of low likelihood that it remains valid. But this difficulty does not apply in regards to homosexual sex, because not only is it depicted in the Old Testament as off limits (Leviticus 18) but under the New Covenant it is treated likewise (Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6 etc). In regards to your example of Duet 22:23-24, it would seem that this one is unlikely to remain entirely valid under the new covenant, because we have evidence of Jesus opposing the stoning of sinners (John 8).


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