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What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality Paperback – 20 Oct 1994
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Examines biblical references to homosexuality.
Top customer reviews
The style is straightforward and easy to read, with Helminiak mainly presenting his own views, with the occasional short reference to other (usually contrary) viewpoints. This book is not a literature review, or balanced “state of play” of the academic, or popular, debate. To keep the text clear, he avoids footnotes and references but has a helpful short annotated bibliography of the main modern texts on the subject.
He stresses the need to see the scriptural usage in context, and manages – usually, but not always, convincingly – to portray both the OT and the NT as considering homosexuality (more accurately male-male genital acts) as socially unacceptable (in its context) and not a sin before God.
His overall conclusion is that the Bible really has very little to say about homogenital acts and nothing about homosexuality as we would consider it today. In this he follows others, such as Scroggs.
The strengths of this book are that it is short, readable and has a clear focus (on Scripture). As such it is a very good starting point when investigating homosexuality in the Bible. It helpfully makes clear that the Bible concentrates on the actions, not orientation, of males, and has little to say about lesbianism (although Helminiak does discuss the latter).
Its weaknesses are that it pays insufficient attention to contrary views and as such the careful student will have to research elsewhere. Similarly, he does not discuss the issues of Christianity and homosexuality that go beyond Scripture although, to be fair, he never sets out to tackle such a wide remit.
Overall a valuable and informative look at one of the key elements in the debate surrounding homosexuality, the Bible and the modern church. From a liberal perspective a very good place to start, but not an alternative to reading widely.
The fact that the Bible also condones slavery, incest, sacrifice and the subjugation of women if taken literally is a clear sign that the key is in the interpretation.
People who condemn homosexuality are often not opposed to divorce, adultery, and other 'sins'.
I found this book very calm and diplomatic, which I certainly could not be if I was the writer, and it offers a very balanced and factual account - I cannot recommend it enough.
And yes, religion and homosexuality are reconciliable.