Skip to comments.Judaismís Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism (and then Christianity) Rejected Homosexuality
Posted on 05/29/2005 6:21:09 PM PDT by Coleus
Judaisms Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism (and then Christianity) Rejected Homosexuality DENNIS PRAGER
When Judaism demanded that all sexual activity be channeled into marriage, it changed the world. The Torah's prohibition of non-marital sex quite simply made the creation of Western civilization possible.
This revolution consisted of forcing the sexual genie into the marital bottle. It ensured that sex no longer dominated society, heightened male-female love and sexuality (and thereby almost alone created the possibility of love and eroticism within marriage), and began the arduous task of elevating the status of women.
It is probably impossible for us, who live thousands of years after Judaism began this process, to perceive the extent to which undisciplined sex can dominate man's life and the life of society. Throughout the ancient world, and up to the recent past in many parts of the world, sexuality infused virtually all of society.
Human sexuality, especially male sexuality, is polymorphous, or utterly wild (far more so than animal sexuality). Men have had sex with women and with men; with little girls and young boys; with a single partner and in large groups; with total strangers and immediate family members; and with a variety of domesticated animals. They have achieved orgasm with inanimate objects such as leather, shoes, and other pieces of clothing, through urinating and defecating on each other (interested readers can see a photograph of the former at select art museums exhibiting the works of the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe); by dressing in women's garments; by watching other human beings being tortured; by fondling children of either sex; by listening to a woman's disembodied voice (e.g., phone sex); and, of course, by looking at pictures of bodies or parts of bodies. There is little, animate or inanimate, that has not excited some men to orgasm. Of course, not all of these practices have been condoned by societies parent-child incest and seducing another's man's wife have rarely been countenanced but many have, and all illustrate what the unchanneled, or in Freudian terms, the un-sublimated, sex drive can lead to.
De-sexualizing God and religion
Among the consequences of the unchanneled sex drive is the sexualization of everything including religion. Unless the sex drive is appropriately harnessed (not squelched which leads to its own destructive consequences), higher religion could not have developed. Thus, the first thing Judaism did was to de-sexualize God: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth by his will, not through any sexual behavior. This was an utterly radical break with all other religions, and it alone changed human history. The gods of virtually all civilizations engaged in sexual relations. In the Near East, the Babylonian god Ishtar seduced a man, Gilgamesh, the Babylonian hero. In Egyptian religion, the god Osiris had sexual relations with his sister, the goddess Isis, and she conceived the god Horus. In Canaan, El, the chief god, had sex with Asherah. In Hindu belief, the god Krishna was sexually active, having had many wives and pursuing Radha; the god Samba, son of Krishna, seduced mortal women and men. In Greek beliefs, Zeus married Hera, chased women, abducted the beautiful young male, Ganymede, and masturbated at other times; Poseidon married Amphitrite, pursued Demeter, and raped Tantalus. In Rome, the gods sexually pursued both men and women.
Given the sexual activity of the gods, it is not surprising that the religions themselves were replete with all forms of sexual activity. In the ancient Near Fast and elsewhere, virgins were deflowered by priests prior to engaging in relations with their husbands, and sacred or ritual prostitution was almost universal. Psychiatrist and sexual historian Norman Sussman describes the situation thus: Male and female prostitutes, serving temporarily or permanently and performing heterosexual, homosexual oral-genital, bestial, and other forms of sexual activities, dispense their favors in behalf of the temple. Throughout the ancient Near East, from very early times, anal intercourse formed a part of goddess worship. In ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Canaan, annual ceremonial intercourse took place between the king and a priestess. Women prostitutes had intercourse with male worshippers in the sanctuaries and temples of ancient Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Cyprus, Corinth, Carthage, Sicily, Egypt, Libya, West Africa, and ancient and modern India. In ancient Israel itself, there were repeated attempts to re-introduce temple prostitution, resulting in repeated Jewish wars against cultic sex. The Bible records that the Judean king Asa put away the qdeshim [temple male prostitutes] out of the land; that his successor, Jehosaphat put away out of the land ...the remnant of the qdeshim that remained in the days of his father Asa; and that later, King Josiah, in his religious reforms, broke down the houses of the qdeshim. In India until this century, certain Hindu cults have required intercourse between monks and nuns, and wives would have intercourse with priests who represent the god. Until it was made illegal in 1948, when India gained independence, Hindu temples in many parts of India had both women and boy prostitutes. In the fourteenth century, the Chinese found homosexual Tibetan religious rites practiced at the court of a Mongol emperor. In Sri Lanka through this century, Buddhist worship of the goddess Pattini has involved priests dressed as women, and the consort of the goddess is symbolically castrated.
Judaism placed controls on sexual activity. It could no longer dominate religion and social life. It was to be sanctified which in Hebrew means separated from the world and placed in the home, in the bed of husband and wife. Judaism's restricting of sexual behavior was one of the essential elements that enabled society to progress. Along with ethical monotheism, the revolution begun by the Torah when it declared war on the sexual practices of the world wrought the most far-reaching changes in history.
The revolutionary nature of Judaism's prohibiting all forms of non-marital sex was nowhere more radical, more challenging to the prevailing assumptions of mankind, than with regard to homosexuality. Indeed, Judaism may be said to have invented the notion of homosexuality, for in the ancient world sexuality was not divided between heterosexuality and homosexuality. That division was the Bible's doing. Before the Bible, the world divided sexuality between penetrator (active partner) and penetrated (passive partner).
As Martha Nussbaum, professor of philosophy at Brown University, recently wrote, the ancients were no more concerned with people's gender preference than people today are with others' eating preferences:
Ancient categories of sexual experience differed considerably from our own... The central distinction in sexual morality was the distinction between active and passive roles. The gender of the object... is not in itself morally problematic. Boys and women are very often treated interchangeably as objects of [male] desire. What is socially important is to penetrate rather than to be penetrated. Sex is understood fundamentally not as interaction, but as a doing of some thing to someone...
Judaism changed all this. It rendered the gender of the object very morally problematic; it declared that no one is interchangeable sexually. And as a result, it ensured that sex would in fact be fundamentally interaction and not simply a doing of something to someone.
To appreciate the extent of the revolution wrought by Judaism's prohibiting homosexuality and demanding that all sexual interaction be male-female, it is first necessary to appreciate just how universally accepted, valued, and practiced homosexuality has been throughout the world.
The one continuous exception was Jewish civilization and a thousand years later, Christian civilization. Other than the Jews, none of the archaic civilizations prohibited homosexuality per se, Dr. David E. Greenberg notes. It was Judaism alone that about 3,000 years ago declared homosexuality wrong.
And it said so in the most powerful and unambiguous language it could: Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination. And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed an abomination. It is Judaism's sexual morality, not homosexuality, that historically has been deviant.
Greenberg, whose The Construction of Homosexuality is the most thorough historical study of homosexuality ever written, summarizes the ubiquitous nature of homosexuality in these words: With only a few exceptions, male homosexuality was not stigmatized or repressed so long as it conformed to norms regarding gender and the relative ages and statuses of the partners... The major exceptions to this acceptance seem to have arisen in two circumstances. Both of these circumstances were Jewish.
The Hebrew Bible, in particular the Torah (The Five Books of Moses), has done more to civilize the world than any other book or idea in history. It is the Hebrew Bible that gave humanity such ideas as a universal, moral, loving God; ethical obligations to this God; the need for history to move forward to moral and spiritual redemption; the belief that history has meaning; and the notion that human freedom and social justice are the divinely desired states for all people. It gave the world the Ten Commandments, ethical monotheism, and the concept of holiness (the goal of raising human beings from the animal-like to the God-like). Therefore, when this Bible makes strong moral proclamations, I listen with great respect. And regarding male homosexuality female homosexuality is not mentioned this Bible speaks in such clear and direct language that one does not have to be a religious fundamentalist in order to be influenced by its views. All that is necessary is to consider oneself a serious Jew or Christian.
Jews or Christians who take the Bible's views on homosexuality seriously are not obligated to prove that they are not fundamentalists or literalists, let alone bigots (though, of course, people have used the Bible to defend bigotry). Rather, those who claim homosexuality is compatible with Judaism or Christianity bear the burden of proof to reconcile this view with their Bible. Given the unambiguous nature of the biblical attitude toward homosexuality, however, such a reconciliation is not possible. All that is possible is to declare: I am aware that the Bible condemns homosexuality, and I consider the Bible wrong. That would be an intellectually honest approach. But this approach leads to another problem. If one chooses which of the Bible's moral injunctions to take seriously (and the Bible states its prohibition of homosexuality not only as a law, but as a value it is an abomination), of what moral use is the Bible?
Advocates of the religious acceptance of homosexuality respond that while the Bible is morally advanced in some areas, it is morally regressive in others. Its condemnation of homosexuality is one example, and the Torah's permitting slavery is another. Far from being immoral, however, the Torah's prohibition of homosexuality was a major part of its liberation (1) of the human being from the bonds of unrestrained sexuality and (2) of women from being peripheral to men's lives. As for slavery, while the Bible declares homosexuality wrong, it never declares slavery good.
Those who advocate religious acceptance of homosexuality also argue that the Bible prescribes the death penalty for a multitude of sins, including such seemingly inconsequential acts as gathering wood on the Sabbath. Thus, the fact that the Torah declares homosexuality a capital offense may mean that homosexuality is no more grave an offense than some violation of the Sabbath. And since we no longer condemn people who violate the Sabbath, why continue to condemn people who engage in homosexual acts?
The answer is that we do not derive our approach toward homosexuality from the fact that the Torah made it a capital offense. We learn it from the fact that the Bible makes a moral statement about homosexuality. It makes no statement about gathering wood on the Sabbath. The Torah uses its strongest term of censure abomination to describe homosexuality. It is the Bible's moral evaluation of homosexuality that distinguishes homosexuality from other offenses, capital or otherwise. As Professor Greenberg, who betrays no inclination toward religious belief writes, When the word toevah (abomination) does appear in the Hebrew Bible, it is sometimes applied to idolatry, cult prostitution, magic, or divination, and is sometimes used more generally. It always conveys great repugnance (emphasis added). Moreover, the Bible lists homosexuality together with child sacrifice among the abominations practiced by the peoples living in the land about to be conquered by the Jews. The two are certainly not morally equatable, but they both characterized a morally primitive world that Judaism set out to destroy. They both characterized a way of life opposite to the one that God demanded of Jews (and even of non-Jew homosexuality is among the sexual offenses that constitute one of the seven laws of the children of Noah that Judaism holds all people must observe). Finally, the Bible adds a unique threat to the Jews if they engage in homosexuality and the other offenses of the Canaanites: You will be vomited out of the land just as the non-Jews who practise these things were vomited out of the land. Again, as Greenberg notes, this threat suggests that the offenses were considered serious indeed.
Judaism cannot make peace with homosexuality because homosexuality denies many of Judaism's most fundamental principles. It denies life, it denies God's expressed desire that men and women cohabit, and it denies the root structure that Judaism wishes for all mankind, the family.
If one can speak of Judaism's essence, it is contained in the Torah statement, I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse, and you shall choose life. Judaism affirms whatever enhances life, and it opposes or separates whatever represents death. Thus, a Jewish priest (cohen) is to concern himself only with life. Perhaps alone among world religions, Judaism forbade its priests to come into contact with the dead. To cite some other examples, meat (death) is separated from milk (life); menstruation (death) is separated from sexual intercourse (life); carnivorous animals (death) are separated from vegetarian, kosher, animals (life). This is probably why the Torah juxtaposes child sacrifice with male homosexuality. Though they are not morally analogous, both represent death: one deprives children of life, the other prevents their having life. This parallelism is present in the Talmud: He who does not engage in propagation of the race is as though he had shed blood.
GOD'S FIRST DECLARATION about man (the human being generally, and the male specifically) is, It is not good for man to be alone. Now, presumably, in order to solve the problem of man's aloneness, God could have made another man or even a community of men. But instead God solved man's aloneness by creating one other person, a woman not a man, not a few women, not a community of men and women. Man's solitude was not a function of his not being with other people; it was a function of his being without a woman. Of course, Judaism also holds that women need men. But both the Torah statement and Jewish law have been more adamant about men marrying than about women marrying. Judaism is worried about what happens to men and to society when men do not channel their passions into marriage. In this regard, the Torah and Judaism were highly prescient: the overwhelming majority of violent crimes are committed by unmarried men. Thus, male celibacy, a sacred state in many religions, is a sin in Judaism. In order to become fully human, male and female must join. In the words of Genesis, God created the human ... male and female He created them. The union of male and female is not merely some lovely ideal; it is the essence of the Jewish outlook on becoming human. To deny it is tantamount to denying a primary purpose of life.
Few Jews need to be informed of the centrality of family to Jewish life. Throughout their history, one of the Jews' most distinguishing characteristics has been their commitment to family life. To Judaism, the family not the nation, and not the individual is to be the fundamental unit, the building block of society. Thus, when God blesses Abraham He says, Through you all the families of the earth will be blessed.
The enemy of women
Yet another reason for Judaism's opposition to homosexuality is homosexuality's negative effect on women.
One of the most remarkable aspects of contemporary societies' acceptance of homosexuality is the lack of outcry from and on behalf of women. I say outcry because there is certainly much quiet crying by women over this issue, as heard in the frequent lament from single women that so many single men are gay. But the major reason for anyone concerned with women's equality to be concerned with homosexuality is the direct correlation between the prevalence of male homosexuality and the relegation of women to a low social role. The improvement of the condition of women has only occurred in Western civilization, the civilization least tolerant of homosexuality.
In societies where men sought out men for love and sex, women were relegated to society's periphery. Thus, for example, ancient Greece, which elevated homosexuality to an ideal, was characterized by a misogynistic attitude, in Norman Sussman's words. Homosexuality in ancient Greece, he writes, was closely linked to an idealized concept of the man as the focus of intellectual and physical activities...The woman was seen as serving but two roles. As a wife, she ran the home. As a courtesan, she satisfied male sexual desires. Classicist Eva Keuls describes Athens at its height of philosophical and artistic greatness as a society dominated by men who sequester their wives and daughters, denigrate the female role in reproduction, erect monuments to the male genitalia, have sex with the sons of their peers...
In medieval France, when men stressed male-male love, it implied a corresponding lack of interest in women. In the Song of Roland, a French mini-epic given its final form in the late eleventh or twelfth century, women appear only as shadowy marginal figures: The deepest signs of affection in the poem, as well as in similar ones appear in the love of man for man... The women of Arab society, wherein male homosexuality has been widespread, remain in a notably low state in the modern world. This may be a coincidence, but common sense suggests a linkage. So, too, in traditional Chinese culture, the low state of women has been linked to widespread homosexuality. As a French physician reported from China in the nineteenth century, Chinese women were such docile, homebound dullards that the men, like those of ancient Greece, sought courtesans and boys.
While traditional Judaism is not as egalitarian as many late twentieth century Jews would like, it was Judaism very much through its insistence on marriage and family and its rejection of infidelity and homosexuality that initiated the process of elevating the status of women. While other cultures were writing homoerotic poetry, the Jews wrote the Song of Songs, one of the most beautiful poems depicting male-female sensual love ever written.
A final reason for opposition to homosexuality is the homosexual lifestyle. While it is possible for male homosexuals to live lives of fidelity comparable to those of heterosexual males, it is usually not the case. While the typical lesbian has had fewer than ten lovers, the typical male homosexual in America has had over 500. In general, neither homosexuals nor heterosexuals confront the fact that it is this male homosexual lifestyle, more than the specific homosexual act, that disturbs most people. This is probably why less attention is paid to female homosexuality. When male sexuality is not controlled, the consequences are considerably more destructive than when female sexuality is not controlled. Men rape. Women do not. Men, not women, engage in fetishes. Men are more frequently consumed by their sex drive, and wander from sex partner to sex partner. Men, not women, are sexually sadistic. The indiscriminate sex that characterizes much of male homosexual life represents the antithesis of Judaism's goal of elevating human life from the animal-like to the Godlike.
The Jewish sexual ideal
Judaism has a sexual ideal marital sex. All other forms of sexual behavior, though not equally wrong, deviate from that ideal. The further they deviate, the stronger Judaism's antipathy to that behavior. Thus, there are varying degrees of sexual wrongs. There is, one could say, a continuum of wrong which goes from premarital sex, to celibacy, to adultery, and on to homosexuality, incest, and bestiality. We can better understand why Judaism rejects homosexuality if we first understand its attitudes toward these other unacceptable practices. For example, normative Judaism forcefully rejects the claim that never marrying is an equally valid lifestyle to marriage. Judaism states that a life without marrying is a less holy, less complete, and a less Jewish life. Thus, only a married man was allowed to be a high priest, and only a man who had children could sit as a judge on the Jewish supreme court, the Sanhedrin. To put it in modern terms, while an unmarried rabbi can be the spiritual leader of a congregation, he would be dismissed by almost any congregation if he publicly argued that remaining single were as Jewishly valid a way of life as marriage. Despite all this, no Jew could argue that single Jews must be ostracized from Jewish communal life. Single Jews are to be loved and included in Jewish family, social, and religious life.
These attitudes toward not marrying should help clarify Judaism's attitude toward homosexuality. First, homosexuality contradicts the Jewish ideal. Second, it cannot be held to be equally valid. Third, those publicly committed to it may not serve as public Jewish role models. But fourth, homosexuals must be included in Jewish communal life and loved as fellow human beings and as Jews. Still, we cannot open the Jewish door to non-marital sex. For once one argues that any non-marital form of sexual behavior is the moral equal of marital sex, the door is opened to all other forms of sexual expression. If consensual homosexual activity is valid, why not consensual incest between adults? Why is sex between an adult brother and sister more objectionable than sex between two adult men? If a couple agrees, why not allow consensual adultery? Once non-marital sex is validated, how can we draw any line? Why shouldn't gay liberation be followed by incest liberation?
Accepting homosexuality as the social, moral, or religious equivalent of heterosexuality would constitute the first modern assault on the extremely hard won, millennia-old battle for a family-based, sexually monogamous society. While it is labeled as progress, the acceptance of homosexuality would not be new at all.
Again, Judaism's sexual ideals, especially its opposition to homosexuality, rendered Jews different from the earliest times to the present. As early as the second century B.C., Jewish writers were noting the vast differences between Jewish sexual and family life and that of their non-Jewish neighbors. In the Syballine Oracles, written by an Egyptian Jew probably between 163 and 45 B.C., the author compared Jews to the other nations: The Jews are mindful of holy wedlock, and they do not engage in impious intercourse with male children, as do Phoenicians, Egyptians, and Romans, specious Greece and many nations of others, Persians and Galatians and all Asia. And in our times. sex historian Amo Karlen wrote that according to the sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, Homosexuality was phenomenally rare among Orthodox Jews.
Moral and psychological questions
To all the arguments offered against homosexuality the most frequent response is: But homosexuals have no choice. To many people this claim is so emotionally powerful that no further reflection seems necessary. How can we oppose actions that people have not chosen? The question is much more instructive when posed in a more specific way: Is homosexuality biologically programmed from birth, or is it socially and psychologically induced? There is clearly no one answer that accounts for all homosexuals. What can be said for certain is that some homosexuals were started along that path in early childhood, and that most homosexuals, having had sex with both sexes, have chosen homosexuality along with or in preference to heterosexuality.
We can say chosen because the vast majority of gay men have had intercourse with women. As a four-year study of 128 gay men by a UCLA professor of psychology revealed, More than 92 percent of the gay men had dated a woman at some time, two-thirds had sexual intercourse with a woman. As of now, the one theory we can rule out is that homosexuals are biologically programmed to be homosexual. Despite an understandably great desire on the part of many to prove it (and my own inclination to believe it), there is simply no evidence that homosexuality is biologically determined. Of course, one could argue homosexuality is biologically determined, but that society, if it suppresses it enough, causes most homosexuals to suppress their homosexuality. Yet, if this argument is true, if society can successfully repress homosexual inclinations, it can lead to either of two conclusions that society should do so for its own sake, or that society should not do so for the individual's sake. Once again we come back to the question of values. Or one could argue that people are naturally (i.e., biologically) bisexual (and given the data I have seen on human sexuality, this may well be true). Ironically, however, if this is true, the argument that homosexuality is chosen is strengthened, not weakened. For if we all have bisexual tendencies, and most of us successfully suppress our homosexual impulses, then obviously homosexuality is frequently both surmountable and chosen. And once again we are brought back to our original question of what sexual ideal society ought to foster heterosexual marital or homosexual sex.
Is homosexuality an illness?
Society, in short, can consider homosexuality right or wrong whether or not it is chosen. Society can also consider homosexuality normal or ill whether or not it is chosen.
Though the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, did not think that in and of itself homosexuality meant that a person was sick, according to his standards of psychosexual development, he considered homosexuality to be an arrested development. But until 1973, psychiatry did consider homosexuality an illness. To cite one of countless examples, Dr. Leo Rangell, a psychoanalyst, wrote that he had never seen a male homosexual who did not also turn out to have a phobia of the vagina.
In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed homosexuality from its official listing of mental illnesses in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders. Gay activists have used this as a major weapon in their battle for societal acceptance of homosexuality. But, for many reasons, the APA decision has not resolved the question of whether homosexuality is an illness, and the question may well be unresolvable. Given the mixed moral and judgmental record of psychiatry, especially since the 1960s, all one may conclude from the APA's decision to remove homosexuality from its list of illnesses is that while it may have been right, organized psychiatry has given us little reason to trust its judgment on politically charged issues. For these reasons, the fact that the American Psychiatric Association no longer labels homosexuality an illness should not persuade anyone that it is not. Given the subjective nature of the term mental illness, given the power of gay activists, and given the political views of the APA leadership (as opposed to most of its members), the association's vote means nothing to many observers.
If social pressures forced psychiatrists in the past to label homosexuality an illness, how can we be certain that social pressures in our time have not forced them to label it normal? Are present-day psychiatrists less influenced by societal pressures than were their predecessors? I doubt it. So, putting aside psychiatry's ambivalence about homosexuality, let us pose the question in this way: Assuming there is such a thing as normal, is it normal for a man to be incapable of making love to a woman (or vice versa)?
Presumably, there are only three possible answers:
If the first response is offered, then we have to acknowledge that the homosexual has chosen his homosexuality. And we may then ask whether someone who chooses to love the same sex rather than the opposite sex has made this decision from a psychologically healthy basis. If the second response is offered, each of us is free to assess this answer for him or herself. I, for one, do not believe that a man's inability to make love to a woman can be labeled normal. While such a man may be a healthy and fine human being in every other area of life, and quite possibly more kind, industrious, and ethical than many heterosexuals, in this one area he cannot be called normal. And the reason for considering homosexuality abnormal is not its minority status. Even if the majority of men became incapable of making love to women, it would still not be normal. Men are designed to make love to women, and vice versa. The eye provides an appropriate analogy: If the majority of the population became blind, blindness would still be abnormal. The eye was designed to see. That is why I choose the third response that homosexuality is unhealthy. This is said, however, with the understanding that in the psychological arena, illness can be a description of one's values rather than of objective science (which may simply not exist in this area).
Mand and woman he made them
To a world which divided human sexuality between penetrator and penetrated, Judaism said, You are wrong sexuality is to be divided between male and female. To a world which saw women as baby producers unworthy of romantic and sexual attention, Judaism said You are wrong women must be the sole focus of men's erotic love. To a world which said that sensual feelings and physical beauty were life's supreme goods, Judaism said, You are wrong ethics and holiness are the supreme goods. A thousand years before Roman emperors kept naked boys, Jewish kings were commanded to write and keep a sefer torah, a book of the Torah.
In all my research on this subject, nothing moved me more than the Talmudic law that Jews were forbidden to sell slaves or sheep to non-Jews, lest the non-Jews engage in homosexuality and bestiality. That was the world in which rabbis wrote the Talmud, and in which, earlier, the Bible was written. Asked what is the single greatest revelation I have derived from all my researches, I always respond, That there had to have been divine revelation to produce the Torah. The Torah was simply too different from the rest of the world, too against man's nature, to have been solely man-made.
The creation of Western civilization has been a terribly difficult and unique thing. It took a constant delaying of gratification, and a re-channeling of natural instincts; and these disciplines have not always been well received. There have been numerous attempts to undo Judeo-Christian civilization, not infrequently by Jews (through radical politics) and Christians (through anti-Semitism).
The bedrock of this civilization, and of Jewish life, has been the centrality and purity of family life. But the family is not a natural unit so much as it is a value that must be cultivated and protected. The Greeks assaulted the family in the name of beauty and Eros. The Marxists assaulted the family in the name of progress. And today, gay liberation assaults it in the name of compassion and equality. I understand why gays would do this. Life has been miserable for many of them. What I have not understood was why Jews or Christians would join the assault. I do now. They do not know what is at stake. At stake is our civilization.
It is very easy to forget what Judaism has wrought and what Christians have created in the West. But those who loathe this civilization never forget. The radical Stanford University faculty and students who recently chanted, Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western civ has got to go, were referring to much more than their university's syllabus. And no one is chanting that song more forcefully than those who believe and advocate that sexual behavior doesn't play a role in building or eroding civilization. The acceptance of homosexuality as the equal of heterosexual marital love signifies the decline of Western civilization as surely as the rejection of homosexuality and other nonmarital sex made the creation of this civilization possible.
bump for later
and thats a mighty hefty (and nice) homepage you got there my friend.
bump for later
and thats a mighty hefty (and nice) homepage you got there my friend.
Sorry about the double post.
marked for later reading
Bottom line: queer is bad.
Dennis Prager BUMP!
Contraception, sterilization, abortion, homosexuality: the four ways the post-Judeo-Christian West is rejecting its fertility, trashing its children, and abolishing its future.
1) She's a woman. I've known 5 female pastors. All have been a disaster.
2) I've seen a number of her sermons. She seems obsessed with convincing people that homosexuality is not a sin.
3) She believes that people can pick and choose parts of the Bible. If one part doesn't seem "right" to you, then it isn't and you can ignore it.
Her deep-seated sexual issues have distanced her from God and she is working hard to bring others down the road to Hell with her.
Time to find a new church. Fast.
Most likely. I'll give her 3-4 months, but I'm very pessimistic.
Wow. Long but very worthwhile article. Putting it into my favorites so I can read it later!
ping for later reading
Thanks for posting this important article. It clarifies a great deal of the damage done by this abomination.
Thanks for the good post.
So is polygamy ok again?
I was raised in the Methodist Church in the 60's. Assuming you care about truth and believe there is such a thing as right and wrong, and God actually does exist, you can do so much better than the Methodist Church. Why any genuine believer would still be involved with that degenerate church is a mystery to me. You are in serious spiritual danger. Get out!!
Prager Alert**** Bump for later reading
trust me, you don't want more than one wife. I've had three and if I had had just two of them at the same time, I would be dead... series!
Great read. Thanks for posting.
I doubt you could cite a single instance in the Bible where a polygamous marriage was happy. This is one of those instances where Biblical narrative works against Bilical law, openning the way to to Judaism's finally banning polygamy in the middle ages, and, in fact, a restoration of Genesis 2:24...
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
Note the singular emphasis. One flesh.
"Seven Laws of Noah,"
Do not murder.
Do not steal.
Do not worship false gods.
Do not be sexually immoral.
Do not eat the limb of an animal before it is killed.
Do not curse God.
Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.
Makes sense to me.
This is the most unscholarly work I have ever read. Judaism had legal concubines. Some sects still do.
PS Christianity ended polygamy - not the Jewish religion. Minor point.
This paragraph, the first, stopped further reading. The Chinese historically had strong family bonds. Islam puts strict constraints on sex. Yet, Christianity with a tradition of marriage is the cause of western success? That's what the lead implies.
Both China and Islamic countries are stuck in a quagmire of brute rule all the while multipling like rabbits in marital bonds. So was Christian Europe until the Renaissance. I think western success has more to do with freedom and right to property. The Romans built an Empire that ascended when farmers could own land. It fell when the government began taking too much of their property. Christianity did not save Rome. It didn't save the commoner from servitude for the next 1000 years.
Monogamy was introduced by the Church.
It became customary around the time of Ezra. For that matter, many of the prophets before that were monogamous. Neither Isaac nor Moses were polygamous.
Fascinating, i bookmarked it for later.
Pity you didn't read the rest of it.
What Judaism did was define some basic guidelines which were expanded and made more precise by Christianity. And Judaism and Christianity were what gave birth to the person, or at any rate, to the social concept of the individual person, which is what accounts for Western success.
The Romans and the Greeks, for all their splendid legal thought, did not extend individual "personhood" to all people of all classes. Property ownership is impossible for someone who is not a person, along with things like marriage, inheritance, etc.; and if a society simply does not consider all of its members to be persons, it is never going to be able to move into the economic world to which you attribute its success.
By defining a woman as a person, and a specific kind of person in relation to men, sexually and otherwise, Judaism set up a sexual dynamic that really did alter human society. Monogamy came more slowly, because while some of Jewish thought and self-understanding came through direct revelation, much of it came through the gradual revelation received through thousands of years of living the Commandments as a people. And this experience did lead to monogamy, although it was codified at a relatively late date.
Islamic society puts strange constraints on sex that essentially reflect what Prager mentioned: in traditional sexual morality, everything was divided on the basis of penetrator/penetrated. Islam permits polygamy, women are basically worthless, and homosexuality and bestiality are rampant. As in Roman and Greek society, the only person actually considered to be homosexual is an adult male who allows himself to be penetrated. Boys, on the other hand, are fair game, but when they grow up, are expected to be the aggressive parties, just like their fathers or uncles or whoever used them.
Ever wonder why Islamic societies fester and stagnate? About 100 years after they overrun other societies, those societies cease to be productive and creative - reflecting the rate at which sharia is extended. Look at the social structure brought about by their peculiar sexual attitudes and by polygamy, which also has the side-effect of causing a situation where there are not enough women to go around and creating large numbers of poorer men who will never marry. One of the best analyses I read attributed much of the undercurrent of anger and resentment in Muslim societies to the fact that many men will never be able to marry and have families, and hence will remain marginalized and rootless. In addition, the many children produced by polygamous marriages result in the excessive division of inheritances or in situations where only certain children inherit.
It took a long time for Christianity to bring this concept of the person to full fruition, although it is certainly part of early Church law. Women, for example, were to be able to freely consent to their marriages, were supposed to be old enough to do so, etc. - although naturally, the king who married off his unwilling 14 year old daughter as a peace offering to a rival king was a common feature of the Middle Ages. In later centuries, in countries that practiced slavery, slaves were supposed to be permitted to marry, inherit, and buy their freedom. Naturally, civil governments ignored many of these inconvenient provisions, and actual practice was uneven. The failure of the Church to get everybody to do what it ordered does not indicate failure, but simply reminds us of how slow the process was - just as it was with the gradual self-understanding of the Jews.
Furthermore, civilizing Europe was a very slow process; some areas were not even converted to Christianity until the 9th and 10th centuries. In other areas, barbarian incursions kept destroying the system brought by the Church. Spain, for example, was overrun by the Visigoths who brought their own brutal social system, which Arianism had never softened. Unfortunately, shortly after the conversion of the Visigoths to orthodox Christianity, Spain was overrun by the Muslims, who brought the repressive, anti-individual and anti-personal social system of Islam to Spain, where it was imposed in some areas for 800 years.
But it became a rule among the Jews about 1000 years after birth of Christ.
In terms of enforcement, yes. But monogamy was always the Biblical norm, all the way back. Only one Eve in the garden.
In fact the rabbinical ruling was a response to people breaking the custom (within the letter of the law).
Who is he that is not of woman borne?
Thomas Hobbes had this to say about such a doctrine...
First, for the tormentors, we have their nature and properties exactly and properly delivered by the names of the Enemy (or Satan), the Accuser (or Diabolus), the Destroyer (or Abaddon). Which significant names (Satan, Devil, Abaddon) set not forth to us any individual person, as proper names do, but only an office or quality, and are therefore appellatives, which ought not to have been left untranslated (as they are in the Latin and modern Bibles), because thereby they seem to be the proper names of demons, and men are the more easily seduced to believe the doctrine of devils, which at that time was the religion of the Gentiles, and contrary to that of Moses, and of Christ.
Because by the Enemy, the Accuser, and Destroyer, is meant the enemy of them that shall be in the kingdom of God; therefore if the kingdom of God after the resurrection be upon the earth (as in the Scripture it seems to be), the Enemy and his kingdom must be on earth also. For so also was it in the time before the Jews had deposed God. For God's kingdom was in Israel and the nations round about were the kingdoms of the Enemy; and consequently, by Satan is meant any earthly enemy of the Church.
Another relic of Gentilism is the worship of images, neither instituted by Moses in the Old, nor by Christ in the New Testament; nor yet brought in from the Gentiles; but left amongst them, after they had given their names to Christ. Before our Savior preached, it was the general religion of the Gentiles to worship for gods those appearances that remain in the brain from the impression of external bodies upon the organs of their senses, which are commonly called ideas, idols, phantasms, conceits, as being representations of those external bodies which cause them, and have nothing in them of reality, no more than there is in the things that seem to stand before us in a dream. This is the reason why St. Paul says, "We know that an idol is nothing": not that he thought that an image of metal, stone, or wood was nothing; but that the thing which they honored or feared in the image, and held for a god, was a mere figment, without place, habitation, motion, or existence, but in the motions of the brain. The worship of these with divine honor is that which is in the Scripture called idolatry, and rebellion against God. For God being King of the Jews, and His lieutenant being first Moses, and afterward the high priest, if the people had been permitted to worship and pray to images (which are representations of their own fancies), they had had no further dependence on the true God, of whom there can be no similitude; nor on His prime ministers, Moses and the high priests; but every man had governed himself according to his own appetite, to the utter eversion of the Commonwealth, and their own destruction for want of union. And therefore the first law of God was: they should not take for gods, alienos deos, that is, the gods of other nations, but that only true God, who vouchsafed to commune with Moses, and by him to give them laws and directions for their peace, and for their salvation from their enemies. The second was that they should not make to themselves any image to worship, of their own invention. For it is the same deposing of a king to submit to another king, whether he be set up by a neighbor nation or by ourselves.
An image, in the most strict signification of the word, is the resemblance of something visible: in which sense the fantastical forms, apparitions, or seemings of visible bodies to the sight, are only images; such as are the show of a man or other thing in the water, by reflection or refraction; or of the sun or stars by direct vision in the air; which are nothing real in the things seen, nor in the place where they seem to be; nor are their magnitudes and figures the same with that of the object, but changeable, by the variation of the organs of sight, or by glasses; and are present oftentimes in our imagination, and in our dreams, when the object is absent; or changed into other colors, and shapes, as things that depend only upon the fancy. These are the images which are originally and most properly called ideas and idols, and derived from the language of the Greeks, with whom the word eido signifies to see. They are also called phantasms, which is in the same language, apparitions. From these images, it is that one of the faculties of man's nature is called the imagination. From hence it is manifest that neither there is, nor can be any image made of a thing invisible.
It is also evident that there can be no image of a thing infinite: for all the images and phantasms that are made by the impression of things visible are figured. But figure is quantity every way determined, and therefore there can be no image of God, nor of the soul of man, nor of spirits; but only of bodies visible, that is, bodies that have light in themselves, or are by such enlightened.
Whereas a man can fancy shapes he never saw, making up a figure out of the parts of divers creatures, as the poets make their centaurs, chimeras and other monsters never seen, so can he also give matter to those shapes, and make them in wood, clay or metal. These are also called images, not for the resemblance of any corporeal thing, but for the resemblance of some phantastical inhabitants of the brain of the maker. But in these idols, as they are originally in the brain, and as they are painted, carved molded or molten in matter, there is a similitude of one to the other, for which the material body made by art may be said to be the image of the fantastical idol made by nature.
Besides these sovereign powers, divine and human, of which I have hitherto discoursed, there is mention in Scripture of another power, namely, that of "the rulers of the darkness of this world," [Ephesians, 6:12] "the kingdom of Satan," [Matthew, 12:26] and "the principality of Beelzebub over demons," [Ibid. 9:34] that is to say, over phantasms that appear in the air: for which cause Satan is also called "the prince of the power of the air"; [Ephesians, 2:2] and, because he rules in the darkness of this world, "the prince of this world" [John, 16:11] and in consequence hereunto, they who are under his dominion, in opposition to the faithful, who are the "children of the light," are called the "children of darkness." For seeing Beelzebub is prince of phantasms, inhabitants of his dominion of air and darkness, the children of darkness, and these demons, phantasms, or spirits of illusion, signify allegorically the same thing. This considered, the kingdom of darkness, as it is set forth in these and other places of the Scripture, is nothing else but a confederacy of deceivers that, to obtain dominion over men in this present world, endeavour, by dark and erroneous doctrines, to extinguish in them the light, both of nature and of the gospel; and so to disprepare them for the kingdom of God to come.
I believe the authors points are well taken too.
Long but interesting read!
Polygyny - - one man many wives.
Polyandry - - one woman many husbands.
Polygamy - - any combination thereof, including homosexuality and pederasty.
The main issue (I do agree with the general arguments of the article) I see is the ongoing, perpetual struggle between the forces of Paganism and the Judaic.
This violent struggle from the very beginning of human history is manifested, only in part, by sexuality...
Pagan Babylon, pagan Egypt, pagan Greece, pagan Rome, pagan Islam, pagan National Socialism, pagan Marxism, pagan neo-Islam (once again), and modern neo-pagan New Agers.
Mosaic Law is the foundation of Western Civilization, it is something that neither the pagan Islamic thugs or the neo-pagan Left can abide and seek to destroy... they both seem to be on the same side, don't they?
The Torah was a stroke of genius. In this concise handbook, Moses gave the Jews an identity, a moral code, and above all he set them apart from their masters, the Egyptians who treated the Pharaoh as a god. Moses single greatest contribution is to set God above man, and made certain that no man was a god. I don't even recall any Jewish Kings in the Torah. Order was kept through the Levities (an early version of lawyers). This does not translate into a JEWISH concept of MARRIAGE is the greatest thing to reach the planet and thereby lifted the Jews and subsequently the Christians to a higher level of success as espoused in the Catholic article. Jews could have more than one wife. They could own slaves. This was the way of the times.
The idea that God is the supreme authority did have some influence in holding back societies from treating Kings and Emperors as deities. However, most western monarch's achieved their goals by brute force. Quite often they didnt care about God, they just killed their enemies. It was the re-emergence of Classical thought that launched Europe to a level beyond anywhere else in the world. It was the same classical thought that created the Roman Empire and taught Alexander the Great how to think. The early Roman farmer could own property and could own weapons to defend their land. He was free unlike medieval Christian serfs. He did have Aristotle as a teacher. Aristotle taught how to think in a straight line whereas most of the world used circular reasoning, which is a basic mode of thinking in Christian thought. Western Europe ascended principally as a result in advances in science. This gave them wealth which in turn gave them more time to refine culture.
Christs contribution to Judaism was to make the Jewish Bible universally available to everybody. He spent much of his time irritating Rabbis who were ingratiating themselves rather than doling out wisdom and guidance to followers. Christ spent much time rebelling against established order, but he also asked his followers to follow his order. He also asked people to give up their property and go with him. He never got married so far as I know. I could say this about many of todays socialists.
To blame the success of Western Europe solely on Moses and Christ, but ignore the heathen Greeks and Romans does a real disservice to intellectual thought. It is pure Catholic dogma that flies in the face of experience. I do seem to recall that secular law had to be made in America to prevent Mormons from practicing their version of Christianity that reaches back to the days when men could have more than one wife.
It became customary around the time of Ezra says some - but it was the Christian church which introduced it - and the pagan Greeks and Romans were monogomous since recorded history.
Very true. I agree with you, but with regard to the Greeks and Romans, the problem was that they had a very limited view of who qualified as a "person" under their law. Slaves and members of other lower orders weren't considered legal people, which is what led to the famous slave rebellions.
Judaism, however, regarded any Jew as a person. Obviously, there were class differences and there were certain heirarchical differences in families (those who were priests and those who were not). However, the reason that somebody like Jesus - who was a nobody - could go into the Temple and teach was that he was a Jew. Obviously, the "regulars" at the Temple, who were probably well-off and considered themselves scholars, were a little annoyed by this. But they couldn't stop him, because he was a Jew and therefore a person.
What Christianity did was extend this to all of humanity.
Well, not in the Law of Moses. Many examplary persons described in the Old Testament had more than one wife and it was acceptable thing. It was the Christians who raised the moral requirement (yes, closer to the standards of Paradise) and they they were imitated by the rest of mankind.
Because it's "icky?"