Thursday, August 16, 2007

Homosexuality and the Bible

BBC radio 4 logoOn 30th July, BBC Radio 4 in their religious programme Beyond Belief explored the relation between homosexuality and the Bible.

Often at the heart of all religious views on homosexuality is the interpretation of scripture. Gay people are no different, with many developing their own readings of the Bible and creating gay-affirming theologies.

Taking part in the debate hosted by Ernie Rea are:
- Rabbi Dr. Alan Unterman, Minister of a Manchester synagogue and lecturer in Compared Religion at the University of Manchester.
- The Revd Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude and psychotherapist.
- Dr. Janet Soskice, University Reader in Philosophical Theology at Jesus College, Cambridge with a special interest in Religion and Gender.

The contributors first highlighted the fact that although there are strongly worded and often quoted passages in the Bible proscribing certain sexual acts and promoting others, it does not define a homosexual identity. This is what leads to the Catholic Church's doctrine of love to the sinner and hate of the sin and also, more generally to the proscription of any sexual acts outside of matrimony.

After an quick evocation of the ancient world to put the biblical text in context and a short discussion of the stories of Sodom and Gomorah, Ruth and Naomi and David and Jonathan, the programmes featured an interview with Steve Greenberg, considered to be the first ever out orthodox rabbi, where he talks about his coming to term with his feelings, his subsequent coming out and his current experience.

The conversation then moved one to more contemporary themes, such that the possibility of a religious acceptance of homosexuality, the role and meaning of marriage in a religious context with Colin Coward's own experience as a starting point.

You can listen to the 30 minute programme here (opens Real Player).

See also:
* The Bible and homosexuality on Wikipedia.
* The Bible and homosexuality on Religious Tolerance.
* Homosexuality and the Bible by Walter Wink.

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