Monday, March 28, 2011

Homo!

(reposting an older post from a few months ago, from a different blog I ran to collect them all in one central place)

Had a church break this weekend, but I want to talk about something that has occupied my mind a lot of late.I suspect most Christians don't know what the word "homo" means. And I suspect, they don't want to know, either. Lately I've had plenty of discussion, in a hidden, arbitrary kind of way, with people of the cloth that thinks that homosexuals should not be allowed to marry.

My initial reaction to this has always been "why?", and their initial answer has always been "because the Bible says so." I suspect they're saying this because they really haven't read their Bible properly, only skimmed the version they've got on hand. So let's talk some facts even most Christians seems to either not know or choose to ignore ;

There's several official Christian Bibles out there. The Catholic Bible, the Protestant Bible, the Hebrew Bible, the Greek and Russian Orthodox Bible, some Eastern Orthodox Churches Bible, the Syriac Orthodox Bible, the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible, the Anglican Bible, and the Georgian Bible. all with slight alternations to what they consider canonical (meaning; the stuff that we think is right) and all varying in doctrine (meaning; that which the church teach you). And then there's the many, many different translations of each of these, more than 70 translations of English bibles alone.

Also something most Christians tend to glaze over is how the Bible became the Bible, ie. how lots of different scriptures from lots of different authors became collected into one single book, into that one thing called "canonical." The Bible as a concept didn't exist until well into the 2nd century BCE, and even hundreds of years after it much debate and killings of heretics entailed.

Here's how canonical is described in WikiPedia ;
The word "canon" etymologically means cane or reed. In early Christianity "canon" referred to a list of books approved for public reading. Books not on the list were referred to as "apocryphal" — meaning they were for private reading only. Under Latin usage from the fourth century on, canon came to stand for a closed and authoritative list in the sense of rule or norm.
Take note; approved for public reading. Approved. By clergy, powerful men in powerful positions with their own and their collective bias.

None of these translations were or are from the original scripts. They can't be. The Bible (whichever one you choose to think is the right one) has a 3500 year history, and none of the original scripts exists, not even for the New Testament. We've got old fragments, tiny scraps of papyrus for some small parts, but nothing substantial until way into the 3rd to 4th Century. What you've got is hundreds of translations of thousands of religious texts that are themselves copies and translations of earlier scripts. At what point will one word transform with the cultural baggage of either the society, sect or person doing the transcribing of that word?

And through all this modern Christians think that one word such as "homosexual" stands on firm ground? And not only that, when you consult the translations, there is no Hebrew word for homosexual that does their bidding. It's vague, at best, and shaped by human persecution and whim in general. Unlike the law that says you should kill your children if disobedient. Why are you killing homosexuals, and not your children?

Inquiring minds would like to know.

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