Thursday, February 10, 2011

Open Questions: Can the Bible Help Fight Bigotry?

In a very helpful recent post for the CNN Religion Blog, BU Professor Jennifer Knust makes a concise argument that Biblical (and extra-Biblical) views on sexuality are significantly more complicated than some religious figures would let on.  Against more conservative commentators (I suppose), she provocatively argues:

--that the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality is neither as apparent, nor as unequivocal, as we might believe
--that both Paul and Jesus take rather dim views of marriage--and human sexuality as a whole
--that God may have established androgyny--not heterosexuality--as the human sexual ideal 

I've made similar points in this space (okay, not the androgyny one--that was a left-fielder for me), and I'm largely convinced by her claims. 

But her much-commented-upon essay has got me thinking: is she changing any minds, especially on the issue of homosexuality?  Or differently, is anyone who believes that the Bible fully supports heterosexual marriage and thoroughly condemns homosexual relations going to be persuaded by her hermeneutical exercise? 

I'm not sure they will.  So I ask an honest question.  Are you?  And do you think that hermeneutics--systematic Biblical interpretation--is an effective tool for battling bigotry?  Read her article and tell me what you think.  I'd love to hear your response ...

1 comment:

  1. Every person looks through a lens as they "study" anything. This lens is forged by genetics and polished by environment and experience. This lady, and everyone else, will decide the Bible means whatever they already want it to mean. It's called interpretation, and whether we like it or not, that's the only thing we can do when we read something. Save for absurdities, there is no ultimate right or wrong. There are only different arguments by fallible human readers. Changing minds with an obscure blog on the CNN religion page is not likely to happen. Also, the bible is such a dense work that it's a bit insane to try and argue that the bible's cool with homosexuality in a 2500 word essay. A thing like that is not likely to reach the tip of the "sexuality in the bible" iceberg.

    Ps. God loves the Packers.

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