“Given that someone other than Jesus Christ created the ideology then I cannot automatically believe that proscriptions against said choices are in fact Christ’s teachings. Much of those ideas are old testament ones. Christ’s teachings obliterated many of those old testament ideas.”
It is a fallacy to make these two unrelated but true statements (that Christ did not address homosexuality, and that Christ negated much of the Old Testament), and imply that the current ideology that homosexuals must abstain is inconsistent with Christ’s teachings. It is also a bit weaselly to say that you cannot “automatically believe” one way or the other, but not examine readily available arguments.
Stipulated: I am only arguing what Christianity historically teaches, not whether Christianity is correct or should be accommodated by Harvard or society at large; my goal is only to point out inconsistent theology and history. In the broader context here, understanding what Christ taught and teachings are inferred is important to understand the particular motivation for the student group.
At a minimum, the bible was not written in a vacuum, but within a living culture. The gospels and epistles were written for specific audiences, to address the particular concerns of those groups, not rotely restate what was already collectively understood. Luke, for instance, was addressed to Theophilos (his most excellency). That Jesus Christ was not recorded as addressing a particular topic just means that the gospel authors did not think it needed to be clarified. There is even a catch-all at the end of John stating as much:
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written”.
This is not an esoteric concept. We live in our own collective culture. In constitutional law, for instance, justices routinely review contemporary sources to infer the framer’s intent. When we look at the Second Amendment, it was written at time when a rag-tag group of colonies resisted the greatest empire the world had seen to date. When interpreting “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed“, it very clearly echos the Declaration of Independence:
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it,…”
The right of the people to resist their government as a last resort cannot reasonably be preserved if weapons are only guaranteed to a “militia” not elsewhere defined in the constitution. The Second Amendment can only be interpreted to mean something else if one ignores the culture and contemporary events that motivated it.
When we look at theology, we must interpret the topics discussed by Christ and the biblical authors in light of earlier theological works. To infer his teachings regarding homosexuality, we must look at his words regarding similar topics, and their relationship with Old Testaments view of homosexuality. Specifically, if we look at Christ’s teachings regarding sex, marriage, and lust, Christ act actually clamps down, rather than liberates. He abolishes Mosaic Divorce, binding married couples for life “what god has joined let no man put asunder”.
This must be interpreted within the Jewish culture; if men and woman are now bound for life, but if as stated in the Old Testament “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination;” it stands to reason that if the man laying with a woman portion of the law were tightened by Christ, then the man lying with a man part were not likely loosened.
However the second part of that line, “they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them….” must be equally reinterpreted in light of Christ’s mercy towards the adulterous, the violator of the vary portion of the law he tightened:
“(Let He Who is without Sin cast the First Stone) Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” – “No one, Lord,” she answered. – “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Now go and sin no more.”
The theologically sound conclusion might be that Christ did not approve of homosexual behavior, but demanded that mercy be shown to them.
Would Christ ask an active bisexual bible study leader to resign? When Peter denied the theological necessity of Christ’s death, Christ told his chief apostle: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Peter ultimately humbled himself to die upside down on a cross, rather than renounce the Christian message.)
The central message of Christianity is one of sacrifice. Jesus was a life-long celibate bachelor, who lived with his mother for 30 years before becoming a nomadic preacher – preaching a message that got him killed (with ample warning about how his message would be received, given the fate of his cousin John). Jesus would not be asking the bisexual person to do anything worse than he did, abstain from romantic relationships while teaching religious matters. Jesus would want mercy shown to those weak with sin, but would also expect his followers to show strength and resolve.
This means Christ would expect those with morally unacceptable urges to resist in order to receive the kingdom; based on his treatment of Peter, he might even expect leaders who are unwilling or unable to step aside, lest they become a stumbling block.
Again, this is an argument about what Christ taught based on the historical record of Jewish and early Christian teachings recorded the books of the Bible, not an argument about whether his teachings should be followed or accommodated.