Sunday 21 September 2014

Jesus thought sodomy a sin - and witchcraft too

Clearly Jesus, a first century rabbi, did not approve of the sin of Sodom - or witchcraft - and thought both deserving of death. He wasn't against the death penalty and didn't disapprove of slavery, though He advised a rich young man to give away his worldly goods, which probably would have included his slaves.

I wonder what people would say if the Second Coming happens anytime soon. I considered this here.


  1. Hmm I would question that Paul,in first century Jerusalem there were certainly punishments for forced acts of sodomy, usually castration or a fine if you were rich, this applied equally in the free state of Herod and in the Palenstine protectorate where nominally the Lex Scantinia was adhered to. It also of course depended whether the act was against freeman or slave, with many slaves given the same status as animals and about as many rights, of course the bible encourages slaves and whipping of them too . As for the old gem of Leviticus 20:13 so often quoted out of context, it is well argued among scholars of the Bible and Torah that it may well be ,because of it's differing form to the preceding and following passages,an addition , abridgment or editing of the earlier Covenant codes of Exodus from circa AD50 , therefore after the death of Christ. Certainly the prohibition existed prior to that , as did the moral code views on adultery ( including sex outside of marriage ) and bestiality, but not the capital penalty. I also happen to believe that Jesus were he to return would be a man of his time and in his own recognized that outside of eternal values such as the preservation of innocent life , the right to equal treatment and the protection of the helpless from exploitation,virtually all other moralities are products of their time and societies, whether that be Polygomy, gambling or the right to pogo naked down a high street.

    1. Thank you for your erudite gloss and of course God in the Bible favours slavery which was defensible in prehistoric times. Deciding some things are eternal truths and others not gets you into problems too because you have to use private judgment - and private judgment always applies the spirit of the age - or accept church teaching. This too is strongly coloured by the zeitgeist these days.

  2. There can be no doubt that Jesus would have supported the death penalty in some cases. To fight against the right of a government to use the death penalty (even for the most evil of crimes) is to go against God's Word. The Old and New Testaments plainly approve of the death penalty. (Genesis 9:6, Romans 13:1) God's standards are perfect so it is presumptuous for us to think that we can institute a higher standard than His.

    1. Personally I am not convinced that in Britain the death penalty was or would be a deterrent but do not understand why Pope John Paul II condemned it in principle bearing in mind the Old Testament.

    2. I do not think I implied that Jesus was against the death penalty,
      only that in 1st Century Palestine that sodomy was rarely punished by
      it. However you quote of Romans 13.1 to justify it in the 21st Century
      , I'm afraid went out with the heads of the rest of the absolute
      monarchs who relied on divine authority. To my knowledge there are no
      modern Christian states that draw their right to enact capital
      punishment or wage war from the bible ( *except perhaps the US
      administrations of Reagan and Bush jr ) only on their mandate from the
      people. absolute theocracies are rare and today those that kill in the
      name of God usually do so under an islamic banner, though the IDF
      deserves an honourable mention. I think Anonymous you meant to quote
      1.32 and the passages preceding where Paul outlines to the Romans the
      carnal and venal sins that in his view ,not just as a Neo Christian ,
      but also as a Hellenic Jew raised as a Pharisee ,fitted the mould. At
      the very least Paul could claim to have discussed directly with the
      horses mouth, where we have to act on hearsay.

      As for the John Paul II and the Evangelium Vitae I think it is
      perfectly clear. It was recognised long ago by the Holy See that the
      death penalty enacted by States was and is often misused as a means of
      suppression either of opposing politics or entire classes. I don't
      think we need move outside of your current reminiscences on City of
      London to give excellent examples ,be they the Carthusian Monks or
      many of those others who died at Tyburn, victims of the Bloody Code.
      Capital punishment should only be wielded by society as a means to
      protect itself from equally grave crimes.
      The Pope and his Bishops recognised that capital punishment was the
      ultimate sanction, and even that incidences of it were necessary for
      the absolute protection of Society , such as when a criminal who
      threatens immediate danger to many other innocent people is summarily
      executed by a police marksman. However he also recognised that it was
      only appropriate in those cases of absolute necessity when it is not
      possible otherwise to protect society, not as a punishment or
      deterrent. That with increasing organisation in the penal sector those
      cases post arrest are very rare indeed, if not non existent . It is
      very difficult to redeem or even rehabilitate a dead man, though I
      suppose for those proved innocent post mortem , it is at least
      possible to convert them to martyrs.

    3. Yes this is fair. John Paul II was a great believer in moving with the times and if you go too far in that direction you can fall into the heresy of modernism. The Papal States of course hanged people but I don't think hanging is necessary these days except perhaps in very backward places like Iraq.

  3. Unlike some here, I dont believe in a bearded man in the sky so I can't speak for mr anonymous but could it be that the pope doesn't speak for all Christians? Out of all the branches of Christianity, Catholicism is the most illogical and arbitrary. Where does "moving with the times" end and "modernist heresy" begin exactly? Answer: where the Pope says it does. Before Vatican II all non Catholics went to Hell and participating in non-Catholic worship was apostasy. Fast forward to today and popes do this every week on papal visits to mosques and temples and nobody even blinks. Apparently some time after Vatican II heaven started admitting non-Catholics. Pope francis now even says that atheists like me have a chance to get to heaven. If that isn't modernist heresy then what is exactly? The definition of modernism also moves with the times as well it seems.

    1. The Church did not teach that only Catholics could be saved. She said that some will be saved because of invincible ignorance. Pope Pius IX - who declared modernism a heresy - wrote: ""There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace since God who clearly beholds, searches, and knows the minds, souls, thoughts, and habits of all men, because of His great goodness and mercy, will by no means suffer anyone to be punished with eternal torment who has not the guilt of deliberate sin." He added: "God forbid that the children of the Catholic Church should even in any way be unfriendly to those who are not at all united to us by the same bonds of faith and love. On the contrary, let them be eager always to attend to their needs with all the kind services of Christian charity, whether they are poor or sick or suffering any other kind of visitation. First of all, let them rescue them from the darkness of the errors into which they have unhappily fallen and strive to guide them back to Catholic truth and to their most loving Mother who is ever holding out her maternal arms to receive them lovingly back into her fold. Thus, firmly founded in faith, hope, and charity and fruitful in every good work, they will gain eternal salvation."


    2. Granted but "Invincible ignorance" is not relevant to the church's position on non-Christian religions today. When JPII or Francis met with representatives of Islam, Judaism and Buddhism (who are obviously not invincibly ignorant of the Christian gospel) they do not seek to convert them but to worship alongside them in interfaith ceremonies. None of these people could plead invincible ignorance. They could easily find out about Christianity but choose not to. The pope knows it and yet he meets with them, worships with them and praises their religiosity telling them to be better Muslims and better Jews. The church sees non-Christian religions as alternative paths to salvation. This is modernism and it is mainstream catholcism. Sure, Anglicans have become just as wooly-minded but at least they don't claim that the Archbishop of Cantebury is infallible despite contradicting teachings from previous Archbishops!

    3. Well the Muslims are ignorant because they do not recognise the divinity of Christ and if they cannot be converted then their ignorance is invincible, I suppose. I am sure God is not bound by the sacraments and am sure He works through false - or in the case of Jews incomplete - religions. But I agree that St. Paul and the other apostles and martyrs wanted to convert everyone - ecumenism should stop at Christians. After Pope John Paul II's inter-faith meeting in Assisi, an earthquake destroyed the Basilica's altar and this I have no doubt was a sign of divine displeasure. The sort of sign that simple people understand and sophisticates scoff at.

  4. God does not desire the death of the sinner, but that he repent and live. Somebody said that, somehwhere.

  5. That earthquake happened 11 years after the interfaith meeting.

  6. A post on religion really brings them out of the woodwork, doesn't it? My quibble is with your opening statement: Jesus opposed sodomy.

    A more considered opinion might be that Jesus announced a new covenant between man and God that abolished the Old Testament proscriptions against pork, etc. That would also include sodomy.

    There is only one reference (made in passing) in the New Testament to homosexuality. The attitude in the verse really turns on the translation of the verb in the verse. The meaning of the verb is not controversial and it implies that the Christian attitude towards homosexuals should be the same as towards the sick, the poor, the imprisoned, etc. In other words a charitable approach.

    1. I am absolutely no biblical scholar at all - anything but - but I do not think Jesus wanted to relieve Jews of the Old Testament rules, at all. Or to preach to the gentiles. "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." Matthew 5:17