humphreys wrote:Is it not true that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality? Is it not also true that Leviticus is most often cited by Christians as evidence that homosexuality is wrong? In my experience it is, and that's a double-standard because you must either accept OT or not, you can't pick and choose.
As is often the case, it's what Jesus didn't
say about homosexuality that is important. Jesus took the time to address the male-female relationship, and ordained it as a Godly, natural union:
"But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
If Jesus condoned intimate relationships between homosexuals, that was the time to make it clear. But He didn't. But that's not the clincher. If it was left at just that, then we might have reason to debate. However..
It was St. Paul -- the "disciple to the Gentiles" -- chosen by Christ Himself to instruct us on the teachings of Christ and the context He was using -- who explicitly condemned intimate relationships between homosexuals.
LIke you said, we can't just cherry pick.. right? Neither can anyone else. The New Testament specifically, utterly, and completely condemns intimate relationships between homosexuals.
Leviticus on the other hand--unless one is a practicing Jew--is the Law handed down directly to the Hebrew people for that time, until the Old Covenant was supplanted by the New Covenant.
What you might be confusing are the Commandments. Christians live by them and try not to break them. We've had debates before about the difference between Commandments (for all mankind, of which there are relatively few) and Mosaic Law (for the Hebrews). When Jesus was asked how we should live, He said to live by the Commandments. That's a direct answer to a direct question. He didn't say to live by the Mosaic Law, and in fact said more than once that the Old Covenant Mosaic Laws being superceded by a superior New Covenant.
What Leviticus says about menstruation is universal. We are not talking about laws, we are talking about direct statements from God about women on their period as "unclean", and everything they touch, or go near as "unclean". Men are supposed to stay away from them because they are so unclean.
Leviticus contains Laws that were given to the Hebrew people for them to live by. God was concerned that His chosen people would live and not spread disease (in this case through blood transfer). As you will recall, the Hebrew people were completely isolated... cut off from the rest of the world. The Hebrews were a very tight-knit group and any contagion introduced into the fold would have spread rapidly. Speaking of "cut off," this could easily spin off into a discussion about circumcision and the meaning behind it.
How is that something that is not universal? Did menstruating women suddenly become clean when Jesus died on the cross? Because that makes no sense.
You are using a strawman argument. When Jesus died on the cross, the thing that changed was not the cleanliness of menstruation. The thing that changed is that instead of a relatively small group of chosen people, the entire world was given possibility of salvation. The Gentiles were included instead of being excluded from God's future plans. (of course, it was part of the plan all along, but I digress)
How many Christians sleep in a separate bed from their wives when they have their period? Do you? It seems that the Bible's stance on the matter is quite clear, even if that "law" is not strictly mandatory these days, it should at least be considered good practice.
What is the New Testament's take on this?
Notice also, that God, in all his wisdom, does not instruct women on how to be hygienic, he simply tells men to "stay away", as they are "unclean".
I guess He could have told them to grab a bottle of Massengil, but, whatever. Please recall that the Hebrew people at the time were on the move and living in the desert wilderness. They didn't live in buildings; had no hospitals; no access to contempory healthcare. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of people literally crawling all over each other in one huge, mobile encampment. Being "clean" was of critical importance for their survival.
It seems to me that a heck of a lot of focus is put on homosexuality as opposed to most other things in the OT, and that the NT's rules to simply "love thy neighbour" are seldom followed.
What does "love thy neighbor" have to do with the subject at hand.