"Given the traditional Orthodox understanding of the Old and New Testament scriptures as expressed in the Church's liturgical worship, sacramental rites, canonical regulations and lives and teachings of the saints, it is clear that the Orthodox Church identifies solidly with those Christians, homosexual and heterosexual, who consider homosexual orientation as a disorder and disease, and who therefore consider homosexual actions as sinful and destructive." -- Fr. Thomas Hopko
Alice C. Linsley
In the contemporary dispute over homosexuality the Bible plays a less significant role than in the past because it is viewed as a book of miracles and supernatural revelation, having nothing to do with science and the modern understanding of sexuality. This is not based on an objective assessment of what the Bible says about homosexuality. It is rooted in the Enlightenment rejection of the Bible, and especially in David Hume's dismissal of miracles. Hume argued that unless universals in religion could be ascertained, no religious truth claims can reasonably be verified. Since Hume's time, anthropologists have identified several significant universals in religion, notably burial in red ochre, serpent veneration, and water shrines.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) also contributed to a dismissal of the Hebrew Scriptures as "a collection of mere statutory laws upon which was established a political organization." In his Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone Kant argued for a "pure moral religion" based on duty as "the euthanasia of Judaism." He maintained that Judaism was later "interfused, by reason of moral doctrines gradually made public within it, with a religious faith - for this otherwise ignorant people had been able to receive much foreign (Greek) wisdom." Kant's distortion of the facts is evident in the influence of ancient Egypt on Greek philosophers such as Pythagoras and Plato.
Although Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was an oddity in his time, he perpetuated the Enlightenment disdain for the Hebrew Scriptures. He incorrectly portrayed the Hebrew Bible as derivative of what he regarded as the more ancient Vedas. His notion was repeated by Friedrich Maximilian Müeller (1823-1900) who wrote, "In the Rig-Veda we shall have before us more real antiquity than in all the inscriptions of Egypt or Ninevah....the Veda is the oldest book in existence...."
Today it is recognized that the oldest layer of the Vedas reflects the Horite religion which took root in Southern India's Harappa culture. Har-appa is a Dravidian word that means "Horus is Father". The words Kusha, Rama, Hari and the description of Krishna (Christ) as the "Ancient Man" are all found in earlier Hebrew and Aramaic texts.
Schopenhauer also said, "Monotheistic religions alone furnish the spectacle of religious wars, religious persecutions, heretical tribunals, that breaking of idols and destruction of images of the gods, that razing of Indian temples and Egyptian colossi, which had looked on the sun 3,000 years: just because a jealous god had said, 'Thou shalt make no graven image.'"
Again Schopenhauer was mistaken. It was the Roman emperor Augustus who desecrated the most revered of all the ancient sacred places. In 14 BC, he had the sacred pillars of Heliopolis (Biblical On) removed to Alexandria to grace the grounds of the Caesareum.
It is also evident that polytheistic Hinduism has contributed its share of religious violence and persecutions.
These writers dismissed the Hebrew Scriptures as irrational superstition and their assessment, though false, has been accepted uncritically by many today. Even to refer to the Bible in reference to homosexuality is to risk attack from gay activists. Some claim such references as "hate speech" and thereby effectively block a way of inquiry that has proven to be empirically valid (See Biblical Anthropology). It is no surprise that the Bible does not factor significantly in the contemporary debate over homosexuality.
Beyond Sodom and Gomorrah
When the Bible is referenced in conversation about homosexuality, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is usually cited. Some argue that the destruction of the cities was an act of divine punishment on those who practiced homosex. Others argue that the sin of Sodom was not homosex, but a lack of hospitality. Both sides miss the point. These Canaanite cities represent a religion quite foreign to that of Abraham's Horite people and it is Abraham's people who tell the story.
Their repudiation of homosex proceeds logically from their doctrine of creation. God created humanity in two sexes that the human race might be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. All non-procreative acts are viewed as immoral in this context. This includes onanism, homosex and refusal to fulfill the levirate marriage law (Deut. 25:5-10). Such acts frustrate God's purpose and go against the divine order in creation.
The levir's duty was to produce an heir for his deceased brother by his brother's widow. This practice insured that none of the priestly divisions would cease to exist. This was important to God's purpose since Jesus would be born of these priestly lines. The Virgin Mary's father was a priest who married a daughter of a priest, following the Horite marriage and ascendancy pattern.
The spilling of semen (onanism) is still regarded as an unrighteous deed among Afro-Arabians and most tribal peoples. The seed that should fall to the earth is the seed of plants, which spring forth from the earth. The seed of man should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth. This is the ancient wisdom which observed patterns in nature.
From the earliest days, Christians have upheld the Biblical teaching on non-procreative acts. Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted” (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 A.D. 191).
The Pew Research Center's 2007 Global Attitudes Survey found that "people in Africa and the Middle East strongly object to societal acceptance of homosexuality." It should not come as a surprise that societies that value the traditions of their ancestors resist acceptance of homosexuality while societies influenced by the Enlightenment, i.e., Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, accept and even advocate for gay rights.
Blue shades represent areas where homosex is most accepted. There are groups within the blue areas which do not accept homosex. The Micmac (Ainu) of northeast Canada and the Aborigines of Australia are examples.
The Horites and sexual purity
The moral law which is associated with Moses developed out of an early moral law associated with Menes who united the peoples of the Nile. Menes is shown as the first in the procession of ancient lawgivers in the South Wall Frieze of the United States Supreme Court. His was called the Law of Tehut. Menes (c. 3200 BC) and the kings after him bore Horus names. They were Horite ruler-priests whose wisdom and skill was still remembered in the times of the Egyptian historian Manetho (3rd century BC) and the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (1st century BC).
The most ancient moral codes have many features in common. They appeal to the authority of the deity who was recognized by the ruler and they view the ruler as the deity's earthly representative. Another common feature is concern for purity among the priestly caste as they were regarded as the mediators between the deity and the ruler and his people. Often the rulers themselves were priests, but when it came to ritual purity, especially to cleanse from blood guilt, ruler-priests turned to other priests for purification of absolution rituals.
Ancient moral codes have a religious quality because religion and government were never separate in the ancient world. Among ancient peoples religious laws governed every aspect of the community’s life. Taboo is an aspect of ancient law that regularizes a community’s recognition of boundaries and supernatural power. In ancient Egypt none were permitted to touch the ruler except his queen who was usually his half-sister or his cousin. Among the ancient Polynesians, the high chief’s “mana” was such that people even avoided having his shadow fall on them. Taboo extended to objects, persons, words, and even numbers. Those who broke a taboo were punished or shamed by community.
An example of a taboo among the ancient Israelites was boiling a kid in its mother’s milk (Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Deuteronomy. 14:21). This was taboo because it blurred the boundary between life-giving and life-taking. This same boundary applied to blood. The blood shed in hunting, war and animal sacrifice could not be confused with or even physically near the blood shed by women in their monthly cycle or in birthing. The two bloods represent the binary oppositions of life-taking and life-giving. To blur the distinction between them was a serious matter as this boundary was established by the Creator.
Moses and the Horites
Moses was a Horite and the Mosaic law reflects the Horite caste's emphasis on ritual purity. The Horites (Ha-biru/O-piru) were expected to keep themselves from all impurity as the taint of impurity would render their work as intercessors and mediators ineffective. The Horites served as river shrine and temple attendants. They interceded for others and offered sacrifice. Both Abraham and righteous Job offered sacrifices and interceded for others.
There is a linguistic connection between Hr and TR. The Horite priest shaved his body before his term of service. The shaved priest was called Korah. Kor/Korah and Tor/Torah are both related to blood sacrifice and the Horite concept of purity. The Hebrew root thr = to be pure, corresponds to the Hausa/Hahm toro = clean, and to the Tamil tiru = holy. All are related to the proto-Dravidian tor = blood. The Horite priest was to be purified before entering the temple. The purification ritual involved shaving their heads and bodies. Moses had two brothers who were priests: Aaron (Harun) and Korah.
Horite priests were known for their purity and devotion to the High God whose emblem was the Sun. Plutarch wrote that the “priests of the Sun at Heliopolis never carry wine into their temples, for they regard it as indecent for those who are devoted to the service of any god to indulge in the drinking of wine whilst they are under the immediate inspection of their Lord and King. The priests of the other deities are not so scrupulous in this respect, for they use it, though sparingly.”
The oldest tomb associated with the Horite priestly caste was found in Egypt. The tomb belongs to a priest named Rudj-Ka (or Rwd-Ka) and is dated to the 5th Dynasty - between 2465 and 2323 BC. The 4400-year-old tomb is located south of the cemetery of the pyramid builders at Giza. This corresponds to the time of Noah's son Ham (2438-2363) and Noah's grandson Kush (2417-2342). For other correlations between Genesis and history see A Scientific Timeline of Genesis.
The Horite priests were a high ranked caste in ancient Egypt. Among the ancient Egyptians homosex was regarded as shameful. To be anally penetrated was looked upon as humiliating, and the only archaeological evidence of homosex in ancient Egypt is a painting on the interior wall of a remote cave.
The Book of the Dead, from approx. 1650-1550 BC, tells of how the one who wishes to enter the afterlife must confess before Ra/Horus and the 42 deified rulers (Horim or Houris) that "I have committed no acts of impurity nor have I had sexual intercourse with a man." [The Book of the Dead, chapter 125, by Richard Hooker.
There is textual evidence that homosexual rape was practiced in the ancient Near East against defeated warriors. This supports the view that homosex was regarded as a humiliating act. St Paul states that homosex is "contrary to nature" (Rom 1:26), that is, it violates the binary order of creation whereby God makes known His eternal power and divine nature (Rom 1:20).
An argument from silence?
A fallacy circulating these days is that no Near Eastern texts have been found that condemn homosexuality. This again points to the Enlightenment rejection of the Hebrew Scriptures which are themselves representative of Near Eastern and Afro-Arabian texts and which clearly are not silent on homosex. Both homosex and onanism bring death to their practitioners and the death is not from natural causes, but ascribed to God as an act of punishment (Gen. 19; Gen. 38:7-10).
Further, the Assyrians prohibited homosex during the time of Tukulti-apil-Eser, also known as Pileser I (1115–1077 B.C). However this prohibition and the prescribed punishment of castration can be traced back to the 15th century B.C. The Hebrew (Ha-biru/O-piru) punishment for homosex was far more severe. Leviticus 20:13 states, "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
From the Old Babylonian period this image (left) was found depicting homosex in what appears to be a tavern or a place of orgy. The passive partner is seen drinking from a fountain. (Ch. Ziegler, ADFU 6 (1962), plate 10, Fig. 168 and p. 55. Whether the passive partners were castrated males is uncertain. In the 2nd century A.D. the Roman satirist Apuleius refers to Ishtar's castrated devotees as galli. In the 4th century A.D. Eusebius mentions effeminate priests attached to the moon goddess in Harran. They were said to perform homosex on Mount Lebanon.
|Worship of the moon god was criticized by the Biblical prophets. For the Horites, who were famous sky watchers, the eclipse of the moon was less significant than the eclipse of the sun because in their binary worldview the sun was regarded as superior to the moon. For this reason, it was shameful to worship the moon.
The sun and the moon were gendered in Horite thinking, but the two were not seen as equals. As with all the binary sets found in the Bible, one entity in the set is regarded as superior to the other. This distinguishes the Biblical worldview from the dualism of the East. The sun was associated with the masculine because solar rays inseminate the earth over which the sun has dominion. The moon was associated with the feminine because it is the sun's counterpart, reflects the sun's light, and because it influences the woman's monthly cycle. This is why the male rulers of ancient Egypt appeared with darkened skin from sun exposure while their queens appeared with whitened skin, symbolic of the moon.
Apart from the adoption of the 12 month lunar cycle, the Horites recognized the moon as the binary opposite of the sun, and regarded worship of the lesser entity as idolatry. This is why worship of a moon-goddess finds no resonance in the Hebrew Bible.
Even were it true that no ancient Near Eastern texts condemn homosex, the argument from silence is not conclusive. We might as well note that no ancient Near Eastern or Afro-Arabian texts pose homosex as good.
Related reading: Plato's Debt to Ancient Egypt; Ancient Moral Codes; Is Opposition to Homosexual Activity "Irrational"? by Thomas Storck; Binary Distinctions and Kenosis; Levi-Strauss and Derrida on Binary Distinctions; Ritual Sex and Ancient Egyptian Priests; Abraham and Job: Horite Rulers; Alice C. Linsley's Research on Genesis; Genesis and African Bishops