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Those 7 References by John F. Dwyer

Those 7 References

by John F. Dwyer

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The Book Report: Episcopalian priest Dwyer goes after the uses of seven references to male (and only male) homosexual behaviors present in the entire bloody Bible, which the author contends have been wrongly used as "weapons of violence"; he wrote this work to "{allow} God's voice to be heard in these passages in ways that have been silenced for many generations."

My Review: Biblical exegisis would seem an odd choice for a topic of my reading, given my loud and public anti-Christianity. I do believe in reading what the enemy writes, though, to be certain I can refute it, condemn it, deny it, or invalidate it somehow. Having read this book, I can honestly say, "Who the hell cares?!?" Nothing in here will dent the armor of foolishness that insists the sprawling, self-contradictory mass of folktales we call "the Bible" is the Inerrant Word of God. Demonstrably untrue, that; no amount of logic, of history, of common sense for Pete's sake, will ever convince the True Believer that the Bible simply cannot be what they claim it is.

So why argue? Why pussyfoot through the "written in a very different time about very different people" stuff? Why point out that the Pentateuch/Torah is an exercise in willful cultural creation, a definition of group identity formed in *direct*opposition*to* the prevailing culture of the place the Israelites were about to invade and conquer (because "God gave it to them"...so God sanctions theft of the property of others, so long as it's not One Of Ours? How edifying). And it pays to note the maleness of all this: only men are prohibited from from same-sex activity because it doesn't lead to procreation. Yet no one notices the corollary to this: Sex with women unable to have children due to age or inability is therefore also prohibited; and women having sex with each other, while unaddressed, must also be prohibited if sex is solely for the purpose of procreation. All those straight Christian consumers of porn featuring girl-on-girl activity take note! (Not like they don't already come in for condemnation under the adultery sections of the law.)

Clearly the subject angers me. It is one of many, many, many points of contempt I have for this Bible. The document, considered as a moral compass, is sick-making (pimping one's daughters out = ok; allowing one's concubine to be *RAPED TO DEATH* = ok; loving sex with someone of one's own gender = abomination...?). As a work of folk history, it's fascinating. As a piece of poetry, it's frequently beautiful (though I confess I think the King James Version is superior to the modern ones here). But a god who takes bets on how much a man can endure in the way of torture, just for kicks? A god who demands a man sacrifice his son, as in KILL HIM, and only as the nutball father is about to do it, countermands the order? Who then says "bye now, I'm off" and vanishes from the sphere of men, and is *still* worshipped as being present?

Really. How in the world can this crap be made to make sense to a person of average intelligence? And yet, somehow, it is. I remain completely bewildered by this.
27 vote richardderus | Jun 23, 2011 |
I like to stay current, as I'm sure most literate people do, and while keeping up with the progress of the gay civil rights I often come across religious based objections. I felt the need to educate myself on the textual basis of this fundamental rejection of gay rights. This book is nearly exactly what I wanted.
The book's structure is very simple, chapter, basic assembly of the what it meant and analysis/discussion.
The book doesn't precisely go down the lines I had wished, I was looking for something either completely dispassionate or viciously partisan, Dwyer is certainly partisan (a progressive stance), however not as combative about it. (He never gets inside the literalist argumentation and wrecks it. He simply draws interpretation from other (but still authoritative) sources and shows you a counter interpretation.)
His argumentation is backed up at the important points by other literature, so if he is wrong at least he is not the only one.

This book gave me a pithy and compassionate account of homosexuality in the Bible that I thoroughly recommend to anyone wishing to understand their interrelation. ( )
6 vote dalevywasbri | Dec 7, 2010 |
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