Seeing a World of Difference: Lesson 11
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” —The Apostle Paul (Romans 1:26-27 ESV)
“Androgyny is the sacrament of Monism.” —June Singer
Some media and academic leaders in the US dismiss biblical teaching against homosexuality as “worn arguments and old attitudes” or as “prejudice hiding behind piety.” This occurs not only in secular society but in Christian churches. Mainline churches (often liberal in theology) declare the Bible’s statements on the subject to be out of date. Intimidated evangelicals remain silent or openly endorse homosexual behavior, thus denying essential elements of the Bible they claim to revere. Even orthodox churches stretch their ecclesiological rules to accommodate new cultural attitudes, or they consider homosexuality a “secondary issue,” hardly worth a place in contemporary discourse.
Six Pesky Verses?
Tony Jones is a visiting professor at Fuller Seminary and a spokesman for a movement in the US known as the Emergent movement. He writes off Romans 1:26 ESV as one of “the six pesky Bible verses” that deal with homosexuality. In his opinion, there are only six bits of text on the subject and they don’t add up to a biblical case against the practice. Treating each text as a self-contained independent statement, Jones removes it from its logical and theological context, allowing himself and his pro-homosexual colleagues to avoid the force of biblical teaching. Of course, the Scriptures tell one overarching story of God’s rescue mission as he seeks out and finds an unfaithful bride (his people, the church) and brings her into full communion with his Son (the bridegroom). We must never try to understand any text without first establishing its place in that primary story of creation and redemption. In this lesson, however, we focus on what Paul says about sexuality in the first chapter of Romans. You may not agree with Paul, but you must admit that his argument in the Romans 1 ESV passage follows a logical development that extends over at least eleven verses (Romans 1:18-28 ESV). Paul’s argument is connected by three “exchanges”:
- A thought exchange, by which we deny the person of God and become “futile” in our thinking (Romans 1:21 ESV)
- A worship exchange, by which we worship nature rather than God (Romans 1:23 ESV)
- A sexual exchange, by which we overturn the natural for the unnatural (Romans 1:26-27 ESV)
Paul’s argument is cogent, connected and powerful-a robust, theological tour de force, unmatched in the writings of those who oppose it. His logic is impeccable, and we understand it because our world increasingly resembles the pagan Roman Empire. Some critics say that Paul was speaking of exploitative relationships of domination and that he didn’t understand homosexuality as we know it today—a loving, mature, stable commitment. But Paul argues (Romans 1:27 ESV) that men burned with desire for each other, not that one exploited the other. Paul knew that Nero had already had at least two homosexual “marriages.” His readers were aware that the great ancient hero, Alexander the Great, had a long, passionate homosexual love affair with Hephaestion, whose death caused Alexander extreme grief. The longevity or monogamy of homosexual relationships is irrelevant for Paul. Instead, he discusses “natural” or “unnatural” sexuality, and describes forms of practical rebellion (Romans 1:18-21 ESV) against God the Creator.
Homosexuality and Worldview
In these verses, Paul describes the pagan worldview. We are in the presence of timeless questions about God and the world, about idol worship and perverted physical sexual activity, not social or behavioral oddities, as modern liberals like to argue. Notice in Romans 1 ESV how the natural order of knowing God as Creator is suppressed; how the natural order of worshiping God is overturned and people instead turn to worshiping images; and how the natural order of heterosexuality is overturned in favor of sodomy. Is Paul’s mention of homosexuality here just a “pesky verse”? I believe that Paul’s argument shows deep theological reflection on the implications of the being of God and the character of creation. We know Paul is developing a logical argument, since he uses the phrase, “for this reason.” Here is what he says:
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:26-27 ESV)
Paul often uses this phrase to build a logical argument from a previous comment. In 2 Corinthians 13:10 ESV, for example, Paul says he writes “for this reason,” namely his prayers for their “restoration” mentioned in the previous verses. In Romans 13:5-6 ESV, Paul says Christians pay taxes “for this reason,” namely their relation to authority, developed a few verses earlier. (See also Ephesians 1:15 ESV; Ephesians 3:1 ESV, Ephesians 3:14 ESV; 1 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV, 1 Thessalonians 3:7 ESV and 2 Timothy 1:6 ESV)
To return to Romans 1 ESV, the reason (Romans 1:26 ESV) God gives rebels over to their preferred behavior (practicing homosexuality) is because “they exchange the truth for the lie and worship and serve creation” (Romans 1:25 ESV). The rejection of God as Creator plays out as a rejection of God’s holy creation structures (the natural). If you dismiss the Creator of the “natural,” you will eventually reject the category of “natural” and move to the “unnatural.” Worshiping creation as divine produces “unnatural” uses of the created order.
So, apostate theology leads to the misuse of sexuality. Here is Paul’s logic: just as the misuse of the notion of the divine becomes worship of the created order, just as the misuse of elements in the creation becomes cultic worship and service to objects, so the misuse of created sexuality becomes a corporal celebration of the “unnatural.” Paul is not a homophobe. He doesn’t go after homosexuality to enforce a harsh, moralistic code.
Indeed, his “for this reason” is followed by a long list of rebellious behaviors:
“…[E]very kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity…envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice…gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (Romans 1:29-31 ESV)
No one is left out, at least of the people I know! And in case you never did any of these things, you are guilty if you “approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32 ESV). Paul singles out homosexuality because it expresses, at the deep, personal, sexual and corporal level, a worldview that has effectively eliminated God the Creator.
For Paul, there are no half-measures. Just as there is no fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness, or light and darkness, so there is no fellowship between heterosexuality and homosexuality (Romans 1:26 ESV). There is no gender blur. As embodied expressions of reality, these antithetical sexual life-styles of natural/creational and unnatural/anti-creational stand at the intersection of two contradictory worldviews.
The Link between Homosexuality and Paganism
Back in 2009, one of the largest American magazines, Newsweek, ran a non-judgmental article on “polyamory” (the committed, loving relationship of three or more persons of any sex). The article noted that polyamory was created when some brave people questioned rules left over from their Judeo-Christian background and “ended up pagan.” This secular magazine didn’t realize that it was confirming the Apostle Paul’s argument in Romans 1 ESV. If you get rid of theistic Twoism, you “end up” a pagan Oneist. Since the 1960s, a cultural metamorphosis has overturned the worldview of Christendom, which has dominated in the West for centuries. At the heart of that change is the Gay agenda, which is affecting not only the US, but the entire world.
At a global level, The Earth Charter (a UN nature-worshiping document that intends one day to determine how we live on the planet) states the need to “eliminate discrimination in all its forms, including sexual orientation.”[i] “Eliminate discrimination” is a weasel phrase for promoting and normalizing sexual anarchy and silencing all other opinions on the subject. During the summer of 2009, two UN agencies—the United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)—issued guidelines for sex education of children around the world.
Nine to twelve-year-olds learn: how to get and use both condoms and emergency contraception; the “signs and symptoms” of pregnancy and “sexual techniques.” They learn that abortion is safe and discuss “homophobia, transphobia and abuse of power.”[ii] The Conservative Jewish Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis confesses that in the past he did not celebrate gay unions, but now he does, because it is a very courageous thing to do and is part of “the evolution of religious morals.”[iii] What the rabbi calls evolution of morals is the rise of Neopaganism, or Oneism. This worldview has always been the natural spiritual home for homosexuality, as any self-respecting rabbi should know. In their rush to adapt to the culture, liberal Christians and other religious leaders may fail to see what leading homosexuals have always believed. Modern gay theorists agree with Paul about the religious role of homosexuality.
The Homosexual as Shaman
Contemporary Oneist spirituality holds up the occult shaman as a model for the future. This is not new. In the history of paganism, the priest/shaman was commonly a homosexual. As Oneist spirituality captures hearts and minds, so will homosexual practice. You may see the term “androgyny,” which means the joining of male (andros) and female (gune) in one person. It can apply equally to the bisexual or the homosexual. When God led his people into the land of Canaan, he instructed them not to “follow the abominable practices of those nations,” including sexual deviancy (Deuteronomy 18:9 ESV). This text should not surprise us. Pagan homosexuals themselves see their sexuality as an essential element of pagan belief. A gay spokesman at a Pagan Spirit gathering in 1985 made the claim: “We feel there is a power in our sexuality…[a] queer energy that most cultures consider magical. It is practically a requirement for certain kinds of medicine and magic.” Another gay pagan confirms the spiritual dynamic: “It is simply easier to blend with a nature spirit, or the spirit of a plant or an animal, if you are not concerned with a gender-specific role.”[iv]
This spiritual element is documented throughout the history of pagan cults, in which the shaman was often a homosexual. The connection between androgyny/homosexuality and pagan religion has existed all over the world, and throughout time. Here are some examples:
- In nineteenth-century BC Mesopotamia, androgynous priests of Istar (Ishtar) engaged in trance-like ecstasies and contact with spirits of the underworld.
- In ancient Canaanite religions, effeminate priests served the goddesses Anat, Cybele and Rhea.
- In the Roman Empire, androgynous priests castrated themselves publicly as an act of devotion to the Great Mother.
- In Hinduism, anyone who unifies the sexes in sexual practice has reached the highest self-identity.
- In the Medieval West, Alchemists who transformed heterosexual energy into androgyny produced spiritual “gold” (“a tremendously deepened sense of the oneness of all…beyond gender differences”).
- The pagan spiritualist Jacob Böhme (1575-1624) believed the ideal human state was androgyny.
- In ancient Aztec and Inca religions, homosexual and bisexual priests were common; in American Indian religious practice, homosexual transvestite males are its shamans.
- In Latin America and the Caribbean Islands, homosexuals were magicians with supernatural powers; frequenting gay temple prostitutes was a means of sanctification.
- Jewish Kabbalah celebrates the ideal of the first cosmic androgyne, and in its modern form is committed to “global, spiritual oneness.”
No geographical or historical connection can be made between ancient goddess worship, Medieval Alchemists, South American Incas, animists in the jungles of Borneo, ancestor worshipers in the African bush, Eskimos of the Arctic, and Aborigines of the Australian desert. Yet the same sexual/religious combo appears time and again. In all these places, we see Oneist pagan ideology. A study by Phillip Steyne comes to the following conclusion: “Man, in such diverse parts of the world [is] committed to and involved in the same religious practices.”[v] Shamanistic homosexuality is an organic expression of Oneist spirituality.
Homosexuality and the New Spirituality
A contemporary gay theorist, Toby Johnson, believes that gay consciousness represents a new religious paradigm. He should do his history homework, as other gays have done. One gay site exults:
“What we have found actually surprised us; expecting to find “maybe something” to explain our personal feeling that there must be a spiritual “meaning” to our way of love and relating, we have found that not only are there such roots, but they are the most precious parts of virtually all of the ancient spiritualities of our species.”[vi]
Though Johnson’s paradigm is not new, present spiritual thinking in the gay community not only fits with the past but creates a plan for the future. Johnson is inspired by Joseph Campbell’s comparative (interfaith) religions approach. Campbell, a follower and friend of Carl Jung, was regularly featured on the Public Broadcasting System, which taped some thirty interviews of Campbell by Bill Moyers. Some of these were filmed at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch. Indeed, Lucas named Campbell as his guru, and the Stars Wars series magnified the influence of both the interview series and of Campbell’s books (Power of Myth, Hero with a Thousand Faces). Campbell spread Jungian ideas and influenced a whole generation, including Toby Johnson.
Here is what Toby Johnson and others like him believe:
- A transformation of religious consciousness is occurring because of exposure to other religions. The interfaith atmosphere has changed our moral and religious taboos, making homosexual liberation and gay identity possible.
- Gay people, as “different” and “queer,” have a privileged perspective on religion that undermines the authority of traditional religious institutions.
- Gays in their relationships with members of the same sex see the world with the harmonious vision that is the goal of mystical religion. Gay consciousness is “pre-Edenic,” and free of “original sin.”
- Religion is not about God but about how human beings should live harmoniously to further the evolution of Earth (Gaia) into collective self-awareness and transcendent consciousness (God).
- The “real cause” of homosexuality is resonance with the “karmic vibes” of Gaia. Through their psychic powers, gay people have a karmic resonance with “planetary consciousness,” Gaia and cosmic “unity.”
- Homosexual attraction, the longing inspired by same-sex beauty, and the ecstatic consciousness of homosexual practice are reverberations—even recollections—of humanity’s common mystical oneness with Gaia.
- There is a world savior: the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, portrayed as a lovely, androgynous young man, usually bare-chested and in a relaxed meditation pose. He saves the world by willingly and compassionately incarnating into the forms of all sentient beings, to free them from suffering.
- All human beings are incarnations of this one single being (a mythological version of the planetary mind Gaia).
- The role of gay identity is to alert human beings to the problems of over-population and to free them from dualistic thinking, so we can all live in a peace rooted in our awareness of common planetary identity.
- Gay consciousness represents a new religious ideal that recognizes consciousness, life itself, as “God” and “heaven,” here and now.
Modern gay spirituality echoes historical expressions of homosexual shamanist spirituality, while adding a modern touch. It shows the power of the homosexual lifestyle in a world concerned about planetary unity and in tune with interfaith. It also vindicates the logic of St. Paul. It rejects what it calls “dualistic thinking,” which is really a rejection of the Twoism of biblical revelation.
The open practice and approval of homosexuality is precisely what Paul affirmed two thousand years ago—that homosexuality flows directly from the Oneist worship of creation. The mechanism seems to function this way: androgynous people, whether homosexual or bisexual, join the physical opposites, experiencing a world without distinctions, which is the goal of traditional monistic (Oneist) spirituality. The homosexual priest thus symbolizes the destruction of created distinctions in the pagan conjunctio oppositorum—the joining of the opposites.
The common experience of pagan mystics is expressed by a well-known mystic and manic-depressive of the 1950s, John Custance, who recounts that in states of trance he felt so close to God that he was God, with a sense of being “utterly and completely immortal.” In that state, he says, “I am even male and female…I reconcile Good and Evil and create light, darkness, worlds, universes.”[vii] This classic description of the pagan experience of joining the opposites includes the blurring of the male/female distinction. Shirley MacLaine wonders in her book, Going Within, whether the point of life is to “balance both the masculine and the feminine in ourselves…to express ourselves for what we truly are—androgynous, a perfect balance.”[viii]
Jung, Shamanism and Homosexuality
The last word should go to Jung, who succeeded (where fourth century Emperor Julian failed) in turning the Christian world back to paganism. By now, you won’t be surprised to discover that Jung energetically promoted homosexual shamanism in the modern world. He made the pagan theory of sexuality understandable for modern minds. Fascinated by the medieval Alchemists, Jung taught that we have everything we need to fuse the opposites within us. For Jung, homosexuals are true pagan Oneists, who have succeeded in transcending the opposites—what the Hindus call “bindu.” In the 1950s, Jung claimed that “we are only at the threshold of a new spiritual epoch” and believed that he was developing “the world’s final, unitary religion, which, like Marxism, was an historical inevitability.” Jungian theory holds that only those who are able to integrate the opposite-sex psychology into their own self-identity can proceed into the higher phases of self-development (Self and God-Self). The “gender-polarized” populace is left on the lower levels to marry, divorce and remarry indefinitely until they finally learn that what they are looking for is within themselves.
As we saw above, Paul did not single out homosexuality because it was the worst sin but because it symbolizes a deeply embodied expression of the apostate worldview of Oneism. Convincing proof of this comes from one of Jung’s disciples, who was with him on his deathbed—the American psychologist and Gnostic, June Singer. With great understanding of her master’s thought, she states that the archetype of androgyny appears in us as “an innate sense of…and witness to…the primordial cosmic unity, functioning to erase distinction.” She calls homosexual androgyny “the sacrament of monism.” In 1997, she stated her belief that the Age of Aquarius would be the Age of the Androgyne, and that “age” would be the final victory of the cosmology of Oneism.[ix]
Lloyd Geering agrees that the future global world will be monistic (Oneist), not dualistic (Twoist). From this faith affirmation about the nature of the world, he draws the spiritual conclusion that we will experience psychosomatic, mystical union with the earth. This Oneist union with the earth will determine what you do with your body, including your sexuality. The great goal of pagan unity finds physical expression in the act of homo-erotic love. Geering’s approach clearly spiritualizes homosexuality.
Virginia Mollenkott once called herself “an evangelical lesbian feminist” but she eventually sought spirituality in pagan mysticism. She sees a unique spiritual calling for gays and lesbians as “God’s Ambassadors.” Mollenkott claims she was told by her “guardian angel, a Spirit Guide, the Holy Spirit or Jesus [she is not sure] that a great shift is occurring in the world, and you are a part of that shift.”[x]
Multi-Faith Becomes Multi-Sex
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that every Sufist or interfaith proponent is a practicing homosexual or pederast. There is a deep connection, however, between the ideology of interfaith pagan syncretism (held up as a great goal and value for the modern world) and pansexuality, as our brief journey through history has shown. Is this where our modern world is headed? The much respected cultural commentator and lesbian, Professor Camille Paglia, who lectures at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, believes that society should “return to pagan worship, which includes tolerance of homosexuality.”[xi]
The new Bolivian Charter attempts to join the God of its Catholic past with Pachamama, the Andean earth deity. Evo Morales sees native spirituality as the essence of the new Bolivia, where homosexuality is legitimized, as it was when the Incas occupied the same land. Once more, multifaith leads to multisex; polytheism to polysexuality. The parallels between the acceptance of interfaith and the acceptance of pansexuality are striking. The latter is the social outworking of the former; in interfaith, all religions are the same. The God of theism is but one human notion of the divine, and all gods and religions are equally valid. To claim that there is only one, unique and transcendent Lord is repugnant.
In polysexuality, all sexual choices are the same. Heterosexuality is but one practice among a host of sexual choices. The thought that humans are made in the image of a unique God who has determined the distinctions of sexuality is repugnant. Take, for example, Ray Kurzweil’s movie, The Singularity Is Near, endorsed by Bill Gates. Kurzweil, an electronics genius, is also a “futurist” and in his movie promotes “singularity,” by which he means a cybernetic form of Oneism. The movie tells the story of Ramona, Ray Kurzweil’s female alter ego and female clone, who struggles to be recognized as a real human being. The “fact” of androgyny is proposed as an essential aspect of the future.
Our Present Situation
Individual homosexuals don’t necessarily understand the deep meaning of their life-style choice. I do not write with any “holier-than-thou” moral superiority. For the Christian, respectful consideration and toleration of other human beings is mandatory. We are all noble creatures made in God’s image and fallen sinners in need of grace. Christians must not only tolerate homosexuals, they must love them. However Christians must not tolerate ideas that oppose or suppress the saving knowledge of the glory of God.
In the homosexual experience, there are many touching stories of great pain and some stories of loving, faithful friendships. Some have lived for years with an agony of internal conflict and doubt when, after years of prayer, God didn’t “take away” their desires and make them feel heterosexual. On the practical, personal level, homosexuality is often the result of excruciating suffering from a dysfunctional parental relationship between, for instance, a son and his non-affirming, emotionally empty father. No one can stand in judgment of fellow sinners and sufferers. But within that nexus of suffering, homosexuality is a compensatory mechanism to fill a lack of affirmation that should have come from a healthy father-son relationship. I have heard ex-homosexuals testify that there is no such thing as a homosexual—only a heterosexual with problems.
Some homosexuals find in the same-sex attraction the satisfaction of merging with what they already are. As Rumi put it, “I have been looking for myself!…I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him.” This desire for sameness is, on the sexual level, an expression of spiritual pagan Oneism, the belief that all is one and all is the same. To justify homosexuality, one must ultimately reject the Twoist worship of the Creator and, in its place, worship-created nature, which, like the pool into which Narcissus stared, is a reflection of the created self.
A gay blog states that all homosexuals are forced to develop a spiritual philosophy of some sort, in order to survive the moralistic judgments handed down by the religious community. Certainly, a dysfunctional relation with one’s Father/Maker/God results in a compensatory spiritual relationship with the earth, a desperate hope for meaning and love, which the earth can never fulfill. For the first time in American history, the head of a once “Christian” nation, and the most powerful office holder in the world, the President of the United States, stated in a public speech to the homosexual Human Rights Campaign, that a gay relationship was “just as admirable as a relationship between a man and a woman.” He later added: “No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hand of the person they love.” That homosexuals should be treated with fairness under the law, we all agree. But do we wish to hold up homosexuality to our rising generations as “admirable,” even desirable? Which is it? Are homosexual relationships “admirable,” deserving of presidential approval? Or are they “unnatural…shameless acts” that receive divine judgment? We all have to decide, knowing that these two views are on a collision course.
In the short term, full acceptance of homosexuality has a bright future and will seek to silence biblical teaching. What should Christians do? Well, I have to keep speaking and writing the truth of Romans 1 ESV and other passages. All faithful Christians, while loving their neighbors, must speak the truth whatever the consequences, as did Christians in the first century. Those first-century Christians had no civic or legal protection from the all-powerful religious authorities, from the police, from a general population that wanted, at any price, the social pax romana of “bread and circuses” (Big Macs and ball games), or from an emperor besotted by his totalitarian power and his unbridled sexual fantasies. In spite of this, Paul and his flock did not retreat from identifying Roman religion as “futile, foolish thinking,” or its worship of idols as vanity, or its practice of homosexuality as soul-destroying deviancy.
This was not correctus politicus, but it was truth, which would one day, through the blood of the martyrs, save civilization from self-destruction—until now. We currently hurtle headlong as a world community into the short-sighted seduction of the same pagan Lie, believing it will save our planetary empire. Only the Truth will save us, and that truth must include God’s design for human sexuality.
[iii] Maria L. La Ganga, Hector Becerra and Rebecca Trounson, “Marriage ruling is a religious quandary," Los Angeles Times(20 May 2008).
[iv] These two quotes are cited in George Otis, The Twilight Labyrinth(Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997), 180.
[v] Phillip Steyne, Gods of Power: A Study in the Beliefs and Practices of Animists(Houston, TX: Touch, 1990).
[vii] Peter Buckley, “Mystical Experience and Schizophrenia," Schizophrenia Bulletin, vol 7, no. 3 (1981): 517.
[viii] Shirley MacLaine, Going Within (New York: Bantam, 1990), 197.
[ix] June Singer, Androgyny: Toward a New Theory of Sexuality(London: Routledge and Kegan, 1977), 20-2.
[x] Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Sensuous Spirituality: Out from Fundamentalism (New York: Crossroad, 1992), 24.