has four new books out: an updated, revised and expanded edition of
classic soft sci fi romance novel
SECRET MATTER -- with its quirky and mystical spin on what it means to be gay. Click on the title for info.
An historical novel, written in collaboration with historian/anthropologist Walter L. Williams,
set in the Old West TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life With the Navajo. And a collection of gay positive stories
contributed by more than 30 writers titled CHARMED LIVES. And his beloved spiritual romance novel
GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE has just been rereleased by Lethe Press.
Table of Contents
Also on this website:
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the
Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams
GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe
Books on Gay Spirituality:
Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The
Dimensional Structure of
Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
You're Not A Wave
Emptiness & Religious Ideas
Experiencing experiencing experiencing
Going into the Light
Meditations for a Funeral
The way to get to heaven
Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal
Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva
John Boswell was Immanuel Kant
Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook
Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer
The Way Out by Christopher L Nutter
Gay theologian and psychologist Daniel Helminiak has a wonderful little book called What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality. It's been a major bestseller in the gay genre for years now. People, especially gay people, are really interested in this question.
Helminiak explains how the references in the Bible that are applied to homosexuality really refer to something different from what we know as modern gay consciousness.
John Boswell's classic Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality treats this question in an even more scholarly fashion (placing the Bible in the context of the rise of classical civilization).
See Boswell & Kant on this site for a discussion of
gay consciousness and "reincarnation."
They both show that the Biblical objections to homosexuality come out of purity codes and ritual taboos, not real morality. In fact, the word "abomination" specifically means a taboo-violation in distinction to a sin. "Abominations" aren't worse, though the modern English word is used with that connotation. Abominations are acts our culture now calls "gross," like putting your bare feet in someone's face so they are exposed to the odor. That's hardly sinful, but it is "abominable."
The real objection to homosexual activity among the ancient Hebrews was that it was accepted -- even made sacred -- among the Canaanite peoples they lived around. They were instructed to avoid contaminating their particular tribal culture with cultural styles of their neighbors--for the sake of racial purity, not moral law.
As Helminiak & Boswell both explain, the references in the New Testament in the Epistles are mostly mistranslations or mispresentations.
The reason answer to the question "what does the Bible say about homosexuality" is "It doesn't matter."
Homosexuality as we know it today, and understand it as a psychological orientation based in neurological dynamics, wasn't understood by the ancients at all.
The condemnations in the Bible are no more valid than the assertions that the Earth is flat and that our planet is at the center of the solar system.
We know better.
Many commandments in the Bible are disregarded--even by conservatives--because they are no longer applicable to modern life. The evolution of consciousness has moved on.
The injunction against a man’s cutting his hair (Numbers 6:5) is an obvious example; everybody understands that was about a cultural style, not about morality. The same is true of the command against loaning money at interest (Leviticus 25:36); this ancient prohibition conflicts with our whole modern financial system, so we ignore it. Jesus unequivocally forbid divorce (Matthew 5:32), but most non-Catholic Christians disregard this commandment because it’s inconsistent with today’s marital lifestyles.
Modern gay-sensitive Scripture scholarship, like that in Daniel Helminiak’s perennial gay bestseller, What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality and John Boswell’s classic Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, shows the commandments against homosexual sex are also not as unequivocal as they might seem. They too reflected cultural styles, some of which are clearly outdated--like the verses that call for the stoning of homosexuals that are patently inconsistent with the spirit of religion and the modern concept of human rights.
Christians ought to rejoice that modern scholarship shows that the sexist and bigoted language of the Scriptures is actually a case of mistranslation, and the early Christians weren’t as unkind in their thought as we’ve been led to believe. Why did a religion of love and forgiveness need lists of sinners about whom to have judgmental thoughts? Jesus never gave such lists. The only people Jesus ever spoke against were the Scribes and Pharisees—the Temple officials and conservative religious leaders. And why is a religion of love and forgiveness still keeping lists of sinners? (Perhaps because it’s still dominated by Scribes and Pharisees!)
In any case, what difference does it make what people thought thousands of years ago? Morality has to be about how people live today, about how they can avoid causing each other pain and suffering. The Bible doesn’t say anything about oil spills, air pollution, or wasting electricity. But these are moral issues today. The violation of human and civil rights is a pressing moral issue that earlier cultures wouldn’t have understood. These are new ideas.
Jesus's teaching is in direct opposition to the Old Law of the Bible. A "New Law" I give you, he said, that you should love one another.
Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.
Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000.
His Lammy-nominated book GAY
PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature
of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003.