The early Christian laboured to spread the gospel and the life and times of Jesus. Christ’s early followers were brought up with the moral codes of Jewish religion, but the sexual ethics of the gentiles they sought to convert was dramatically different. In a world dominated by the pagan Roman Empire, a variety of sexual appetites were known and even celebrated. The pantheon included Aphrodite, the goddess of love, Pan, a pastoral fertility god, and many other deities renowned for their sexual adventures. Roman laws permitted polygamy, divorce, prostitution by both male and female. The tradition allowed for the carnal union between men and boys, the sexual use of slaves, sacrifice of unwanted infants through abortion and infanticide.
Christians pride themselves in a dramatically different view of sexuality. “This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain from fornication. That each of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honour, not with lustful passion like the gentiles who do not know God…” – 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
The word fornication is found in the New Testament and is described by many as sex outside marriage, but that’s not what the word originally means. Fornication was translated from the Greek word ‘pornia’, which is a basket term that refers to any serious sexual offense namely incest, bestiality, adultery, rape, hiring of prostitutes, shrine prostitution/idol worshiping.
The word fornication was derived from “fornix”, a Latin word which means ‘archway’ or ‘vault’, and which became a common euphemism for brothels where prostitutes could be solicited in vaults beneath Rome. More aptly, fornication means “done in the archway”, thus, it originally referred to prostitution.
Ancient Rome was filled with hundreds of statues of their gods, hundreds of free bathhouses and shrine prostitution temples. The goddess named Cybele was the most popular of all the deities. Romans call her Mater Deus, which means “mother of the gods and protectress of Rome”. Inside Cybele’s temple were the Galli priests. Galli priests were castrated men who offered themselves sexually to male worshippers. During ritual ceremonies, the Galli were known to make loud sexual moans and give wild erotic dances which drove worshipers into a state of complete and unrestrained ecstasy. This ecstasy was also induced by the use of recreational drugs. A variety of drugs and alcoholic beverages were used in pagan ceremonies. Drunkenness was connected with the widespread practice of divination. A ritual act designed to allow direct communication with the gods. Worshippers believed it gave them the power to foretell the future and insight to interpret the reasons for illness and misfortunes.
A variety of species of plants were smoked and administered through the anus to induce a trance-like state. Sources can confirm that ingesting psychoactive drugs usually produces a more powerful instantaneous reaction than drugs taken orally. Once the drunkenness took effect, all too often, that ecstasy was soon turned into self flagellation. In Romans 1: 22-27 and Romans 6:12, Paul writes about the people indulging in pagan adultery, which resulted in the committing of sexual acts that went against nature.
It’s important to note that there is no mention of two men or two women in a loving committed relationship. It doesn’t even mention two women having sex. It simply says that as a result of their idolatrous ways, God gave them up to vile passion which included women doing things against their nature and men doing lustful things with other men.
Those lustful passions aren’t specified, but it does bring to mind the story of the golden calf, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai to find the Israelites engaged in drunken sexual orgies after praying to the shrine they created. Every clobber passage used to persecute homosexuals has a direct reference to idolatry and temple sex. The reason for this is because in order to please false gods, pagan sex would have to be a regular occurrence, and by engaging in anal or same sex, worshipers would prevent any impregnation. Keep in mind this was before the invention of condoms. By preventing impregnation, there wouldn’t be any confusion of the blood line passed to their children, which was important not only in Jewish culture but also the Romans.
Paul’s use of the phrase “against nature” justifies many Christians’ reasoning behind the persecution of gays. It’s common for some Christians to call a gay person unnatural, but Paul’s use of the phrase did not refer to same-sex relationships, but instead referred to pagan ritualistic sex. It is clear that ancient writings show that the worshipping practices of these idols was an intense drug-infested experience that brought people to a transient state of mind, causing themselves injuries. The sane mind would not do self harm such as flagellation, castration of the penis, the sexual use of children and human sacrifice.
St Justin, an early Christian apologist who lived between AD103-163, addresses Romans in his writing saying, “We see that almost all so exposed (not only the girls but also the males) are brought up to prostitution. And as the ancients are said to have reared herds of oxen, goats, sheep or a grazing horses, so now we see you rear children only for this shameful use. And there are some who prostitute even their own children and wives and some are openly mutilated for the purpose of sodomy; and they refer these mysteries to the mother of the gods (Cybele).”
Furthermore, the idea of sex against nature comes from the concept of people having sex with angels. The angels were said to have tried to assume power and because of that, they were cast down from heaven to earth. The fallen angels acted in direct opposition to God’s will by inter-breeding with humans. In Genesis 6, the Bible talks about the sons of gods (gods, plural) mating with daughters of men, and there is a certain evil connotation to it. How can angels have sex? Enoch describes it thus: “Extra terrestrials stood on earth; they had sex with some of our girls.” This was so written by Enoch; it wasn’t God’s invention. Enoch never called them gods. He called them guardians of the skies or watchmen. According to ancient texts, fallen angels not only mated physically with the earthly women, they produced offspring, the Nephlim, a race of giants similar to what was portrayed in the story of David and Goliath.
These sexual acts were forbidden by God’s laws, and that’s how First Century readers understood Paul’s use of the phrase “against nature” when referring to sex.
Romans 1 never condemned two men or two women in a loving committed relationship. It clearly addressed pagan idolatry that was rampant in Roman culture. The phrase “against nature” refers to the drug-infested sex rituals done to honour false gods through flagellation, castration of the penis, child prostitution, sex with angels, and human sacrifices. Finally, verse 26 does not mention two women having sex, but says that women changed the natural use of what is against nature.
If St Paul wanted to condemn gays, he would’ve simply said two men or two women are forbidden to fall in love, but he didn’t. Many Christians have clearly taken verses 26 and 27 out of context in order to justify their personal disdain towards gays. The above simply agrees with God’s jealous nature. He hates allegiance to other gods. He hates any sexual act done ritualistically.
And bearing all this in mind, the question remains thus: Does God hate homosexuals?
Written by Gad