Isn’t it about time that we review and reconsider the Bible’s translations and language. What we know now definitely suggests that many words and phrases have not been accurately translated from the original Greek. Take a word like messiah, which is the transliteration of a Hebrew term, Mashiach. The New Testament (Greek) equivalent to the word messiah is christos, and both terms mean "the anointed one." It also has hints of chosen, promised. After Jesus’ death, the early Christian movement took the word christos and made it Christ to refer to Jesus.
In that vein, I pass this along. It is yet another compelling reason for why we MUST be able to think critically about the sources of our beliefs. Blind adherence to anything is ignorant and offensive. It does not serve God, and it does not advance the truest messages of religious beliefs.
“In his new book Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self and Society, Jay Bakker, the son of Jim Bakker and the late Tammy Faye Messner, gives clear and compelling answers to my nagging questions.
Simply put, homosexuality is not a sin, says Bakker, 35, pastor of Revolution NYC, a Brooklyn evangelical congregation that meets in a bar.
Bakker, who is straight and divorced, crafts his argument using the same "clobber scriptures" (as he calls them) that are so often wielded to condemn homosexuals.
"The simple fact is that Old Testament references in Leviticus do treat homosexuality as a sin ... a capital offense even," Bakker writes. "But before you say, 'I told you so,' consider this: Eating shellfish, cutting your sideburns and getting tattoos were equally prohibited by ancient religious law.
"The truth is that the Bible endorses all sorts of attitudes and behaviors that we find unacceptable (and illegal) today and decries others that we recognize as no big deal."
Leviticus prohibits interracial marriage, endorses slavery and forbids women to wear trousers. Deuteronomy calls for brides who are found not to be virgins to be stoned to death, and for adulterers to be summarily executed.
"The church has always been late," Bakker told me in an interview this week. "We were late on slavery. We were late on civil rights. And now we're late on this."
Examining the original Greek words translated as "homosexual" and "homosexuality" in three New Testament passages, Bakker (and others) conclude that the original words have been translated inaccurately in modern English.
What we read as "homosexuals" and "homosexuality" actually refers to male prostitutes and the men who hire them. The passages address prostitution -- sex as a commodity -- and not same-sex, consensual relationships, he says.”
Cathleen Falsani is author of Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace, The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers and The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People.