Once again the Bible is proving how it wastes careers, holds back our culture and should be abandoned as a source of morality.
Professor Jennifer Wright Knust's new book, Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire, and her recent blog on CNN both purport to show that the Bible does not actually prohibit homosexuality. She claims that the message is ambiguous at best, and that there are many passages that actually condone same-sex relationships.
I'm sure it's no surprise to anyone that her book and blog have provoked many responses from conservative Christians. Perhaps the most scholarly reply is this one by Professor Robert A. J. Gagnon. The good professor has written not one, but two books that prove that the Bible condemns homosexuality.
And you know what? We don't care!
This debate is just another illustration of why the Bible shouldn't be anyone's source of morality. The Bible is a mess. If there was a God and He wanted to ban homosexuality, wouldn't He have just said so with no ambiguity and no other stories that cast doubt?
Think about it. How hard is it for ordinary mortals like you or me to write a rule, like "Sex is only to be between a man and a woman. No exceptions." There, I did it. I'll bet you could too. So why couldn't God?
It makes you wonder if maybe the Bible was written by someone else ... like maybe Satan?
But back to my main point: This story shows why the Bible is bankrupt when it comes to morality. These are two intelligent people, both with PhD's and teaching at major universities. Both have devoted careers to studying the same book. And they can't agree on an incredibly simple question. Why? Because the Bible is nothing more than a collection of myths and stories from two thousand years ago, gathered under intense political pressure by unqualified people who had no idea what a mess they were creating.
Just think of the fantastic contributions two great minds like Professors Wright-Knust and Gagnon could make to humanity if they weren't sniping at each other over who is the best qualified to guess the Bible's true meaning. They might be writing great works of literature, discovering new medicines or contributing to our country's political debate. Instead, they're wasting days, months and years studying a dusty collection of stories and then attacking each other over its errors and inconsistencies. What a terrible waste of two great minds.
Common sense, science and humanist morality all tell us that homosexuality is both natural and harmless. Even if the Bible was clear (which it isn't), it doesn't change these facts. If the Bible condemns homosexuality, then the Bible is wrong and should be put aside in favor of a more enlightened morality.
So the next time someone asks you, "Does the Bible condemn homosexuality?" the right answer should be, "Who cares?" Don't argue the question. It's a fruitless, impossible debate that only diverts us from true moral progress.
(See also: How to go Crazy: Just Read the Bible.)