Thursday, May 27, 2010


The purpose of religion has been to set out the morals and values by which we live our lives by. The problem is that morals and values are abstract notions reflecting the intellectual environment of the time. As our intellectual environment changes, our personal morals and values adapt. Does this mean that we are ignoring and disobeying religious writings?


The topic of homosexuality as dictated by religious teaching is hazy, mostly due to the absence of the topic in religious documents. Traditionally homosexuality has been highly discouraged by most religions, in some cases punishable. What did the religious figures have against homosexuality? Condemning of homosexuality could be the product of fear. Sex can be a tool for empowerment; a way to dominate, typically, women. By banning homosexuality, men would not be fearful of being overpowered, they would always be dominant. It could also just be a bi-product of the way religion sought to confine people into a social order; defining society by roles to maintain law and order. This can be understood by the following equation:

Sex = procreation + marriage

…therefore implying heterosexuality.

Today homosexuality is more accepted (comparatively) and people are reconsidering their beliefs regarding same sex relationships. However, it is still seen as an ‘alternative’ way of life and not as a minority orientation.


In Ancient Greece, homosexual relationships were common, the most common form being pederasty. This was a mutually beneficial relationship between an older (20-30 year old) male and a young boy, where the older male would act as a role model for the younger boy educating, protecting and loving him and the young boy would provide youth, beauty and admiration. This form of homosexuality was ideal as the relationship did not interfere with the older man’s status in society; if both partners were older men, the one who is passive looses respect therefore the passive role was played only by women, slaves and young boys. According to the CIA World Factbook, as of May 2010 98% of people living in Greece are Greek Orthodox. The Greek Orthodox Church has a strong standpoint against homosexuality.


Views of

Homosexual Orientation

View of

Homosexual Acts



Varies: Unnatural (Dalai Lama), a karmic punishment (SE Asian countries), an alternative. Not generally condemned in itself.

Unlawful for monks, who must be celibate regardless of orientation. For other Buddhists, "sexual misconduct" is prohibited under the Third Precept, which depends on the circumstances and the results.

"Where there is mutual consent, where adultery is not involved and where the sexual act is an expression of love, respect, loyalty and warmth, it would not be breaking the third Precept." -BuddhaNet


Not generally considered sinful in itself, though some see it as a purposeful perversion. Some accept it as a natural alternative, while others regard it as a non-chosen disorder akin to alcoholism.

Traditionally considered sinful. Many Christians and denominations continue to uphold this belief, while others have reconsidered it or in the process of doing so.

"Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." -Romans 1:27


Not generally condemned in itself. Some ancient texts and temples depict it as one of many sexual inclinations, while Vedanta discourages homosexual desires as lustful and/or distracting.

Condemned by most Hindu cultures, though not often for religious reasons. The teachings of Vedanta, which emphasize liberation from the material world to the spiritual, allow only heterosexual sex, within marriage and for purposes of procreation.

" all things connected with love, everybody should act according to the custom of his country and his own inclination." Kama Sutra IX

"O son of Kunti, the pleasures that are born out of sensory contacts are sources of pain. They certainly are transient, having a beginning and an end. The intelligent man is wise enough not to indulge in them." (Bhagavad Gita 5.22)


Not generally condemned.

Sinful and punishable under Islamic law.

"We also sent Lut: He said to his people: Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds." -Qur'an 7:80-81


Orthodox: Condemned as rebellion against God.

Conservative: Neither condemned nor affirmed.

Reform: Generally accepted as alternative.

Orthodox: Strongly condemned.

Conservative: Violation of Jewish law, disqualifies from Jewish marriage and religious leadership. Reform: Approved in context of committed relationship; civil marriage supported, but generally not religious marriage.

"A man shall not lie with another man as with a woman; it is an abomination." -Leviticus 18:22

Reference: no author, Religion Facts, accessed May 2010,

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