Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life of the Messiah and his teachings (Freud, 2016). The religion took birth approximately 2000 years ago in the 1st century AD in Nazareth a city in the country of Judea, the modern day Israel. It started as a Jewish cult as Jesus himself was a Jew. He travelled around the villages and taught the religious authorities to root their approaches to religion in love and service. He taught his apostles about the will of the Supreme Being and the way in which humanity would be restored to the world. It spread quickly throughout the Greco-Roman world. In spite of the Christians being oppressed earlier by the Roman Empire, Christianity ultimately came up to be the state religion (Adkins & Adkins, 2014).
Governments and churches have developed varied number of relationships all over the history of the world since the advent of Christianity. These relations have not always been amicable. They have been hostile as well in some cases. These cases have been largely grounded in the different perspectives of the Bible. The Bible is a collection of many books which has been written over a span that exceeds a millennium. It contains diverse outlooks on government and religion. Hymns were sung in the Temple located at Jerusalem. These hymns were known as Psalms. The Psalms represent the king to occupy almost a divine position. The Psalm110:1 demonstrates a king to be positioned at the right hand side of God. In Psalm 2, God assures the king: “I will give you the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall rule them with an iron rod; you shall shatter them like an earthen dish” (Kidner, 2014; Calvin, 2013) According to the Psalm in discussion, the kings receive the responsibility of the nations as an inheritance from the Supreme Being himself. Certain hymns also known as the coronation hymns were used to celebrate the special relationship that the kings shared with the Supreme Being. This viewpoint influences the self-judgement of the kings ruling over Judah, a province situated in the province of the ancient Israel.
A sharp contrast to this is seen in the words of Prophet Samuel. Prophet Samuel condemns the kings as oppressors and sinners who have been allowed by the Almighty as an adjustment for the sinfulness of the humans. Prophet Samuel preaches to the common tribal men of the country that they should not choose a king. He preaches that the kings, if appointed, would draft the young men of the country in the royal army. He would allegedly devote all the young women in his service. In this way, prophets who were thought to be the messengers of the Almighty God, stood up to the rulers of the land in ancient Israel and criticized their sinfulness. In the similar manner as Saul was denounced by Samuel, David was criticized by Nathan; other later prophets criticized the rulers of their time as well. In the Gospel of John, it is found that the Messiah declares that he desires to establish the rule of God over the whole world rather than rule over a single kingdom of the world. In the gospel, there are repeated notifications to the fact that Jesus, the Messiah, had been offered the kingship of a particular land. He had denied the offer every time. The religion can be divided into three different traditions, the Catholics, the Protestants and the Orthodox traditions. These divisions are based on the interactions of the churches following these branches of religion with the governing bodies of the respective states.
Psalm 110 states: “The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool” (110:1). This excerpt from the Bible states the fact that God had entrusted the earthly rulers with the responsibility of the weaker sections of the kingdom. It may be said, from this point of view that the rulers of the land were chosen by the Almighty himself and entrusted with both the responsibilities and the rights of correct rule (Kidner, 2014: Crompton, 2015). The Orthodox Christians, like all other branches of the religion, believe in the fact that the Almighty God had revealed his own self to the world through Jesus Christ. The followers of the Orthodox tradition and a few branches of the Roman Catholics continue with the idea of the Kingship by the Almighty. They feel that the rulers of the earth can be easily corrupted and that they need to be reprimanded by the Pope and the religious leaders.
There are two divisions in the Protestant wing of the church. These divisions are the Lutheran and the Calvinist traditions. The Lutheran tradition concentrates on the fact that Jesus had pointed out to the roman governor Pontius Pilate. The statement points out that Jesus was not the ruler of any mortal kingdom, his kingdom was the Divine Kingdom. The Lutheran school of thought promotes the existence of two kingdoms; the kingdom of the Almighty God that is ruled by the gospels and the kingdoms of the earth that are ruled by the civil governments. Calvinism, also known as the Reformed tradition or Reformed faith, is a major branch of the Protestantism (Boettner, 2017). It follows the theology and practices that were practiced by John Calvin and other theologians of the Reformation-era.
There exists a variety of views within Christian faith on homosexuality and sexual orientation. There exist schools of thought within the religion that consider homosexuality to be a sinful and immoral practice while there also exists schools of thought that consider the same-sex relationships to be morally acceptable. Instances can be found that demonstrate that even within the followers of one school of thought there may exist differences of opinion. It is not necessary for all the members of a certain denomination to agree to the views of their concerned churches. Since the advent of the religion, the leaders of the religious community have been writing on the same-sex activities among males but have not been vocal about the same in case of females. During the past century prominent religious groups and theologians have embraced a number of practices and beliefs towards homosexuality. These views also included the establishment of the some of the accepting and open followers who support the members of the LGBT community actively.
Prior to the advent of Christianity there had been groups of people who practiced certain sexual activities that are, in modern times, termed as homosexual practices. There are Judaic prohibitions in Leviticus that address the same-sex relationships among men. Leviticus 18:22 proclaims, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination" while another verse, the Leviticus 20:13 declares, “If a man also lies with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (van der Kooij, 2016; Grudem, 2013). During the fourth century, St. John Chrysostom in the fourth sermon on Romans had stated that homosexual; practices were considered worse than the act of murder. He further stated that a person enjoying these practices contributes in the worsening of these acts. The written records of the early periods of the church contain powerful denouncements of homosexual acts.
John Boswell, a historian and philologist, argued the existence of a Christian rite called adelphopoiesis. It is a rite that helps same-sex people unite as “spiritual brothers/sisters” (Masterson, 2017). This resulted to a channel that was approved for promoting sexual and romantic love between homosexual couples. Boswell points out to the icon of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, an example of two saints who were martyred together. In the ancient Greek Mythology, though the saints were referred to as “erastai”, the word used to relate to lovers. Many long term and death penalties were awarded to the practitioners of homosexuality during the early ages of Christianity. The practitioners could have been sentenced to penances that lasted for a minimum duration of twenty years, awarded a death sentence or even be burned to death. John Boswell characterizes the condemnations of the religious belief towards the same-sex couples a reason for of intolerance rise in Europe all throughout the twelfth century.
R.W. Southern disagrees to Boswell’s claims. The eminent historian points out that the eleventh century laws treated same sex relationships in the same manner as the laws treated the cases of practicing and maintaining sexual relationships with animals. St Peter Damian in a continued address to both the problems of masturbation and homosexuality wrote down the Liber Gomorrhianus, Book of Gomorrah. He portrayed the same-sex relationships as a force that is counter rational power to undermine religion morality and society in itself (Leyser, 2013). According to him, these practices needed an immediate suppression in order to stop it from spreading among the clergymen (Cheng, 2017). The Benedictine monk reported that even Otto the third, an emperor of Rome had been involved in same sex relationships and shared the bed and the bath with several members of his own sex. Saint Hildegard, a Benedictine abbess, describes visions that she had. In one such vision, she quotes that the Almighty denounces same-sex relationships and condemns those that practice the same (Mungai, 2014). One of her younger contemporaries, Alain de Lille, preaches that nature itself condemns the homosexual practices
According to the Catholic understanding of the law of nature and the traditional interpretations of certain passages of the Holy Bible, practices of the Catholic Church deem same-sex relationships to be immoral (Subhi & Geelan, 2012). This is approved by a number of groups that include many of the churches including the catholic churches, Orthodox church and some of the protestant schools especially the evangelist cults like united Methodist church and the Southern Baptist Convention. Engaging in activities involving sex between homosexuals is considered a sinful practice by the restoration Churches as well. There exists a few of the sects of the religion that consider involvement of a person in the activities related to homosexual sex to be morally acceptable (Stella, Taylor, Reynolds & Rogers, 2015; Reynolds, 2015). This approach has been accepted by many of the churches of North America. A relatively high number of churches in Europe have confirmed to this theory too. These churches include the united, reformed and the Lutheran churches of the continent.
In conclusion it may be said that though several members of the religious sect consider homosexuality a sin, there is a considerable number of members of the religion who accept homosexuality to be a morally acceptable. A number of the American Fundamentalist and Evangelical Christians consider the acts of homosexuality to be sinful and unacceptable to the society. According to the Fundamentalist Christians, a heterosexual family created by the Supreme Being should be the very basic step of the civilization which is violated by the homosexual practices of relationships. Thus, according to them the members following the homosexual practices of sexual activities violate the will of the Almighty. On the other hand, twentieth century theologians challenge the traditional theological understandings and positions of the Bible and have opined that some passages of the Holy Bible have been wrongly translated or may not have been referring to the acts that are nowadays referred to as homosexuality. It can be safely commented that the religion is widening the prevailing mindsets on homosexuality thereby widening its acceptance in the present day scenarios
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