Mix and match eating arrangements are common – and acceptable – in cafeterias. Grab a tray, pick what you like, and pass over the rest. This is fine for eating out. However it does not work so well with religious consumption.
That is, certain creedal-based religions simply do not allow this cafeteria-style selectivity. They tend to be an all-or-nothing affair. Judaism and Christianity are boxed sets, and believers are not permitted to simply pick those bits which they prefer, and ignore those bits they do not find to their liking.
Consider the recent case of a Hollywood celeb. It seems that Lindsay Lohan is converting to Judaism. Why? Because her lover is Jewish. Oh, that’s nice. Except for one minor detail: her lover is also female.
As the Daily Mail reports, “Lindsay Lohan is converting to Judaism in a bid to prove her devotion to Jewish girlfriend Samantha Ronson. Although raised a Catholic, the 22-year-old star announced she was planning to change her faith on her Facebook page. After jetting into London last week, Lindsay joined girlfriend Samantha at the Bar Mitzvah of the DJ’s half-brother Joshua Ronson at the Westminster Synagogue on Saturday.”
Her estranged father Michael Lohan said: “She’s exploring Judaism right now. She’s explored the Church of Scientology, she tried Kabbalah, and now this. I think it’s just another phase. But either way, she’s involving God in her life, and I’m happy about that.”
Of course one should not make too much of any Hollywood star and their latest escapades. And one should not expect too much intellectual and moral stability from them either. But I trust that someone along the way will point out to poor Lindsay one glowing contradiction here: Judaism – certainly in its orthodox form – fully condemns homosexuality.
So for Lindsay to think she can simultaneously be a good lesbian and a good Jew is stretching things a bit. The Hebrew Scriptures are clear in their rejection of any same-sex relationships and activities. The main passages (Genesis 18:20-19:29; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; and Judges 19:1-21:25) leave no room for doubt here.
Christianity too is clear in its denunciation of homosexuality. Both religions affirm that God’s intentions for human sexuality are that of heterosexual marriage – full stop. There are no other avenues permitted in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.
God’s intentions are made clear in the early chapters of Genesis. Gen. 2:24 states that one man and one woman only can constitute a marriage bond. As John Stott comments: “Thus Scripture defines the marriage God instituted in terms of heterosexual monogamy. It is the union of one man with one woman, which must be publicly acknowledged (the leaving of parents), permanently sealed (he will ‘cleave to his wife’), and physically consummated (‘one flesh’). And Scripture envisages no other kind of marriage or sexual intercourse, for God provided no alternative.”
As Old Testament scholar Kenneth Mathews says, “Without question 2:24 serves as the bedrock for Hebrew understanding of the centrality of the nuclear family for the survival of society. Monogamous heterosexual marriage was always viewed as the divine norm from the outset of creation.”
Or as Dr J.J. Davis says, “Human sexuality is reflected in the differentiation of two, not three or four, sexual genders, nor some androgynous combination of the two.” Homosexual couples cannot fulfil the command to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28).
Says another commentator: “It was God’s ordained design for sexual relations to be in the form of male-female union, man and wife becoming ‘one flesh,’ and God created the distinction between the sexes to that end. This creation of sexual differentiation by God from the beginning established heterosexuality as the normative direction for the sexual impulse and act.”
Moreover, this creation ordinance is constantly reaffirmed by the New Testament authors. Jesus affirms it in Mark 10:6-9 for example, while Paul affirms it in I Cor. 6:16 and Eph. 5:31. As ex-gay Bob Davies of Exodus International says, “Any alternative of this pattern is a distortion of God’s original plan.”
Thus heterosexual marriage as intended by God is the measuring rod by which we judge homosexuality or any other sexual expression. But such theological truths are not only lost on Hollywood starlets but many others who have come to believe that truth is relative, morality is subjective, and Holy Scripture is something we can treat like a cafeteria.
Such attitudes may allow us to get away with doing our own thing, but they do nothing to silence the clear Scriptural affirmations and prohibitions. But as mentioned, Hollywood celebs are not usually noted for intellectual consistency or moral uprightness, let alone theological literacy.
I suppose we have come to expect such behaviour and thinking from the jet-setters. But ordinary men and women should know better. If they don’t, they have just been informed.