What Was Jesus’ “Orientation”?

We all have unique perspectives from which we understand our universe, including how we read, examine, and live by the Word of God.  Some philosophers have concluded that there is nothing that can be known outside of the “self,” a very self-centered philosophy indeed! 

This is why Christ gave us the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the true paths of the straight and narrow way.  The Holy Spirit is our Teacher, who reveals the will and purposes of the Father to us.

On a secular level, I often discussed the concept of solipsism in my literature classes as we analyzed a literary text, focusing on the consequences of seeing the world only through a narrow vision of reality.  

Solipsism is the philosophical theory that only the self exists, or at least the only reality that can be proven to exist. Thus, a solipsistic view sees only what appears through the lens of one’s own eye. Rene Descartes originated the idea that “I think therefore I am,” or in Latin, Cogito ergo sum.

In today’s “post-modern” world, the idea permeates our culture that any interpretation of reality is acceptable, for “It’s a matter of personal opinion,” and, “Who is to say that one opinion is right and another is wrong?”  It is wrong to judge another person’s views, it is believed, although doing so often occurs.

Many fallacies arise solipsistic thinking, of course, but my students and I were often engaged by seeing the solipsistic ideas of Humbert Humbert in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, for example, for his life was consumed and destroyed by his narrow and narcissistic views of his own false perspectives of reality.   

One question that has arisen of late, and it’s one that will bluntly be asked more often and more in the days ahead, is whether Jesus was sexually active, and even more blasphemously whether He was a homosexual.  

Interestingly enough, one website that purports objectively to examine this issue uses the following guideline to oppose Christians who may never have considered the possibility that “Jesus was gay”:

On the other hand, there is an often quoted concept that reading the Gospels is like looking down a well. What you see in both cases is a reflection of yourself. Social activists often view Jesus as a social activist. Spiritual people frequently look upon Jesus as spiritual. Heterosexuals may see at Jesus as a heterosexual. Homosexuals may look upon him as gay, etc. (Source)

This website consists of people who are “a multi-faith group,” consisting of such beliefs as atheist, agnostic, Christian, Wiccan, and Zen Buddhist, and their goal is “religious tolerance,” which essentially means that we can believe what we wish as long as we all get along together.  

Thus, the article from this website on the subject of Christ’s sexuality is clearly intended to introduce the possibility of Christ’s sexuality to those of us who are dogmatic and intolerant, in order to make the currently discussed views of human sexuality both normal and acceptable.  Showing that Jesus was similarly tolerant and even a participant in such sexual activity is likely seen as an acceptable way to change the minds of hating and bigoted people and to make them more tolerant of those in our world who engage in such sexual proclivities.

Consequently, it is believed, there are as many views of what is “true” as there are faces and wells to look down, but as long as we choose not to be intolerant, we may all coexist together without hatred, prejudice, and persecution.

However, while we are all taught today to be tolerant and accepting of those with other beliefs, Jesus Christ Himself seemed intolerant at times.  Witness His views of some of the religious leaders of His time, in addition to His future world-wide judgment that will separate the sheep from the goats  (see, for example, Matthew 23:13-36).

An Example of Solipsism

Rollan McCleary is a British-born Australian who, based on his own homosexual experiences and writings about astrology, has concluded that Jesus was a homosexual:

He uses Jesus’ “astrological chart” — the planet Uranus figures prominently, as in the case with many homosexuals, he says — and argues that there are clues in the Bible to back up his views. In the Gospel of John, the disciple John frequently refers to himself in the third person as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” McCleary thinks this is highly significant. . . .”You maybe have to be gay to read the signals and to see things and research things which other people wouldn’t,” he added.

[Found in:  Rollan McCleary, “A Special Illumination: Authority, Inspiration and Heresy in Gay Spirituality,” David Brown Book Co., (2004)]

In other words, McClearly’s own solipsistic perspectives led him to believe that Jesus was gay. He also relates that his own knowledge of astrology reveals that Jesus’ horoscope included the planet Uranus, a sign that supposedly figures prominently in the charts of many homosexuals.  

It is not clear how McClearly was able to determine the astrological chart of Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, for He was “in the beginning” (John 1:1), and His exact birth date on Earth is unknown.

Even if an astrological chart could accurately predict Jesus’ sexual orientation, the task of creating such a chart appears quite impossible. Dr. McCleary told Australian Broadcasting Commission radio, howevver, that 

In the past, “one or two queer theologians” had attempted to show Jesus was gay. “People haven’t taken them very seriously because they don’t have any evidence and they say things so sensationally that people are not really going to listen or just be very angry. What I’m doing is showing a much more theological and also astrological dimension on all this which will make a lot more sense to people.” (Ibid.)

Dr. McCleary definitely must be looking down the well and seeing only what he wants to see.

What Do the Scriptures Say?

Overall, general agreement exists even among those who argue Jesus’ sexual orientation that the Scriptures are essentially silent on the issue of His sexuality.  Still, it is usually implied that the New Testament writers either chose to bury any rumors or suggestions that Jesus was sexually active or that any such passages were deleted by later clerics and clergymen. 

It is further assumed that even Christ’s overt advocacy of opposite-sex marriage and the Mosaic law provides no insight into any personal sexual orientation or practices.  Likewise, it is said, the Scriptures are also silent on whether Jesus was single or married, childless or with children.

Jesus’ views of sexuality, including homosexuality, are manifestly clear in the Scriptures to logical and non-solipsistic minds, however, for otherwise He would have been exposed as manifestly hypocritical.  He would be open to assuming the same role he derided in those Pharisees He exposed as hypocrites and sinners.

Since the Pharisees accused Jesus of being possessed with demons and consorting with prostitutes, they surely would have accused Him of sodomy if there had been any possibility of immorality, a situation that is admitted even by the Religious Tolerance website:

If Jesus were gay, and if the Jewish establishment knew of his orientation, they would certainly have used it against him. Yet there is no record in the Gospels or in subsequent Jewish literature of the topic ever having been mentioned. (Source)

Jesus’ Own Declaration

Jesus taught the scriptural view that God made a man and a woman for the purpose of exclusive marriage.

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:3-6)

Jesus then clarified His teaching further in the following verse by saying,

And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery. (Matthew 19:9)

Significantly, when Jesus is further queried by His disciples (they wonder why anyone would want to marry), Jesus shows a unique perspective on sexuality, one that most likely pertains to His own life:

But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” (Matthew 19:11-12)

Jesus Himself is therefore revealing His own sexual nature, yet stating that He chooses to abstain from all sexual behaviors or acts “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”  Therefore, although it was uncommon for Jewish males to remain unmarried, particularly if they were rabbis.  The Essenes were a sect that practiced abstinence, for example: 

There can be no doubt that many Essenes (scholars say that some might have been married) chose to be unmarried. According to Philo and Josephus, they did so because they thought that women had a negative impact on men. There’s no reason to believe that Jesus shared this perspective. But He did join the Essenes in accepting an apocalyptic worldview that anticipated the coming of God’s kingdom. (Source)

More Illogical Interpretations

Today, we witness only the beginning of the efforts to recruit Jesus into the LGBT, etc. army.  These improbable interpretations of the Scriptures range from the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a child, popularized by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, to the suggestion that Jesus and the “disciple that Jesus loved” were a homosexual couple:

Patrick Goodenough, referring to the passage in John’s Gospel, wrote:

One might argue that Jesus loved all of his followers in a non-sexual way. Thus to identify Jesus’ love for John in a special way might indicate a sexual relationship. The disciple was “the” beloved. He was in a class by himself. (Source)

And quoting Robert Goss concerning the same passage, Goodenough argues that since Jesus and the beloved disciple ate together side by side they must have been sexually intimate:

What’s being portrayed here is a pederastic relationship between an older man and a younger man. A Greek reader would understand. (Source)

A number of passages in John’s Gospel describe the disciple “whom Jesus loved,” including John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, and 21:20.  The repetition of this phrase is seen as proof that Jesus loved John intimately, though this conclusion is illogical.  John was merely using a “third-person” perspective to speak of himself to avoid calling inordinate attention to his own presence.  

Specifically, the story about the Last Supper when one of the disciples whom “Jesus loved” asks Jesus which disciple would betray Him is mentioned.  This disciple, presumably John, is described as “leaning back on Jesus bosom,” and this intimacy is seen a proof that Jesus and John were sexual partners (see John 13:21-26).  

This conclusion is highly illogical, however, a typical example of a “hasty conclusion”‘ fallacy.  The disciples were all informally reclining at the table, as was usual–the reason why their feet needed to be washed.  As they ate and shared the meal together, it was highly likely that they would have touched one another in many ways, just as males today in America may have contact with one another in non-sexual ways such as teammates on a football or baseball team.

Another extreme example of solipsistic interpretations refers to the following passage:

After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand:  there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.  [If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”] (Mark 7:14-16)

Someone named “J Richards” has suggested that this passage “shows that Jesus approves of homosexual acts,” for the sentence refers to “dietary laws” and also applies to “blood transfusions, medication, organ transplants, and artificial insemination.” Therefore, Richards suggests, it could apply to homosexual acts as well (qtd. here Source, although the actual source no longer appears online).

This suggestion would be laughable if it weren’t so blatantly blasphemous and horribly unclean.

The Centurion’s Servant Healed

The story of the Roman Centurion’s servant is related in Matthew 8:5-13 and also in Luke 7:1-10, where the story is told in a fuller narration.  

In Matthew, the Centurion speaks directly to Jesus and makes his request that the servant be healed.  In Luke’s version, however, Jesus never actually speaks to the Centurion, but instead some Jewish elders were asked to make the request for healing. The difference is significant, for the reaction of Jesus to the Centurion’s faith is marvelously revealed in these differing circumstances: Whether the Centurion is speaking directly or only through the Jewish elders, the impact is the same, for faith is the result Jesus marvels about.

The following is the interpretation of the events by Michael Kelly, however, as quoted not only in the religioustolerance.org website, but also many others:

One day a Roman Centurion asked him to heal his dying servant. Scholars of both Scripture and Ancient History tell us that Roman Centurions, who were not permitted to marry while in service, regularly chose a favorite male slave to be their personal assistant and sexual servant. Such liaisons were common in the Greco-Roman world and it was not unusual for them to deepen into loving partnerships….Jesus offered to go to the servant, but the centurion asked him simply to speak a word of healing, since he was not worthy to welcome this itinerant Jewish teacher under his roof. Jesus responded by healing the servant [from a distance] and proclaiming that even in Israel he had never found faith like this! So, in the one Gospel story where Jesus encountered people sharing what we would call a “gay relationship,” we see him simply concerned about — and deeply moved by — their faith and love. Source

Kelly further implies that “Jesus’ sensitivity towards the gay couple might have arisen from his own bisexual or homosexual orientation.” (Source)

This interpretation is highly ironic, however, for Jesus neither sees nor talks with either the Centurion or the servant, yet the implication is that, first, there was a homosexual relationship between the two, and, second, that Jesus obviously approved of this relationship since He healed the servant.  This interpretation misses entirely the significance of the story, revealed by the Centurion’s statement that Jesus so approves of:

The centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” (Luke 7:6-8)

Jesus instead only marvels at the Centurion’s faith:

Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” (Luke 7:9)

Even More Ridiculous

An even more outrageous interpretation concerns the following passage from Mark’s Gospel, the account of Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion:

A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked. (Mark 15:51-2)

Although the translations may vary, this is the result according to Peter Murphy:

We don’t know from the sources what really was going on, but we do know that something was very peculiar between Jesus and young men. (Source)

Equally ridiculous and illogical is the perspective taken on the story of the fallen woman who anointed Jesus’ feet at the home of Simon the Pharisee. When Simon said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39), Jesus engages him in a dialogue that demonstrates not only Jesus’ forgiveness but also Simon’s hypocrisy.  

However, the point is made that Jesus seems upset that He received no kiss from Simon.  Anyone who assumes that Jesus is asking for a gay relationship with Simon must have drugged, for “kissing” in greetings were common in those days and were not sexual in nature, as Paul wrote: “Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16).

Many more examples of solipsistic thinking and interpretation are available in today’s culture, though searching for them and reading them has been nearly as onerous as reading a stack of freshman compositions.  

The Apostle Paul, however, gives some guidelines that reveal how to live our lives and read the Scriptures in non-solipsistic ways.  Since we are neither omniscient nor filled with all godly wisdom, we need to depend on the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, to guide us into all understanding. 

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  (James 3:13-18)

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