In his Essay, titled: ‘Why Judaism (and then Christianity) rejected Homosexuality’, Dennis Prager argues that the Judeo/Christian culture that provided the west with illumination and human flourishing for millennia was due more than anything else to Judaism and later Christianity’s ability to channel human sexuality into monogamous marriage.
Prager wrote: “When Judaism demanded that all sexual activity be channelled into marriage, it changed the world. The Torah’s prohibition of non-marital sex quite simply made the creation of Western civilization possible… It ensured that sex no longer dominated society, permitting a heightened male-female love and sexuality (and, thereby, almost alone created the possibility of love and eroticism within marriage), and began the arduous task of elevating the status of women.”
“Among the consequences of the unchannelled sex drive is the sexualization of everything – including religion. Unless the sex drive is appropriately harnessed (not squelched – which leads to its own destructive consequences), higher religion could not have developed. Thus, the first thing Judaism did was to de-sexualize God: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” by his will, not through any sexual behavior. This was an utterly radical break with all other religions, and it alone changed human history. The gods of virtually all ancient civilizations engaged in sexual relations – And the cultist practices used to worship these gods were replete with all forms of deviant sexual activity.”
The revolutionary nature of Judaism’s prohibiting all forms of non-marital sex was nowhere more radical or more challenging to the prevailing assumptions of mankind, than with regard to homosexuality. To appreciate the extent of the revolution wrought by Judaism’s prohibiting homosexuality and demanding that all sexual interaction be male-female, it is first necessary to appreciate just how universally accepted, valued, and practiced homosexuality has been throughout the ancient world… Other than Judaism, “none of the archaic civilizations prohibited homosexuality per se.” Dr David E. Greenberg, who betrays no inclination towards religion, notes: “It was Judaism alone that about 3,000 years ago declared homosexuality wrong. And it said so in the most powerful and unambiguous language it could find: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is an abomination.” “And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed an abomination.”
Prager, a devout Jew, says: “The Hebrew Bible, in particular the Torah (The Five Books of Moses), has done more to civilize the world than any other book or idea in history. It is the Hebrew Bible that gave humanity such ideas as a universal, moral, loving God; ethical obligations to this God; the need for history to move forward to moral and spiritual redemption; the belief that history has meaning; and the notion that human freedom and social justice are the divinely desired states for all people. It gave the world the Ten Commandments, ethical monotheism, and the concept of holiness (the goal of raising human beings from the animal-like to the God-like).”
The bedrock of western civilization, and of Jewish life, has been the centrality and purity of family life. But the family is not a natural unit so much as it is a value that must be cultivated and protected. The Greeks assaulted the family in the name of beauty and Eros. The Marxists assaulted the family in the name of progress. And today, gay liberation assaults it in the name of compassion and equality.
The steamrolling of traditional institutions to adopt the homosexual agenda presents the real challenge to our civilization: “The lesson from history is clear: once Eros is released from the bonds of family, Dionysian passions can possess the soul. Giving in to them is a form of madness, because erotic desire is not directed towards any end that can satisfy it. It is insatiable. Once loosed, it will destroy the rational order of things. “That which causes evil in the soul” – in which Plato includes homosexuality – will ultimately result in political disorder. The liberation of Eros from its Judeo/Christian understanding is not freedom but annihilation”.
Written by Fr. Tomás Walsh, SMA