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Hate Thy Neighbor: How the Bible is Misused to Condemn Homosexuality Paperback – October 31, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Linda Patterson is a civil litigation attorney who lives in San Diego, California. Ms. Patterson was raised a Christian, but became an agnostic while taking courses in biblical studies at a Methodist University. After graduation, she married her college sweetheart- a man who she was with for nearly 7 years, until she recognized at the age of 28 that she is a lesbian. She attributes her belated realization to the homophobia that had been instilled in her as part of her Christian upbringing. She also believes that the constant onslaught of hatred and negativity that is directed at homosexual people by many Christians is based upon widespread misconceptions about what the Bible says about homosexuality. She therefore took a sabbatical from her legal career to rigorously research the issue of homosexuality and the Bible, and to share her discoveries in Hate Thy Neighbor: How the Bible is Misused to Condemn Homosexuality.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 167 pages
  • Publisher: Infinity Publishing (April 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0741452154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0741452153
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,343,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Houston Burnside Jr. on August 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ever so often a work is crafted with such insight and passion that it becomes the standard by which other works on the same subject are judged. In grappling with the subject of homosexuality / sexuality and the bible, Linda Patterson brings a refreshingly clear perspective about what many have left to the purview of theologians. Tackling the standard "baseball bat" passages...bringing to the table sacred texts that the church would just as soon forget...opening the door on the dichotomy between what the Judeo-Christian scriptures say verses what the proof-texting interpretations proffered by many major and minor religious groups proclaim: Ms. Patterson's method draws the reader into a dialogue with the Divine at a level, though unintended, that challenges the believer and agnostic alike to wrestle with God for the truth behind canonical inspiration.

I whole heartedly recommend this book, both for the religious and non-religious alike. Let its pages inspire you to question the majoritarian miss-use of the Divine for political purposes. And, allow its process to draw you out of complacency, challenging the propaganda of those loud bullies whose twisted measure of the Holy is exclusion, hate, objectification, and separation.

Rev. Houston Burnside, Jr.
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This book covers much of the same ground that other recent books do in examining those biblical passages used to condemn homosexuality. The author is agnostic rather than devoutly Christian, however, and in individual chapters she offers her own analysis of the verses in Genesis, Leviticus, Romans, 1 Timothy and 2 Corinthians that Christians associate with homosexuality. The analysis of these scriptures in itself offers little that is new, although her perspective as a doubter gives her a somewhat different focus.

The author does add additional chapters on subjects not often included in similar reviews, including a summary of harsh and condemning statements about homosexuals by "devout" Christians; a review of Biblical creation myths used to condemn or dismiss same-sex loving relationships; the love stories of David and Jonathan and Naomi and Ruth; an examination of the "family values" associated with Abraham, David, and Christ; and a review of the strong biblical support for slavery and how Christians justified using it. It was not until 1995 that the Southern Baptist Convention - which strongly supported slavery - issued an official statement and apology condemning the racism that grew out of the practice.

One significant error in the book is that in discussing Paul's statements in Romans 1:26-27, the author falls into the same interpretative trap that many Christians do, equating condemnation of specific sexual behaviors with condemnation of sexuality per se. The author does not readily recognize that Paul's statements ("God gave them up to degrading passions") are embedded in a lengthy rant against a return to idolatry and practices associated with it, including the sexual behaviors he references.
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I believe that the title of this book is at least a little 'tongue in cheek' But I love it. It illuminates the example many conservative Christians give by both what they say and how they live. Often one hears them quote the words of Jesus "love thy neighbor as thy self" but do they practice this? Sadly I think that the answer to that question is often, but not always, a resounding 'no'. As example I quote from the author: "Over the centuries...some of Jesus' followers have used the Bible to support such horrors as the Crusades, the Inquisition, oppression of women, burning of "witches", anti-Semitism and slavery." One wonders who do they think their neighbors are, other Conservative Christians? I digress. I have read many books on this subject and found this one to be informative. It also an enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.
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Linda Patterson has done a valuable service by debunking the prevalent misinterpretation of those passages in the Bible that are misused to support the false claim of divine endorsement of homophobia. She has done her homework, and presents the results clearly and lucidly.

What she doesn't mention, and perhaps should, is the mechanism which, generally during the eighth month of one's fetal existence, determines one's sexual orientation by the amount of estradiol present in the fetal brain. Strange as it may seem, the female hormone estradiol, if present in sufficient quantity, causes the development of a male brain pattern, which, at puberty, results in one being attracted to women; absence of estradiol in the brain at that time results in a female brain pattern, causing one to be attracted to men. The developing fetus produces a protein called alpha fetaprotein, which binds to estradiol and prevents it from crossing the blood-brain barrier, but the male hormone testosterone can cross, and the fetal brain produces an enzyme that causes testosterone to be converted to estradiol. So if the testes of a male fetus produce testosterone soon enough, which most do, or if he does not produce sufficient alpha fetaprotein, then when that male reaches puberty, he will be attracted to girls; if not, then he will be gay. Likewise, if a female fetus doesn't produce enough alpha fetaprotein, she will become a lesbian.

I know that I could not be sexually attracted to men even if I wanted to, nor could I choose not to be attracted to women. And I know that no one in his or her right mind would choose to become a second-class citizen by being attracted to the same sex if he or she could choose to be heterosexual.
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