Regarding an earlier conversation I had with a theist about slavery and homosexuality in the Bible, he has posted a nice response to my questions on his blog. I suggest you give it a read if you are interested in the topic.
I also sent him a follow-up e-mail as follows:
Your explanation and clarification of the topic in question is very helpful. You highlight the fact that the Bible really needs to be read in context to be completely understood (something that “verse quoting” Christians sometimes seem to forget). I certainly appreciate your taking the time to put together this information.
There are two minor items I’m hoping you can clarify further for me:
1) In the quoted text from J. P. Holding, he says that cutting of a slave’s ears is not in Israel’s law codes. But what about Deuteronomy 15:16-17: “And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee; Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.”
2) What about slaves in the New Testament? Is the “acceptable” type of slavery being described in (for example) Colossians 3 and Luke 7?
Regarding my question about acceptable forms of homosexuality, I was explicitly asking about the morality of a loving, committed relationship between homosexuals who do not have relations that ” make a mockery of God’s created order” as described in the Old Testament. I could imagine a pair of homosexual Christian men making such a commitment, and it would probably be even easier for a pair of homosexual women to live in this way.