Ellen Page To Elliot Page, A Transgendered Journey That Helped Me To Spiritually Grow…

Over the past decade or so, I came to really appreciate the acting career of Ellen Page in just about everything I saw her in. Her roles in Juno, Whip It, and Inception were astounding on every level. Most recently, I became an avid fan of her role in Umbrella Academy on Netflix, with her playing a superhero of sorts by the name of Vanya Hargreaves. Then quite abruptly, the entertainment news suddenly reported that she was no longer Ellen Page, and was now Elliot Page. I was shocked given how long I had followed his career as a woman and struggled to understand how one makes a choice like that to change their sex. But, then I thought about it and asked myself, what if the decision for a person to be transgender was not a choice at all and was no different than me coming to accept the sexuality I was born with?

I know there are many out there who have thought my sexuality has been a choice all this time, all starting back with a mother who thought she did something wrong and assumed it was a choice I was making to be the way I was. While she never did come to acceptance and unconditionally love me for who I always was, as a number of others along the way in my life never have either, I came to realize many years ago that I was born the way I was and didn’t need to make anyone else understand. I came to see that my being attracted to the same-sex as I isn’t and never was a choice, it’s who I was from the beginning, and instead I made a choice for the longest time to be something I wasn’t by trying to play heterosexual in a world where male and female copulation was the norm.

Thinking about my own journey to acceptance of my sexuality has helped me to fully appreciate the journey that Elliot Page has been on to now. While it was quite shocking to see his shirtless chiseled picture in the news, I must say I applaud his finally being at peace with himself, enough so to share a picture of him like that with the world. I’ve read a little about his arduous journey to get to this place and how difficult it was to remain female for as long as he did. I can relate, as I never had peace dating any of the woman I dated over the years and felt exceptionally guilty forcing myself to be sexual with the woman I did. It wasn’t fair to them or me, as I solely did it for the appeasement of everyone else, to be accepted in this world, rather than get rejected.

Nevertheless, while I myself am extremely happy with the sex I was born with and can never see myself as anything but male, I actually appreciate Ellen Page’s transition to Elliot Page a lot more now than I probably would have years ago, as I used to judge transgendered people thinking it was just a psychological issue within them. I’m sorry I spent the years I did feeling that way and actually now have immense gratitude for those who finally find the peace they’ve sought for years after adjusting to the sex they feel they were always meant to be, but weren’t assigned at birth.

So, the bottom line I have now surrounding transgender individuals is that I don’t have to ever understand anyone’s decision who goes through gender reassignment. All I need to do is simply unconditionally love and accept them as being exactly who they are meant to be in this life, no different than I’m exactly who I’m meant to be as well. Thank you, Elliot Page, for your braveness to finally become who you always were meant to be and for all other transgender individuals in this world as well. We are all children of God, worthy and deserving of God’s unconditional love and acceptance. Never let anyone tell you otherwise…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Has “Homosexual” Always Been In The Bible?

Recently, I came across an article that a friend posted to my Facebook timeline in response to a blog I had written about the inconsistencies of the Bible, especially when it relates to homosexuality. I’ve known many in my life who feel homosexuality is a sin because of what they read in its pages, yet I have always felt the original intention of those passages in question have been taken far out of their original intention and context. I’m more than sure now after reading this article my friend shared with me of the truth in that and am very thankful to be able to re-post it here for all of you. Please take it as you wish, and maybe it might just enlighten you, as it did me. (Note: If you’d like the original link to the article, please private message me and I’ll send it to you.)

Has “Homosexual” always been in the Bible?

The word “arsenokoitai” shows up in two different verses in the Bible, but it was not translated to mean “homosexual” until 1946. We got to sit down with Ed Oxford, a graduate of Talbot School of Theology, to talk about this question. Ed, you have been part of a research team that is seeking to understand how the decision was made to put the word “homosexual” in the Bible. Is that true?

ED: Yes. It first showed up in the RSV translation. So before figuring out why they decided to use that word in the RSV translation (which is outlined in my upcoming book with Kathy Baldock, Forging a Sacred Weapon: How the Bible Became Anti-Gay) I wanted to see how other cultures and translations treated the same verses when they were translated during the Reformation 500 years ago. So, I started collecting old Bibles in French, German, Irish, Gaelic, Czechoslovakian, Polish… you name it. Now I’ve got most European major languages that I’ve collected over time. Anyway, I had a German friend come back to town and I asked if he could help me with some passages in one of my German Bibles from the 1800s. So we went to Leviticus 18:22 and he’s translating it for me word for word. In the English where it says “Man shall not lie with man, for it is an abomination,” the German version says “Man shall not lie with young boys as he does with a woman, for it is an abomination.” I said, “What?! Are you sure?” He said, “Yes!” Then we went to Leviticus 20:13— same thing, “Young boys.” So, we went to 1 Corinthians to see how they translated arsenokoitai (original Greek word) and instead of homosexuals it said, “Boy molesters will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

I then grabbed my facsimile copy of Martin Luther’s original German translation from 1534. My friend is reading through it for me and he says, “Ed, this says the same thing!” They use the word knabenschander. Knaben is boy, schander is molester. This word “boy molesters” for the most part carried through the next several centuries of German Bible translations. Knabenschander is also in 1 Timothy 1:10. So the interesting thing is, I asked if they ever changed the word arsenokoitai to homosexual in modern translations. So my friend found it and told me, “The first time homosexual appears in a German translation is 1983.” To me that was a little suspect because of what was happening in culture in the 1970s. Also because the Germans were the ones who created the word homosexual in 1862, they had all the history, research, and understanding to change it if they saw fit; however, they did not change it until 1983. If anyone was going to put the word homosexual in the Bible, the Germans should have been the first to do it!

As I was talking with my friend I said, “I wonder why not until 1983? Was their influence from America?” So, we had our German connection look into it again and it turns out that the company, Biblica, who owns the NIV version, paid for this 1983 German version. Thus, it was Americans who paid for it! In 1983 Germany didn’t have enough of a Christian population to warrant the cost of a new Bible translation, because it’s not cheap. So, an American company paid for it and influenced the decision, resulting in the word homosexual entering the German Bible for the first time in history. So, I say, I think there is a “gay agenda” after all!

I also have a 1674 Swedish translation and an 1890 Norwegian translation of the Bible. I asked one of my friends, who was attending Fuller seminary and is fluent in both Swedish and Norwegian, to look at these verses for me. So we met at a coffee shop in Pasadena with my old Bibles. (She didn’t really know why I was asking.) Just like reading an old English Bible, it’s not easy to read. The letters are a little bit funky, the spelling is a little bit different. So, she’s going through it carefully, and then her face comes up, “Do you know what this says?!” and I said, “No! That’s why you are here!” She said, “It says boy abusers, boy molesters.” It turns out that the ancient world condoned and encouraged a system whereby young boys (8-12 years old) were coupled by older men. Ancient Greek documents show us how even parents utilized this abusive system to help their sons advance in society. So, for most of history, most translations thought these verses were obviously referring the pederasty, not homosexuality!

So, then I started thinking that of 4 of the 6 clobber passages, all these nations and translations were referring to pederasty, and not what we would call homosexuality today.

Q: How did the translation teams work?

ED: Well, they didn’t operate out of a vacuum when they translated something. They used data available to them from very old libraries. Last week at the Huntington Library I found a Lexicon from 1483. I looked up arsenokoitai and it gave the Latin equivalent, paedico and praedico. If you look those up they means pederasty, or knabenschander, (boy molester, in German.) 1483 is the year Martin Luther was born, so when he was running for his life translating the Bible and carrying his books, he would have used such a Lexicon. It was the Lexicon of his time. This Lexicon would have used information from the previous 1000+ years, including data passed down from the Church Fathers.

Q: So, there is historical tradition to show that these verses aren’t relating to homosexuality?

ED: Absolutely! Sometimes I’m frustrated when speak with pastors who say, “Well I believe the historical tradition surrounding these verses” and then proceed with a condemnation of LGBTQ individuals. I challenge them to see what was actually traditionally taught. For most of history, most European Bibles taught the tradition that these 4 verses were dealing with pederasty, not homosexuality. I am saddened when I see pastors and theologians cast aside the previous 2000 years of history. This is why I collect very old Bibles, lexicons, theological books and commentaries – most modern biblical commentaries adjusted to accommodate this mistranslation. It’s time for the truth to come out!

Yes, my brother, who is a pastor, also told me the same thing, that every sector of the church has seen same-sex relationships as sinful for 2,000 years. But the more I read and study though, the more I just don’t see this being true.

Q: What was used before homosexual showed up in the RSV version?

ED: King James Version triumphed the land and they used the phrase, “Abusers of themselves with mankind” for arsenokoitai. If you asked people during that time no one really wanted to tackle it. So that’s why I’m collecting Bibles, Biblical commentaries and lexicons, in order to show how theologians dealt with these passages.

Q: In Your opinion, how would the church be different if the RSV didn’t change “arsenokoitai” and “malakoi” to homosexual in 1946?

ED: In my opinion, if the RSV did not use the word homosexual in first Corinthians 6:9, and instead would have spent years in proper research to understand homosexuality and to really dig into the historical contextualization, I think translators would have ended up with a more accurate translation of the abusive nature intended by this word. I think we could have avoided the horrible damage that was done from pulpits all across America, and ultimately other parts of the world. But let’s don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater — the RSV team did a great job on most everything else. It was an honest mistake.

Q: And do you think your life would have gone differently as a result?

ED: Yes, absolutely! I think my life would have been starkly different if the translation would have been translated with the accurate historical contextualization – especially within my own family, since they rely so heavily on the English translation and put a lot of faith in the translators for the final product in English. Since most people haven’t studied Greek or Hebrew, they have no concept of challenging a translation, and any potential errors that may have occurred during translation. Therefore, many people are unable to consider the implications of the text beyond the English translation in front of them.

Q: Based on your research, what advice would you have for LGBTQ Christians today?

ED: My advice to LGBTQ Christians today would be three things:

  1. As difficult as it may be, try to extend grace and patience to the Church. The vast majority of pastors in America have not done their due diligence on this topic, so we can’t expect them to be any further along than they are currently. In the same way that God has extended grace and patience with us when we sin, we need to extend grace and patience toward others regarding their error on this topic. Bitterness will only manage to create further damage.
  2. Seek out other LGBTQ Christians who have already done their due diligence on this topic and reached a point of peace between their sexuality and God. We can learn a lot from others who are a little further up the trail.
  3. Often remind yourself that this mess is not caused by God, but instead is the result of people who have been entrusted with free will.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

I Don’t Believe The Bible Is The Absolute Irrefutable Truth Of God, But My Best Friend Does!

My best friend and I occasionally spar in friendly debate surrounding the Bible and it always boils down to one thing, that he believes the Bible is the absolute irrefutable truth of God, while I believe it has some truths, a number of great stories and lessons, and a whole lot of misconstrued words that came from man.

My biggest issue with the Bible continues to be how people for over two millennia have used it for their own gain, interpreting its words to suit their agenda, all while saying it’s under the guise of God because it’s in the Bible. But you know what’s in the Bible, in the New Testament in fact, is a bunch of words from a guy name Paul, who was inspired by Christ, but wasn’t God or Jesus. He was a man who had his own biases, issues, problems, and the like. And yet his words today continue to be considered as from God himself just because they are in the Bible and were inspired by God. Look, I’ve been inspired by God and have definitely felt the presence of God leading me at times in my life. But those words of inspiration won’t and should never be in any book that’s considered the word of God because they’re coming from my own interpretation of them, just like Paul’s was.

While I truly appreciate Apostle Paul for his dedication to spread the love of Christ, Paul was human and had his own flaws in life. He believed that women should be submissive to men, rather than ever being their equal and he also turned a blind eye to slavery, essentially accepting it as part of the customs of the time. But over time, religious scholars have refuted all this and said that both were signs of the times back then and are no longer applicable today, which I’m exceptionally thankful for because women should be equal to men, and slavery itself is such a terrible and wrongful practice. Yet, countless religious people still say homosexuality is a sin even though religious scholars have shown that the same sex practices Paul was referring to had nothing to do with one man or one woman deeply loving a same-sex other. Rather, Paul was speaking about pedophilia, adultery, orgies, and dominance, but that continues to be overlooked and discounted again and again. So, why is it ok to interpret Biblical passages about women and slavery in a healthier way today, but not homosexuality amongst other things? Why are some passages justified as erroneous today while others aren’t?

Well the common argument that comes up here next always seems to point back to Leviticus where it says a man should not lie with man as a man lies with a woman. But if you go that route in an argument, then you need to remember in Leviticus it’s not ok to eat shellfish or wear leather on one’s shoes, and plenty more. So, if we all are supposed to obey those laws in Leviticus, we might as well start heading to hell right now because none of us are practicing any of them with any sort of regularity or consistency.

The fact is organized religion has and always will be built upon fear and fear drives the acceptance or denial of various things, calling one thing a sin, while another acceptable. Men were afraid of losing their power to women at one point in time just as much as they were afraid of other races becoming more in power. So, suppression was born out of this, which ironically, my best friend would have fallen into way back when in Biblical times, because he is black and most likely would have been made a slave then. It’s precisely how the terrible institution of slavery came into our country and did such horrendous things to people, all in the name of God and the Bible, and for a time it was totally acceptable. But now it’s not. And thank God!

I believe religion fears homosexuality for similar reasons. The fear that if homosexuality isn’t a sin, that everyone would just reduce themselves to their lust-based desires, that no one would procreate, and so on. I beg to differ for the several decades long relationships I’ve known of others living lovingly and monogamously that I can’t imagine God not blessing, especially because of the unconditional love they share for each other. My best friend has never experienced that type of same-sex love nor been in a multi-year long relationship with anyone monogamously. I believe that if he had, he might be able to see this quite differently. I can totally see my best friend right now reading this, crossing his arms, and finding every possible way to refute all of this by scripture, maybe even suggesting that the Devil is influencing me right now as I write this. I know him that well and love him dearly, but this is the very problem I have with religion, where some type of fear leads to judgement, and judgment eventually leading to division, separation, hatred, and worse.

While my best friend and I may never agree on our interpretation of the Bible, I’ve come to believe that doesn’t matter. Because the only thing that does matter to me now is the very thing that Christ cared about the most, which was for all of us to love each other and God unconditionally, and letting God be the one to communicate within us as to what is right for us and what is not. Thankfully, my best friend and I do a great job here accepting each other for our differences in this area, even though we might have friendly debates from time to time.

So, while my best friend and I may always disagree on what the Bible represents for us, when it comes right down to it, I’m thankful we both agree and see that the love of Christ is what keeps us bonded together after almost 24 years now, and that says something, especially when he sees the Bible as the absolute irrefutable truth of God, when I most assuredly don’t!

Peace, love light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson