Susan and Joyce, interesting Bible issues, aren't they?
In response to your questions: Ecclesiastes. Why would I like that book? There are a number of reasons. First, note the common thread in many of my favorite Bible quotes: the endless efforts to be make perfectly fine distinctions between good and evil, right and wrong, lawful and not lawful, clean and unclean, etc. etc. etc. are all put down very hard. Here is an Old Testament book which is as critical of the Pharisees and their endless arguments over minutia and their ignoring of the true heart and meaning of law as is Matthew.
Second, it's a very realistic view of life. It doesn't make promises that can't be kept.
Third, in the end it declares what we have is really enough if we relax and enjoy the life we have, it can be a good one to live.
So, if you read the entire thing you'll find out that, while it's reputation for being hopeless and dreary isn't entirely undeserved, the author does end up concluding that it is best to live your life to the fullest. It is good to have friends, it's good to have a good reputation, it is good to live with the one you love, enjoy life as best you can is the ultimate message, just keep God in mind while you do so.
It is a waste of time to seek great powerful meanings and to imagine yourself a critical player in a huge, vast battle. Better to live your life as best you can and to be fulfilled by that. The entire theme of my story God's Wolf.
Why do I like King James? The language is so out of date and it's difficult to comprehend, but the images are beautiful and it is truly the Bible as poetry, something not commonly found in other translations.
St. Paul on homosexuality and putting down women is really interesting!
First, the actual word used was arsenokoitai. The word at the time for homosexuality was paiderasste. Why use a different word? The word used is translated as "them that defile themselves with mankind".
Does that mean homosexuals? If it does, why not just say homosexuals? It seems much more likely that it means a particular sexual act rather than homosexuality in general. It was accepted as meaning masturbation throughout the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, an even well past the time of Martin Luther. It only changed into homosexuality after masturbation became accepted by society.
So what's the justification for changing the interpretation of this very ambiguous and unclear word? There really isn't any. At least, not from a scholarly viewpoint.
Even worse, those who look at the Bible in a scholarly way, whether they are believers and nonbelievers, regard this entire passage as part of a forgery added at least 100 years after the rest of Paul's works were written.
In short, Paul didn't write it.
The evidence is really very compelling that he didn't. Only those who refuse to let evidence influence their faith believe this passage belongs in the Bible.
Much the same thing to be said about the passages that are attacking women. Remember that Paul said. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Why should he say that and then later add on, ..."except of course, I was wrong; so ignore everything I already said..."? Why not just remove the offending passages?
There's good reason for believing this also is pure forgery. A later addendum by someone who didn't like the morality laid down the Bible, so he decided to add on a few of his own prohibitions.
Anyway you look at it even if we accept the interpretation that Paul, if it was Paul, is condemning homosexuality; it is very clear that only male homosexuality is covered by the term. It is clearly not applicable to females or lesbianism. Shades of Queen Victoria!
While the Victorians bitterly condemned homosexuality and threw homosexuals in prison (Oscar Wilde), lesbianism was not against the law. It is reported that this is because Queen Victoria would not permit it. Women would never think of such a dirty thing! She thought it was insulting to have a law against something that wasn't possible.