• Homosexuality and the desire to beat my head against a wall

    March 19, 2012

    My last post was all about how one determines what instruction in the Bible is cultural (not intended for all times) and what is eternal (unchanging). I said, “It’s not as simple as one might think–or hope.” A few days later, I received this comment:

    “It is simple … you just have to believe what God says in His Word and quit believing everything the world tells you is moral. We are in the last days of this age and the Bible says that in those days, good will be called evil and evil will be called good. Just use your good common sense.”

    My first reaction is to want to beat my head against a wall, but that would hurt, and the reader who posted the comment no doubt was sincere and meant well. Also, the comment is a very common response in the Bible-belted south, where many of my readers find themselves, so I guess we should talk about it.

    “It is simple … just believe what God says in His Word …” Of course this comment came without any “simple” instructions on how to answer the questions I raised in my last post. How do you determine which of the many things the Bible says are for today and which aren’t? Should women wear head coverings to church “because of the angels”? The Bible says so. Should women be silent in the church because Eve was the one first deceived, not Adam? The Bible says so. Is it “disgraceful” for a man to have long hair? Doesn’t “the very nature of things” tell us so? The Bible certainly does. If you’re going to set these commands aside, as do most churches, including (I assume) the church the commenter attends, we ought to have a reason, don’t you think? Or is it just as “simple” as believing what God says in His Word? If it is, well, ladies, get out your doilies.

    “… Quit believing everything the world tells you is moral.” As though it were only “the world” telling me gay is okay. As if I’m so shallow and unthinking as to have based my beliefs on what Lady Gaga says. It’s a tad condescending. Unintentionally, perhaps, but condescending nonetheless. To think that I have the Bible figured out and others who have a different take on things are just “believing everything the world tells you is moral.”┬áMost, if not all, of the books I read on the topic of Christian faith and homosexuality during my two years of study were written by committed Christians who were members (and often leaders) in the church. Their arguments were based on their understanding of Scripture, not the moral whims of contemporary culture. Most of my arguments here in these blog posts have been based on my understanding of the Bible, not my opinions of what today’s culture thinks. There are many issues Christians disagree over, not because they’ve been hanging out in Hollywood too long, but because they honestly, in good faith, cannot see eye to eye over the Bible. Pope Santorum and fellow Catholics think the use of condoms is immoral. Clearly, God gave us sex for procreation, so to intentionally thwart that process is sinful. At the other end of the spectrum, protestants regularly have vasectomies. They and the Fellowship of the Snip-snip see sex in Scripture as more than a procreative process. For them, sex is a beautiful picture of the two-made-one and a legitimate expression for husband and wife even when they do not wish to have children. People of both opinions get their beliefs from the Bible (and their condoms from Walgreens). It’s just not as simple as “quit believing everything the world tells you is moral.” Sometimes the confusion is homegrown. It’s origin is in the church, in the Bible, and “the world” is just a scapegoat.

    “We are in the last days of this age and the Bible says that in those days, good will be called evil and evil will be called good.” I think that’s a pretty good description of all days, not just the last days. But how do you determine what is evil and what is good? Follow the Old Testament’s laws? Paul says we’re not under them anymore. Follow the apostles’ instructions? Again, ladies, the doilies, please. Love God and love people, then? I think that’s probably about right, but then why would a gay relationship be a problem if it is marked by sacrificial love and commitment?

    “Just use your good common sense.” What would be the need of common sense if “the world” were always wrong and the church always right (and the Bible always clear)? The commenter seems to have unwittingly conceded in the last sentence that indeed things are not always as simple as “just believe,” and that indeed common sense judgement is often necessary to distinguish between good and evil.

    Hopefully, I have displayed good common sense here in these posts. If the fruit from the traditional stance on homosexuality is bad, and I think it is; if the scriptures are unclear on the matter, as I think they are; if same-sex couples are coming to Christ and bringing their kids with them; if same-sex relationships are at least as healthy as opposite-sex relationships (and I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary); if no demonstrable harm has come to states and cultures where gay marriage has been embraced–then perhaps our view on the matter needs to shift.

    Of course, I could be wrong. Despite all my reading and thinking on the matter, despite my best efforts at exercising good common sense, I may be just plain wrong. What then? We’ll chat again soon.

    Posted in: The Gay Posts

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