gay

recent events have me thinking about the topic of homosexuality. Recently an active NBA player, Jason Collins, came out and told the world that he is gay. This is the first time an active player in any of the major American sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB) has done this, so it has caused a significant amount of discussion. An analyst at ESPN, Chris Broussard, stated the following:

I’m a Christian. I don’t agree with homosexuality. I think it’s a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin … that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.

This is what got me thinking about this subject. I have, for the most part, not had to nail down my opinions on the subject of homosexuality because I’m not gay and I don’t have any close friends who are gay, so it hasn’t really mattered to me. I did vote in favor of same sex marriage here in Maine, but that had more to do with me being a Libertarian than it did with my views of the moral issue of homosexuality, but now, with all the discussion going around and taking up sports radio airwaves, I have been somewhat forced into thinking about it.

What I walk away with is confusion. Honestly, this is something that is difficult for my faith, because, as I will explain, I come to two contradictory conclusions on the topic.

First of all, I think the Bible, even in the New Testament, makes it pretty clear that homosexuality is sinful. When Romans 1 talks about how we, as the human race, have generally walked away from the truth, it includes a somewhat substantial section on homosexuality exemplifying this. So, do I think homosexuality is a sin? Yes, I guess I have to, since I believe the Bible.

Second of all, I’ve kind of had this impression that the “Law” of the New Testament is based on love. Like Jesus explains, if you love God and love others more than yourself, you will fulfill the Law. That seems very consistent with Jesus’ life and ministry. He saves his most aggressive criticisms for those who use God for their own gain, and for those who oppress others. Additionally if you look at any other action or feeling that is considered a sin, it has a victim of sorts. Theft, murder, slander all have victims, all have the sinner putting himself before others. There are other sins where God is the “victim” so to speak. Fear represents a lack of trust in God, worshiping idols and false gods takes credit from the true Creator. I know that this is all kind of half-baked, but I hope you get the idea of what I’m saying.

So, where I can fit all “sin” into this framework, I cannot fit homosexuality into it, and that bothers me. I know, it doesn’t matter if it makes sense to me, and so on and so forth, but it does matter to me, so anyone who wants to say that I have no right to question, can stick a sock in it. I don’t really care about that.

Say that two men or women were to enter into a monogamous committed relationship. We won’t call it marriage because that’ll just open a whole can of worms, but basically that is what I’m talking about. Can those two people love each other? Put each other ahead of themselves? Be selfless with one another? I think they can. I see homosexuality as victimless. I guess you could make the case that God is the victim because it contradicts the way he created us, but he also created us to pair up, and we know that he allows some people to be single, according to Paul. Most other arguments that I can come up with are circular: God is the victim because he said not to do it. See, this doesn’t answer the question of why. Don’t do it, because don’t do it? Seems a little silly.

So, do I think homosexuality is a sin? Yes. Do I think that it makes sense that it is a sin? No. Should this matter to me? I don’t know, but it does.

I would be interested to hear if anyone has anything worthwhile to say on the subject.

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    11 comments

    1. Stacey

      I agree with the above. I think homosexuality is a sin. It says so in the bible. It matters to me becAuse as a Christian, I care what the bible says and when it says not to commit sins- I TRY not to. I know we are ALL sinners and no sin is greater than the other but if I can keep from lying, stealing, cheating… I will do so because I personally think it breaks my heavenly father’s heart and I do not want that. Homosexuality, I believe, breaks Gods heart. It makes him angry. It goes against what he demands in his word. There are many things I will never understand that happens and there are many things in the bible that I may not fully understand but one day, God will give us those answers.

    2. Drew

      I don’t know if I have an answer for you, but I can say that I sympathize with your feelings on the subject. I wonder if we make it a bigger deal than it is. Not that sin of any kind isn’t a big deal in the sense of our relationship with God, but the way we tend to park on homosexuality and not other things confuses me.

    3. Jon

      good thoughts man. I’m glad to see that you do accept it as sin, even though you might not understand why. sometimes Gods laws arent there to protect a victim, or to make God look awesome, sometimes they are there to protect our own selves. it has been statistically proven that people who live homosexual lifestyles are more susceptable to STDs. and in the male version of gay sex, it leads to many physical problems asside from STDs. I once learned in my history class about some plagues and or diseases what have you that went through the world around the time of the old testament jews. it seemed that it was only affecting the people who were not eating what God commanded the jews to only eat. theres one example of how Gods laws might not have made sense, but in the long run it protected his people. I like to think that his law against homosexuality is a similar type of law.

      Also be aware that i am a Christian man, who once lived a homosexual lifestyle, having been freed by christ. so i have some personal experience in the matter, and done a lot of research myself.

    4. Stephanie

      I believe some people are born gay. If that is true, is homosexuality a way that God challenges some people?

    5. Rob

      This is tricky, but I believe that truth need never be compromised.
      The negative effect of a monogamous committed homosexual relationship is not only confined to the two involved. Consider who get’s affected by someone practicing a homosexual lifestyle. Firstly, he is sinning against God and himself by denying the Creator’s design for his life. Then, just like with adultery and fornication, anyone who practices homosexuality is automatically causing his partner to sin and be missing out on God’s plan for his life. Finally, and what is often overlooked, he is sinning against the community by being an advertisement, albeit unintentional, for others to do the same.
      Seriously causing others to miss out on God’s best may be part of the reason God’s harsh words and punishments for this crime!
      Rob

    6. Arlan

      I agree with what you said as far as it goes, and I don’t think I could get any further without broadening the topic somewhat. Can I go a little wider and talk about love? John says that God is love. So what does that meant?

      God has let some stuff happen to me and to other people that I don’t think is very loving. I understand some people say bad stuff happens because God lets us make our own choices but that doesn’t make sense to me when I look at the Bible. The Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry land and the Egyptians drowned. Because of free will? Doesn’t make sense. Or Uzzah, reaching to save the Ark of the Covenant from falling into the mud: struck dead. Because his choices were so much worse than everyone else involved with the project — including the project leader, David? (Teacher’s pet–the stuff that guy got away with…) Or Ananias and Sapphira – in the New Testament – struck dead by God for lying in church. Come on. Nobody else lies in church? How is that fair? God keeps messing with free will.

      Most of the stories in the Bible are about nice ways God messes with free will, like raising people from the dead or providing lunch to a bunch of losers who didn’t pack their own when they ran off to listen to some preacher guy. Or saving three guys from getting roasted alive. We don’t complain about the good overrides but there are plenty of people who don’t get them. So either God can’t mess with free will (which doesn’t match the Bible history) or he only does so sometimes and everyone else is screwed, which doesn’t really fix the problem of God not being loving.

      So God is love even though he lets crappy stuff happen to people which he could stop if he wanted to. How does that work?

    7. Arlan

      If we are trying to figure out what love means to God we should start with Jesus, the son we know for sure God loves. The guy definitely got a bad deal but then he got to go up in heaven and be God, and anyway that was his whole life’s purpose and he knew it so it doesn’t count.

      But it says in one place in the Bible (Colossians) that all things were made by Jesus and for Jesus, and that he sustains all things. And it says in another place (Romans) that all creation groans under the burden of sin. And Jesus is called God With Us (Immanuel) and he said “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (John). So if you put all that together, I would say that Jesus feels all the crappy stuff that happens everywhere, at all times, in all of creation. He is not up in the clouds chillaxing saying “wish you were here.” He is saying to us all “I AM here with you.”

      So for God, love includes suffering in hope. All through the Bible God uses the picture of a woman in labor to talk about an agony that is overcome by joy. This is the birth of the children of God / new creation from the Bride of Christ / people of God. This is the meaning of life, if you will let me get dramatic.

    8. Arlan

      Now you might notice that the last image there is kind of gendered. The people of God (Israel or the Church) are always shown as a woman in a relationship with the male God. I don’t know why God chose to create the world for a process of redemptive childbirth rather than just creating the last state now; and if I don’t understand that than it only follows that I don’t understand why God made us male and female to set up this whole picture of Bride and Groom and childbirth. But I do know that bride and groom, male and female does illustrate what God is doing with the entire creation; that’s indirectly referenced in probably every book from Genesis to Revelation, and it’s pointed out pretty heavily in a couple of places.

    9. Arlan

      So let me wrap this up. I had a guy tell me once that no Christian would ever starve to death because Jesus says he watches the sparrows and clothes the lilies. Well have you looked at the sparrows and lilies? Not a guarantee of a great life. If you read Job and Ecclesiates, or even just pay attention to what Jesus keeps warning his followers, it’s pretty clear that doing the right thing does not mean you get a great life.

      I don’t think God is really that worried about what happens to us because at the end of it all we just get born. I’m not saying God doesn’t care because I would say in some way it is God who is feeling the labor pains of our delivery; but I am saying the bad stuff we can see does not spoil the good stuff God has planned. His anger at sin is not based on whether someone does or does not get hurt, but purely on the attitude that sin shows toward him; either respect for what He is doing or insolent disregard and spite. Focusing our lives on making ourselves happy, or other sin-bent people happy, is giving the big ol’ flagpole salute to the God who says that the hour of labor is not the time for happiness.

      So yeah, it would suck to have homosexual desires if you also thought God said those desires were wrong and should not be fulfilled. But I haven’t got the sex I want yet either. And if I never do before I die? That is not a bad thing.

      A perspective on good and bad (or love and hate) that works on the level of our experiences cannot be reconciled with what a loving God does within our experiences.

    10. Mark Van Norden

      Dan,

      I actually agree that the issue of homosexuality is not nearly as simple as modern Christianity would like to believe. It’s easy to take all the references in the NT and make blanket statements, but there are strong arguments as to why those passages aren’t as cut-and-dried as we’ve thought. The line of thinking I am following is outlined at the following link (http://www.gaychristian.net/justins_view.php), but the gist of it is that the NT isn’t condemning homosexuality as a whole any more than Jesus condemned tax collectors as a whole. Rather, it is the individual sinful actions of specific individuals that were condemned. As Justin points out in his article, there has been, and continues to be, plenty of condemnable actions by heterosexuals, so therefore it can be argued that the issue in those passages isn’t heterosexuality vs. homosexuality at all. Click the link above, as Justin does a better job explaining his views than I did.

      Personally, I believe that homosexuality is a sin (along with many other things that find much greater acceptance in Christian circles), but my reasoning does not come from the passages often cited. Rather my opinion comes from the following: God is big on imagery and the like. He went to great lengths in the OT to create types and shadows that speak to our NT existence. One example is His decision to express His nature in His people, and in general I believe He has created male and female to each uniquely express different aspects of His personality. The NT makes clear reference to the relationship of husband and wife being symbolic of Christ’s relationship with the church. If we muddy the water with same-sex relationship then that symbolism is broken, and personally I believe God never intended that to happen. Now, there may be other good arguments against homosexuality, and I am sure that there are many that would counter my own argument, but nonetheless that is my own opinion.

      Having said that, I want to continue the discussion in another vein, to explain why this issue is so hard for me. If we assume, for the sake of discussion, that homosexuality is a sin, then we have to lump it with all other sins, like gluttony, slothfulness, disobedience to parents and other things. The truth is that my propensity to eat sugar is no less a sin than homosexuality. So then, how can I condemn my brother or sister that walks in that lifestyle (yes I believe that gay people can be Christians)? The truth is, there is no easy answer to this, at least not one that I see in my current level of understanding (which admittedly is not that great). I think it is one of many issues that the organized church glosses over with its hell and damnation approach (with another one being how the body would approach marijuana use if it was legalized). May we all continue to strive together in a common pursuit of a wisdom that has not commonly been sought in years past.

    11. Mark Van Norden

      Arlan, I agree with much of what you say. I would just add the following to the discussion.

      All of history has been a matter of God unfolding His grand plan, developed before the foundation of the world. He is singular in His purpose to accomplish that plan. From a limited, human perspective God can look callous, because He allows the good to suffer while often times the bad “prosper”. The bible is clear about God’s sovereignty, and Paul likens God to a potter, who has the right to make from the same lump of clay vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor. That God would harden Pharaoh’s heart to not release the Children of Israel, and then turn around and punish him for that decision, underscores our inability to understand His ways. Like the NT says, His ways are higher than our ways. So, we are left accepting what we know the word says, that He is a God of love, etc., in spite of things that we see that might seem to speak to the contrary. How can finite mankind ever grasp the plans and workings of an infinite God? As Hebrews points out, it comes down to a matter of faith.

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