The Easy Arguments

) Selective Application

Leviticus prohibits male same-sex relations, but it uses similar language to prohibit the eating of shellfish. And while Paul did describe same -sex relations as “unnatural,” he also wrote that for men to wear their hair long was contrary to “nature.” Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 addresses several type of sinners who are mostly ignored to the exclusion of gays. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 states: Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.   

 

Vines, Matthew (2014-04-22). God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships (Kindle Locations 245-247). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. .

2)      A sin like no other

Many gays openly wonder why same-sex relationships are supposed to be sinful or why the Bible apparently condemns them. With most sins, it isn’t hard to pinpoint the damage they cause. Adultery violates a commitment to your spouse. Lust objectifies others. Gossip degrades people. But committed same-sex relationships did not fit this pattern. The only ones objecting seemed to be those who should mind their own business. Not only were they not harmful to anyone, they were characterized by positive motives and traits instead, like faithfulness, commitment, mutual love, and self -sacrifice. What other sin looked like that?

The church’s condemnation of same-sex relationships seemed to be harmful to the long-term well-being of most gay people. By condemning homosexuality, the church was shutting off a primary avenue for relational joy and companionship in gay people’s lives. That wasn’t the case with other sins. Avoiding other sins always seemed to work to our long-term benefit.

Vines, Matthew (2014-04-22). God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships (Kindle Locations 253-258). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

3)      A Cross t0o heavy to carry

Jesus emphasized that sin does not encompass merely wrong actions. It also encompasses the desire for those actions. As he explained in Matthew 5, murder and adultery are sins, but so are anger and lust. So from a Christian standpoint, if all same-sex relationships are sinful, all desires for them should be renounced as well.

While gay Christians can choose not to act on their sexual desires, they cannot eradicate their sexual desires altogether. Despite the prayers of countless gay Christians for God to change their sexual orientation , exclusive same-sex attraction persists for nearly all of them. The failure of reorientation therapy is why the “ex-gay” ministry Exodus International shut down in 2013 . It places gay Christians who adhere to the traditional biblical interpretation in an agonizing, irresolvable tension. In order to truly flee from sin as well as the temptation to sin, they must constantly attempt what has proven impossible: to reconstitute themselves so they are no longer sexual beings at all.

This doesn’t match the traditional Christian understanding of celibacy. Functionally, it’s castration. Such an absolute rejection of one’s sexuality might make sense if one’s sexual desires were oriented exclusively toward abusive or lustful practices. It makes considerably less sense when at least some of one’s desires are oriented toward a covenantal relationship of mutual love, care, and self-sacrifice.

Vines, Matthew (2014-04-22). God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships (Kindle Locations 336-337). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

4)      The Bible is and has been evolving

Many Christians believe the bible contains the inerrant word of God. This can only be true if we see the bible as a living bible that must be read within the context of its time. Any other reading of the bible would indicate that New Testament writers, inspired by God, was a biased piece of work that elevated some groups far higher than others. Consider the messages to slaves:

 Ephesians 6:5     Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,

1 Peter 2:18    Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.

Titus 2:9-10    Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

The Bible has has claims geocentricity (sun rotates around earth) as opposed to the correct opposite Copernican view of heliocentricity. See verses below.

Joshua 10:13    And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day.

Isaiah 38:8    Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.” So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.

The point to be made here is that as we learn more about LGBT’s do not they deserve the same evolving views that Christians grant to other groups (like “slaves”) and other matters. Failure to give gays a fair look would be descriminatory – an attribute clearly not fostered by Jesus.

 

5)      If it doesn’t fit – you must aquit! (Gender Complimentarity)

Many people argue against the evils of homosexuality due to gender complementarity. As they see it, God designed men and women as exclusive complements to one another in marriage, making the differences between the sexes essential to the meaning of marriage. The argument regarding gender complimentarity however is based on opinions and not from scripture. In fact, God has in nature created many examples of homosexual behavior.

Vines, Matthew (2014-04-22). God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships (Kindle Locations 464-465). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

6)      “GAY” is a new term

Understanding homosexuality as a fixed orientation is a recent development. For the overwhelming majority of human history, homosexuality was not seen as a different sexual orientation that distinguished a minority of people from the heterosexual majority. It was considered instead to be a manifestation of normal sexual desire pursued to excess—a behavior anyone might engage in if he didn’t keep his passions in check. It was a more challenging and novel way to pursue gratification.

We see this in our prison systems were allegedly gay sex is performed by males who otherwise may have never had a gay sexual experience. Do we consider these people to be gay? No. We realize that homosexual behavior is the expression of pent up sexual starvation. Therefore it is both a great and unwarranted leap to assume that when the bible speaks of homosexual activity that this implies that the sexual orientation of the participant is gay.

It is surprising to review ancient writings that describe same-sex attraction as an expected— although not exclusive— experience for the average man.

-          In one of Plato’s fourth-century BC dialogues, a character praises an athlete who was so determined to win that “he never touched a woman, nor a boy either, in the whole period when he was in the peak of his training.

-          A third-century BC epigram speaks of a man’s interest in both sexes without any hint of surprise: “Kallignotos swore to Ionis that no one, man or woman, would ever be dearer to him than she.… But now he is heated by male fire, and the poor girl … isn’t in the picture anymore.”

-          A spurned woman in a third-century BC poem who hopes to woo back her lover makes the following statement: “Whether a woman lies beside him, or a man, may he be … forgetful of them.”

-          In 92 BC, a fairly typical Egyptian marriage contract included this statement: “It shall not be lawful for [the husband] to bring home another wife in addition to Apollonia or to have a concubine or boy-lover.”

In ancient Greece, the most common form of same-sex behavior was something modern societies would never accept: a sexual relationship between a man and an adolescent boy, called pederasty. As the book Greek Homosexuality by K. J. Dover explains, pederastic relationships were a rite of passage for many Greek males . Boys took the role of the passive “beloved” from around the ages of twelve to seventeen, and they became active “lovers” as adults. 27 Most males who engaged in pederasty went on to marry women, and some who married continued to consort with boys. So their same-sex activity didn’t mean they fit today’s definition of “gay,” as they showed equal, if not greater, interest in women.

The point here is we cannot label people as gay or straight based on one or more acts of homosexuality. The issue isn’t that simple although conservative interpreters try to make it that way. At best, they skim the surface of scriptures relating to homosexuality.

Vines, Matthew (2014-04-22). God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships (Kindle Locations 530-533). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

7)      Celibacy is a gift and a choice – not a mandate

Many traditionalist Christians believe that life time celibacy is the only choice for a gay person. No other group of people are forces to carry such a heavy yoke. The gay person can only look forward to a life time of frustration and “emotional dead ends” in that they may get close to a partner – but never too close. Failure to abide by these strictures can lead to guilt and depression. Does anyone believe this is what Jesus wanted?

Christians throughout history have affirmed that lifelong celibacy is a spiritual gift and calling, not a path that should be forced upon someone. Yes, permanently forgoing marriage is a worthy choice for Christians who are gifted with celibacy. But it must be a choice. Mandatory celibacy for gay Christians does not fulfill that purpose. It undermines it. It sends the message to gay Christians that their sexual selves are inherently shameful. It’s not a fulfillment of sexuality for gay Christians, but a rejection of it.

Jesus describes the three types of men who should not marry. These include those who are sexually impotent or sterile, those who are castrated, and those who pursue a call to celibacy. Gay men are not included in this group nor, as mentioned before, do they fit into any classification at the time.

For gay Christians, the challenge of mandatory celibacy goes far beyond their mere capacity to live it out. Mandatory celibacy corrodes gay Christians’ capacity for relationship in general. But it does something else equally harmful: by requiring gay Christians to view all their sexual desires as temptations to sin, it causes many of them to devalue, if not loathe, their bodies.

One of the best sources for understanding Catholic theology on celibacy is Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Although John Paul II differed from the Protestant Reformers in that he supported clerical celibacy, he also insisted that celibacy could not legitimately be forced on anyone. In his view, even clerical celibacy wasn’t forced, because Catholics who felt called to marriage weren’t obliged to pursue the priesthood.

Vines, Matthew (2014-04-22). God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships (Kindle Locations 706-708). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

8)      Does God rank sins?

Christians generally hold that any sin, no matter what its earthly consequences, is equally effective in separating us from a holy God. In practice, though, Christians often honor a hierarchy of sins. Gossip , gluttony, and selfishness tend to attract little negative attention. But sexual sins— especially when they are known publicly— are likely to be met with vocal opposition. It’s hard for many of us to work up a great deal of energy in opposing arrogance, a lack of generosity toward the poor, and inhospitality. Consider that the prophet Jeremiah declared that adultery, idolatry, and power abuses of false prophets to be rendered them “all like Sodom” (Jeremiah 23 :14). When is the last time you heard a minister rail against coveting or even lust?

Vines, Matthew (2014-04-22). God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships (Kindle Locations 980-987). The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

 

            9)     Changing Times… Changing Interpretations  (07/15/2014)

If one is to assume that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, then we must assume that our interpretations have been in error for as long as the we have been reading scripture. The Holy Spirit often provides us with a new understanding of Scripture. Examples are not hard to come by.

For example, the Presbyterian approach to biblical interpretation insists that “the confessions understand well that the church’s traditional interpretation of Scripture is fallible and subject always to revision and correction.” The Holy Spirit has continually inspired change in the Christian church. The Spirit leads us into new beliefs and behaviors. This ability to change has enabled the church to cope with the changing world and to reach out to new people with the message of God’s love in Christ.

Christians in early America read their Bibles as saying that they should obey kings. But by the time of the American Revolution, people no longer took that admonition literally. Similarly, Christians for centuries assumed that their Bibles condoned slavery and the subordination of women to men. Yet, over time and often reluctantly, people came to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading to accept people of African origin and women as full and equal members of the church.

It seems that the Holy Spirit is once again working to change the church—making it restless and challenging us to give up our culturally conditioned prejudices against people of homosexual orientation. As we come to know faithful, obedient Christian disciples whose sexual orientation is different from that of the heterosexual majority, we discover that they have been blessed by the Holy Spirit even as heterosexual people have been.

 Rogers, Jack (2010-11-05). Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality (pp. 58-59). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

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