Why I’m still not convinced that homosexuality is a sin: the aftermath of being honest.

Last week I wrote an article on why I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin (if you haven’t read it yet I would encourage you to have a look before continuing with this post) and the responses I got have made me more determined than ever to continue supporting the LGBT community within the Church.

Some Christians have told me that I need to read my Bible again and ask God to show me His word instead of letting it “conform to my worldly opinion”, they’ve told me that what I’ve said is harmful, that I’m misrepresenting God, His love, and His will. Other Christians have been ecstatic to see someone voice an opinion like this, something they finally agree with. I’ve had messages from gay people thanking me for sticking up for them, telling me that they don’t often see “religious people” taking their side and that it means a lot that I have.

The Christians who have militantly disagreed with me haven’t for one second made me reconsider a single thing I said in the post. People accused me of having a flawed argument but didn’t explain why, others avoided my questions when asking what they were referring to, some accused me of arguing when I tried to discuss their thoughts on the issue, one even stated that it’s a fact that homosexuality is bad for “society, families, children, and the population” and yet couldn’t tell me where she’d discovered this apparent “fact”.

I can’t help but think of this rather witty Tumblr post I saw yesterday: “As a queer guy I get a confidence boost from republicans insinuating that my mere existence has the power to destroy a country”. 

One thing I’ve noticed is that people are very ready to make sweeping statements such as, “The entire Bible calls homosexual behaviour sin. That’s the bottom line” (this was actually said to me) and then follow it up with random Bible verses, including Leviticus 18:22 (if you want to take one law from Leviticus then you better start implementing them all into your life, which means no more shellfish, pork, mixing of fabrics, and you should best start stoning women whose virginity can’t be proved by her parents before she gets married; that sounds fair, right?), to try and give evidence as to why they’re right. How can the entire Bible say something if all you can reference is a few random verses that, if researched correctly, don’t say anything about homosexual relationships?

A verse that people love to reference when trying to prove that homosexuality is a sin is Genesis 2vs24:

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
(NIV)

This verse is found in the part of Genesis where God is creating a helper for Adam, and it doesn’t say a single thing about homosexuality. It doesn’t say that a man couldn’t find a helper in another man, or that a woman couldn’t find a helper in another woman, it just says that Adam found a helper in Eve. Telling people that that confirms that homosexuality is wrong is completely twisting what it actually says; it’s the story of creation, not of who can be in a relationship with who.

Out of all the people I’ve spoken to who disagree with me, none of them have been able to fully back up their arguments, and that worries me quite a bit. I’ve grown up with a generation of Christians who have taken on a set of beliefs and don’t really know why they have them, yet are more than ready to tell complete strangers (I had numerous debates with people I don’t know), very passionately and angrily, that homosexuality is a sin. Have they, by their own ignorance, pushed away an entire community of people because they’ve been too afraid to question the Bible and discover something that’s different to what their parents and pastors told them?

But I haven’t just had negative responses from Christians, I’ve had positive responses from gay people that have made me realise that I need to continue sticking up for the things that are important to me. My main aim in all of this is that people will know they are loved, regardless of their sexual orientation, or whether they identify as male or female, and that they will never feel as if they aren’t welcome or that there’s something in their life that isn’t “right”.

Being gay isn’t a choice, just like being straight isn’t a choice, and we can’t tell people that something they have no choice in is sinful if we can’t tell them why. God didn’t make a single mistake when He created us and all of His creation is beautiful; in fact it’s absolutely stunning, it’s a work of art. Whatever your sexual orientation, you’re a work of art.

So in regards to the person who told me that I’m misrepresenting God’s love: if what I’ve said has made people feel loved and important, isn’t that what God would want?

Whether you agree with me on this topic or not I encourage you to do your own research before discussing the matter. I encourage you to stop worrying that questioning the things you were told as a child means that you’re turning your back on God because you might just find that it brings you even closer to Him, and you might discover that His love is even greater than you ever imagined.

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Why I’m tired of people saying homosexuality is a sin

As I sit in front of my computer tonight I’m not sure where to start with this post.

I will probably ruffle a few feathers, upset a few people, make a few people angry.
That’s not my aim, I just know it might happen.
I mostly hope that I make a few people really happy.

I’ve been pretty annoyed with the Church recently; pretty annoyed with the attitudes of so many people in the Church. I’ve wanted to give up quite a few times but today I came to the conclusion that it’s important I don’t.

Here’s the deal: I fully support gay rights. I don’t believe there is anything sinful about homosexuality, I don’t believe the Bible says there is, and I support gay marriage. 

For as long as I can remember I was never sure about the issue; I never really wanted to say I thought it was wrong or right, there was something inside me that told me not to settle one way or the other. The past couple of months I’ve done proper research into the topic, really delved into it and found answers to a lot of my questions.

In regards to Bible verses on the topic, consider 1 Corinthians 6:9. In the ESV it’s translated as:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality…”

The problem here is that “men who practice homosexuality”, in the original translation of the Bible, actually said male prostitutes (“arsenokoit”). I can accept that God probably isn’t cool with prostitution, but not all gay men partake in prostitution (I guess some do, but so do some straight people) so how has that, over the years, been translated into just “men who practise homosexuality”? Gay couples are as capable of being in loving, committed relationships as heterosexual couples so why has being gay been turned into something dirty and sordid?

Here’s another corker:

Romans 1:26-27
“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”
(NIV)

If you think all gay relationships are based on “shameful lusts” then you might want to step out of your bubble. It’s also strongly debated that this passage is referring to prostitution, but either way it makes no comment on two committed, consenting adults having sex that isn’t based on lust actually being  a sin.

Homosexuality is mentioned in the Bible around six or seven times so it was clearly never a very important topic to any of the writers, but it seems to have turned into a major issue for so many Christians. The Church used to believe that the Bible told them that slavery was acceptable and that women shouldn’t vote and that view has changed, so why has this one stuck?

All Christians should agree with me that Christianity is meant to be about loving people, but over the past few days I’ve read nothing other than stories of gay Christians who have been completely ostracised by the Church communities they trusted, who’ve been told they can “recover” from being gay. Gay people in and outside of the Church have been treated terribly by Christians, made to feel like they are hated and despised. Every year at Belfast Pride gay people are attacked by hoards of “Christians” yelling abuse at them. Do you really think this is what Jesus would want?

I’m tired of hearing Christians saying that being gay is a sin and following it up with, “murder is a sin too, but God forgives all sins.” I’m sorry, but did you just put being gay on the same level as murder?  

The part that scares me most is that so few Christians are willing to question the topic; we’ve been brought up knowing that a lot of important people in our Church communities think that homosexuality is wrong so we’ve never really looked into the topic ourselves. I think a lot fear it will make them gay, or that people will think they’re gay if they’re found to be doing research on it (what would actually be wrong with that?). I also just think a lot of Christians think that if they question the Bible then they’re questioning the entire existence of God and that if you don’t agree wholeheartedly with everything it says then something’s wrong and that you’re on a “slippery slope” on the way to hell or something equally as outrageous.

God didn’t give us brains so we could sit back and accept everything we hear, so we could live in bubbles and be oblivious to reality, so we could pretend as if issues such as homosexuality should be left to someone else to look into, He gave us all a brain so we could use them, so we could educate ourselves and not blindly accept everything we’re told. Being a robot in 2013 is dangerous, you make yourself very vulnerable.

I really wanted to give up on God for a while because this frustrated me so much. I wanted to quit because it’s hard to know that most of the Christians I know are accepting something so harmful. But I’ve decided that it’s important I don’t quit, because someone needs to be willing to question, someone needs to be willing to stand up and speak their mind when most are afraid to. And most of all because God isn’t human; humans suck but God doesn’t. God isn’t human at all, s/he doesn’t even have a gender so why do we keep defining God as a man?

At the end of the day my faith in God is not based on the fact that I don’t think homosexuality is a sin. Your faith in God shouldn’t be anything to do with waiting until you’re married to have sex, or who you’re attracted to, or whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, or how often you read your Bible. It should be entirely based on the fact that you have been forgiven by a God who loves you so much that He was prepared to die for you.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and that means everyone who has ever existed, so no one has the right to turn around and make a judgement by telling someone who’s gay that what they’re doing is sinful or wrong.

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