Monday, November 26, 2012

Christianity and the Homosexuality issue

     This is something that has been in my mind lately. More so because of how the fundamentalist and evangelical churches point at Homosexuals as the culprits for any disaster - natural or otherwise. If there is a hurricane, prominent preachers don't waste any time in accusing them as the cause of God's wrath. There is much outcry against Homosexual marriages. As a practising Christian, this disturbs me a lot. If we have to go by the Jesus Christ portrayed in the Bible, I am sure that if he were to walk as a human in this century, he wouldn't refuse a party invitation from them.

 All creation is beautiful. If someone is created that way, perhaps there is a reason to it as Christ rightly said in Matt 19
 "For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake"
It's funny how people quote Leviticus to condemn homosexuals ignoring other chapters and verses from the same book. Leviticus has rules that prohibit shaving the side burns as well. The Laws were given because of the hard heartedness of the people. But at any given point of biblical time, those laws were redemptive than the culture around them. Jesus Christ broke some of the laws and yet said that he was fulfilling them. He could see the spirit behind the law. Sometimes following the very law means breaking it. Context is the key.

The old covenant was based on law, the new covenant is based on grace . All 613 laws of Moses were replaced by a simple commandment from Jesus ( Galatians 5:14 - For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.") If we are prejudiced against people who are different from us out of fear of the church and the preachers, how can we say that we honour the new covenant. 

Christ stopped people from stoning a woman charged with Adultery. He didn't keep the Sabbath when that meant helping people. And when He taught about the judgement - Love was the only reference. 

Matt 25 31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,I was homeless and you gave me a room,I was shivering and you gave me clothes,I was sick and you stopped to visit,I was in prison and you came to me.’37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.

It is a medical fact that some are born with that disposition. How can we expect them to follow the rules meant for men and women. Shouldn't they be able to enjoy Love and companionship. ( 1 Cor 7: 9 It's better to marry than to burn with lust.)

We don't get to judge anyone unless we are 100% sure that we would have done a better job than that person even if we were born with their disposition, faced the circumstances that they faced, met the kind of people they met in life etc. Because while judging, we are setting up the standards with which we will be judged later. 

Matt 77 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

That's why the kind of people Christ admonished were Hypocrites and Religious teachers. He dined with the 'sinners' because he didn't merely see the choices, he saw the inner person that made those choices despite their disadvantages. 

Christ did not pile up rules for people to follow. He gave the ultimate golden rule to take care of every aspect of life. His formula was simple - Love God, treat others the way you would like to be treated, be tolerant about personal insults but don't be a wimp - use anger and fight against hypocrisy/injustice. He never started his day thinking about how he would be perceived by others. If that's the case, he wouldn't have been caught speaking with the Samaritan woman, dining with 'sinners' or rescuing a woman from getting stoned for adultery. He took the whip when needed - but that was not to admonish someone's transgression from the norms. It was to thrash religious Hypocrisy. 

If we call him our Father, we should not forget that he is the Father to everyone -irrespective of religion, race, gender, social standing, intellect, sexual disposition... And he Loves everyone the same. 


  1. Hepzi1:27 AM

    I agree with you regarding people who are born with a disposition different than the general population. And honestly, am not wise in this topic, so I wouldn't be able to provide a conclusive answer and so I stop at making laws for folks - in whose shoes I have never walked.

    But the topic of homosexuality is not limited to the Mosaic Law alone, we have reference to the same in the New Testament - 1 Corinthians Ch 6: verse 9 -
    "9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a]"

    1. What is Paul talking about here then?

    With the same point of argument, I can then counter you by saying that you cannot also selectively quote a verse.

    2. Marriage is a blessing, but it cannot be stated as a guarantee against fornication; if so there wouldn't have been fornication in the general population. So what makes you feel it would prevent fornication in another section of the society? Or is it that they are not engaged sexually without marriage? If not, what difference does it make?

    3. Christ stands for Truth and he is the King of Kings, but interestingly he was not interested in the politics of his time or Law making of the Worldly system. Because all this would pass..

  2. Hepzi8:12 PM

    I truly have no judgement in my heart for anybody different than me and my heart goes out to them who are caught in the expectations and so called "normalcy" of the world. Having said that, it does not imply that I can counter the Word of God with the wisdom of this world.
    1. Then how do we define and differentiate? Then from what I understand you concur to what Paul says that it is detestable for a man or woman to have unnatural relations?
    2. From what I have read or seen so far, most of them are already in live-in relationships. So how does getting married make any difference?
    3. Exactly. But I think it would be a misunderstanding to think that the New Testament has anything to do with the things/laws/governments of this world. Because neither the Romans nor the Greeks changed their laws/beliefs to conform to the Kingdom of the Lord. And if everything was to be fulfilled through the laws and rulers of this world - then it would mean nothing when we pray - "Thy Kingdom come; Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven"...

  3. I would rather err in the side of grace. I understand why this is an emotional issue for people who oppose gay marriages. My stand is completely based on how I understand Christ's teachings on the New Covenant, his interactions with people and the judgement. We should be true to what we believe in and I completely understand that you have reasons for yours.

    My reasons

    I believe that Paul's writings were also influenced by his culture and the prevailing norms. If we were to take his writings word for word, we should also bring slavery back. In fact, when there was a movement against slavery, there were many Christians who used verses from the Epistles to support the system of slavery. But now we look at the context and understand that his writings were in fact redemptive for those times.

    2. Many heterosexuals are in live-in relationships too. That is not a case against the system of marriage. I don't understand why it's easy to generalize homosexuals as a group prone to fornication more than others. We cannot judge them for fornication when they don't even have the possibility of marriage.

    3. Why do we even need the law to recognize the marriage of heterosexuals. It's a practical way for committed relationships since we are not yet perfect. Should there be different standards for us just because we have the advantage of 'birth' :-)

  4. Hepzi8:50 AM

    In 1 Corinthians, Paul does talk about slavery and it was not God's Will but men practiced because of the hardness of their hearts just like divorce was in Mosaic Law. But nowhere homosexuality has been talked about in the Word of God - only about Eunuchs, but the act of homosexuality has only been condemned.

    In the context of Government Laws - I know that God is in control and that laws can be made for anything contrary to the Word of God - But one cannot justify the same in the context of the Word of God.

    The argument can be made individually as per the system and the wisdom of this world rendering even laws and rule of the land, but I would differ and disagree with using the Word of God as a crutch or a means to achieve the same.

  5. Exactly. People misquoted Paul when they made a case for slavery. There is a difference between a 'man' sleeping with a 'man' for the thrill of it and a person with a different sexual disposition from birth craving for a marital companionship.

    We both are giving the same arguments with different words :-)

    I am not talking about the wisdom of the world or the wisdom of interpretations. If everything about me is the same except for the sexual disposition, how would I want to be treated, how would I have behaved? That's the kind of question that the teachings of Christ points out. Every word I say about them will come back to me in judgement. I will be judged with my own measure. When more is given, more will be asked.

    I consider bible as a compilation of books that has marvellous records of history. Only the teachings of Jesus are beyond time. Everything else has a cultural tinge and would need to be considered within the context. I wouldn't want any government to take Joshua as a pointer to treat POW. I will not take the verses word for word when I have observed minor inconsistencies. But that only make my faith stronger that the compilers didn't doctor it. They let the truth to be told from the vantage point of different people. But there is a difference between truth and facts.

    I respect your intentions. I am only clarifying my stand. We all need to be honest to how we connect with God. It's ok to see things differently.

  6. Whenever I hear 'word of God', I automatically process that as a title of Jesus Christ. There is a difference between 'the' word of God as a title and words of God found in the scriptures.

    Heb 4:12 For the //Word of God// is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    Heb 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in //His sight//, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of //Him// with whom we have to do.

    Not to forget John equating 'Word of God' with God.

  7. Hepzi6:03 PM

    On one side, you state the scripture for implementing government laws and on the other side you say the same scripture is only partly valid to counter my point :)

    So I cannot find the argument valid as the counterpoints are contradictory.
    Only Christ can be a reference for truth and I firmly believe that the scripture is what it is because of God's providence.
    If there is no definite reference, then any idea is mere beating in the air.
    One can solely state an idea and am fine with it. But one cannot use the scripture for an idea and then end saying that the scripture itself is not whole/complete/valid..

  8. Scripture is to be considered within the context. That does not mean that scriptures were doctored and could not be used as a reference. I did not say that scripture is incomplete or invalid. I believe that Jesus Christ's words are timeless and transcultural. When he says that I should treat others the way I would like to be treated, there is no argument against that. When he says how judgement would be done, I don't doubt him. But everything else needs to taken within the context simply because the opinions of people are not timeless.

    I am not discounting Paul or his intentions. I am merely saying that there is a problem in comparing homosexuality in the context of pagan rituals, rape (Sodom Gomorrah)with a sexual disposition from birth.

    Paul's Epistles were used out of context to counter the movement against the institution of slavery as well. The crusaders read Joshua and believed that genocide is God approved. Can I take the idea from Joshua word for word and say that God approves killing of all the women and children when we attack a country. I cannot because it doesn't fit within the context and that is by no means a transcultural instruction. I don't find any contradiction in using the same thought process while dealing with the homosexuality issue.

    The logic of inerrancy of scriptures as a basis of faith is dangerous because anybody can find out the inconsistencies and factual errors if they could remember and compare the accounts while reading. These errors were not intentional because some of those instructions were not meant as transcultural, timeless norms. This just shows us that it doesn't merit a literal interpretation always.

    If you have not found any factual error at all, it could be because you ignore those sub-consciously while reading the Bible because this is important to your faith.

    Scripture has factual errors in terms of leaning on a geo-centric model. There are factual errors in numbers, names of people, chronology, genealogy etc. reported in various chapters. It's because the books were written by different individuals through different time lines. The individuals were truthful to how they perceived the incidents around them. There is a difference between truth and facts. If anything, I am more convinced about the credibility of the Bible because of the minor discrepancies. When there are multiple testimonials, it proves that the incident did happen. I don't doubt the spirit of the verses or the fact that these were people of God. I am only pointing out that the context and culture needs to be taken into account when we apply those verses. And the litmus test is the golden rule.

  9. Hepzi4:51 PM

    In conclusion to all the points we stated -

    1. I cannot comprehend a God who created the whole universe, placed the sun, moon and the stars in it's orbit; The God who created mankind in his image, stitched us all blood, flesh and bones in a mother's womb, transformed mere fishermen to shame the wise - simply failed to make sure to select the right books for us to compile the scriptures! Either he doesn't get the working of the world or he failed to lead men to compile the scriptures [but made sure to preserve them]. If there is no coincidence in our short lives, then I believe there is no coincidence in the history of mankind.
    2. Homosexuality is not a new phenomenon, it existed in the time of Abraham, Moses and Paul. So what Paul wrote was not appropriate even for his time and culture. It's an illusion that culture and time has changed, because the evil that mankind is capable of - is just the same. God is the same yesterday, today and forever and I find no doubt in the fact that he chose the Apostles and Paul to spread the gospel. So what Paul says is relevant in this subject, but the point is whether we want to accept that or not.
    3. As for Joshua, in the OT, God himself has asked some people to be wiped out. And it's a bitter truth; But if we find God's righteousness dubious and trust in our idea of righteousness, then even Christ's death is futile.

    I have to end by saying -
    We have to guard where our fence fails...

  10. Again, I DID not say that the scriptures are invalid or not inspired nor did I question its authority :-) There is a difference between considering the scripture as a book dictated by God or as books written by people of God to record the events around them for the benefit of believers. If it is dictated by God, it merits the title 'Word of God' and everything can be taken literally. But if it is dictated by God, there should not be any factual errors. There are factual errors though the errors are not intentional and in no way distort the truth. We can either get defensive and cover up the errors or take it within context without letting it affect our faith. Christ challenged how literal the Pharisees were in understanding the scriptures.

    I am not questioning Joshua. It was perfectly righteous considering the context. But applying that today would be unrighteous. That's what I meant by the shift in culture.

    If you rely on the inerrancy of the scriptures, your faith will be challenged if I point out the factual errors. So I will leave this at that.