Thursday, August 9, 2012

Homosexuality, the Bible, and Me.

I have only really ever heard two arguments against homosexuality:  1)  Homosexuality is wrong because the Bible (God) says it is wrong. 2)  Homosexuality is weird and I don't like it, so its wrong.  There may be other arguments, but every argument I have ever heard really boils down to these two arguments at their core. If you will give me a moment of your time, I would like to address both of these arguments.

I have two major problems with simply saying that homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says it is wrong. The first problem I have is that most of the passages which supposedly condemn homosexuality are of questionable translation, and may not be referring to homosexuality at all. The second problem I have with this argument is that the Bible says lots of things are sins which 99% of Christians simply choose to ignore.  Let me give you a list of things listed in the Bible which are sins which Christians do all the time: Wearing a shirt or dress made out of two different types of fabric, eating shrimp, harvesting the edges of your fields, seeking revenge, planting a field with more than one type of seed, eating fruit from a tree that is under five years old, cutting the hair on the sides of a male's head or trimming the sides of his beard, getting a tattoo, not standing up when an elderly person walks by,  and not loving foreigners who move into your land as you love yourself.  I could do this all day, but I will stop here.  These are all sins from the Old Testament which Christians simply ignore, but in the same couple of chapters in Leviticus with the sins listed above it says a man should not lay with a man as if he was lying with a woman.  Many Christians ignore the verses surrounding this verse but they are sure happy to quote this verse on homosexuality.  Why?  Did God say somewhere else in the Bible that all of those other rules could be ignored, but not the homosexuality rule?  No.

I can hear the argument of many Christians now.  "Brent, we no longer are under the Old Testament laws anymore, Jesus delivered us from those laws, but homosexuality is condemned in the New Testament as well."  Okay, great.  I have no problem with this argument.  Let me just say a few things about it though.  If we are no longer under the Old Testament law, then please stop quoting the Old Testament in your arguments against homosexuality.  So, if we negate the Old Testament passages and focus only on the New Testament, can Christians say that they do not do the same thing with the New Testament as they do with the Old Testament?  Do they follow all of the rules of the New Testament, or do they pick and choose which commands they are going to treat as important in this part of the Bible as well?

 Let's look at a few commands from the New Testament which are commonly ignored by most Christians: "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out." The same rule applies to the hand. "Don't divorce or marry a divorced person unless their spouse was unfaithful." "Do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the cheek turn to him the other cheek also." "Love your enemies." "Give to the needy." "Do not worry about your life." "Do not judge." "Freely you have received, freely give.""Sell your possessions and give to the poor""Don't call anyone father or teacher." "Live in harmony with one another." "Do not repay evil for evil." "Feed and water your enemies.""Do not go into debt.""It is a disgrace for a woman to cut her hair.""Men should cover their heads."  Like I said before, I could do this all day.  I hope anyone can see that there are many commands in both the Old and New Testament which the majority of Christians simply ignore and nobody treats this as a big deal, but not so with homosexuality.  Christians take the three or four verses in the New Testament which seem to condemn homosexuality and insist that everyone follow them, but they have no problem with hating our enemies, even though this action is more condemned in the Bible than homosexuality is condemned.

So, why does not practicing homosexuality get a special place as the command that must be followed, while other commands go largely ignored?  I believe the reason for this discrepancy is because of the second argument I mentioned at the beginning of this blog.  Homosexuality is just strange and scary to many people.  I understand this fear;  I feared homosexuals myself for many years. I was uncomfortable with homosexuals, but eventually I realized that the problem was not homosexuals, but me. My fears and my misunderstandings were the problem, not someone else's sexuality.  I was the one who needed to change, not homosexuals. 

It is easy when you are scared of something to find reasons why it is wrong.  Christians do not fear their possessions, so they have no problem keeping their possessions and not selling them in order to give to the poor.  Christians find all sorts of ways around the commands they do not like or find impractical, but ask them to extend the same understanding to a homosexual person and they balk (and sometimes more than balk). I ask all Christian people everywhere to take an honest look at themselves and how they truly follow the Bible.  If you can look honestly and realize that you do not completely follow the Bible or even the New Testament, then maybe you can also admit that condemning homosexuality is not as much about the Bible as it is about your own fears and discomfort.  Acknowledging we are scared and the problem is our own fears and not homosexuality would be a very good start to making this world a better place; it would also go a long way toward fulfilling some of those often ignored commands of Jesus of Nazareth.

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