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Arguments Concerning Homosexuality

Homosexuality is a huge issue for debate in our country today, especially after President Obama became the first U.S. Commander-in-Chief in history to officially endorse gay marriage. You hear gay activists praising the president for this risky step, and then you hear those darn old conservatives decrying the collapse of society. Curiously, you also hear certain “evangelicals” chiming in, telling the rest of us how Jesus would have condoned homosexuality. What is the right position for us as Christians, and how do we answer the objections raised by the other side?

First off, I am not going to stir the pot by answering in some unpredictable way. Homosexuality is sin, period. I really don’t see how a person could believe otherwise if they consider the Bible to be the ultimate authority in their lives. Fitting in with culture is not our objective, but following God as the Lord of our lives is. Whether or not our view is popular is irrelevant. If the world around you has convinced you that homosexuality is really OK, then please check your views against the Bible. Don’t assume that just because you are grown up now that you are immune to outside influences and peer/societal pressure.

Leviticus 18:22 puts it plainly: “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

This brings us to our first argument: “Yea, but that’s in the Old Testament. There’s a lot in there that we don’t follow today, such as animal sacrifices, so why should we follow such an outdated law?”

Well, the reason some of the laws are obsolete is because Jesus Christ came and died on the cross for our sins. He was a perfect, blemish-free sacrifice on our behalf, so there’s no need to continue with lesser substitutionary sacrifices. Our debt is paid if we accept Christ as our Lord and savior. We also do not need to practice other rituals to temporarily appease God in order to approach Him. We as believers are clean in His sight. But these requirements are totally separate from what’s morally right and wrong in God’s eyes, which remains unchanged (even if the penalties can differ). Plus, some of the Old Testament law really was intended only for those Jews.

The New Testament is also clear on homosexuality, so it’s not just an “Old” decree.

Romans 1:26-27 states: ” For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

Likewise, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 lists “unrighteous” offenders who will not inherit the kingdom of God:  “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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

As my pastor would say, “Well that’s about as far as we’re going to go in the passage today, so it’s time to ask our most important question: ‘SO WHAT?'”

It’s clear from Romans that homosexuality is dishonorable and contrary to nature. Can you name for me one dishonorable thing that is not considered a sin or offense to God? Also, sin defined at its most basic level is anything apart from the will of God. Doesn’t “contrary to nature” (or the way God intended the world to be) directly imply that homosexuality is sin? Passion for the same sex is sin; it is an error, plain and simple. No amount of modernization or “getting used to the idea” changes the will of God.

The passage in 1 Corinthians above is actually very, very loaded. First of all, if you’ll notice, three out of the first four offenses listed are related to homosexuality. Sexual immorality is defined as any lust (manifest in physical acts or even deliberate thoughts) outside of the confines of marriage, which includes incest, bestiality, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, and homosexuality. Adultery is any sexual act or relation outside of marriage, and since marriage is defined in the Bible as between one man and one woman, homosexuality is always adultery (man-made definitions of “marriage” don’t apply here), just as polygamy is. Then, there is an explicit mention of men who practice homosexuality.  Why is the Bible so repetitive here? For the same reason it usually is: for emphasis.

You’ll also notice that other sins are listed as well, such as theft, greed, and drunkenness. This shows us that homosexuality is not alone in separating people from God, and also, this list is NOT meant to be comprehensive. Basically, any perpetual state of sin indicates that someone is damned since they are clearly not being sanctified.

The last part often gets overlooked, but is very significant: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

This basically tells us that even the earliest church had converts who were formerly thieves, swindlers…and even homosexuals. That’s right, ex-gays existed when Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians. So all is not lost for people who are struggling with this particular sin.

“But Jesus was all about love, and he never specifically condemned homosexuality as sin.”

Sure, if all you do is do a primitive word search, this is true. But let’s use some common sense.

Mark 7:20-23 reads: “And [Jesus] said,’What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.'”

Do I really need to spell it out further? It’s true that there are a lot of specific sins that Jesus did not condemn, such as bestiality (which is also encompassed in “sexual immorality”) or tripping a running child in the mall…maybe he gave our intellect more credit than we deserve.

“Just like heterosexuality, homosexuality is a practice common to all cultures in all ages. It is, therefore, a natural orientation, something common to all civilisations (common in the animal world as well), and it has existed since the primordial beginnings of humankind. The first known record of homosexuals is that of an Egyptian male couple who lived circa 2400 BC … 24 centuries before Christ.”

By that logic, murder is acceptable as a “natural orientation” as well since it has been practiced in all of mankind since Cain and Abel. What is common or uncommon does not determine right or wrong. And no, I’m not equating murder to homosexuality, but I’m just attacking this single point of contention concerning “natural orientation.”

“Homosexuality is genetic; they were born that way. So why would God condemn gays for something they can’t help?”

First of all, the research and science behind this “born that way” conclusion is sketchy at best. While people can be born with a proclivity toward homosexuality—just as some inherit genes that make them struggle more with anger, for instance—it is not set in stone or an unavoidable fate. There are undeniable environmental factors at play, which help determine a person’s sexual orientation. For instance, homosexuality is more common in people who come from broken homes or abusive parents. (What good comes from broken homes and abusive parents anyway? Is homosexuality the lone exception?) If a boy grew up without a strong father figure in the home to help him define his masculinity, he is significantly more likely to become homosexual, and so on…

The bottom line is that homosexuality is NOT comparable to uncontrollable factors such as ethnicity. There are many “ex-gays” around. I know of no ex-Blacks or ex-Asians.

All people, including homosexuals and Christians, are called to fight their sinful desires and urges rather than succumbing to them fully. You could argue that heterosexual men “naturally” want to get in bed with any attractive woman that they see, but why don’t they? Because they learn to control themselves and they also know that there are consequences to their actions. They learn to suppress these desires until they have them under control. A poor person may feel a stronger urge to mug passerbys on the street, and we may even empathize with them, but that doesn’t somehow make it acceptable behavior.

What is natural for a person is not prescriptive behavior. Oftentimes, it is destructive and unhealthy for both the individual and for society.

This is the same kind of mentality that excuses overeating and obesity. Just because people are born with certain genes doesn’t mean that they should just give up all self-control and eat as much as they “feel” like. They may have to work harder than the rest of us, but it’s a worthwhile fight.

“How can homosexuality be a sin if it’s not really hurting anybody? I can understand murder and theft, but why sexual orientation, which is a private, personal preference and nothing more?”

I’ll start with the theological answer, which is that sexual sins are the only sins that God mentions as being against one’s own body.

1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”

This is not necessarily talking about harming our own bodies physically, since overeating or self-injury would also accomplish this. This is talking about defiling our bodies morally and spiritually, as we are supposed to be temples for the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are not our own; God owns us, which is of course an unpopular concept in our secular world.

By living a homosexual lifestyle, people are defiling the temple that God desires to dwell inside. There is a reason why active homosexuals cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and that is because God’s holiness cannot coexist with uncleanliness.

Something needs to be clarified at this point, however. It is true that active homosexuals cannot attain salvation, but that goes for all other sins as well. The bottom line is that a continual state of rebellion against God indicates that we are not truly born again to begin with. If we remain slaves to sin, that is a clear sign that we have yet to receive the Holy Spirit. People who say they are born-again Christians yet continue to lie, steal, cheat, murder…without repentance, improvement, and a noticeable turning away from their old lifestyles are highly suspect.

In the same way, active homosexuals cannot be born-again if they continue living in their sin without a genuine conviction and effort to change their lives. Lack of remorse for sin and rebellion indicates that our hearts are not in the right place; we are still lost. Homosexuality is arguably more dangerous than other specific sins because it is such a pervasive part of a person’s life. It is an entire lifestyle and way of thinking rather than isolated mistakes.

Now, as for whether or not homosexuality harms anyone, there are two points to consider.

First, homosexuality is not as happy-go-lucky and “gay” as we are programmed to think. As a whole, homosexuals have higher levels of promiscuity (and more broken hearts), depression, and suicide. And it’s not all society’s fault. Many ex-gays confess to having struggled with constant feelings of private guilt and enslavement, but they tried to ignore their consciences.

Homosexuals also have significantly shorter expected lifespans. They are highly susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS. In short, they are potentially harming themselves and their partners in the process of living this lifestyle. Furthermore, even secular research shows the benefits of having a stable familial structure in the house: a father and a mother. Without these dual roles and gender balance, a child is missing out on certain areas of development, whether obvious or not.

Second, the standard for sin (as mentioned earlier) is NOT whether or not it harms someone directly. It is simply a departure from God’s will, as homosexuality clearly is.

Leviticus 18:22 tells us that homosexuality is an abomination, and it happens to be couched between two other abhorrent sins: child sacrifices and bestiality. Let’s discuss the latter.

Imagine a person who has been hurt by his peers many times in his life, and he decides one day that he hates humankind. He starts to develop a relationship with a farm animal, who has always appreciated him and loves him. He decides to “marry” this animal and consummate the relationship. (This is not quite as outlandish as you may think: http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-12-02/news/27083045_1_pet-dog-wedding-honey.)

Neither the man nor the animal seem to mind very much, and somehow neither one develops any illnesses. No harm, no foul, right?

Doesn’t something deep down inside of you morally object to this union? No one is being “hurt” directly, but somehow we instinctively know that this relationship is wrong. It is not just wrong because they cannot procreate and populate the earth. We know it at a more fundamental level. Practicality is not the measure by which we judge this situation. The moral code that God implanted in all of us is setting off alarms.

Now, imagine that somehow, this sort of union starts to become more and more common in the world, perhaps because the human population has largely died off due to war and famine. It starts out taboo, but increasingly, people get used to the idea and sight of these relationships. Maybe they even make a hit TV show about it. Eventually, it becomes lawful and we’re told not to judge these people who have a natural desire for animals. We become calloused and forget why it was wrong in the first place. The “alarms” grow more and more muffled until it is practically inaudible to us.

Does this change the truth? Has wrong suddenly turned into right? No, of course not. The problem would be with us in this situation, not with the original moral law.

I realize this is almost a ridiculous example, and I would concede that bestiality seems to be a step deeper in perversion, but the basic idea is the same. It’s really just a matter of degrees. All it takes is a gradual accumulation of compromises and concessions, and given enough time, the moral fabric of society starts to tear in a big way. It’s like entropy.

If there is a God of the universe who declares truth and moral right, then those things are constant no matter what the tides of culture dictate.

“Obama cites the ‘Golden Rule’ as grounds for legalizing same-sex marriage.”

Wow, talk about completely botching biblical interpretation. President Obama is referring to Matthew 7:12 where Jesus is telling us to treat others as we would like to be treated. In other words, if we were thirsty and would want people to give us water, then we should likewise offer water to someone in thirst. We should be mindful and thoughtful toward other people, treating them with love. And supposedly, if we would want to get married, we should allow homosexuals to get married to each other.

But Jesus is telling us to do good, not legalize wrong. This passage is not telling us to overlook sin and condone the very things that God calls an “abomination.” Legalizing gay marriage is effectively saying that homosexual relations are OK, and why in the world would Jesus give us a “rule” to disobey his other rules? This is just dumb, I’m sorry, and it serves as a great example of how having a Harvard education and high IQ does nothing to help in spiritual matters if you are sufficiently blinded by the world or pride.

If I were a thief, I would want the employees of a bank to ignore me as I snuck out with piles of money in my bag, but that doesn’t mean they should; nor should I if the roles were reversed. If I had committed a murder, I would want the cops to understand that the victim made me really, really mad and then let me go…but they wouldn’t and shouldn’t.

You get the point.

The bottom line is that homosexuality is clearly a sin, and living an active homosexual lifestyle without repentance will lead to damnation. It is not necessarily “worse” than other sins, which can also spell doom for a person, but it is especially dangerous due to its sexual nature and pervasiveness in a person’s daily life.

There is definitely hope, as demonstrated by the many people who have turned away from this sin and have come to Christ. Yes, some of the struggles may remain, just as all believers continue to fight against their old nature to varying degrees. (Never underestimate the power of Satan’s deception or the human capability to rationalize anything under the sun.) But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will continue in the process of sanctification until we receive our glorified bodies, apart from the struggles of the flesh.

We in the church need to show love to homosexuals around us by praying for them and being kind to them as a brother or sister in need. But showing “love” is not ignoring their paths to destruction and giving them false hope. You wouldn’t “love” someone by allowing them to destroy themselves, but rather tactfully—and firmly—pointing them in the right direction. Rebuke may be necessary, and we need to be careful not to do it in a hateful and judgmental way.

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