My View

 What the Bible says

This is a controversial topic for Christians and my views are especially unusual. Here's the gist of my views ...


 What the Bible says

Featured article: Tolerance | Related article: Moral Theology & Ethics


Opening the Floodgates ...

Having been a fundamentalist evangelical Protestant, I was taught that practicing homosexuals are living in serious sin. When the gay rights movement began to make inroads into society the floodgates were opened and I have had to adapt.

In round one of the gay rights movement, gays demanded society recognize their right to be gay. Suddenly, gay men began to feel comfortable violating my personal space and I felt exploited by them in subtle ways. Strangers began touching me too long when giving me back change, looking me deeply in the eyes, and "accidently" rubbing up against me when walking by or when in the elevator. This confirmed my view that homosexuality can be a form of moral perversion.

In addition, it seemed to me the gay movement wanted as many people as possible to be gay. I was especially troubled that they attempted to influence young people into realizing they were really gay after all.

In round two of the gay rights movement, gay couples began demanding the right to be married. They wanted to be able to raise children and to enjoy all the benefits society grants to married couples. It seemed wrong to me that children should be brought up in an environment in which they would be influenced to be gay themselves. But I suppose this is the same objection people have against Christians who wish to raise their children to be Christian.

I should mention that gay couples are burdened with severe difficulties not experienced by non-gay married couples — a mish-mash of rules and laws concerning such things as taxes, inheritance, hospital visitation, finances in particular, and living life in general. We should be sensitive to these hardships and seek to correct them whether or not we believe that the term "marriage" should also apply to gay couples.

Read more: Homosexuality

           


The Innocents ...

There is one group of gay people my heart especially goes out to: women who have been abused in some way by men, perhaps when they were very young, and who have bonded in a long-term relationship with another like themselves. I can imagine the love they have for one another and I cannot condemn them. Why wouldn't they want to express their feelings for one another sexually as well?


Perversions ...

A partial list of various immoral activities.


Motivations ...

From a spiritual perspective we should consider what motivates a person to think and act in various ways. Three categories:

  1. Violence and exploitation
  2. Lust and selfishness
  3. Love

(1) Violence and Exploitation

Violence should never be overlooked or approved of. Our society should not tolerate people exploiting other people. Exploitation and violence occur in both heterosexual and homosexual encounters. I hate to list examples but I must.

(2) Lust and Selfishness

Loving people care for others; this should be the goal. Unfortunately, all too often people engage in sex motivated purely by lust. Examples.

(3) Love

All human interactions should be motivated by love. This involves doing things for the benefit of the other person. This is the standard I use in judging the morality of various human interactions.

           


Miscellaneous Considerations ...

One reason given for limiting marriage to one man and one woman is the argument from natural law— it goes like this: The purpose of sex is to procreate; but in addition there in a unitive aspect. Thus, sex should only be used in the context of procreation and child-rearing. However various situations don't fit this model.

Some claim that we, as humans, are sexual creatures and should therefore express our sexual nature. Others object that sexuality should only be expressed in the most restrictive of situations (marriage between one man and one woman). Those of group one typically think it is bad to always refrain from having sex (or masturbation) when the urge is present. Others think it is required of people to repress their sexual urges unless they are married. If we allow that a person should never have to repress their sexual urges we end up with a strange result. If we expand on this theme to allow people to express every urge, civilization would not be possible.

There are times in a person's life when they should resist their sexual urges. Examples.

Unfortunately, our society seems to think we have a right (even duty) to express our sexuality whenever we choose.

Statistics indicate there is a higher rate of various psychological (and physical) problems among gays. Even so, not all gays fall into this category. And should we only allow people to have relationships if they are sound in mind and body? If so, who determines the standards?

One objection to allowing for gay marriage is that many gay couples don't believe it is wrong to have sexual encounters with others besides their mate. I can't comment on this statistic. However, if we allow this to disqualify someone from being married then the many heterosexual married people who believe it is OK to engage in adultery should also be barred from marriage. I don't know whether a gay married person would feel betrayed in the same way a straight married person would if their partner had sex with someone else.

LGBT — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. In allowing for gay marriage we must of necessity address other kinds of non-standard sexuality. It is not my intention to discuss these in this article. But these should be analyzed in terms of the considerations I outlined above (violence, exploitation, lust, selfishness, and love.)

I often read that many LGBT people have psychological problems or are unhappy, depressed, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and sometimes violent. I cannot comment on these statistics. Those in the LGBT category who do have these problems should not be considered differently than others who have same problems — there are plenty of straight alcoholics. And what of those in the LGBT category who do not have these problems? We cannot judge their condition based on problems they don't have.

A consideration from biology: the rectum should not be used in sexual activity — this organ is not designed for such activity and fecal matter is unclean.

Some say the reason people become homosexuals is because of some dysfunction or missing ingredient in their upbringing as children; that their sexual identity is not properly formed or they have a phobia against intimacy with people of the opposite sex. Even if this is true, it doesn't change the fact the person is in this condition. If we expected everybody to be free from all harmful psychological effects then we should require nearly the entire population to have psychological counselling after high school (since so many are troubled in so many ways) — why should we have a different standard for certain people?

I am not addressing the topic of whether there is a genetic aspect to homosexuality. Some claim homosexual orientation is genetic. If this is true, wouldn't natural selection eradicate homosexuality since they don't pass on these genes to offspring? It takes a man and a woman to procreate offspring.

           


What the Bible Says ...

There are many Bible passages that speak of homosexuality. However, none of these passages addresses the situation of a gay couple in a committed, lifelong relationship.

Here are the various categories of sexual activity mentioned in the Bible (and the Bible's assessment):

Heterosexual

Homosexual

Based on the categories I present above (violence, exploitation, lust, selfishness, love) we see that the Bible has the correct assessment of all these activities.

Here are the passages with my comments:

Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? (James 2:25)

Note that she demonstrated her faith by protecting the spies, not by quitting being a harlot. Once she became a member of the nation of Israel she certainly stopped being a harlot. We simply don't know whether she stopped before that.

So it came to pass, when the king's commandment and his decree was heard, and when many maidens were gathered together unto Shushan the palace, to the custody of Hegai, that Esther was brought also unto the king's house, to the custody of Hegai, keeper of the women. (Esther 2:8)

It is very strange that Esther is considered a hero of the faith when she was a member of the king's harem.

And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. (Genesis 20:2)

It seems odd that a hero of the faith would give his wife to a stranger knowing it might result in rape.

And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. (Genesis 19:5)

These men were violent and wished to rape Lot's guests.

This verse does not address sex between two people of the same sex who are in a lifelong committed relationship.

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves. . . . For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly. (Romans 1:24,26-27)

The context is idolatry which included orgies.

And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. . . . Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. (Romans 1:23,25)

The natural use of sexuality is in the context of marriage between one man and one woman, but because these people were so intoxicated with lust they even participated in promiscuous heterosexual as well as homosexual activities.

This verse does not address sex between two people of the same sex who are in a lifelong committed relationship.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. (1 Corinthians 6:9)

A list of people who are not saved:

This verse does not address sex between two people of the same sex who are in a lifelong committed relationship.

For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. (1 Timothy 1:10)

A list of people who are not saved:

This verse does not address sex between two people of the same sex who are in a lifelong committed relationship.

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7)

Notice the issue is fornication or sex outside of marriage. These even fornicated with those of the same sex. These sexual encounters were violent and perverse.

This verse does not address sex between two people of the same sex who are in a lifelong committed relationship.

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:4-6)

Certainly God created human sexuality for the purpose of procreation which requires a male and a female. And certainly a child who is raised in the home of a loving couple will be blessed by this.

This verse does not address sex between two people of the same sex who are in a lifelong committed relationship.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

The norm is marriage between one man and one woman. There are many examples in the Bible in which one set of passages define the norm and others give exceptions or allow exceptions.

This verse does not address sex between two people of the same sex who are in a lifelong committed relationship.

And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove. (2 Kings 23:7)

This passage refers to pagan rituals involving homosexual relations.

This verse does not address sex between two people of the same sex who are in a lifelong committed relationship.

There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. (Deuteronomy 23:17)

This passage refers to pagan rituals involving prostitution and homosexual relations.

This verse does not address sex between two people of the same sex who are in a lifelong committed relationship.

And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. . . . And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. (1 Kings 14:24;15:12)

This passage refers to pagan rituals involving homosexual relations.

This verse does not address sex between two people of the same sex who are in a lifelong committed relationship.

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. (Leviticus 18:22-23)

The idea of a committed relationship between two people of the same sex was not a part of this culture and is simply not addressed in this passage.

There are other passages but they are similar to the ones I've quoted.


Justification ...

Most fundamentalist evangelical Protestants will be horrified by my conclusions so I justify my methodology here.

Based on the foundational Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura,it is acceptable to hold any view you wish as long as the following conditions hold true:

Again, based on Sola Scriptura, I am free to develop any view I wish as long as I can support it from the Bible or as long as the Bible doesn't clearly refute it — in fact, I am required to believe the Bible rather than preachers, teachers, theologians, or anyone else. As I have shown, the Bible does not clearly address the topic of whether it is OK for two people of the same sex to have sexual relations in a committed lifelong relationship of love.

There are many examples from the Bible (and the early church) in which practices and beliefs of the time have been superseded by "modern" views. (But not all modern views are better.) Some examples of changes (for the better):

I believe there are many abuses and contradictions in the gay rights movement; many outrages against Biblical morality;many perverse and unhappy people who call themselves gay. However, in the one case of a committed lifelong, loving relationship, I cannot in good conscience pass judgment.

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Homosexuality

As I mentioned already, the Bible never mentions homosexual relations in the context of a committed, loving, life-long relationship — gay marriage.

I find it odd that fundamentalist, evangelical Protestants consider homosexual relations to be more sinful than other sexual relations outside of marriage since there are so many Bible verses sharply condemning fornication and adultery. I would think that adultery is much worse since the person violates their marriage vows. And promiscuous sex seems worse to me because the man violates a woman whom they should respect and cherish and who may have unwanted children as a consequence.


Some biblical passages thought to be against homosexuality and my analysis:

(Romans 1:24-27) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet [suitable].

People driven by lust to dishonor their own bodies in interaction with others.

The keys to this passage:

It seems odd this phrase is sandwiched in between the others unless the wrapper provides the topic at hand: "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator". This seems to refer to idolatry, probably involving temple prostitution (perhaps involving homosexuality and pedophilia). It seems that even the women were caught up in this.

Paul associates involvement in prostitution with defiling one's own body.

(1 Corinthians 6:16) What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

(1 Corinthians 6:18) Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

It seems probable to me that in Romans 1:24-27, Paul is referring to various forms of idolatry involving sex and that people who do not glorify God will follow after their lusts instead leading to some very bad activities.


(1 Corinthians 6:9,10) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Some translations of the word "effeminate:"

Some translations of the phrase "abusers of themselves with mankind:"

It should be clear that no one has a clue what these words mean.

Looking at the other words in the list of bad things that may exclude people from the kingdom of God we see a pattern:

At the very least, the persons referred to in 1 Corinthians 6:9 as "effeminate" or "abusers of themselves with mankind" have an established habitual lifestyle bordering on being strongly disordered psychologically and which harms others and themselves. A loving and caring lifelong homosexual relationship hardly fits this picture. Perhaps innocent explorations of young people who are trying to find their sexuality doesn't qualify either (but I am not recommending this practice.)


(1 Timothy 6:1) Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

(Matthew 10:24) The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

The New Testament doesn't teach anything against the institution of slavery yet we in modern times know it to be immoral. Should we be surprised that those in the ancient world who had no knowledge of modern psychology would be against homosexuality? If someone, for whatever reason, is attracted to those of the same sex instead of those of the other sex, should we insist they are abnormal?

If we are so concerned with people's unhealthy sexual attraction to others it seems to me we should do everything possible to radically diminish people's attraction to others. The entire culture is obsessed with the topic of romantic love and lust. Surely this is a bigger problem than worrying about those with same-sex attractions?