We'll just have to agree to disagree ChosenOne, and as I pointed out before, I am not alone in my Christian belief. There are millions of other Christians in many different denominations who agree with me.
This is why more and more congregations perform same-sex marriage now.
In justifying themselves, people who are anti-gay uniformly give a single response when asked why being gay is so bad: “Because the Bible says it is an abomination.”
This is, indeed, usually the end of the discussion; the response is an unreasoned one, not ever having been subjected to serious examination (and certainly not based on study of what the Bible actually says in the original.)
If pressed, though, some people can add a little to the immediate ‘abomination’ answer. When they do this, their reasons fall into four natural groups.
"It’s not natural."
This is a sham argument having nothing to do with nature or anything that happens in it. Skyscrapers, toilets, medicine, fertility treatments, and clothing do not occur in nature. Cannibalism does occur, as does monogamy, but both are rare and could be considered un-natural.
On the other hand, homosexuality has been observed in perhaps 30% of species which have been studied. In Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, Bruce Bagemihl discusses the homosexual activity that has been documented in over 1500 different species of animals, showing that it is clearly a ‘natural’ part of sexual diversity.
The reality is that the absence of homosexuality would be unnatural. And it seems to occur in all cultures, without regard for the norms of a culture.
"It’s a perversion."
This is little more than a variation of the argument above, just with a religious cast to it. As such, of course, it has no place in a society committed to the separation of church and state; in such a society the moral basis for law rests on the benefits to society from instituting a law, not from some predetermined religious system.
"It’s against God’s law."
This argument is, of course, purely religious; without specifically stating the fact, it maintains that homosexuals ought to be bound by the particular religious principles of the proponent, whatever they may be. And, yes, these differ dramatically. Why? When the first parts of the Bible were written down 2900 years ago, people were using a vocabulary (there are 30,000 words in the Bible) that was half the size of an educated person’s today (60,000, not including technical terms); and neither the vocabulary nor the scientific approach existed to make precisely scientific descriptions and explanations an option for people of the time. Language simply had to be metaphoric.
The result is that determining exactly what God’s Law is is a real challenge. Furthermore, the languages that God’s revelation to His people was originally written in – Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek – have changed so much since the original writing that even these languages’ modern equivalents require translation of the scriptures.
Fortunately, a comparison of the Dead Sea Scrolls with the oldest texts we had before their discovery shows that the effects on meaning of a thousand years of copying have been minor. Still, the task of deciphering God’s law remains. God’s law is silent on the subject of homosexuality, no matter what you have heard.
"It’s against family values."
Hello? Has anyone ever looked at the families in the Bible? There are Adam’s (one son murders the other), Abraham’s (whose wife gets a servant pregnant by Abraham and then mistreats her), Jacob’s (he stole his brother’s birthright), Jephthah’s (he had to sacrifice his only child to God in return for victory in war), Saul’s (he goes crazy), and David’s (he gets his general killed so that he can have his wife, and his son Amnon rapes his daughter, Tamar). At best, these are dysfunctional examples of family values.
There are, of course, a handful of people who have genuinely investigated a theological dimension to the issue of homosexuality. Their approach tends to begin with the premises that a homosexual orientation is a choice that, once made, leads to a destructive lifestyle of promiscuity, disease, hopelessness, dramatically lower life expectancy – one that is also somehow destructive to family values.
For a moment, set aside the awesome illogic and junk science behind this position. It maintains that the righteous Christian has an obligation to oppose such a lifestyle in any way possible and to compel such sinners to turn to God. This is called “Dire Consequences Theology;” it holds that permitting such sordid lifestyles would inevitably lead to a decline or destruction of moral society, and a Christian must try to compel gays to abandon a choice which afflicts them with such deadly consequences.
The position entails the assertion that God richly rewards righteous faith – i.e., following God’s path leads to health, wealth, and happiness – and that the absence of these is clear evidence of estrangement from God’s path for us. Ignore for a moment the existence of birth defects on infants who are profoundly innocent of sin; ignore the incidence of cancer or dementia; ignore crippling automobile accidents; ignore Jesus’ own warnings that those who choose His path would face ostracism, violence, suffering, and death – after all, people who claim to adhere to the piece of non-theology above ignore these things.
The fact is that this high-sounding philosophy is nothing but a mask for bigotry. Some people need to disguise their innate insecurity by projecting it onto others, and in this case that means denying people the protections and benefits decreed by a civil state but rather showering those who are different with insult and physical abuse. And despite a pretense of encouraging people to change sexual orientations and rejoin society, the plain fact is that the “ex-gay” effort basically involves convincing people to accept a celibate lifestyle and for the rest of their lives abandon any hope of an intimate mate. Without any exaggeration, this attitude leads to church-sponsored suicide.
In spite of Jesus’ message of love, many people who mistakenly call themselves Christians seem to feel that being righteous justifies psychological and physical torture of homosexuals, sometimes including murder. Such people fail to comprehend that no one can be compelled to love Christ or anyone else. The very most this approach can do is force people to try to deny a basic part of themselves and avoid persecution by pretending to be ‘straight.’ This is to say that it fosters dishonesty (apparently a ‘family value’).
In the real world, if homosexuals were spared the abuse of such people, most would live their lives relatively free of misery. No, this doesn’t deny the belief that genuine peace and happiness cannot come without Christ; many have found an emptiness and hunger of soul corrected only when they have found Christ. But love cannot be compelled. Forced conversions only create the illusion of success.
And an approach that is superficial and not based in genuine love cannot help but be inadequate when faced with homosexual lives that are neither plaintive nor quietly desperate but rather marked with apparent happiness and material prosperity. God’s plan, whatever it may be, is of a certainty not accessible to people who do not begin from a standpoint of love and caring; and the question of why God permits good people – whether gay or not – to suffer is a fundamental one for any faith.
Dire Consequences Theology, therefore, is only something of a self-fulfilling prophesy. Homosexuality has dire consequences largely because people who believe in the philosophy make it have consequences. Without the psychological (and physical) violence that they impose on gays, lesbians, and transsexuals – not to mention people of other religions and races, or on anyone different from themselves – the consequences would be solely on an individual level and without an effect on society whatever.