November 4, 2013

Christianity's Take on Homosexuality

I am a Christian, and I've heard all types of opinions from other Christians regarding homosexuality (when I say homosexuality, I am referring to all people who identify with the LGBTQ group). Reactions range from "I don't mind being around them, even though their lifestyle is sinful" to "I think gay people are going to hell" (yes, I've heard the latter stated explicitly - by a middle schooler). There are a precious few of us who do not find homosexuality abominable and in fact do not think homosexuality is a sin. I happen to be one of those people. The following statements are arguments I've heard from a variety of characters who, in my opinion, need to think about what they're really arguing for.

1. "Biblical sin" argument: "The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin."
The Old Testament Bible forbids working on the Sabbath (Deuteronomy 5:12), permits the stoning of virgins (Deuteronomy 22:21), and frequently doles out death as a punishment for wrongdoings. The New Testament heavily implies that you should not have sex before you’re married (1 Corinthians 7) and states that women were created for the purpose of men (1 Corinthians 11:9). Most Americans today use neither the Old nor the New Testament to dictate their behavior; most of us are not abstinent, and hopefully all of us believe that women are equal to, rather than subservient to, men. Numerous discriminatory attitudes, among them male superiority and foreign oppression, are evident in the entirety of the Bible. Can it really be a reliable source of law or morality if it violates basic human rights (e.g. permitting slavery in Leviticus 25:44)? And in at least one famous instance where homosexuality is mentioned (Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 19), the Bible is referring to rape. Is it possible that the authors of these stories had their own preconceptions regarding homosexuals and wrote their stories from a biased perspective?
2. "Homosexuality is a choice" argument (still assuming homosexuality is a sin):
Some Christians may say that homosexuality is a choice, meaning that a man or woman chooses to be attracted to people of the same sex (or of both sexes for bisexuals). If they wanted to, they could have chosen to be attracted to the opposite sex and therefore avoided committing a sin. If that's the case, then heterosexuality is also a choice, meaning heterosexuals choose to be attracted to the opposite sex rather than become attracted to the same sex. Most people giving this argument would be a tad put off by the suggestion that at any moment they could become attracted to someone of the same sex. In short, they would not consider heterosexuality a choice because they could never consider themselves able to "become homosexual." So this argument's out.
3. "Homosexuality is uncommon and therefore unnatural" argument: 
There are a lot of things that are uncommon that we don't consider unnatural. Only 13% of the American population is black. Only 0.2% is Native American. Does that mean that being Native American is unnatural because it is uncommon for most people to identify with a federally recognized tribe? Does that mean that the color of my skin (I am an African-American woman) is unnatural, because it does not match that of the majority’s?
4. "No harm done" argument: “I think being homosexual is sinful, but I’m not trying to ban their civil rights." 
This is merely excusing one's homophobia because he or she is not doing homosexuals any direct physical harm. However, this way of thinking is the foundation for laws that do violate their civil rights. Saying that you think "women belong in the kitchen" and then saying you're not against women having careers...well, you have the same mentality as the people that are against women in the workplace, don't you?
5. "Civil rights for homosexuals is not the same as civil rights for other groups of people" argument:
The real question here is, “Is sexuality an irremovable part of our identities?" I can't answer that yet. But I don't think it needs to be answered to know that the civil rights for people in the LGBTQ community should be protected. If there is something about an individual that can be used against him to justify physically harming him or making him feel ostracized, we typically make laws to protect said individual. A disability wouldn't necessarily be considered part of someone's identity, but there are laws protecting the disabled because they have been discriminated against. People are also discriminated for having a sexuality that is socially abhorrent; therefore, there need to be laws that protect them.

The question of homosexuality for Christians, indeed for other major faiths in the United States, should not be treated as a matter of lighthearted opinion but rather as a socially significant stand. I implore all people, in support of homosexuality or no, to recognize that prejudice against LGBTQ individuals exists, that their rights are being encroached upon, and that they need to be defended by U.S. law in job security, marriage, and social well-being.
 
-Carmen

5 comments:

  1. "Can it really be a reliable source of law or morality..?"

    If you're not considering the Bible as a source of law or morality, then why are you arguing from the perspective of a Christian? Not agreeing or disagreeing with any of your points on this, but if you're not willing to consider the Bible as a foundation for your point of view, are you not then arguing from a separate point of view altogether?

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  2. I think you need to think about what you're saying, actually.
    Let's look at argument #1: ""Biblical Sin" Argument". Did you actually read Deuteronomy 5:12 IN CONTEXT? The whole idea of the Sabbath is to set aside time in your busy life to focus on God and your relationship with Him. It's not about doing or not doing 'x' amount of work; it's about remembering what God has done for you in your life and giving thanks. The stoning of virgins part is something I'd have to look a lot further at than the cursory surface reading you've given it (yeah, I said it) but I do know that virgins weren't the only people stoned; so were rapists (Deuteronomy 22:25-27).
    I will grant you that 1 Corinthians 7 argues that you shouldn't have sex before you're married; however, your logic using this verse is flawed because you use your assumption that sex before marriage is okay to prove that the verse is wrong and so that sex before marriage is okay. On to 1 Corinthians 11:9; I think it's safe to say that you didn't read the CONTEXT yet again; in 1 Corinthians 11:11-12 (yeah, ONLY 2 verses later) he points out that "in the Lord" women and men are equal and co-dependent in contrast to the societal men-in-charge hierarchy. I'd also have to look at Leviticus 25:44 more thoroughly, again CONTEXT is important here.

    So, to summarize my point, I cannot take your argument seriously or worth reasoning over because you did not reason through your own argument yourself. For a Duke student, your argument suggests that you are not intellectually capable of arguing against others' beliefs. Before siding with the easy choice of supporting LGBTQ ideology, maybe you should do the hard work of evaluating the arguments yourself. Right now, as you've left it, I'm much more inclined to be anti-LGBTQ because at least they can actually argue their points with some intelligence (not all do, of course, but there are those who do and those are the people to whom I'm referring).

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  3. Well said, Carmen. Welcome to the blog!

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  4. The intention of this article is good, but I find a few issues with it. It suggests that homosexuality and faith are mutually exclusive, and I have friends who identify as SSA (same-sex attraction) Christians, who seem to be excluded from this writer's discussion.

    Also, the statement "There are a precious few of us who do not find homosexuality abominable and in fact do not think homosexuality is a sin" implies that a Christian or someone of a "major faith in the United States" should feel good about her/himself if she/he is LGBTQ-friendly, when being conscious and supportive of LGBTQ rights and promoting equality across all types of identities should be a given in the first place.

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  5. @ Anonymous 11:23

    You can’t really think that every Biblical commandment can or should be followed today. Do you? In fact we know that many things from the Old Testament were meant to be only temporary and no longer apply to Christians. Jesus explains in Matt 19:8 that “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Since I know you like CONTEXT, this passage is about divorce, but it shows that some Old Testament ordinances were created because people were unable to accept what God had in mind. The new testament makes other statements which reverse Old Testament law, dietary restrictions is another great example, as well as male circumcision. I see where you’re coming from on the Sabbath, but Jesus himself broke the Sabbath and got in trouble for it (Mark 3:2, Matt 12:1-12, John 9:11-17).

    I don’t know how much looking into you need to do on the whole stoning thing. Leviticus 24:16 commands the stoning of blasphemers
    Deuteronomy 21:18-21 allows for stoning of rebellious children
    And in one of the New Testaments’ most famous stories, Christ saves an adulterous women from being stoned (which the law demanded) in John 8:3-11.

    And just because the Bible calls for the stoning of Rapist, doesn’t excuse the stoning of other people who committed less heinous “crimes”…. I’m not sure what you were trying to prove with that statement on rapist.

    The vast majority of Christians would no longer subscribe to these commandments, and so the question then is: why are some of these commandments held on to and others thrown away? I personally believe it’s about who has power and who doesn’t, and keeping people in their place, but that’s a conversation for another day.

    In terms of a woman’s place, have you ever read 1 Timothy? “Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. (1 Timothy 2:11-14). So I really hope your not a women, because if so you should not even be talking about such things where men could read it, because you are only a woman. If you are a woman I hope after reading this you will take my word for it, and be silent like you were intended to be.

    And yes Corinthians 11:1-12 does say that women aren’t dependent on men, but it surly doesn’t say they are equal. For that reason women are to cover their heads when praying (Corinthians 11:6). Do you cover your head when you pray? Why not? You bring dishonor to the lord your God.

    To summarize my point, I think that the bible is a complex document, which must be read and examined very carefully. Some of it was written for a time way past, and some of it was written for a specific person (or small group of people) in a specific time and place for a specific reason. This all means that no one has all of the answers, but as Christians the world should “know us by our love”, (John 13:35) and we should work together to be the “light of the world and salt of the Earth” (Matt 5:13-16) like we were meant to be.


    *As a disclaimer, I am both Gay and Christian. I believe same sex relations are not a sin, and I also believe women should have an equal place of authority in the church with men. My sexiest language was only to make a point about your argument, and I hope you will forgive it. That being said, I hope you will reconsider your homophobia, and think and pray about the issue. There are a lot of sources that tackle this issue, which I can recommend.

    If anyone has any questions about what I have written, or just want to continue to conversation I am always up for it (sexuality and religion is something a deal with a lot).

    May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

    Denzell Faison

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