100 Answers in 100 Days

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Sharing answers to the various questions of faith I have faced, and which others have been challenged with also.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Gay Activism on Facebook

In these modern times, changing the way our whole culture looks at the world is no longer a matter of holding public protests or managing to print articles in prominent magazines. Rather, people are able to use social networking sites to present images and slogans like the ones I've posted here. These are just a few of the ones I've seen posted by friends on Facebook. And seeing the emotionally charged attitudes of those friends, I know that these images are effective in their goal of changing the minds of a nation. Yet their arguments are flawed from a Biblical perspective. So I thought I'd make some comments on these images...

Not wanting to reiterate things I've said about homosexuality in the past, but I must make one thing clear; Christians ought not to hate homosexuals, and I for one certainly don't. A Christian, in one sense, might say "Amen!" to this first image. I agree with the point this image is trying to make about Homophobia. The poster alludes to the common Christian response to homosexuality, that it is "unnatural". But when a Christian uses the term "unnatural", in particular, it can mean unnatural in the sense of what God never intended. In that sense, sin and death itself are unnatural - God never intended for Man to die, but we do as a result of our "unnatural" sinfulness. Again, sin is unnatural (though everybody sins) in the sense that it is not the way God intends for us to behave. However, the image then implies that Homosexuality is, on the contrary, natural. And from a Biblical perspective it is not, in that same sense of being something God never intended for Man. God's intent for Man is clear...

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

Homosexuality is unnatural because God designed our bodies, and it is "natural" for something designed for a purpose to fulfill its purpose. The argument lends support to the idea that homosexuality is natural by claiming that it is found in "over 450 species". Let's assume that claim is true; it makes no difference Biblically, because all of Creation has been corrupted. I've just told you that death is unnatural, Biblically speaking, and it is certain that animals die!

Despite the great number of these sorts of images, they do all tend to be arguing one of only a few key points. Again, this sign is essentially saying that homosexuality is natural. This gentleman appears to be saying that he never chose to be gay, but has been gay since birth. Many Christians have a problem with the idea that one might be genetically predisposed to homosexuality, and I've been involved in that debate amongst my peers. I, personally, don't have a problem with the notion of a "gay gene". There are many unnatural things that are genetic as a result of the corruption of all Creation. We could point to Down's Syndrome, for example. Now, the Bible doesn't condemn having Down's Syndrome, so we might say it's not the same thing, but it's at least an example of an "unnatural" genetic defect. If we wanted a better example, we might talk of the genetic predisposition to alcoholism or violence, which are things the Bible would also condemn. The genetic bias for these things is as debatable as the one for homosexuality, I believe. But it certainly seems to me that a genetic bias seems plausible, even if we base it purely on anecdotal evidence like the image above. It makes no difference - I am certain that I myself have a strong genetic disposition toward adultery, incest, rape, and all manner of sexual acts which are also prohibited in the Bible. It is no excuse if I do those things.

Now the cartoon on the right, and likewise the cartoon below, both say something similar; that society has seen similar prejudices before, and as silly as those prejudices seem to us now, so should any prejudice against homosexuality seem silly to us. However, these images don't draw valid analogies to homosexuality. The first, to do with being left handed, fails because the Bible never condemns left-handedness. Some will disagree with that statement, so I should discuss briefly... The Bible does often speak about the right hand as being significant; Jesus is said to have ascended to Heaven and is now sitting at the Father's right hand (Hebrews 1:3). It is a cultural symbol for a place of honour. It is where the king's most honoured would sit. This doesn't make left handedness evil or inferior. The closest we get to the Bible having something negative to say about left handedness is in Judges 20:16 where the literal translation of "left handed" would be those "impeded in the right hand". But this doesn't condemn left handedness, this is simply a way of referring to left handedness in a world which (still) is predominantly right handed. The verse itself tells us that these left handers were extremely skillful in wielding their slingshots, and so doesn't even imply that being left handed is some kind of disability. Those in the middle ages who called left handedness demonic and such were simply wrong. But the Bible does clearly refer to homosexuality as a violation of God's Law.

The second cartoon is similar to the one above, saying that we once saw interracial marriage as unnatural, but now we don't. However, once again the Bible doesn't condemn interracial marriage. I have to make a point of this because on the surface it does seem to, where the Mosaic Law would prohibit Jews from marrying Gentiles. This distinction however was religious, not racial. If a Gentile would convert to Judaism, (as did Ruth in the Book of Ruth, for example) then there was no infringement of the Law. Even the New Testament maintains that so close a union as marriage should not be made between believers and unbelievers.

Now in standing by the claim that homosexuality is not natural according to God's intended order of Creation, many homosexuals will feel this to be an attack on them. The saying "love the sinner, not the sin" is not often seen as sincere; surely if we hate the actions of a person we necessarily hate the person, right? But that's not so... Another image I've seen is of two men kissing, and behind them an image of Jesus with the caption "Jesus Loves You". The fallacy in that image is that while Jesus does love the people, it is precisely because of that love for them that He commands us through the Scriptures to repent of homosexual behaviour. From one who truly believes that refusal to repent from sin such as homosexuality will lead to eternal judgment, it would be nothing short of hate if I didn't try to correct some of these false notions and direct people to the truth of the matter.

I know that a gay man's feelings for another man can be romantic and loving, and that a true sense of companionship can be found between gay men (or women). But I believe that the good things of God are seen throughout all humanity, though we are all corrupt. Religions other than Christianity, for example, all contain much truth; almost all religions teach some form of the Golden Rule for example. But other religions are in error when it comes to the whole truth about God. We are all created in God's image, and so the good things of God can be found in all of man's pursuits. But homosexuality is a corruption of the good things of God; namely love and sexuality. It's a partial truth. Just as I might find beautiful love and companionship in a polygamous marriage, it would nevertheless be a sinful corruption of God's true intent for marriage. If, however, we live according to God's intended order, we discover true fulfillment because we live and behave as God has designed us to. Does this mean a gay man forcing himself to marry a woman will find "true fulfillment"? No! But a gay man who comes to Christ, and through Christ deals with his homosexuality, may then go on to naturally desire the things of God. That may be marriage or singleness, but a true Christian will naturally align themselves to God's revealed will. And that takes a supernatural change to the heart of any man.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalms 16:11

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