May

09

2012

Collin Hansen|7:06 PM CT

How to Win the Public on Homosexuality

President Obama's support for same-sex marriage is making headlines but not news. That's probably because he was in favor of same-sex marriage before he was against it and now in favor of it again. Campaigning in 1996 for state senate in Illinois, Obama said in a typed statement, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages." Running for statewide and then national office apparently changed his perspective, at least temporarily.

But there's another reason much of the country has shrugged off no-news headlines about the culmination of President Obama's "evolution": 50 percent of Americans now agree with him. In the last 16 years, support for same-sex marriage has nearly doubled. Gallup shows an increase in support from just 27 percent in 1996 to a high of 53 percent in 2011 and now 50 percent in 2012. Since 1996, Christians have debated homosexuality almost non-stop, and several Protestant denominations have reached the same conclusion as Obama. He told ABC's Robin Roberts today:

In the end the values that I care most deeply about, and [Michelle Obama] cares most deeply about, is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians, and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it's also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.

We could recognize a number of causes to explain this revolution in religion, politics, and culture. As Vice President Joe Biden said on Sunday, television shows such as Will & Grace, Modern Family, and Ellen have normalized same-sex relationships. Nearly everyone knows and loves someone who lives openly as a homosexual or fights same-sex attraction. And a powerful gay-rights lobby has gained leverage over the Democratic Party through fundraising. Christians defending biblical teaching rarely match the passion and political will of homosexuals who see same-sex marriage as today's great civil rights struggle and key to validating their very identity. They might be 0 for 32 since 1998 in states where the people vote on same-sex marriage, but gay-rights activists believe time will inevitably reveal the justice of their cause and the bigotry of their opponents.

These contributing factors tempt Christians to heap all the blame on crafty, malicious "others" for redefining the divine institution of marriage. But political strategy and tactics alone don't explain such a pronounced shift in public sentiment, especially among younger generations of Americans. Indeed, regaining the ground Christians have lost on homosexuality will require widespread repentance, painful self-examination, and new resolve to pursue self-denying holiness. Most of all, we need the life-giving power that comes from Jesus alone.

Our Culture's Confession

Same-sex marriage doesn't radically depart from modern morality; it makes perfect sense according to contemporary mores. Blogger Rod Dreher writes:

The reason gay marriage is so widely accepted by young Americans is not because the media have propagandized them (though it is certainly the case that the media have played a significant role in normalizing it), but because same-sex marriage follows naturally from what young Americans already believe about sex, intimacy, love, liberty, and the nature of the human person.

The sports world recently illustrated Dreher's point. Last week ESPN's Rick Reilly, one of the most influential sports columnists in America, joined the fray over Nebraska assistant football coach Ron Brown's statements critical of homosexuality. Reilly profiled "Ron Brown's top recruit," a 24-year-old man named Brett Major who decided he wanted to be a Christian after hearing Brown speak 13 years ago. Then 11 years old, Major remembers thinking, "Wow. He's cool and he's Nebraska football and he believes in God. And that's all it took for me."

Reilly describes Major as the guy next door who loves football and family, as illustrated by the friendly photos accompanying his column. He's a responsible citizen and gifted student working on a master's degree in psychology at Wake Forest. He remains dedicated to the church. And he's gay.

"I know God doesn't make a mistake," Major told Reilly. "He didn't put me on this earth to be banished to hell. . . . I don't have to report to Ron Brown at the pearly gates."

Look no further for our culture's confessional statement in three points:

  1. God made me this way.
  2. He wouldn't deny my natural desires.
  3. And I don't have to explain myself to you or anyone else.

You won't understand the challenge facing Christians regarding homosexuality until you see how these three points permeate our culture. On the surface, we appear to be locked in a battle of rights we can't win. Christians declare our right to speak out and legislate according to religious conviction in defense of traditional institutions. Gays pursue their right to life, liberty, happiness with regard to their sexuality. But homosexuality fronts a much bigger challenge that threatens us all.

Vain Pursuit

As columnist Ross Douthat argues in his recent book Bad Religion, "Ultimately, the Christian sexual ethic asks more of people with same-sex attraction than it does of straights---a far greater self-denial, a more heroic chastity." Whether you've struggled with same-sex attraction yourself or counseled anyone with these inclinations, you know the agony Douthat describes. Problem is, gays don't see us as agonizing over our acceptable sins. The pursuit of self-fulfillment covers a multitude of adultery, divorce, and pornography in our churches. Why shouldn't it also cover homosexuality?

Consider the case of "Reggie," described by the team of sociologists led by Christian Smith who researched and wrote Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood. Reggie lives at home with his mom while studying business administration at a nearby state university. He works part-time as a youth leader in the church of his own youth. And he spends his free time seducing women. Following hundreds of interviews, the sociologists regard him as typical for his generation except in one way: Reggie believes the Bible teaches sex outside marriage is wrong. He just doesn't think it makes any difference, because we can't control our urges. In the stories of Reggie and many others, we see echoes of Major: God gave me these urges, so he won't deny my enjoyment of them, and you can't tell me they're wrong.

It's so easy for us to look up Romans 1 and observe the obvious gap between biblical teaching and homosexuality. We think if they only recognized biblical authority, the gap would shrink and possibly even disappear. But rebellion against biblical authority may not sufficiently explain the problem in our day. Observe what Brett Major's parents wrote to the administrators at the University of Nebraska.

Gays can be raised in the "perfect" family environment with parents active and nurturing, raised in the church to become lovers of the scripture. They are Christians---Brett is such an example.

We're fighting today over authority, yes, but it's not straightforwardly biblical. Many gay-rights advocates have excused themselves behind a professed love of God's Word. You won't likely win a debate with them by citing Bible verses they've been trained to explain away. Rather, we're losing a more fundamental struggle over the very definition of God. Straight or gay, Reggie or Brett, we're not satisfied with a God who calls us sinners. Who calls on us to deny ourselves. Who calls our gaze heavenward to receive his blessing: "For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14).

Romans 1 reveals the horrifying outcome of this idolatry, when we deny God his divine right as Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, and Judge. God can do nothing worse to sinners than grant their desires. So Christians do not so much fear the hostile imposition of gay marriage as its so-called flourishing. In this world God created, such idolatry produces neither life, nor liberty, nor happiness (2 Peter 2:19). It will only spread the regret and frustration "Reggie" and his generation of sexually liberated young adults confessed to Smith and his fellow researchers. So why hasn't freedom resulted in happiness?

Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24; see also Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23). These hard words point us toward the only source of abundant life: "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Matthew 16:24; see also Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24). For presidents and paupers, gays and straights, there is no other way to true happiness than the one Jesus traveled, the way that ended in the agony of the Cross and the ecstasy of the Resurrection.

To deny ourselves is to welcome the God who delights in giving every good and perfect gift (James 1:17), especially freedom from the vain pursuit of self-fulfillment.

Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. He is the co-author of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.

  • http://youngevangelicalandcatholic.blogspot.com Brantly Millegan

    Great piece. I particularly appreciate you acknowledging that the acceptability of homosexual acts flows naturally from what people already believe about sex.

    I would only add to your piece that another key component is that people no longer connect sex with procreation. We used to, until most Protestant denominations changed their stance on contraception in the mid-20th century, and thereby necessarily also changed their views on sexuality and marriage. If contraception is ever acceptable, that means that the sexual act does not, in principle, have to be open to procreation. If sex isn't intrinsically connected to procreation, then you've lost the historical argument against homosexual acts, as well as a host of other acts (that Mark Discoll apparently now approves of in his book Real Marriage that Christians throughout all of history have condemned as unnatural).

    Thanks for the post.

    • Melody

      You really messed your point up there at the end. Now the thread will get all pointless debating things that have nothing to do with the actual article. hometeam 0 satan 2

      • Melody

        I hope they delete both our posts so things can be started out more biblical.

    • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

      Melody is right. I'm an evangelical who believes in sola scriptura. That means I don't get the right to condemn things unless I can make a good case from scripture that they are wrong. Homosexuality is clearly one of those things. Further, Paul's point about homosexuality it is clearly unnatural and perverse just from natural revelation. But there are other things, such as those Mark Driscoll tries to deal with. It may bother you that scripture doesn't condemn all the things that you want to condemn but that's the way the Holy Spirit inspired it.

      • http://youngevangelicalandcatholic.blogspot.com Brantly Millegan

        Hello John,
        One can affirm sola scriptura and still affirm natural law, as you acknowledge that Paul does in Romans 1 and 2. Sola Scriptura doesn't mean that Scripture is the only way to know anything about the world at all, it means that it's the only thing that contains the Word of God. The moral law is accessible by way of reason (though, because of sin, our reason can sometimes be clouded, such that Scripture will always correct our understanding of morality from reason).

        My point is that until the mid-20th century, all Christians held that sex was intrinsically ordered to procreation (according to the natural law that Paul alludes to in Romans 1 and 2 and other places). When most (though not all) Protestants in the mid-20th century decided to change their position on contraception, they thereby had to change their theology of sexuality/marriage; they had to say that sexuality is not intrinsically ordered to procreation, as they had for centuries before. However, when one says that sex is not intrinsically ordered to procreation, that opens to door to other sexual perversions not ordered to procreation, such as homosexual acts.

        I was complementing Hansen on pointing out that the issue of the morality of homosexual acts is not an isolated issue but comes from deeper principles. I agree with what he said in the post, but thought it important to add that there are other principles in play here as well.

        • http://nathanielclaiborne.com Nate Claiborne

          Nowhere in Scripture does it say that sex is only for the purpose of procreation, and it would be hard to sustain that "all" Christians up until the mid-20th century held that it was in fact only for that purpose.

          (Also, if we're arguing from nature, then you need to account for why God gave women a clitoris if its only natural purpose is to give pleasure in orgasm.)

          You can hold that sex is intrinsically for pleasure and procreation and still point to natural law for differentiating acceptable sex acts (or better, what Scripture explicitly condemns). More poignantly though, you can point out that the natural purpose of marriage is to picture Christ and the church and that can only be adequately (though not perfectly) pictured by a man pursuing a woman, not a man pursuing a man or a woman pursuing woman (or a woman pursuing a man for that matter).

          That principle, it would seem, supersedes the question of whether sex must intrinsically geared toward procreation. Even if that is the majority view, it is not stated as such in Scripture, and the important point is the purpose of marriage, not the purpose of sex.

          • http://youngevangelicalandcatholic.blogspot.com Brantly Millegan

            I didn't claim that sex is only for the purpose of procreation, but that sex, and therefore marriage, is intrinsically ordered to procreation. So pointing out that sex has other purposes doesn't undo the fact that sex is ordered to procreation, as is obviously the case from nature.

            Regarding whether all Christians opposed contraception, the first Christian denomination to officially accept the use of contraception under any circumstances was the Anglican Church (no surprise) in 1930. For a great article explaining the history of this, I recommend an article by Lutheran Allan Carlson called "Children of the Reformation: A Short & Surprising History of Protestantism & Contraception".

            That marriage makes present the relationship between Christ and his Church (as you correctly point out, cf. Eph 5) actually supports my view, since Christ gives himself fully to his Church and the Church to Christ, the very thing that contraception prevents the husband and wife from doing to each other.

            Sex is the expression of marriage, so I wouldn't differentiate too strongly between the purpose of sex and the purpose of marriage.

            • http://youngevangelicalandcatholic.blogspot.com Brantly Millegan

              I believe the article by Lutheran Allan Carlson called "Children of the Reformation: A Short & Surprising History of Protestantism & Contraception" was originally published with Touchstone Magazine, although it won't load up on my computer. Here's another link to the text of the article: "http://freedominion.com.pa/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=968721"

        • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

          As above I agreed with Melody's first response to Brantly, I agree with Nate's first response here.

          I'm not sure what sexuality being "intrinsically" geared toward procreation is supposed to mean. If it means "only" for that, or that sex must at least potentially have that purpose, (as Nate justifiably assumes Brantly means), then I agree with Nate that such an understanding is wrong. Besides not having any scriptural support, it would make a married couple having sex after the wife's menopause immoral. Song of Solomon has sexually suggestive poetry without any reference to procreation. Paul's handling of sexuality in 1 Corinthians 7 has no reference to procreation. Further, the Puritans had a healthy view of sexuality. I don't know if they shared a conviction about contraception or what options were open to them for that but I do know they held (like Driscoll does) that sex has other functions than simply procreation. What intervened the time of the Puritans and our day was an era of prudish Victorianism which suppressed open discussion of sexuality and which some modern Christians take to be the "good old days" they hanker to return to. But it was really based in assumptions as unChristian as are the hedonistic assumptions of our own time.

          In his "Real Marriage" book, Mark Driscoll develops three Biblical principles for sexual practices: whether they are legal, helpful, enslaving (I believe). He then says we have to use our reason to use those three when appraising any sexual practice.

          The core assumptions about the function of sexuality in this article, that would make the best defense against homosexuality, I believe are shared by the Puritans and (in a different way) Driscoll, et al.

          • Melody

            I can think of at least two cases in the bible where women became pregnant after the time that their bodies should have been able to due to age. Since they were not impregnated by the Holy Spirit like Mary was then I think it is safe to assume that Sarah and Elizabeth were having sex with their husbands because that is what married couples do. Despite being past child bearing age. Just sayin

          • Ashley

            I would recommend that EVERYONE referencing Mark Driscoll and/or his book in this thread to read the Spring 2012 JBMW article "A Review of Mark Driscoll, The Truth About Sex" by Heath Lambert. Mark Driscoll is in NO WAY a good reference to use when combating sexual sin of any kind.

            • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

              I read Driscoll's book and attended his conference in Lynchurg, Va and I disagree with you. I believe him to be Biblical and clear.

          • http://youngevangelicalandcatholic.blogspot.com Brantly Millegan

            Respecting that sex is intrinsically ordered to procreation means to do the type of sexual act that can procreate. It does not mean that each sex act has to actually procreate (most sex doesn't).

            Again, I didn't say that procreation is the only purpose of sex, but that it is an intrinsic purpose of sex. (Sex has two purposes, the unity of the spouses and the procreation of children.)

            Regarding you point about Victorianism, Christians have held the view of sexuality I'm describing from the early Church onward, including the Protestant Reformers, so no it's not the result of Victorianism. There have been dissenters here and there (such as the Cathars, etc), but they have always been heretical.

            Hansen's great article here points out why people have a hard time accepting the supposed burden Christian morality due to other principles they already hold (whether the teaching is about sex or anything else). But he doesn't touch on the fact that the Christian view of homosexual sex doesn't make sense to people anymore based on other fundamental principles regarding the purpose of sex. If sex can be separated out from procreation and can legitimately be only for pleasure, then you have no argument against homosexual sex.

            Regarding Driscoll's 3 principles, he leaves out one that St Paul uses, namely whether the act is in accord with nature (Romans 1.26-27).

            • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

              Hi Brantly,

              I would tend to agree with you. I think you're right about the two purposes. However, a homosexual defender would say that for them it could serve the purpose of uniting a couple. (I would disagree with that as strongly as you would.) But if you say that sex must be "intrinsically ordered to procreation", then, again, haven't you condemned sex even in marriage after the wife has had menopause?

              It seems to me that the condemnation of homosexuality is not based on the purpose of sex directly but on the fact that the bodies of male and female were obviously intended for each other which tells us that sex itself was intended to be heterosexual. I don't see that you need to narrow the purpose of sex any further to make your case.

              From what little I know of it, Christians prior to the Victorian age were much more frank about discussing sex. I know of a case in a Puritan church where a wife brought her husband before the church for not have sex enough. I believe the Victorian age may have appeared to be in harmony with the Christian ethic because it suppressed sex but it was actually unrealistic, such as having, in '50s TV and movies, married couples sleeping in different beds.

              The Romans 1 passage condemns homosexual acts as unnatural, not certain acts between married, heterosexual couples. So it wouldn't be helpful there. By the way, by "legal" (I believe) he meant whether an act was allowed by both God's law and human law. What Driscoll was trying to do was apply 1 Corinthians 6-7.

            • http://andrewtlocke.wordpress.com andrewtlocke

              John,

              Brant's argument still holds true. Just because a woman has passed child-bearing years doesn't mean she cannot bear children. We have not only Biblical (miraculous) accounts for this, but also many accounts of especially the last 30 years where women who thought that they were passed the age of childbearing have been able to conceive and bear children.

              So the sexual act, as God has ordered it, always has within its view that God opens and closes the womb. Certainly I have also seen instances where younger women have been told that they will never conceive, and low and behold after 6 or 8 or 10 years she is with child. Surprise!

              Brant is not saying that the sexual act between and married man and woman is only to be used for procreation, but that it is ordered with procreation always in its view. Certainly homosexual intercourse can never be ordered in this way.

              ~a

  • http://thewildernessroad.blogspot.com Phil Brown
  • hazysunset

    Yes. We spend so much time in my circle of believers/friends talking about how to get past our problems and pursue our dreams that I don't even know what living with self-denial would look like. So many of our sins of lust, greed, and pride are explained away. Certainly taking up our crosses means fighting these sins, but does it also mean sacrificing our good desires? I suppose the answer is yes, at times, especially when they are interfering with obedience to Christ. I'm just not sure how to discern this in my life. This is not good.

  • http://www.thedispersion.net Jack Lonergan

    I think that the idea that the Christian sexual ethic is easier for heterosexuals is one of the more damaging ideas the church has today. The struggle for the heterosexual and the homosexual is much the same when it comes to sex: glorifying God in our sexuality. Now one might say that that might be harder for someone who is gay because God condemns homosexuality, but with the prevalence of lustful content everywhere we look is it any easier for those who are straight? I don't think that there is such a thing as the "straight advantage." I think we are all born with a genetic desire to mock God with sin, whether it is in a straight way or gay way. It is God's glory to save us from that sin. Please pray for gays, please pray for straights.

    • drey

      I'm with you on this.

      • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

        Amen!

    • LG

      Except that, for heterosexuals, there is at least the possibility (and, statistically, a probability) of entering a godly marriage. For my same-sex attracted brothers and sisters, though? Their sexual desires do not have a godly outlet. I'd for sure call that an advantage. Is it the same temptation? Totally. But if you knew that your temptation was likely to be permanent and that the path of marriage was, without God's specific intervention, likely closed to you, I imagine that would hardly make things easier/

      • Jesse

        Come on! The presence of a desire does not validate it. Our emotions are to be directed by us, not the other way around. We are not to be conformed by our desires, but transformed by our surrender. If our desires are outside of God's boundaries we need to change our desires and find our satisfaction in Him.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    "Rather, we're losing a more fundamental struggle over the very definition of God. Straight or gay, Reggie or Brett, we're not satisfied with a God who calls us sinners."

    Wow. That probably nails it right there.

    • drey

      My sentiments exactly. That is the core. It answers why there are so many different interpretations of the scriptures' plain teachings.

      • Phil

        The scriptures plain teachings? Here is a simple question, and tell me the simple answer:

        Can a person get divorced? Can a divorced person get remarried?

        There is no simple answer for that. And this is only one of a million things the scriptures have no "plain teaching" for. (Another example: Is birth control ok?)

        http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/i-dont-think-so-doug

        http://www.dougwils.com/Grace-and-Peace/paul-on-divorce-and-remarriage.html

        • drey

          Phil, I was referring to the scriptures' teachings on homosexuality. Why have you brought in divorce? Nevertheless, from what I have read in the gospels, a Jewish (since Jesus was a Jew and was addressing Jews)or a Christian person (who has come out of the Jewish tradition) can get a divorce and also remarry.

          Matthew 19:9 reads ( you can read the verses which precede and the verses which follow this verse) "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." In seminary it is called the Matthean clause.

          If you place it alongside the same incident in Mark 10, you will see some stuff is missing from the Markan account. The gospels do that a lot. A case in point is the resurrection account in the gospels. There are differences.

          You asked about birth control. I assume you mean for use by married Christian couples since marriage is the only accepted context or place for sex for Christians. Where is the harm in it? I see nothing wrong or sinful about it there.

          Your saying that the scriptures have no plain teaching on a million things may help to explain why the scribes and the Pharisees added so many more 'laws' on top of the ten commandments. Our tendency is to deal with small matters.

          Paul talked about the Corinthians needing to be fed milk since they were not ready for solid food. Hebrews 5:14 reminds us" But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."

          Shalom

          • Phil

            Do you believe that mathew descrbes the only situation in which divorce is permissible? Do you actually follow that in your life (and the lives of other fellow Christians)? Or do you really believe it is more complicated?

            (I am willing to bet it is more complicated. Or that you are deluding yourself. Sorry if that seems harsh.)

            You didn't answer the question about remarriage. and I am assuming that most remarriages are not biblical. But that doesn't seem to stop people.

            At any rate, this is all off topic as you were, in fact, talking about homosexuality. And I agree that the Bible is clear in that matter. Which is a shame, because it is one of the things that causes it to lose credibility with me.

            • drey

              "Do you believe that mathew descrbes the only situation in which divorce is permissible? Do you actually follow that in your life (and the lives of other fellow Christians)? Or do you really believe it is more complicated?"

              Not to go on and on about this but this is what I meant about Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus spoke on marriage and divorce and remarriage here, but it is not satisfying to you. You believe it is more complicated. Since you know nothing about me I will ignore the deluded comment. We only get one opinion apiece. Hold yours and I will hold mine.

              If you read the first few paragraphs you would see that I spoke about remarriage. Regardless, the article is spot on about the real issue in the Church and also the world today.
              "We are not satisfied with a God who calls us sinners." We think we are the point.

              Shalom

            • Phil

              Shalom to you, as well.

      • Phil

        The scriptures plain teachings? Here is a simple question, and tell me the simple answer:

        Can a person get divorced? Can a divorced person get remarried?

        There is no simple answer for that. And this is only one of a million things the scriptures have no "plain teaching" for.

  • Bryan Park

    Collin, when you describe 'our culture's confessional statement,' it made me think of another common confessional statement that many in our time believe deeply, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism:

    1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.” 2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.” 3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about ones self.” 4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.” 5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”

    Doesn't our culture's acceptance of homosexuality grow directly our of this 'creed,' as opposed to the gospel, which demands radical discipleship from every Christian. What else does it mean to die to self daily, to pick up our crosses and to follow Jesus?

    • AC

      Bryan,

      Good point. This is a fundamental problem, which I think you and Collin address in different ways. He goes with a three point list that encompasses the Moralistic Therapeutic Deism ideals.

      Our battle is not in knit picking sins, its about generating an entirely different outlook on God, Bible, Christianity. I would say that is the point of Collin's entire article. Lets get to root problems like Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (which our culture generates) and lets focus on laying out the true biblical gospel. We'll trust Christ for all of that and the rest.

      Good addition.

  • http://pouroutyourspirit.blogspot.com Douglas

    Irrespective of whether a person is straight or gay, can we exclude anyone from the love of Christ? We all can give testimony of how our lives have changed since coming into His kingdom as to how the Holy Spirit has worked on our inner being in order to come into the likeness of Christ. As a result, we no longer have the carnal desires of the flesh and sin no longer has dominion over just as the grace of God has empowered us to live according to faith.

    Gay people feel rejected by the Christian community and as a result, we turn them away from Christ's saving grace. Who are we to judge who Christ justifies? We all have our own struggle with sin irrespective of our sexual orientation. But I urge my brethren in Christ to show love and compassion toward the gay community that they may know the Lord, and that their sins along with ours may be crucified on the cross that they may be lead into newness of life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    • Michelle

      Douglas I agree with you that we should love our Brothers and Sisters as Christ loves us, but I'm not going to condone or justify homosexuality on the basis of "Who are we to judge who Christ justifies?"

      No one is turning them away from Christs saving grace. They do that ALL ON THEIR OWN. We each have a choice to make here...CHOOSE CHRIST, OR CHOOSE eternal separation from God. The difference between truth seeking, Bible believing Christians and the rest of our culture is this: We are woefully aware of our disgusting, sinful nature. And we're repentant of our sins. Homosexuals are rebellious and refuse to accept Gods Truth. They refuse TRUTH. Why? Because "it feels right" or "it's what their heart is telling them is right. The devil is a liar.

      • Jeanette

        I wd have to change your statement to "PRACTICING homosexuals are rebellious...."

        Turning to Christ doesn't automatically eliminate your drug problem or your lustful thoughts or whatever else you're struggling with. A homosexual who turns to Christ may remain a homosexual all his/her life. That doesn't mean they're still rebellious; it just means the cross they have to bear is that they don't get to marry and have sexual relationships in the way that they might like.

        Such people aren't any worse off than me. I'm single, with absolutely no prospects for marriage, so I don't get to have sex, no matter how much I might like it. So I'm in the same boat. Someone else might be in love with another person's spouse. We all want things that are wrong, we all need God's grace, but that grace reunites us with God; it does NOT give us permission to get that thing we want.

        • LG

          Jeanette, totally agreed.

        • drey

          Nice Jeanette. Good thoughts.

          • Arun

            While simply having a desire does not make it proper, my thinking so or even a Scripture that I can interpret to make it seem improper, does not give me any right to force this belief on anyone else in the way that denial of rights does. Wasn't that the lesson to all those who thought that the Bible supports slavery?

            • zilch

              The Bible does support slavery, or at least condones it. To get an anti-slavery message out of the Bible requires heroic eisegesis.

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Zilch: Tsk Tsk...shoddy scholarship. Not every reference to "slaves" in the scriptures even means "slaves" as we know it and it DEFINITELY doesn't have any correlation to southern slavery. The main reason for this is it was not racially based. Whenever "slaves" are referred to it could mean anything from slave to indentured servant to hired help. There just were slaves and servants and hired help around and when the Bible speaks to their situation it just recognizes it as a reality and has words for them and for their masters/employers.
              It doesn't advocate it or condone it anymore than it advocates or condones polygamy. At the time, both slavery and polygamy happened, but at NO time did it say "Slavery is great" or "Hurrah for polygamy."
              In fact, there is a short book of the bible (a letter from the Apostle Paul) that is sent to a friend of the Apostle's, who owned a slave. Paul is sending him back to his master with the assumption that the slave will be freed and made "a brother" to the owner. Not exactly an heroic exegesis when the entire point of a book was to free a slave.
              However, the point of the bible is not freedom of slavery or poverty or anything like that. The point of the bible is that it offers freedom from sin and a way back to God through Jesus Christ. This is an offer for anyone slave, free, male, female, Jew, Gentile. (Colossians 3:11 and Galatians 3:28) The point of the bible isn't "slavery is bad" it's that sin is so bad, we need a way out regardless of our position on earth. Because really, once I'm dead it won't exactly matter whether I am a slave or free. It will matter that I can trust in God's promises.

            • zilch

              Heather- I hope I don't need to quote chapter and verse to you. "Condone" means "consider normal practice, not condemn", and that's what the Bible does anent slavery. And as I'm sure you know, while slavery for fellow Israelites was something like the practice of manumission in colonial America, non-Israelites were chattel slaves, just as blacks were in America: they were owned for life, and their children were also chattel slaves. The Bible merely says that slaves shall not be beaten so that they die within three days; not really a condemnation of slavery in my book.

              And if the point of the Bible is not freedom of slavery, then why do Christians claim that God is against slavery?

              cheers from cool Vienna, zilch

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Zilch: You hardly need to quote the book I read once a year since I was fifteen to me, but feel free. The more time you spend in the word, the more time God has to speak to you.

              Actually your definition of "condone" is incorrect, BUT if that's what you'd like to pretend it means (similar to pretending the state issued contract to a same sex couple is "marriage) then sure, we'll go with that. At the time the passages mentioning slavery were written, it was considered a practice. SO, according to your incorrect definition, yes, the scriptures spoke about how you should conduct yourself toward your slave, and how slaves ought to conduct themselves toward their masters.
              You say non-Israelites were chattel slaves just as blacks in America were. This is also incorrect, and again, shoddy scholarship. There were many non-Israelites living among the Israelites and many in the surrounding areas. Sometimes they voluntarily (due to debt or what have you) became indentured servants. Sometimes they were slaves. It wasn't based on race, and that is the key difference.

              I don't know any Christians who say "God is against slavery" nor do I know any who say "God is for slavery." Certainly we agree that the kind of slavery practiced in the American south (even with SOME of the plantation owners who were actually kind to the slaves) was NOT God honoring. I just know that a position on slavery isn't what the bible is about. The bible is about the life and work of Jesus Christ, and yes, even the Old Testament. ALL of it ties eventually into His coming to save us.

            • zilch

              Heather- "chattel slavery" has nothing to do with race or racism: it simply means that people can be bought and sold, as blacks were in antebellum America and non-Israelites were in Biblical times. But even if there's no racism involved, slavery is still uncivilized, imho.

              I don't think we really disagree about the Bible's position on slavery, which was non-committal, other than saying slaves should be treated in certain ways. Many Christians struggle to find an anti-slavery message in Scripture, though.

              cheers from sunny Vienna, zilch

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Zilch: Again (since you seemed to ignore it the first time) not ALL non-Israelites. I'm not sure the question of civility has anything to do with this discussion.

              I don't know any Christians who struggle with that. Usually those Christians are talking about the slavery practiced in America. There is a pretty solid message against that.

            • zilch

              Heather- where in the Bible is a message against "the slavery practiced in America"? I don't see how it's any different than the Biblical kind for non-Israelites.

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Zilch: Apparently I can't get you to notice when I tell you this wasn't all non-Israelites who were enslaved....

              BUT it's easy, slavery in the America was racially based. Well, it didn't start OUT that way, but for the majority of what we know as the slave south, it was racially based. Many of the slaves became believers and even then weren't freed (ALL of Philemon). It was built on a system that an entire sort of people was better than another sort of person (Galations 3:28)

            • zilch

              Heather- I don't think we're going anywhere with this, but as far as I can tell, you think American slavery was only wrong because it was racist? So whites keeping white slaves, or blacks keeping black slaves, would be all right with you and/or the Bible? I'm only asking because I really don't see how Christians can get an anti-slavery message from Scripture, even though most of them (understandably enough) really want to.

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              Yes, American slavery was race based. The bible does NOT support racism.
              I'm not looking for an anti slavery message from Scripture. Where the Bible is silent, I am too. I do know that it's against racism.

            • JR

              Zilch: Philemon.

  • purisomniapura

    Thanks Collin for a great article. “You won't likely win a debate with them by citing Bible verses they've been trained to explain away. Rather, we're losing a more fundamental struggle over the very definition of God.”
    This is so true, & I’ve experienced this frustration in my own dealings with those practicing homosexuality in that scriptures are always redefined & re-interpreted to mean something altogether different because the god they believe in created them ‘gay’ & would never condemn them for their sexual orientation. This is the linchpin for so many who insist that they’ll never be judged for homosexual acts because god doesn’t judge any people that are loving each other, only those who hate. Seeing themselves in mutually loving relationships with people of the same sex is all inclusive with this accepting, forgiving god of love. The god the homosexuals worship is one that judges no one & loves everyone & if you try to show them otherwise, they simply appeal to the universal rule that god is a god of love ...end of story!

  • Jesse Wilson

    One thing that the article did not deal with is the importance of speaking the truth in love. At the starting point of this debate is the question, "Is Homosexuality Genetic?" The confusion over this question is the reason that the approval statistics have doubled.

    Christians need to speak the truth that there is no evidence to support a genetic link to homosexuality. All of the scientific studies that gay advocates point to are flawed, biased, and non-reproducible. The ultimate evidence is found in the studies of identical twins. With identical DNA if one twin is gay the other should be gay as well 100% of the time. And yet, the studies do not find this to be the case. In fact, the statistic is near 15%, and even at that it is impossible to factor out environment, early sexual abuse, and other gender confusing issues.

    Yes, there needs to be repentance among Christians. And we should reinforce marriage at all costs. But unless we begin to challenge the false beliefs of the origin of homosexuality, and tell the truth about the emotional, physical, and spiritual trauma caused by it - we are not even showing up for the debate.

    • http://r.robbplusjessie.com Robb

      "With identical DNA if one twin is gay the other should be gay as well 100% of the time. And yet, the studies do not find this to be the case."

      You misunderstand how twin studies work. Based on your logic, if one twin has a reading disorder and the other does not, do we conclude that reading disorder is not genetic? If one twin has a much higher IQ than the other, do we conclude that IQ is not genetic? Some twins have very different heights—is height then not genetic?

      The truth is, there are very few human genetic traits that are how you describe, 100% perfectly shared between all identical twins. Most genetic traits are complex, influenced and modified by a number of different factors in the environment.

      Twin studies work not by looking solely at identical twins, but by comparing identical and fraternal twins. Identical twins share essentially 100% of their genome while fraternal twins share on average 50% of their genome. Comparing fraternal to identical allows you to subtract the role the "environment" plays in the expression of the trait because each set of twins, whether fraternal or identical, shares the same womb, the same mother's milk, the same food and household during childhood, etc.

      In aggregate, after comparing many sets of twins, if you see differences between fraternal and identical twins, you can conclude that a given trait is genetic. For example, if one identical twin has autism, the other has it 60% of the time, while in the case of fraternal twins, they share autism 10% of the time.

      If you want to demonstrate that homosexuality is not genetic, you would need to find data that the concordance between identical and fraternal are about the same. If concordance is higher in identical twins, you would conclude that there probably is a genetic component to homosexuality.

      • Jesse Wilson

        My big point was that there are no studies that support the accepted myth of a gay gene. Regardless of who you compare twins to you will not be able to account for random acts of sexual abuse, father abandonment/indifference, overly protective mothering, etc.

        The Bailey/Pillard study showed 52% of the sets studied were both gay. However, this study was filled with sample bias as they advertized for the study in gay periodicals.

        Michael Bailey's second study removed the sample bias and resulted in only 20% of the identical twins both being gay.

        As to the finding of a gay gene in the future, it would make no difference. Even if there was a gene discovered in me that influenced me toward opposite sex attraction, the Bible still calls me to refuse to yield to that desire, live within the parameters of God's revealed will, and find my ultimate satisfaction in Christ.

        • http://r.robbplusjessie.com Robb

          "Regardless of who you compare twins to you will not be able to account for random acts of sexual abuse, father abandonment/indifference, overly protective mothering, etc."

          You still would be able to account for those things. For instance if you look at all sets of twins who experienced father abandonment and there is a significant difference in concordance for homosexuality between identical and fraternal twins you would rightly conclude that there is a genetic component. As long as these random acts occur at the same frequency in both cohorts, you can control for them.

          At any rate, I think we are mostly in agreement, that contrary to your initial claim, there is as yet no definitive to study determine whether there is a genetic component to homosexuality.

          • Jesse Wilson

            You said, "At any rate, I think we are mostly in agreement, that contrary to your initial claim, there is as yet no definitive to study determine whether there is a genetic component to homosexuality."

            I meant that there is no definitive study that proves that there is a genetic component.

        • Chris Lang

          Two comments: Even if the concordance between monozygotic (identical) twins is only 20%, this is very significant: only 2-4% of males is homosexual, so we're talking about a trait that is 5-10 times more likely than chance in the identical twin brother of a gay man. By comparison, left-handedness occurs in 8% of the male population, but the identical twin brother of a left-handed man has a 12% chance of being left-handed (thus 50% more likely); no one suggests that handedness is chosen or learned.

          My second comment: It's a huge mistake to suppose that since genetics is clearly not the sole determinant of homosexuality, that therefore it is not biological. Homosexuality likely has a lot to do with things that happen in the womb, but are not directly genetic. This could be things like hormonal levels at certain times in the development of the embryo or fetus. Put differently, this is not a matter of genetics vs. homosexuality as a learned behavior. Groups who seek to help people from homosexuality often assume an explanation of the cause of homosexuality along the lines of Freudian psychology (weak or absent father, etc) or that it is a learned behavior (a result of childhood sexual experience or abuse, or a coping behavior resulting from other trauma). Unfortunately, the support for these explanations is fairly weak (e.g., lots of straight men are also survivors of sexual abuse or other trauma), and they are regarded as obsolete by mainstream psychiatrists and psychologists. The honest truth is that no one knows the cause of homosexuality, but it is likely to be the result of a combination of factors including genetic and environmental. (And "environmental" is as likely to be something in the womb as something after birth.)

          • zilch

            Well put, Chris. Of course, even if we learn someday fairly exactly what causes homosexuality, the question still remains: what do we do about it, if anything? Many Christians, and many atheists too, seem to think that there's a one-to-one negative correlation between genes and responsibility. That is, if someone's behavior is genetically determined, then that person cannot be held responsible for it. But this is not a logical correlation, but simply a decision about values: "responsibility" is a complex notion that has evolved in humans trying to put together workable societies. And there are no easy answers here, not even for atheists.

            As you well explained, Chris, there is no single cause in the case of homosexuality, as opposed to, say, having blue eyes. Having blue eyes is ineluctable- there's nothing someone can do about having them or not having them. Homosexuality is, at least to some extent, a matter of degree and a matter of choice: many homosexuals choose not to practice homosexuality, for whatever reasons. To pick another example, aggression is obviously very strongly genetically linked, probably much more so than homosexuality: your chances of being a murderer, say, are something like ten times higher if you happen to have a Y chromosome- that is, if you're a man. But as far as I know, no one is likely to absolve someone of a violent crime because of this very strong genetic component.

            To me, the important question is, not whether someone is "responsible" for something they are or do, but how best to build working, peaceable society. And as far as I can see, that includes not tolerating crimes that hurt us, such as murder, no matter what the genes and upbringing of the murderer. Exactly how we deal with criminals is another matter.

            But I don't see how being homosexual, for whatever reason, is a crime, unless it hurts someone- and I don't see how it does. Criminalizing people for what they do that doesn't hurt us, or not granting them the same privileges we have, hurts them, so I'm against it. As Pogo said, "we have met the enemy, and they are us".

            cheers from chilly Vienna, zilch

    • Betsy Childs

      I disagree (with Jesse Wilson). If Christians pin their arguments on genetics, and then good genetic evidence for homosexual identity surfaces, we will have lost the argument.
      Even if someone proved that homosexuality was genetic, Christians would still be obliged to live by the Bible's commands against homosexual behavior.
      Take, for example, other conditions that may be genetic or otherwise inescapable. A schizophrenic person does not choose to be schizophrenic. Something in their genes or biological makeup causes this tragic condition. But that does not mean that they should be free to murder someone if the voices in their head tell them to. The avoidability or unavoidability of a temptation does not make giving into that temptation morally acceptable.
      Just to be clear, I am not saying that those who suffer temptations to homosexual acts are mentally ill. I merely bring up schizophrenia as an example of a condition no one would choose, but that must still be resisted.

      • Jesse Wilson

        Betsy,

        My point is that we need to counteract the recruitment of our youth by showing that there is nothing to say that people are born gay. Too many are buying into this and there is no evidence for it. This is why, as the article stated, acceptance of homosexuality is increasing. We need to enter the debate and ask how they back that up and give reasons for legitimate disagreement.

        It is understandable for people to think that Christians are wrong to stand against homosexual acceptance if they believe that God made people to be gay.

        We need to point out that the belief has no basis.

      • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

        You're right we can make that point but I don't think that's the place to fight the battle. As I believe you pointed out elsewhere, even if we concede that some people have a "same-sex attraction", that doesn't make acting on those impulses right. Some people maybe "born violent" but if they want to live out of prison, they had better learn to control themselves. Being born with a weakness for a certain sin, doesn't make that sin any less sinful.

        So I don't think fighting over whether people are born with a homosexual orientation is usually wise strategically.

        • Jesse Wilson

          I appreciate all your comments. I am not looking to fight about it with people, but I believe there are many who would not be sucked in if they were presented with the full story.

  • Marcella Franseen

    Thank you for getting to the heart of this issue. After today and all I've read and heard, the truth here was refreshing.

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  • Jesse Wilson

    Gender confusing environments, abuse, or peer pressure is at the heart of same-sex attraction, and yet, the fact of an attraction does not demand an act of response. After all, most men deal with opposite sex attraction all the time and are called by God to avoid acting on it outside of the marriage bed.

    Same-sex attraction does not validate a person's choice to act on the desire. Should they do so they are no more or less guilty than heterosexuals who commit fornication/adultery.

    However, I would think that most Christians would agree that it would be wrong for a Christian man to continually engage in fornication/adultery. And that in spite of the fact that some might adopt the identity of a fornicator/adulterer, they would still be violating God's clear commands.

    What then is the difference between them and a same-sex fornicator? Regardless of their identity claim, the do not have a license to sin.

  • Joe Greene

    How about we take the Biblical approach of loving our neighbor, no matter who that neighbor is, so that our neighbor sees Christ through us and is convicted by the Holy Spirit instead of trying to legislate our neighbor into doing what we want so we don't have to live out our faith in a meaningful manner?

    • Melody

      Do you understand this is not just in secular society? Do you understand there is a movement to declare that it is normal and therefore not a sin? Do you understand that "believers" are calling other believers nasty names for even saying that the bible says it is wrong? Do you understand that it is a sin regardless of what the world says?
      I agree with loving your neighbor as long as you understand that does not mean condoning something that God says is wrong.

    • SLM

      Right on, Joe Greene.
      Legislation doesn't change lives or introduce people to a redeeming Christ and the sooner some Evangelicals acknowledge that, the sooner that some headway can be made with the nonbelievers who are tired of waving a Jesus banner while fighting them with angry messages.
      My New Testament doesn't tell a story of Jesus leaving his followers with the commandment, "Go fight the Romans, tell them they need to revisit their public policy and get this government switched over to following me and some Old Testement laws." They changed lives, one household at a time. You lose that personal power fighting culture wars.

      • Jesse Wilson

        Actually, in Acts 2, Peter preaches and 3,000 were saved. His message confronted them significantly on their participation in the death of Christ, but it also gave a clear call regarding their culture;

        Acts 2:40 - "With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

        Although we might disagree on what that means, I think that intervening in the mental molestation of the next generation through lovingly challenging the assumptions regarding homosexual origins and outcomes is a legitimate application.

        This is not to say that "one household at a time" is not also important.

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  • Ray

    Hi Collin,

    Thank you for your piece. I think, however, it misses an important aspect of the reasoning behind gay marriage: constitutionally, regardless how we might define it, marriage in this country is a state institution.

    Just like we don't believe in the teachings of Buddhism or Islam, it would be unthinkable to put a ban on them. I'm not sure what there is to be gained in legally prohibiting a vice, because it doesn't get to the heart of what's at stake.

    I think what it means to live in a democracy means we must accept behaviors-even those which we find morally deplorable-and try our best to love and convince them of their mistake. Placing a ban on gay marriage will never help our gay friends get into heaven.

    • purisomniapura

      I thought we didn't live in a democracy .....but a Republic? When I became a naturalized citizen & went through the entire program to obtain citizenship, the govt. representatives made a clear distinction about that.

  • Matthew George

    I am in full agreement that the same sex marriage debate reveals and underlying conviction in our society that happiness results from being free to "love", "marry" and have sex whom we want which runs entirely at odds with what Jesus says. I think the article is very helpful but can't see how it tells us how we win the public on homosexuality. Will a majority be won over to a biblical view of marriage through believing Jesus about where happiness comes from?

    • Jesse Wilson

      Well, it seemed to work for the Prodigal Son. When he 'came to his senses' he looked at the emptiness of his life and remembered that there was an option. I just believe we need to enter the debate and have the courage to speak up when the minds of our youth are being molested. They are being convinced that people are born gay, can't resist feelings of attraction, and that they can't change. The evidence does not support these beliefs.

      If a person is attracted toward lying, makes choices to lie, and embraces the identity of a liar, we should love them and accept them, but shouldn't we say something about the lying?

      If a person is attracted toward stealing, makes choices to steal, and adopts the identity of a thief, we should love them as a neighbor, but shouldn't we say something about there being a better way of living than stealing?

      If a person has same-sex attraction, makes choices to act on it and incorporates a gay identity...

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  • Julia Baizley

    I'm an atheist. I assume I may be welcome here only because of the openness of the comments. If I'm not, I'm aware this post may not be allowed. But I'm not here to start a fight. No, I'm not here to cheer for team satan six six six or shout unholy blasphemies.

    I'm here to offer you insight, as a 21 year old, a member of Generation Whatever (as borrowed from another 21 year old atheist pal), and as a member of the LGBT community on your plight.

    If that sounds scary, I will say again: I'm not here to start a fight.

    I'm a very strong atheist. I own a 10,000 member atheism group on Facebook, which I founded years ago. I'm bisexual (loosely, I don't so much enjoy men, but they are okay, I suppose). Last but not least, and maybe most important, I'm a male to female transsexual.

    I live in the South, you see. Kentucky, in fact. The buckle of the Bible Belt. A state steeped in Conservatism and Biblical "values." A place where people like me are reviled. Older people are shocked at my atheism, stunned by my sexual practices, and awed by my open transsexuality.

    I am, by all means, I suppose at the heart of the so-called opposition.

    But I don't feel so opposite to them. I have plenty of friends who are preachers and pastors, who respect me for who I am. They'll say the love the sinner, hate the sin stuff, but in the end, it doesn't matter, they're sinners too, and they recognize such. They are not above me for their faith. They do think I'm going to hell, sure, but that is not a condemnation of me as a person, my personality. By all means, I'm fairly knowledgable on the Bible (vaguely remembering much of it), and they enjoy hearing what I have to say about things.

    It's not really helping them, though. I don't really think there is a way to help them. There are three problems with Christianity at the moment, that my generation is against: fundamentalist Christianity (which assumes humanity to be 6,000 years old, evolution to be a lie, and et cetera), moderate Christianity (which seems as if those involved are going to bend over backwards to justify belief in a little bit of both), and liberal Christianity (which makes no sense at all).

    Fundamentalists being anti-science, so vehemently against global warming, evolution, and the big bang is seriously hurting their cause. Much of my generation is well-informed scientifically, and we believe that extensive studies beat out old folk tales (no offense meant). Moderate Christians may mix both and from that you end up with such oddities as intelligent design creationism or theistic evolution. We'll see the blatant lying in the Dover Trial, the Expelled documentary, and so on, and just think these people are crazy. I'm sure they're fine people, but their scientific and religious views make no sense, being poorly put together. Finally, liberal Christianity. Liberal Christianity is basically those who don't believe in the Bible, don't care what the Bible says, or believe it to be all metaphors. In any of those events, why should that be appealing to us?

    I don't say this as a former radical atheist and present strong atheist, I say this as a card-carrying member of Generation Whatever, an LGBT youth, and an individual who has long observed these conflicts: Christianity is dying.

    Half the population supports gay marriage. I think that says about enough. When you take out those fundamentals of Christianity (i.e. being against gay marriage), there's no real point in following anything the book says. When you leave them in, you end up with people like Fred Phelps and James Dobson, and those two are severely looked down upon.

    So my generation is certainly significantly less religious, all around. I can talk to most youths in this area when they're around the age of 18, and they'll tell you straight up that they either don't believe or don't know what they believe. That's not some, that's not a few, that's most. That's a significant thing. That is something that, in the US, has not happened before.

    Those to blame are none other than the most liberal and the most fundamental Christians. They have argued to make their own positions exceedingly irrelevant in modern society.

    What can you do about it? No, really, what do you expect to be able to do about it?

    I've thought about the subject a lot, re: how Christianity can bring itself back, but no solutions are forthcoming, sadly enough for my Christian pals. I'd really like to see this crazy idea to keep Christianity relevant and see how it performs now, but all of the ideas have been exhausted. Fundamentalist Christianity, moderate Christianity, and liberal Christianity are all ideas that have seen their heydays. They all have large followings. Large followings that are increasingly dwindling.

    There are no new ideas. There are rehashed old ones (see also: ID creationism), but there's nothing to see in Christianity. It has been played out. The best we can say for it is that a 2,000 year run of being basically the world's #1 religion in numbers and influence is a record likely to never be beaten. There's no future in it, though. Unless you believe in the rapture, which I'm guessing most of you do.

    Alas, what good does it do you having the few million Christians left raptured away? Christianity still lost. Even if it's completely true, the few million saved from hellfire and brimstone is going to be nothing as compared to the number that would actually be in said hellfire and brimstone. When you think about it, even if true, it's still a loss. Satan got the most followers in the cosmic game of Twitter. It's over.

    (In my world "satan" merely represents natural progress of society, technology, and science, while "god" would be a representation of Christianity.)

    So no matter how you cut it, Christianity is basically dead. Either it fades away into obscurity with the times (which I, being an atheist, tend to believe), or it goes out with a bang and Jesus comes back. I hate to say it guys but, it looks like Jesus might not show to the party. (If he does, of course, I expect a good word to be put in for me at the pearly gates.)

    • Derek

      Hi Julia,

      Thanks for your message and for being open enough to share some of your life on here.

      You paint a bleak picture of things and I don't want to argue with you on any of your points. I'm sure you and some of the people you talk to believe very strongly in what they see about Christianity and its relevance or lack thereof.

      What defines the true Christian's life more than anything else is a love for Jesus and a desire to do what He's asked us to do. This includes loving those around us and obeying His commands. Please understand that unless you repent of your sins, confess that Jesus is Lord and give your entire life to Him, there is nothing worth living for, dying for, waiting for or hoping for.

      God Bless and sincere thanks for your message.

      • Julia Baizley

        See, this is one of those... not helping things.

        "You paint a bleak picture of things..." you say. And then you go on to say, "...unless you... [sins, Jesus, etc.]... there is nothing worth living for, dying for, waiting for, or hoping for."

        Don't buy it. I enjoy living. I enjoy waiting. I enjoy hoping. I'll grant you that dying sucks, but I'm not afraid of that. It's always been ironic to me that when I had leukemia (twice!) in my teens, no matter how bad it got, I was 100% stoic about it, while when the smallest thing happens to religious people, they're freaking out and begging for forgiveness or whatever else, fearing for their lives and their deaths. At some point the second time around I was doing so bad off they thought I was not going to survive the next month. I thought I probably wouldn't survive the next night.

        I was already an atheist the time it hit at first.

        It seems like if the god hypothesis were true, I should've probably felt bad about death. No, my brothers and sisters of humanity, I was not thinking about Jesus. I did not care. I care even less by the year. Most people haven't been on death's door twice by the time they're allowed to buy cigarettes. I was. I made it. I was not afraid of what I believed both times to be my inevitable end.

        I realize I'm still dying. It'll probably come back. I'll have to face off another cancerous demon. Scary thought? You bet. Anyone who's had cancer can probably agree with me on that one. Scary enough for me to convert? Not a chance.

        I'll also say maybe I'm a special case, that one in a hundred who'll stick to their guns and has absurd faith in themselves. I mean I really doubt I'm only one in a hundred – contrary to belief there are plenty of other "foxhole" atheists - but if I am, it changes nothing: Christianity still has no gains in the immediate future.

        So what do I live for? Me. What do I wait for? Accomplishing more goals. What do I hope for? That my goals will improve and get bigger as I knock them down.

        Doesn't seem too bleak to me. I suppose if one believes in hell, it's bleak no matter what you do, unless you abandon those things which you are or enjoy to avoid it. I'd rather burn forever than deny myself being who I am. I think modern generations share the sentiment. If we are to be created with free will, we are to make extensive use of it.

        If it makes you feel any better, my generation makes me sick sometimes. There are some among us I'd happily send to Mars if I had the chance. They can be the ones to start colonizing space.

    • Jason

      Julia,
      I am glad you came to a forum like this to share your viewpoints. The opportunity for dialog is wonderful. I only hope you are an atheist who is open in her thinking unlike so many of the fundamentalist atheists that are currently speaking in the world today. You see, so many of them cannot be dissuaded regarding their viewpoints, so I do hope you will give a fair hearing to what I have to say.
      Your description of 3 problems with Christianity presents an interesting viewpoint. It is perhaps a bit limited, pigeonholing people into camps they may not exactly fit. For example, I would probably fit somewhere between what you consider “fundamentalist” Christianity and “moderate” Christianity, but I do not necessarily hold to the examples you provide. I think the same could be said for each group. Be careful about engaging in straw man arguments against groups within Christianity and, by extension, Christianity in general.
      Now, on to your next section. You refer to fundamentalists being “anti-science” and point out how your generation is well-informed scientifically. To address the first issue, I am one PhD likely among thousands or more who believe in biblical Christianity. Many of us are fairly intelligent and not at all opposed to science, though it not be science as you have envisioned. To clarify, you may be well informed regarding the arguments that have been offered in your schooling. I suspect you are much less willing to examine the contrary evidence that a theist might offer. For example, the big bang theory works in favor of a Creator, not against. Indeed, the big bang theory provides a particular challenge to someone denying the existence of God who is outside of space and time. You are welcome to look into the Kalam cosmological argument if are unsure. Again, try to keep an open mind rather than looking with your presumptive biases. Regarding the extensive studies you mention, show me one that demonstrates abiogensis. In other words, how do you get life from non-life? There is no data to support abiogensis, so I guess you will need to take it on faith. I could also spend a fair amount of time discussing the design argument for the existence of God, though you assuredly know of it, even if you haven’t actually considered the arguments carefully. Even the beloved atheist Richard Dawkins admits that the universe appears to have been designed, but he then quickly doubles down on his denial of the possibility of a creator saying that it cannot be. In other words, he is not following where the evidence leads him.
      You go on to point out your belief that Christianity is dying. As a numbers person, which I presume you see yourself, can you defend that statement? As far as I know, evidence would suggest that Christianity is growing throughout the world, not dying as you have indicated. Philosophers for hundreds of years have been predicting the death of Christianity and they have been wrong. Worldview systems come and go, but Christ and his church remain.
      I am not sure of the point of your comment, “half the population supports gay marriage.” Half of the population then also would not support it. But that is really beside the point. Truth is not determined by consensus. Christianity makes truth claims—they can be supported or defeated. So does naturalism. Time will tell which system will provide the best full-orbed view of truth, humanity, and morality. I know where I am placing my hope.
      I would agree with your statement that many young people don’t know what they believe. I think that claim is true regardless of whether they are believers or not. Indeed, as a member of “generation whatever”, I suspect there are many areas of your thinking that you have not entirely considered or developed fully, though perhaps you have pondered these issues more than most in your age.
      What do I expect to do about it? I expect to pray diligently for my children and my church. I expect to have conversations about worldview with people I encounter and to train others to do the same. If Christianity is true, and I believe it is, I want to encourage people to learn to love God with their minds. I expect to work to reveal the folly in the arguments atheists have. I expect to demonstrate that the new atheism as a system, not Christianity, is a broken system whose time is drawing to an end. Atheism is a small following whose ideas have seen their heyday to turn a phrase you have coined.
      So what to do? Repent and believe. Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Julia, I would also encourage you to avoid becoming a fundamentalist extremist. In the same way I want my Christian brothers and sisters to seek real answers to real problems, I pray that you too will deal with your preconceptions and try to discover the Truth. The only one who can put in a good word for you at the pearly gates is Jesus Christ. If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead, he will “put in a good word” for you.

      • Julia Baizley

        I'm about to go to the doctor and get some food, but I will give this response full attention when I get back in an hour or an hour and a half.

        • Adam Hawkins

          Julia,

          Not to attack (I loved your post), but I need to respond to the section about Satan winning, even if Christianity is true.

          " Alas, what good does it do you having the few million Christians left raptured away? Christianity still lost. Even if it's completely true, the few million saved from hellfire and brimstone is going to be nothing as compared to the number that would actually be in said hellfire and brimstone. When you think about it, even if true, it's still a loss. Satan got the most followers in the cosmic game of Twitter. It's over."

          I must say this is a very interesting point, and it breaks my heart, but two assumptions underly it.

          The first is that when all is said and done more people will be hell than with God. This is probably a justified assumption, but I am not sure we can know this for sure.

          Secondly, and much more importantly, this narrative assumes WE (as in humanity) is the prize- that somehow whoever collects the most humans wins. However, we are not the prize- GOD IS. This is truly the underlying sin beneath all sin- we think we are the point, we love ourselves more than we love God.
          In the end God wins because God will be glorified. He will be glorified in that evil is defeated. He will be glorified in that justice will be done concerning those who mocked and rebelled against him, and he will be glorified in that Many Many folks recieved his mercy. Once you know God is the point, it doesnt matter who collects more pieces.

      • Julia Baizley

        Do not confuse my friendly demeanor and happily cohorting with openness. No, I am not open to creation science. No, I am not open to intelligent design. No, I am not open to the next idea creationists throw out.

        That is not to be dissuaded, merely I need more significant evidence than it seems the "other side" is capable of producing. (i.e. any whatsoever.)

        The viewpoint is ultimately true for me. Yes, I'm aware of the shades of gray. It's true that not everyone is going to exactly fit one of the three, there are many types of religious person, regardless of religion. That goes without question. Mixing and matching the three major groups, however, is not going to work any better. That, too, has been tried time and time again. In the end, people tend to lean towards those three ways, regardless of how they mix and match.

        To address your qualifications, I'm sure you are at least vaguely familiar with the argument from authority. The basic rundown for me and for others is, it's not who is the most qualified, it's who has the best ideas and the best evidence. In fact, you may be surprised to find that I was actually home schooled throughout my teenage years (the years in which I wouldn't have learned anything about biological evolution, the big bang, et. al. regardless due to my state's education standards) by a Baptist pastor. Indeed, even my curricula was from Pensacola Christian College.

        Here are a few major problems with your arguments: 1) you assume that the big bang provides a challenge to those who deny the existence of god. If, indeed, a PhD means a lot to you, it should go without saying that arguably the smartest man alive, Stephen Hawking, is the person who should be asked re: god and the big bang. He is not an impassioned disbeliever as Dawkins is and as I was at one point, he is merely interested in reality as it is, and not as one could wish it were. Me personally, I see no room for a god in the big bang. 2) abiogenesis might be a little bit harder to accomplish in a laboratory setting, considering the Earth had a good 3.5 billion years to get the job done. There was a recent article from professor PZ Myers, a friend of mine, just a couple days ago entitled "Another creationist list of lies." It pretty much sums up what I already think regarding creationist arguments opposed to abiogenesis, and he certainly explains it better than I can. Long story short, there is a lot of data supporting abiogenesis. It seems you may not have looked as extensively as you believe. 3) Richard Dawkins was not confirming creationist notions with his statement (and further more, he, nor anyone, represents entirely my views, he has no authority to me or in my life, although I do admire him and what he does, he's a bit rash), he is accepting a fact: the universe can appear designed. If you look at it retrospectively, from the future, yes, it will definitely appear like it were created to be a certain way. Instead, scientists are supposed to look at it from the past to the present. That is a key difference. I'm not starting with any assumptions except that the universe is and that natural processes are what I observe around me, therefore it's presumable that natural processes should also apply to the early universe.

        I'm not a numbers person, surprisingly. I'm abhorrent at math. No, that does not mean you can pull out fake statistics about the likelihood of the big bang or evolution, I've heard it all before. The fastest growing religion is Islam. Non-religion grows faster than both Islam and Christianity. Disbelief is increasing in America at a fairly steady rate at this point. And, as I said before: young people just aren't believing it. They are the future, the old will die away, and the young have never been godless like these. My dad is fifty-eight years old, and he knew not a single atheist until he was thirty. He hung out in his younger days with the drunks, the stoners, the hippies, the druggies, the Socialists, et cetera. Off the top of my head, I can count… aside from myself… ten atheists. That is not ten agnostics, that is ten who actively disbelieve in the existence of gods. That is just the people which come to mind in about ten seconds.

        That alone should tell you the future state of religion, at least in the United States. Philosophers and people may predict what they will, but there has never been such an active period of disbelief. Mind you that 16% of the world's population, 1.1 billion people, are considered non-religious. As well as the US, the countries of Australia, Canada, and Mexico are trending similarly as the top growing "religious" groups. Mind you, about 16% of the US population is also African-American. Take every African-American you see and there's one religious none for each. Growing every day.

        According to gallup, 50% of the populace of this country supports gay marriage with 45% saying no, and 5% unsure. I put my "hope" in naturalism, because naturalism does not tell me that, despite being born a biological male, I am "not allowed" to be the person I feel inside, whom is female. Naturalism does not promote a worldview which looks down upon me as a person and discriminate against me for who I am, or say my entire life is one big long sin, just because I'm following my heart and doing what is best for me and to make myself happy. Granted, naturalism does not endorse transsexuality, aside from the fact that I always felt this way without being exposed to factors which would've promoted such. (That is to say, "born this way" applies.) I cannot live as a male. It was a big act. A big sham. A scam. A fraud. I was lying to myself and others by trying, and I knew it from my earliest memories. Naturalism will not make a morality statement against such, only religions can do that.

        Indeed, I may not be your average drinking-aged American. People like me seem a relative rarity, regardless of community. You may be hard pressed to find someone like me at, for instance, Harvard. I don't particularly care whether I'm exceptional or not; however, I know myself. That is what matters most. Generation Whatever is a generation of nihilistic hedonism. When I called myself a card-carrying member of Generation Whatever, I did not mean a medical marijuana card. I am a nihilistic hedonist just like all the others. I don't see it as a bad thing.

        Mind you, I'm not a moral person, nor am I an immoral person. I am entirely amoral; only what is logical matters to me. I abide by rules many would dub "moral" merely because they sound logical. I do not steal, I do not cheat, I do not kill, I do not covet that which belongs to others, I do not act out of spite, and I try to treat others as I wish to be treated. These are logical ideas. Likewise, I myself don't care to drink, smoke marijuana (although it's not so appealing anymore), do psychedelic drugs, engage in bizarre sex acts, while also being non-discriminatory about with which sex such involves. I'm a tasteful mix of oddly moral and oddly "immoral" (although I don't consider these so-called immoral acts too immoral since they work well for me and others), but I strive to do neither, I merely act a logic dictates that I should and as I can. Should being supposedly moral actions, can being "immoral" actions which only stand to possibly hurt myself. (I try to stay away from hard drugs and keep limits on such things as alcohol.)

        Thing is, regardless of how much folly you think belongs to atheistic notions, movements, or otherwise, others don't. You have not just Generation Whatever/Y/the millennials in opposition, but Generation X as well. That is two generations under which Christianity and similar systems are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

        They depend on technology. Technology reveals information. Information tends to lead more often to disbelief than belief. I originally sought out information to disprove evolution, and ended up finding that the information in question was completely worthless. See, I have nothing against Answers in Genesis, the Discovery Institute, et cetera, but they have nothing to offer me. They have words and presumptions lacking data or otherwise using flawed data, misleading arguments, and many outright lies. The scientific community is not perfect. I won't claim that. There are many things we don't know. There are many things we never know, but to myself, and my generation, even the wildest hypotheses regarding existence are infinitely more viable than an all-knowing being creating or being behind whatever.

        My preconceptions were that of the Christian faith. Strong ones. I set out to disprove secularism, I set out to disprove atheism, I set out to disprove all these things which you now may feel the same need to. I could not. I did not want to disbelieve. I had to, as you said, follow the evidence. I had no preconceptions, what were yours and what are yours? This is the folly of assuming that all non-believers started from the foundation of non-belief; it is very often not the case.

        • Truth Unites… and Divides

          Julia Baizley,

          Who do you say Jesus is?

          • Julia Baizley

            One of the following: a mythological figure taken from other myths, an actual person with features taken from mythological events, or a series of actual people with traits taken from mythological events. Possibly a philosopher. Probably imagined. I'm not all too concerned with who religious figures were. The Buddha sounds interesting. Muhammad sounds interesting. I'm not interested in them, either.

            • Truth Unites… and Divides

              So you would deny that Jesus physically and literally resurrected after His crucifixion and that He, indeed, was and is the Living God, is that right?

            • Julia Baizley

              Of course.

            • Truth Unites… and Divides

              Thanks. For whatever reason, I wanted to be sure.

              And thanks for this as well: "I'm here to offer you insight, as a 21 year old, a member of Generation Whatever (as borrowed from another 21 year old atheist pal), and as a member of the LGBT community on your plight."

              I greatly appreciate the insights that you have provided.

              Upon reflection, it seems to me, mistaken as I might be, that there are well-meaning Christians who are overly concerned with the marketing of Christianity, i.e., obsessed with the dismissive perceptions of biblical Christianity by its cultured despisers, so disturbed are they at the strawman burnings that they water down the Gospel and denigrate faithful Gospel teachers who preach the Offense of the Cross.

              Julia, I'm sorry and sad that you reject Jesus, and I hope that you change your mind, heart, and soul before you die, but if you and many like-minded others don't, then it's still incumbent upon self-denying, cross-bearing followers of Christ to not water down the Gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter how badly it's received and (mis)perceived.

            • Phil

              Truth,

              Can you explain your comment "so disturbed are they at the strawman burnings" ? I didn't follow you there.

              Thanks.

            • Truth Unites… and Divides

              Have you ever heard of the term "strawman argument"? If you have, that's what I was referring to: Constructing a strawman and then burning it.

              A strawman mispresents the other side's argument.

            • Phil

              Thanks. I wasn't familiar with "burning the strawman" (I'm not sure how common it is?), although I am familiar with a strawman argument. I would think you just knock down a straw man?

              Eh, it doesn't matter.

            • Andy

              It's not that I'm trying to be mean, although it may sound that way, I don't see Julia as some sort of Elihu type of character with a younger persons wisdom to dispense.
              She ( or he ) I guess, is 21 years old and it's likely Julie won't even recognize herself ( or himself ) and their thoughts in twenty or so years as they mature and gain a bit more wisdom. I certainly appreciate the honesty but frankly I see nothing to be gained from her ( or his ) story here.

            • Julia Baizley

              To Andy;

              Yes, I'm sure I won't recognize myself either. By that time, I should have completed gender reassignment a good fifteen years prior. (That is five years from now, obviously.) Between the hormones and the surgeries, yes, I'll be very different indeed.

              I may even care about careers at that point, who knows?

              I'll still be LGBT and I'll still be an atheist. Everything else can come or go. I don't play videogames anymore, I don't watch anime anymore, I don't sit around doing nothing all day; I learned to play guitar, bass, and piano, I've been across the country, I've loved and been loved... much has changed. There are some constants that go back as long as I can remember: I've always loved men and women (mostly women), I've always felt as if I were born in the wrong body and this male life was all a silly act I had to put on... I've always loved people. Those are the constants. I did not, however, leave Christianity until the age of 13. Ever since I found out about Santa and the toothfairy I could never sit in a church without drawing parallels between Santa/toothfairy and god/Jesus. I'm supposing that kind of helped in my path to disbelief. Likewise, whenever people made statements like "god's creation", it always reeked of just outright falsehood; that starting five years earlier, at the age of 8.

              I will say, I'm no bastion of wisdom. Nor do I claim to be. I don't particularly care. I have opinions, thoughts, ideas, leanings, views, points, suggestions... but that's all.

    • Marcella Franseen

      Julia,
      I appreciate your comments, keeping it real, and not attacking people personally. I have to beg to differ with you. Christianity is not dead, matter of fact, it is flourishing if you look around the globe. The church in places like China and Africa is growing astronomically, even under intense persecution. There are more reached nations, tribes, and tongues that at any other time in history. I believe what we are seeing in America is the death of the "christian culture." This nation has existed as culturally christian since its birth, meaning that even those who weren't true personal followers of Jesus adhered to christian standards. This is what is dying. The culture is moving in a direction that creates lines drawn in the sand. People can no longer teeter on the fence. Those that are only cultural christians will not stand. Only those truly in Christ will be willing to endure the heat for His name's sake. We believe He is worth it, even that it is our calling to suffer persecution for His glory. The sifting of wheat from tares, if you will.
      I believe you are right. This is only the beginning. It is going to be harder and harder to truly follow Jesus in the United States without suffering in some way. Even now, religious medical institutions are faced with going against their deep moral beliefs concerning abortion and abortifacients or endure serious fines. I am facing having to pay money every month as part of my insurance premiums into a pool that will be used to give other people free abortions-a practice I do not believe in-or choose a lesser insurance plan that may not meet my families needs.
      We have a culture that doesn't want a God that has any opinions or thoughts contrary to theirs. A culture that wants a Jesus that makes no demands of them, no call to self-denial, no cross to bear. A culture that wants a Cross that justifies sin as well as the sinner. This culture worships love. Not the God Who is love, but love itself, and any action done in the name of love is acceptable, regardless of what the Bible says.
      What is occurring today is nothing new under the sun. Christianity has been treated this way since its onset. Look at what the disciples and Paul dealt with in the New Testament. And God, historically, has used persecution to strengthen and purge His true Church, as well as grow it.
      God is not dependent on the support of any government system to work in the world, nor is He Tinker Bell needing us to clap our hands repeating, "I believe," in order to exist as the one true God reigning in power and glory. He is the great I AM. He is very much alive. Throughout history there have been those who did not believe and felt their generation would see the death of Christianity. There were even those who actively sought to destroy it. They have all passed, and, yet, God, His Word, and His Church remain.
      One day you and I will pass. At that time the only "good word" that will count before God our Judge will be that of Jesus Christ, "Justified."

      • drey

        Amen sister! Just one thing, about your premiums going into a pool to fund things you do not believe in etc; when Jesus said render on to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, you should take him seriously. You cannot control everything, so let the state do what it will. Peter? Me? You? Follow Christ.

    • An observation

      Hi Julia,

      It's possible you may have worked too long at your last employer the anti Christian organization known as "LIARS FOR JESUS" If you believe there are liars FOR Jesus, certainly your smart enough to know there are liars AGAINST Jesus, but I'm already aware you claim He didn't really exist. Your a young lady with an agenda, however it's not a new one, sorry to disappoint you. In fact it's one that Christianity has experienced from it's inception & many more people, more famous than you have gone on record with their books, music, art etc. to eradicate it from the earth. Does the name "Nietzsche" ring any bells? Perhaps Voltaire ..certainly you've heard about him haven't you... Yes he's the famous French infidel who once said, “While it took 12 men to write Christianity up, I will show that it takes but one man to write it down!” Taking his pen, he dipped it into the ink of unbelief and wrote against God. Voltaire stated that 100 years from his death a person would only be able to find a copy of the Bible in museums because it would become a dead book! Guess what happened Julia? The very room in which he made that statement was soon used after his death as a Bible storehouse & distribution center! Only 25 years after his death, the very same presses which had been used to print Voltaire’s writings were used to print copies of the Bible.

      Since Voltaire’s death, multiplied millions of copies of the Bible have been printed & the demand for it only increases. The eternal Book lives on, while Voltaire’s works have yet to reach a complete English edition! Just before his death, Voltaire stated, “I wish I had never been born!”

      Seems those now following in Voltaire's footsteps didn't learn much from him. You are young ...life has yet to hand you a few misfortunes...perhaps you will find your atheism falls quite short of your current ideals some day ...hopefully you won't come to the sad end these fellow atheists did. Nevertheless, God remains sovereign & I wish you well & leave you with this quote from the famous GK Chesterton.
      "Time and time again, the Christian faith has by all appearances gone to the dogs. But each time, it was the dog that died."

      • Julia Baizley

        Liars for Jesus, an anti-Christian organization? Really now? Did you even... uh... go to the page?

        No, Liars for Jesus was not an organization. Liars for Jesus was a hardcore punk band. Let me say that again for effect: Liars for Jesus was a hardcore punk band.

        A band, mind you, I did two songs with. A band that I broke up after the guitarist left with half the demo. Would you like to know another major reason why I broke it up? I did not want to be known as another anti-Christian grindcore band. I don't care about that anymore. That band came about during a dark period in my life. Christian bands had been preventing my other band, a band with no lyrics or anti-religious imagery, from playing shows locally. Yes, these people claimed to love me and my music, but when giving the chance, they denied me the chance to play... because I'm an atheist.

        Do you see now where the name comes from? These local Christian bands claiming publicly to love the three albums we'd released, claiming to love me to death; then, of course, blocking us from playing shows and spreading rumors about me and my bandmate (who was a Christian, by the way).

        So don't be so presumptive. A name is a name and doesn't even give you half the story. It's a very misleading name. Anti-religious imagery is lame and I wish to avoid it in the future. I'm proud of Liars for Jesus and what it accomplished in the 6 months it was around, but the ideas on which it was created are no longer valuable to me, personally. See, I had written two more tracks, enough to finish our first demo by myself. I decided to scrap the last two songs entirely, and the band.

        The name of my next band? "Blessed Be." Very anti-Christian and anti-religious, yes, friend? It was taken from the Golden Sayings of Epictetus, the first line of the last part: "Blessed be thou." Yeah. How very anti-religion I am, huh? Anti-religion enough to use a name which could as easily be used for a Christian band.

        And, friend, in case you missed my earlier commentary: leukemia. Twice. Nerve damage causing chronic pain across my body. Stomach and intestinal problems, both unrelated, and having gone on for most of my life. Life has handed me enough misfortunes. (I've also had very close moments thanks to being prescribed way too high doses of Ritalin when still young.)

        I will not have a sad end. I refuse it. My end may be painful, it may be exceedingly tough, it may be brought by way of insanity or drugs, but it won't be without dignity. I will not wish I hadn't been born. I will not forsake who I am, where I've been. I will not run from myself.

        Indeed, say what you will about the past and the records from the past, but this is the information age. This is not an age when you have to seek out knowledge. This is an age when knowledge seeks out you. The information age is not comparable to prior ages. Notice how it's been noted that Christianity is spreading in China and North Africa, amongst other largely third world areas. The places which are permanently impoverished or just entering the information age are not good examples to go by.

        No, I don't believe Christianity will die. I'm sure there are people out there who still believe in Zeus. I'm sure in another 2,000 years there will be Christians. There may even be a lot of them. I just don't believe it's very likely for Christianity to be a majority or anything resembling a majority.

        • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

          @Julia: Ok, A. No one gets to choose their end. B. No one believes in Zeus.

          • Julia Baizley

            A) I don't expect to choose how I die, I expect to choose to die without regret or fear. There is nothing to regret or fear. I was on death's door once and did not regret or fear. All I did was worry about the people I was leaving behind. I survived. Next time I probably won't be so lucky. B) Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism. "According to estimates reported by the U.S. State Department, there are perhaps as many as 2,000 followers of the ancient Greek religion out of a total Greek population of 11 million."

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              A. You are correct. You won't be lucky. I'm very sorry. B. They might practice, but they don't really believe in Zeus.

          • Julia Baizley

            A) I'm already lucky. I survived leukemia two times. I don't know what the odds of that are, but they are most likely spectacularly low, especially considering how harsh it was both times. I'm just saying, if it comes back, and it probably will, I'll most likely be gone. I don't mind. I'll drop some LSD on my deathbed and go out in style this time around. B) How can you really say that others do not believe in things? Is that like when people say atheists actually believe in god? It's pretty wrong. People believed Charles Manson was a savior. People believe weird things all the time.

            • Susanne Schuberth (Germany)

              Hi Julia,

              Reading about your life, esp. about your dramatic medical history that almost led you to the edge of death (I made a similar experience), I only want to wish you the very best in your future activities. I hope that your health condition might become better one day (don’t mind me, I’m praying for you).

              Much love,
              Susanne

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              A. Luck had nothing to do with it and LSD is neither stylish nor dignified. But if you do "go out" it won't be lucky. You are correct.
              B. Yes I do. And yes, it's just like saying that about Atheists. I mean, you care enough about this person who doesn't exist to troll an overtly Christian blog to offend/rile up believers. I don't do the same for Atheists blogs because they are meaningless to me. You hate someone you don't believe in. This is strange to me.

            • Julia Baizley

              A) LSD is pretty stylish when you're on it. I cannot fathom a better way to bid the planet Earth farewell. B) I'm not trolling anybody. "One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument." Look carefully: I have not attempted to provoke anyone. I have been respectful and proper. If you want to get down to it, call the person who brought up my former band a troll. I don't see any reason for bringing that up other than to cause a stir. Another note of importance: I'm only here because someone who loves this site to death added me as a friend on Facebook (presumably to make me see/read what they have to say) and does not allow comments. They want to be seen but not spoken to about what they say. As I can't talk to them, I would rather talk to you all.

              If I were to turn the same logic around at you, it would be unfair, right? If I were to say that Christians only comment on my atheism group (the largest on Facebook!) because they really don't believe in god, what would you say to that? Or, how about, people go to KKK forums and attack them because they themselves are racists? Maybe Fox News attacks Socialists because they are secretly Socialists? It just doesn't hold up. It's backwards logic.

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              A. I'm sorry to hear that.

              B. Yeah, but WHY do you want to talk to us, you're clearly in here with an agenda. I don't go to your groups/blogs/what have you and comment

              C. (It kind of is a new topic) Uhhh, well, no. That doesn't make any sense actually, but I'm FASCINATED to know how you think it does.
              Let me give you a football analogy. In a way Christians have the ball and they are driving into your goal, right? (Now please set aside whether we are doing this well or effectively...I'll be the first to say often we aren't) You are the defensive side. You don't have the ball, but you are working against us. If you didn't believe in the ball at all....why are you still playing?

            • Julia Baizley

              B) I like talking to people. I talk to Christians all the time. Mostly the preachers and pastors. I like to understand what people believe and why and let them know what I believe and why. Is that a problem? Do you wish I were somewhere else so you could talk alone and amongst yourselves? Christians are supposed to be Christ-like, and in the Bible, Jesus did not tell those who disagreed with him that they can't be talking to him. He was not the kind of character to refuse others the chance to talk. Why would you? Am I that much of a threat to you and the way you believe?

              C) How does this football analogy make sense if mine do not? Let's go by your analogy anyways. The ball is society. If Christians have the ball, it hurts me. (See also: Christians getting behind Ugandan bills which would straight up kill gay people.) If I have the ball it makes you uncomfortable but I intend to take nothing away from you. Either way, my talking to you about the ball is not trying to take the ball away from you. If I want the ball, I'm going to tackle you for it. That's why there are people like Richard Dawkins. They are the offensive ones. I'm just a talker, an explainer, a negotiator. I'm not here to tackle you, I'm here to defend myself. That's all. I recognize that the Richard Dawkins characters who usually show up are doing nothing to help, they are building no bridges, they are opening no dialogue between sides. Because we are opposites does not mean we have to be enemies.

            • Aaron

              Julia, you are the definition of a troll. Go ahead and warp the definition of a troll to your liking. Go ahead and tell us all how hard your life has been. Go ahead and talk about how all you wanted to do was "talk to people" and how us Christians aren't being "Christ-like" because we don't want to deal with your crap. You are purposely being obnoxious.
              The worst thing you said was that you feel your "generation" does not seek information, but that information seeks your generation. Every generation since the beginning of (insert time of your liking) has sought to KNOW. Your statement that you don't seek to know saddens me to no end. You embarrass yourself by your apathy.

            • zilch

              Aaron- while I can see why you disagree with Julia, how is she in any way a troll? She's simply describing her life and expressing her opinions, without any personal insults as far as I can see. She's also obviously thought a lot about these issues. Trolls, at least in the usual way of thinking about them, are objectionable precisely because they make personal insults and obviously don't think about the issues- they are not merely people you happen to disagree with. For instance, I disagree with almost everyone here on a very basic issue- the existence of God- but I wouldn't call anyone here a troll.

              I'll also second what Julia said about why atheists bother to post at Christian forums- I too like talking with all kinds of people, with those I agree with about many things, but also (maybe even especially) with those I disagree with. I suspect my reasons might be similar to Julia's: simple curiosity about what fellow humans believe, and why they believe it; concern about how religion impinges upon our common world, both positively and negatively; and last but not least, because I agree with Socrates: the unexamined life is not worth living, and you can't really examine your life without engaging with intelligent people who believe radically differently than you do. Iron sharpens iron, some wise person said.

              cheers from chilly Vienna, and if any of you are in town, or in the SF Bay Area most summers, drop me a line, and lunch is on me.

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Julia B. Of course you aren't a threat, did I say that? I'm just wondering why. Again, I wouldn't get on your websites just to bait atheists. I'm confused as to why you'd do it to Christians. I mean, Richard Dawkins has so far not got on any of the blogs I read and made aggressive comments. Soo...so far that's just you.

              C. I'm sorry you couldn't understand my analogy. Society is not the ball. God is the ball. Note how I said, "if you don't believe in the ball, you wouldn't play." Why would I think you don't believe in society. I'm saying, why are you playing along if you don't believe the ball exists?

              @Zilch: Trolls are people who get on blogs and comment in order to cause a fuss. WHAT are two atheists doing here EXCEPT causing a fuss? I mean, if y'all had genuine questions, than sure, by all means. But if you really did, I don't know why you wouldn't find a pastor in your area and ask him.
              Neither of you are actually here for debate, so let's stop pretending. If I started getting on atheist forums and doing what Julia is doing, I wouldn't be there for respectful debate. I'd be an obnoxious person who should leave you alone.
              "Iron sharpens iron" is a quote from the bible. You used it incorrectly though. It's about Christians making sure fellow Christians don't go off the theological deep end.

            • zilch

              Heather, you say:

              @Zilch: Trolls are people who get on blogs and comment in order to cause a fuss. WHAT are two atheists doing here EXCEPT causing a fuss? I mean, if y'all had genuine questions, than sure, by all means. But if you really did, I don't know why you wouldn't find a pastor in your area and ask him.

              No, I'm really not here in order to cause a fuss, and I do have genuine questions, which I've posted here: they are genuine because I believe, rightly or wrongly, that this is an issue of civil rights and prejudice, which has real effects on real people. And I don't think I'd find much disagreement about homosexuality with a pastor here in Vienna- the few Protestants here are pretty liberal, by American standards.

              Neither of you are actually here for debate, so let's stop pretending. If I started getting on atheist forums and doing what Julia is doing, I wouldn't be there for respectful debate. I'd be an obnoxious person who should leave you alone.

              Speak for yourself. The atheist forums I frequent would welcome Christians to come and comment- unfortunately, few do.

              "Iron sharpens iron" is a quote from the bible. You used it incorrectly though. It's about Christians making sure fellow Christians don't go off the theological deep end.

              Yes, I'm aware that it's from the Bible- I'm pretty Bible literate. But in my humble opinion, there are other possible interpretations of the Bible than yours. Lots of it is simply timeless good advice, and has nothing to do with the existence of God or belief in Jesus. This passage about iron sharpening iron is an example.

              But of course I could be wrong. In any case, Heather, I wish you a pleasant day.

              cheers from cool Vienna, zilch

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Zilch: Well, I can only take you at your word. I'll make an attempt to believe that although you and Julia have only been rather offensive and baiting, you're here with genuine questions. I can't say it will be easy. You are correct however...about Vienna. So, I can see how finding a real Christian would be difficult.

              I'm glad to hear that few Christians comment on your forums. I think it's an ineffective way to spread the gospel. I'd rather a Christian who knows you in person talk to you.

              Well, yes, you are wrong. The bible has everything to do with Jesus.

  • Randy

    I'm more interested in how to win the public on the gospel than I am about homosexuality. Homosexuality is only a symptom of the empty, dark existence of not knowing Christ. It is one of many sins that the Holy Spirit will deal with after they meet Jesus. I don't think we're having the right conversation if we start it by talking about how bad homosexuality is. The quicker we can move the conversation from homosexuality to the gospel, the better it is for Jesus to be made much of.

    The government has many laws that are at odds with Scripture. That has always been the case as long as governments have existed. I don't see any reason why I should exert effort on banning state recognition of gay marriage when that same effort could be put to better use in articulating the gospel to people that don't know Jesus, regardless of their sexual orientation.

    From personal experience, I can relate that the most powerful witness a Christian can have toward gays and lesbians is to be a Christian that doesn't fit the stereotypes. Show them love when they expect condemnation. If your neighbor is gay, they probably won't be all that receptive to the gospel if you stick a dozen signs in your front yard advocating a ban of gay marriage.

    That doesn't mean you have to abandon Biblical teaching about homosexuality, but if there are homosexuals in your life, that probably isn't where you want to start. The conversation will inevitably go there, but I don't think it's helpful to make that the focal point. The focal point must be Jesus: crucified, resurrected, and glorified, calling everyone who will listen to meet him and know him.

    Maybe it's just me, but I just can't imagine Jesus handing out fliers to vote against a candidate that supports same sex marriage. There were political leaders in his day that were guilty of worse sins than that, yet he avoided terrestrial politics. That's the model I choose to follow.

    • John

      I agree with you, mostly. The gospel is most important by far, and our primary citizenship is in a different, spiritual kingdom. but thank God that William Wilberforce, Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, et al did not avoid terestrial politics. Perhaps you are not personally called to be heavily involved, or even have much of an interest in politics, but I'm going to have to disagree that Christians should 'avoid terrestrial politics'.

      If the government proposed allowing child rape (which some people do advocate) would you avoid the issue, not going to talk about it with anyone or even vote? Can I suppose you would have wanted nothing to do with ending slavery? or the Holocaust, or any other of the plethora of evils carried out by earthly governments?

      For a different view may I suggest "Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture" by Wayne A. Grudem. there are a couple smaller books that are summaries of this larger volume I believe.

  • Pingback: Treading Grain » Post Topic » Around the Horn :: 5.10.12

  • adamjc ex-progressivist

    Hi Julia

    Yours is the most fascinating post I have read in ages in terms of the insight it shows into your generation of Americans. To us in the rest of the Western world, we have already experienced the decline in Christianity which has , sadly only really just begun in that last, great bastion of Christianity in the West, The United States of America.

    Sometimes I see America like Gondor in The Lord of The Rings, the last defence of the West against the hordes of Mordor. I am hopeful that it will hold out against the current horde of orcs.

    The fact is that the West is in terminal decline, partly as a result of its rejection of Christ , a sad reflection of the ideas that you and your American generation and our Australian generation, including me, held 25 years ago.
    God has moved on and Christianity is spreading like wildfire in the rest of the world.
    I too thought very much like you do but for so many reasons have rejected what you believe.
    I just pray that God, in his grace will change your mind like he changed mine.

    • Arun

      The Christianity that spreads in the rest of the world does so with lies, bribes, worldly goods. It will not last.

      • zilch

        You think there are more "lies, bribes, and worldly goods" in the world outside the USA? I suggest you guys travel more. My personal experience is that lies and bribes are pretty evenly distributed worldwide; but more worldly goods are to be found in the hands of American Christians than just about anywhere else.

  • Jesse Wilson

    I would think that love for your neighbor would best be expressed by speaking the truth. The truth is that the Emperor has no clothes. The naked truth is that homosexual relationships do not last, do not fulfill, do not reproduce, are not diverse, lack the mystery of complementary diversity, do not fill the gaps in our soul, are not genuinely exclusive either sexually or emotionally, are insecure, are the ultimate in self love, are boring because of the mutual same-ness, require infidelity to overcome the boring reality of the sameness, result in much higher rates of depression, physical injury and disease, and reduce a man's life expectancy an average of 20 years.

    Was Jesus a good neighbor to the woman at the well? Abolutely. And he did it by pointing her to new possibilities of satisfaction AND showing her that her current path was unsatisfying.

    • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

      That's good. Excellent comment. You'll get slammed in some places for saying things like that but know that I encourage you.

      Thanks for your comments!

    • Pat

      Re: your comment about what homosexual relationships are and are not...you know this how? Some slanted study told you? Your pastor told you?

  • http://dearchristiancounselor.wordpress.com Louise Holzhauer

    Thank you for this coherent and well-researched defense of Biblical Christianity. I would add that as we share this viewpoint with family and friends, we need to project the same compassion which Jesus showed the woman at the well. We need to project that we actually do want good things for those most at risk.

  • Jesse Wilson

    Regarding the constitution - There is no right to marry whomever you want. Gays and heteros have equal rights to marry. They just have to marry someone of the opposite sex. We are also equally prohibited from marrying a child, a close relative, or more than one person. All state laws, even in states where genderless marriage is legal, prohibit everyone equally from these types of marriages. Same-sex marriage is no more a right than marrying your sister. Barring it has nothing to do with constitutionality.

    If there is a right to same-sex marriage, there must also be a right to incestual marriage, and polygomous marriage, and on and on. The government provides benefits to marriage because it is the only design that can keep a nation from suicide and the benefits are to encourage fathers and mothers to stay together and raise their children. The recognition of marriage is not a benefit grab for any two people who like each other for a few years, it is recognition and support due to the good it provides to our nation.

    Add to this that many of the gay advocates that are for gay marriage today have been vehemently against it up until a few years ago and it is easy to realize (and read them say) that gay marriage is just a means to the end of completely redefining the family, by moving to an unconstrained society and getting legal status to require that people not only tolerate, but fully endorse homosexuality. And as we are already seeing in Massachsetts, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion must bow to it.

  • Jesse Wilson

    To consider homosexuality just another sin is a mistake. It was something so contagious that God was forced to destroy cities. Romans 1 also clearly portrays it as something that results from distorted thinking. It is a lifestyle resulting from the rejection of God and indicative of God removing moral restrajnt. Romans 1 concludes with a clear call to avoid applauding the behavior. I think sitting by while it is endorsed is pretty close to applause. But of course, everyone should read Romans 1 for themselves.

    • James Rednour

      "It was something so contagious that God was forced to destroy cities."

      Wrong!

      "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen." Ezekiel 16:49-50

      Maybe you should READ the Bible before you come here and start throwing firebombs.

      • Jesse Wilson

        James,

        Read my Bible a little more....

        Leviticus 18:22 - "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable."

        Ezekiel 16:43 - "detestable practices"
        Ezekiel 16:47 - "detestable practices"
        Ezekiel 16:51 - "detestable things"
        Ezekiel 16:52 - "vile sins"
        Ezekiel 16:58 - "You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and your detestable practices"

        2 Peter 2:6 - The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was a warning about what will happen to the "ungodly".

        Jude says that Sodom and Gomorrah gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.

        Jude 7 - "In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire."

        Ezekiel does not invalidate the charge of detestable and lewd behavior. It merely adds additional sins to their list.

      • John

        Well that sounds just a tad harsh. Many Bible scholars take the reading of the account to be what it seems like in the most straightforward reading, which is homosexuality. In Ezekiel it does say 'detestable things', which based on what the Scripture says elsewhere could be homosexual acts, so Ezekiel does not exclude this possibility although it does not explicity state it.

        Jude is also helpful in that it explicity mentions sexual immorality as a cause of judgment, and in my reading most likely 'unnatural' or 'strange' are referring to same sex. What type of sex do you suggest this means?:

        Jude 7 "just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire".
        (other versions use 'strange flesh' or 'perversion' for 'unnatural desire')

      • http://www.covenantcaswell.org John Carpenter

        The "detestable practices" Ezekiel ascribes to Sodom are the homosexuality actually described in the Genesis story of Sodom.

        It's not a good combination to be sarcastic and so obviously wrong.

  • Nate Davis

    Obama's surprise statement supporting Gay Marriage creates an extraordinary opportunity for Mitt Romney and other Republican leaders to step up and take the right position on the issue, declaring that it is time to get government out of the marriage business entirely. Leave marriage to the churches and to the conscience of individuals and let all relationships be legally recognized as civil contracts.

  • Jesse Wilson

    Twin studies - Even with a sampling that compared identical to fraternal, you would still have to admit that the environmental issues or the perception of those issues would play a factor.

    1. No unbiased scientist believes genes by themselves infallibly make us behave in specified ways. Genes create a tendency, not a tyranny.

    2. Identical twin studies show that neither genetic nor family factors are overwhelming.

    3. We can foster or foil genetic or family influences.

    4. Change is possible.

    • http://r.robbplusjessie.com Robb

      "Even with a sampling that compared identical to fraternal, you would still have to admit that the environmental issues or the perception of those issues would play a factor."

      I don't understand your comment. The purpose of a twin study is to determine the contribution of genetic inheritance to a given trait by controlling for environmental effects. If you solely look at identical twins, you cannot be certain whether concordance of a trait is due to inheritance or something about how the twins were raised.

      Only by comparing to a cohort that is not 100% identical (fraternal twins are on average 50% identical, but share the same upbringing like identical twins), can you determine whether or not a trait has a genetic component because doing so allows you to determine what the environmental contribution is.

    • Phil

      Can you point to any evidence that 4. above is true?

      I don't believe there is any (meaningful) evidence for it. (And a few testimonionals are not what I am referring to.) Moreover, I believe there is evidence that trying to "change" does more harm than good. See generally

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=homosexuality-cure-masters-johnson

      http://prospect.org/article/my-so-called-ex-gay-life

      http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-04-11/news/31326857_1_anti-gay-groups-gay-community-robert-spitzer

    • Phil

      Can you point to any evidence that 4. above is true?

      I don't believe there is any (meaningful) evidence for it. (And a few testimonionals are not what I am referring to.) Moreover, I believe there is evidence that trying to "change" does more harm than good.

      (Is it a mistake to try to embed links in our comments? I'm not sure why my comments aren't being approved by the moderator.)

      • Jesse Wilson

        Change is possible and documented at three levels:

        1 - Among those who simply experiment with homosexuality and then abandon it. They experience attraction for a variety of reasons, make a choice or choices to yield to that attraction for a time, and then abandon it for heterosexuality. Depending on at which point on the continuum of attraction-choices-identity you conclude a person to be "gay", this is a change.

        2 - Significant Research Regarding SOCE (Sexual Orientation Change Efforts)

        A. National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality

        B. Karten, E. Y., & Wade, J. C. (2010). Sexual orientation change efforts in men: A client perspective. The Journal of Men's Studies, 18, 84-102.

        They investigated self-reported change, which factors were statistically associated with change, and which treatment interventions and techniques were perceived by clients to be most helpful. The authors specifically investigated whether male identity, sexual identity, high religiosity, psychological relatedness to other men, gender role conflict regarding affection between men, and marital status would be related to self-reported change in sexual and psychological functioning.

        Karten & Wade found that overall clients experienced "a decrease in homosexual feelings and behavior, an increase in heterosexual feelings and behavior, and a positive change in psychological functioning." The researchers discovered that the most significant factors correlating to successful SOCE were reduced conflict in expressing nonsexual affection with other men, being married, and feeling disconnected with men prior to treatment.

        ____

        C. Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, No. 5, pp. 403-417.

        Spitzer's findings challenge the widely-held assumption that a homosexual orientation is "who one is" -- an intrinsic part of a person's identity that can never be changed.

        The study has attracted particularly attention because its author, a prominent psychiatrist, is viewed as a historic champion of gay activism. Spitzer played a pivotal role in 1973 in removing homosexuality from the psychiatric manual of mental disorders.

        Testing the hypothesis that a predominantly homosexual orientation will, in some individuals, respond to therapy were some 200 respondents of both genders (143 males, 57 females) who reported changes from homosexual to heterosexual orientation lasting 5 years or more. The study's structured telephone interviews assessed a number of aspects same-sex attraction, with the year prior to the interview used as the comparative base.

        Dr. Spitzer said the data collected showed that, following therapy, many of the participants experienced a marked increase in both the frequency and satisfaction of heterosexual activity, while those in marital relationships noted more emotional fulfillment between their spouses and themselves.

        As for completely reorienting from homosexual to heterosexual, most respondents indicated that they still occasionally struggled with unwanted attractions--in fact, only 11% of the men and 37% of the women reported complete change. Nevertheless this study, Spitzer concludes, "clearly goes beyond anecdotal information and provides evidence that reparative therapy is sometimes successful."

        Spitzer wrote in his conclusion, "the mental health professionals should stop moving in the direction of banning therapy that has, as a goal, a change in sexual orientation. Many patients, provided with informed consent about the possibility that they will be disappointed if the therapy does not succeed, can make a rational choice to work toward developing their heterosexual potential and minimizing their unwanted homosexual attractions."

        Dr. Robert L. Spitzer's study was funded by his department's research unit. He is Professor of Psychiatry and Chief of Biometrics at Columbia University.

        "Like most psychiatrists," says Dr. Spitzer, "I thought that homosexual behavior could be resisted--but that no one could really change their sexual orientation. I now believe that's untrue--some people can and do change."

        _____

        D. Gay-To-Straight Research Published In APA Journal
        The American Psychological Association's prestigious journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice has just published a comprehensive research paper on sexual-orientation change. Clients have the right to pursue change, the author says, because "sexual orientation, once thought to be an unchanging trait, is actually quite flexible for some people."

        An article by Dr. Warren Throckmorton, "Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the Change Process for Ex-Gays," has been published in the American Psychological Association's publication Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

        "I'm pleased that this research summary will reach an audience of psychologists and mental health professionals that may not be aware of ex-gay issues," says Throckmorton, the director of college counseling at Grove City College.

        3 - Spiritual Transformation

        - A variety of ministries such as Exodus report the testimony of thousands of people who claim to have experienced change.

        Testimony of Paul,

        1 Corinthians 6:11 - "And that is what some of you were. 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."

        • Phil

          Thanks for the comprehensive reply. I don't have time to respond in full right now. A couple quick thoughts.

          1) I don't doubt that there are some people who may describe themselves as confused or bi-sexual, who ultimately decide they are either gay or straight (or decide to live one way or another). This isn't really about change, thought, that is, from one orientation to the other.

          2) At least with regard to Mr. Spitzer, he has repudiated his own study. I am definitely curiuos about the other studies, though.

          3) While these ministeries report "thousands of people who claim to have experiences change," they never seem to be able to produce more than a couple of examples, even when asked. You would think that, given their own self interest, they would be able to demonstrate "thousands of people" as examples.

          • Jesse Wilson

            How about this? There is no doubt that a segment of the gay community believes that introducing young boys to homosexual encounters is doing them a favor. I am continually confused about why indoctrination and homosexual introduction is necessary if people are born that way, but I digress.

            80% of convicted pediphiles are gay....And a large percentage of them were abused themselves.

            The stats are not my point here, but I don't think they can be refuted.

            So, surely you would admit that there is a percentage of these cases where the molesters get it wrong and end up abusing a child that wasn't "born gay". I won't hold you to a percentage guess, but wouldn't you at least consider it possible that the natural heterosexual orientation of a number of these might be able to be recovered?

            • Phil

              The fringe element of the gay community (are you referring to NAMBLA?) is just that: the fringe. It is obviously not fair to say they represent the whole group.

              I am not sure why you are bringing up pedophiles.

              I am not sure what "natural heterosexual orientation" means. Are there people out there who would have been heterosexual, but were abused as children, and thus identify as homosexual as a grownup? I suppose it exists as a possibility (how likely it is, I have no idea).

              At any rate, my concern wouldn't be about trying to "recover" these people's natural orienation. [Trying to recover some pior, "natural," orientation seems highly likely to fail: how would you ever know what any individual's prior "natural" orienation was?]

              I would think the most healthy thing would be to assume that any individual is the product of both their experiences (for good and bad) and their genes: My concern would be trying to get them to lead a happy, productive, well-adjusted life.

            • Jesse Wilson

              First, why was it that Spitzer recanted his study? Did he mention a flaw in the data? Had he made an error of some sort? His editor for the study, Zucker, has gone on record that there were no flaws in the research. So, exactly how does his statement impact his study? Since when is a researcher the final word on interpretation of accurate data?

              I fully agree that the entire gay community does not represent NAMBLA. But I would guess that not all pedophiles are members, so they are not the only ones who abuse children.

              Surely you see why I am bringing up pedophiles!
              Their molestation is an environmental, psycho-sexual element of the gay orientation of many children. And my point seems undeniably logical to me - If something can be done to cause a person to orient themselves toward homosexuality, it is possible that it can be undone.

              You said - "I am not sure what "natural heterosexual orientation" means. Are there people out there who would have been heterosexual, but were abused as children, and thus identify as homosexual as a grownup?"

              That is exactly what I mean.

              . Marie, E. Tomeo, et al., "Comparative Data of Childhood and Adolescence Molestation in Heterosexual and Homosexual Persons," Archives of Sexual Behavior 30 (2001): 539. "One of the most salient findings of this study is that 46 percent of homosexual men and 22 percent of homosexual women reported having been molested by a person of the same gender. This contrasts to only 7 percent of heterosexual men and 1 percent of heterosexual women reporting having been molested by a person of the same gender."

              · A study of 279 homosexual/bisexual men with AIDS and control patients discussed in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported: "More than half of both case and control patients reported a sexual act with a male by age 16 years, approximately 20 percent by age 10 years."

              Harry W. Haverkos, et al., "The Initiation of Male Homosexual Behavior," The Journal of the American Medical Association 262 p501.

              · Noted child sex abuse expert David Finkelhor found that "boys victimized by older men were over four times more likely to be currently engaged in homosexual activity than were non-victims. Further, "the adolescents themselves often linked their homosexuality to their sexual victimization experiences."

              Bill Watkins and Arnon Bentovim, "The Sexual Abuse of Male Children and Adolescents: A Review of Current Research," Journal of Child Psychiatry 33 (1992); in Byrgen Finkelman, Sexual Abuse (New York: Garland Publishing, 1995), p. 316.

              · A study in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology found:"In the case of childhood sexual experiences prior to the age of fourteen, 40 percent (of the pedophile sample) reported that they had engaged 'very often' in sexual activity with an adult, with 28 percent stating that this type of activity had occurred 'sometimes'"

              Gary A. Sawle, Jon Kear-Colwell, "Adult Attachment Style and Pedophilia: A Developmental Perspective," International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 45 (February 2001):6.

              · A National Institute of Justice report states that "the odds that a childhood sexual abuse victim will be arrested as an adult for any sex crime is 4.7 times higher than for people . . . who experienced no victimization as children."

              Cathy Spatz Widom, "Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse - Later Criminal Consequences," Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse Series:NIJ Research in Brief, (March 1995): 6.

              · A Child Abuse and Neglect study found that 59 percent of male child sex offenders had been "victim of contact sexual abuse as a child."

              Michele Elliott, "Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: What Offenders Tell Us," Child Abuse and Neglect 19 (1995): 582

              · The Journal of Child Psychiatry noted that "there is a tendency among boy victims to recapitulate their own victimization, only this time with themselves in the role of perpetrator and someone else the victim."

              Watkins, p. 319. Watkins mentions several studies confirming that between 19 percent and 61 percent of male sex abusers had previously been sexually abused themselves.

              You said - "I would think the most healthy thing would be to assume that any individual is the product of both their experiences (for good and bad) and their genes: My concern would be trying to get them to lead a happy, productive, well-adjusted life."

              Do you really need me to get the stats on gay depression, suicide, domestic violence, addiction, and disease?

              The evidence does not support the assertion that the gay lifestyle happy or well-adjusted.

            • Phil

              Jesse, in reading through your comments (above), I see that you are saying things that are outside the realm of reason, experience, and truth.

              [Also, I have the distinct feeling that you are drawing illogical conclusions from the numerous journal articles you are quoting; but I don't have the time/patience to try to think through/track those things down. Given what I quote below, I don't trust what you say regarding those articles.]

              You state (in essence):

              homosexuality is contagious; [traditional] marriage is what keeps our nation from suicide; [if I understand you correctly] implying/stating that homosexuality is often the result of sexual abuse, and thus homosexuals should try to change back to their 'natural" orientation; that homosexual relationships do not last or are not fulfilling; that homosexual relationships reduces a man's life expectancy by 20 years; that such relationships require infidelity; and that gay men and women are not happy or well-adjusted.

              For many of these things, they simply are not true. However, I recoginze that there is nothing I can say that will change your mind.

          • JR

            One of the reasons why you don't get more than a couple of us to "represent" by going public or interviewing or whatever is because of things like this discussion.

            The church community is not nearly as open, supportive or **believing** about the real power of the Gospel and God's Word to change people's lives. If we were, our Bible studies would look A LOT differently, as well as our own fellowship community.

            But the public at large, especially pro-gay agenda people are downright vicious toward people who have changed as a result of the work and power of the Holy Spirit.

            Bottom line: the reaction and understanding of 99% of people isn't worth "going public", so yes, there are thousands who have been tranformed, but they pretty much either suffer in silence or have made peace with their identity in Christ and have moved on (rather than sharing their personal testimonies.)

        • http://r.robbplusjessie.com Robb

          Coincidentally, Dr. Robert Spitzer was featured today in an article on the front page of the New York Times entitled "Leading Psychiatrist Apologizes for Study Supporting Gay ‘Cure’":

          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/18/health/dr-robert-l-spitzer-noted-psychiatrist-apologizes-for-study-on-gay-cure.html?_r=1&hp

  • Kyle Jones

    "As columnist Ross Douthat argues in his recent book Bad Religion, "Ultimately, the Christian sexual ethic asks more of people with same-sex attraction than it does of straights---a far greater self-denial, a more heroic chastity.""

    I would not agree with this statement at all, as I think all forms of self-denial can be equally difficult! Are we saying that chastity for a homosexual is harder than abstaining is for an alcoholic? ALL of us have sin which wants to rule our lives, and all of us are required to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. What the sin specifically is is not more important than the self-denial. The degree of sinful desires isn't even constant across all people. Some homosexuals may find abstinence isn't too hard (lower libedo, etc) but may struggle more with anger. A heterosexual may struggle much more with sexual purity than many homosexuals.

    Christianity requires from each of us the same thing: complete submission of our will to Christ's. You can have nothing more or higher than this.

    • Anonymous

      I would actually agree with Ross Douthat.

      As a single heterosexual Christian female who chooses abstinence, I can still hope that -- with God's blessing -- one day I will meet a man, fall in love with him, and get married to him. I can hope that one day I will enjoy sexual intimacy in this "proper context" (marriage) with someone to whom I'm attracted. A single homosexual female has no such hope that there will ever be a "proper context" (marriage) for her to share intimacy with someone to whom she is attracted. So she is being asked by God -- and Christians -- to not only abstain from acting on her desires now, but to abstain FOREVER, with no Biblical hope of ever experiencing her attraction in a proper context, because Biblically, there isn't one. And as long as her same sex attraction continues -- no matter how hard she might pray for God to take it away -- it will NEVER be permissible for her to act on her desires/attraction in any context. Can God still meet her spiritual and emotional needs? Yes. Can she accept the saving work of Christ on the cross? Yes. Can and will God be present in her suffering? Yes. But is this kind of suffering without this hope particularly lonely and painful and isolating? Absolutely. I can't tell you how many times I've heard this from my gay and lesbian friends. And they just wish Christians knew how difficult it is.

      In this way, I feel the burden is wholly more difficult and more distinct for those struggling with homosexual desires.

      • LG

        Very, very well spoken.

      • YoungLady

        Great points. See also Wesley Hill's book Washed and Waiting.

  • http://visiodeicommunity.org David Zook

    One of the most helpful things that I have found in discussing this issue with others is to bring homosexuality into the wider focus of sexual sin. It has caused many to pause, think ... and understand the issue from another perspective.

    It goes something like this:

    God sets one condition when blessing sex: it's between man and woman in the covenant of marriage. That's it. He doesn't bless sexual relationships outside of that one condition. This means that people who commit adultery or who are single and sleeping around with others (opposite sex or same sex) will not receive God's blessing when it comes to sex. I also add that single heterosexuals are in the same boat as homosexuals (regardless if the state allows them to be married) if they desire to honor God. They must remain celibate.

    This helps take the focus off of homosexual behavior by putting it in the realm of human behavior.

  • John

    Marriage is a different issue than homosexuality itself. Homosexuals have all the sexual freedoms in America that heterosexuals do. Have sex with whomever you want whenever you want, and live with whomever you choose. Marriage is separate, it's not an issue of freedom, it's an additional blessing by our culture on a behavior we want to promote, to advance, for the betterment of our society. It's no more discriminatory than tax deductions for giving to charity. We allow these deductions because we want to promote it. It is not bigoted or disrimination against those who want to spend all their money and give none to charity- it's still their choice and no one is making them use their money against their will, they are still totally free to spend it all.

    I'm not for gay marriage because if you look at the stats the homosexual lifestyle is far worse than hetero (as bad as it is currently) for our culture - in terms of number of partners, diseases, length of relationships etc. It doesn't help our society to be more stable or function more effectively so we shouldn't pass a law that promotes it. I am not saying pass a law to prohibit it at all, just not a law to encourage it. No moral judgement here, just the facts.

    Also it is evidently unnatural and not normal behavior. whether you believe in a god(s) or are an atheist, nature has evolved (or designed, take your pick) male-female to fit together. This is not a moral statement, just an observation, ie science. I can draw pictures if you like.

    And if heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality are inborn and genetic, then it is also for those who desire sexual pleasure and fulfillment through sex with animals, sex with small children, incest and rape. Do you think those people choose these desires? If sexual preference is inborn not chosen then on what basis can anyone condemn them? It's not their fault. The only basis to condemn these other sexual desires is a moral one. They shouldn't be done because they are wrong, and so we legislate morality to deter rapists and child molestors. Morality must be allowed into the sexual discussion or else everything goes. To say the difference is that homosexuality doesn't hurt anyone is an after the fact statement. Nature has already determined the person's sexual orientation, the individual had no say in the matter and can't help which desire they got. If people don't like it that's their problem, they should keep their wives and children and animals away. The question of consent is separate from genetics, and comes after it.

    Again I am not saying that homosexuals who practice with consenting adults should be punished, I'm making the point that it should be acceptable to make a moral judgement about it just as we do with other forms of inborn sexual desires.

    This can be said for any behavior, if I struggle with anger am I personally responsible for my angry actions for it or can I just blame God or evolution - this is the way I'm made how can you blame me, and why would you want me to supress my inborn desires? We have anarchy when we don't suppress any of our inborn desires, it is not wrong or unnatural to supress some desires.

    Sadly the Word of God has little or no bearing in the discussion of this issue, at least in America today. For those in the church the Word should be applied to show it's clarity in the issue. For our secular culture I think we will have to use logic more than the Bible and reframe the issue correctly - not spin it, but through reason. Unfortunately the proponents of homosexuality have already spun it, essentially saying if you oppose their lifestyle in any way you are guilty of bigotry and hate crimes. A tactic that seems to be designed to squelch reason. And we can expect to be called out for our sins and errors, and be called hypocrites. Which in some sense is true. The challenge will be to maintain love toward folks, admit we are sinners, and follow in the steps of Christ our King. Or we can move to the Outback and make like it's 1620.

    • drey

      Wow!

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  • Michael Swart

    "We're not satisfied with a God who calls us sinners." This is, I think, the crux of this challenging article. We want to dictate the terms to God.

    Toplady describes the situation of the sinner coming to Christ: "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling." John Bunyan describes Pilgrim weighed down with a huge burden (symbolizing sin) on his back coming to the cross where this is removed.

    There were two groups among the disciples of Jesus: those who followed unconditionally and those who came with preconditions. Jesus warned the latter,“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Mat 7:21). Doing the will of God includes honouring marriage as Jesus taught. Those who reject Jesus' teaching exclude themselves from his kingdom.

  • http://frightfullypleased.blogspot.com Stephen

    Good analysis, Collin Hansen. When we talk about marriage using the language of "rights" "self-fulfillment" and "love" we've already lost the battle.

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  • http://r.robbplusjessie.com Robb

    C.S. Lewis has an interesting quote on whether or not the state should regulate divorce:

    "Before leaving the question of divorce, I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question—how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws.

    A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans [Muslims] tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine.

    My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not."

    While I would not want to put words in C.S. Lewis' mouth (since he may view divorce and gay marriage as two very different beasts), I'm wondering what people think of this line of reasoning as it applies to the state's involvement in regulating gay marriage.

    • Jesse Wilson

      A few thoughts:

      1 - Divorce is different than allowing a right that does not currently exist to be created.

      2 - Allowing Homosexual couples to be considered married:

      - Devalues genuine marriage
      - Gives them access to benefits intended to support parents as they raise their children
      - Give validity to homosexuality and access to teaching it as normative behavior (as in Massachusetts down to 1st grade).

      3 - Will negatively impact the percentage of children being raised by their biological mothers and father.

      4 - Will force a showdown between civil liberties and freedom of religion (as is happening already in Canada and Massachusetts).

      Allowing people to divorce is much different.

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  • Melody

    It's amazing how many people don't understand the title of the article.

  • http://www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com Steve Cornell Cornell

    We have all been sexual deviants—if only in our thoughts. We all need God’s grace and forgiveness. We must acknowledge with humility and repentance that we face a national crisis related to sexuality on many levels. Certainly, we must approach this subject with gospel-centered perspective. Yet we also must fulfill our role as responsible citizens. This is where it can get tricky.

    Peaceful existence in a nation rich in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural diversity requires the civility of citizens who show respect for those who differ from them. Requiring such goodwill is good for the nation. People who (within the law) choose different beliefs, morals and lifestyles, must be asked to live in harmony with one another. And we have made great strides in promoting respect–particularly through civil rights on race and gender, and through special laws protecting the disabled.

    What greatly concerns me is the inclusion of sexual preference into the category of civil rights. This is dangerous to liberty because civil-rights battles should be restricted to matters of nature, not lifestyle. The referendums that have appeared on the ballots in our States have confirmed that most Americans do not want the sexual lifestyles of others forced on them or normalized for everyone.

    Like all civilized people, we have laws restricting some types of sexual behavior. Beyond these restrictions, consenting adults are free to live their sexual preferences. But to ask our nation to make new and special laws for sexual preferences of a few is to force the lifestyle choices of others on everyone. If a homosexual lifestyle, for example, becomes a protected status equal with race and gender, people will not be free to be morally opposed to homosexual behavior. It's that simple and that dangerous. The question that must be answered is whether comparison of race and gender with sexual orientation is a false comparison.

    It is ill-advised to seek a radical redefinition of the institution of marriage to accommodate the sexual preference of a small group of Americans. Yet in a civilized nation, people should be asked to treat respectfully those who (lawfully) choose different sexual lifestyles. But let’s be clear that forced affirmation and endorsement of lifestyles you disagree with is a threat to true freedom. There is an important difference between required respect (which is necessary) and forced affirmation or indoctrination. In a free and diverse nation, tolerance is a safeguard to civility. But tolerance that asks for more than respectful treatment of others, is not only deeply misguided, it is a form of intolerance.

    If we don’t respect this distinction, the liberty of our nation will be threatened. We will be under the tyranny of tolerance and no exceptions will be tolerated!
    Coerced approval of the lifestyle choices of others is not tolerance; nor is it respectful.

    Discrimination (in actual civil-rights cases) injures people for what they are by nature, not for lifestyles they choose. It could be a significant threat to liberty to start protecting lifestyles with special laws and forcing those lifestyles on others. People who chose a homosexual lifestyle once said they only wanted to be left alone to live they way they desired. In a free nation, this would be a fair request and could be enforced with existing laws.

    • purisomniapura

      Absolutely ...you nailed it friend!

  • Katye Stone

    >> "It's so easy for us to look up Romans 1 and observe the obvious gap between biblical teaching and homosexuality."

    The word "obvious" here concerns me. The question of hermeneutics is central here. We are unable to approach a text as it simply "is" but are always applying some sort of interpretative lens to the texts that we encounter-- including biblical texts. The issue of homosexuality, as with that of women's roles within the church, requires us to be aware of the particular hermeneutic lenses that we use. The difficulty regarding the biblical texts is in discerning what is cultural and what transcends culture. And honestly, there is no one "right" way to undergo this work-- there is only difference. This, to me, is a call to live with the ambiguity and humble uncertainty that we don't have all of the answers.

    There are obviously many biblical verses that for whatever reason, we choose to regard as a product of first-century culture rather than a timeless mandate. The danger with the latter is that we take the social structures with which we are comfortable and universalize them in the name of God. It happened with slavery. It happens with the oppression of women. And it is happening with homosexuals. To my belief, this is injustice.

    Yo claim that President Obama and others are simply capitulating to modern culture is questionable. The implication in this charge is that they are not biblical. However, I would suggest that they have a different hermeneutic. Rather than focusing upon specific verses and passages of the Bible-- which often contradict one another-- they instead focus upon the overarching themes of the Bible and the Christian tradition. The central theme, beginning with the Exodus story and extending to the resurrection narrative is that of liberation-- from all that binds and oppresses us. This theme of liberation coincides with a theme of justice, found in the prophets and in the teachings of Jesus.

    Rather than calling one group of people "unbiblical" or "godless" it is instead time that we admit we are operating under different hermeneutic lenses and direct the conversation where it really needs to go. It is a question of to what degree we think the first century culture in which Paul wrote his letters is transferable to our 21st century world. Might we not need the courage to challenge the patriarchy and oppression in Paul's culture? We are all influenced by the ills of our own cultures, receiving blind spots that keep us from seeing the injustices within which we participate-- Paul was no exception, even as he preached the gospel!

    For my part, I find the evidence of homosexual orientations as natural, rather than pure choice, compelling. The fact is that we must consider the damage that we do to young people who are gay when we tell them that they can't be who they are, that they are wrong and bad. When young people encounter this message and face the rejection of family and community, along with teachings that tell them even God rejects them, are we surprised to find that so many are in despair? Can we allow ourselves to experience the grace that we have been given, to know ourselves as beloved, and to leave the rigid safety of our comfortable traditions and ask ourselves what would Jesus do?

    • Jesse Wilson

      Hi Kayte,

      Could you please point me to some of that evidence that homosexual orientations are natural? I don't need a lot of details, just a researcher name, book title, etc.

      Thanks!

      • Katye Stone

        Hi Jesse,

        Here are some texts that deal with the issue of biology and homosexuality.
        The groundbreaking work in this area was done in the 1990s by neuroscientists Simon Levay and Dean Hamer:

        "Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation" by Simon Levay

        Also:
        "The Biology of Homosexuality (Oxford Series in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology)" by Jacques Balthazart

        "Homosexual Behaviour in Animals: An Evolutionary Perspective" by Volker Sommer

        "Born Gay: The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation" by Glenn Wilson

        As I said, I do think that just as the majority of humans are biologically heterosexual, many humans are also biologically homosexual. However, I never want to reduce humans to biology-- the dehumanizing risk of a materialistic ideology-- and thus want to be careful regarding making the issue solely about whether or not homosexuality is based in biology. I think the conversation should be broadened, incorporating questions dealing with sexuality-- including the choices that we make regarding defining our sexuality. Besides asserting that the Bible "says" homosexuality is wrong, can we answer deeper as to why? The issue often comes down to the definition of marriage as a God-ordained structure. However, there are many questions to be asked in this regard too. In what ways might we be clinging to what we claim are biblical ideas of marriage but are actually our own preconceived ideas that we impose upon the text?

        Some other book suggestions dealing with the theology and biblical interpretation within the church:

        I have not read this book, but a lot of people whom I respect who have spent time with it:
        "Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality, Revised and Expanded Edition: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church" by Jack Rogers

        "In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God" by Gene Robinson and Desmond Tutu

        Dealing with how we interpret the Bible:
        "Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis" by William J. Webb

        And for a variety of different perspectives compiled on the topic:
        "Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches" by Walter Wink

    • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

      Ehhh...nope. It's unbiblical. It seems you aren't able to approach the text as it is.

    • Michael Swart

      From the beginning to the end of the Bible it frequently and unambiguously speaks about marriage as God intended it. This teaching was not an echoing of what people believed at certain points in history. On the contrary, the teaching attached a value and importance to marriage that went far beyond any views held by those outside of the ancient Jewish and ancient Christian communities.

      I think that a close and careful reading of the Scriptures will show that there is no room for the views of those who advocate an acceptance of "same-sex marriage". This will always be a travesty, a contradiction, a pseudo marriage, a sham marriage.

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  • Dave

    We, as Christians, are certainly entitled to have our Biblically-based opinions on moral and social matters - but can it be a distraction to our true mission?

    Think about this: when Jesus walked this earth (circa 30 A.D.), there were also many "morality" laws in place. In fact, some pretty extreme ones. Taliban-type laws (e.g., execute a woman caught in adultery).

    Jesus did not spend ANY time trying to organize political groups to change those laws. He did not tell people to get out and vote. By his actions he pointed out that the law was probably flawed ("whoever is without sin cast the first stone"). But he did not address the rightness or wrongness of their law.

    Same with political matters such as taxation. He didn't say: "elect a different group or politicians who will tax more fairly". No. He said "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's".

    I think so many Christians feel that "all will be right in the world" if we can make same-sex marriage illegal; if we can prohibit abortion; if we can.... etc, etc, etc. It's like a contest of who can win.

    Instead, offer the lost Living Water. If they drink, then God will begin to transform their lives. That's the business He's in.

    Someone once asked Mother Teresa what she thought about abortion. She said "what else is there to be lost in Western culture if a woman can kill her own child".

    Exactly. Like Jesus, she did not focus on the LAW.

    Man's laws change and ebb and flow and reflect a society (even a decadent, lost society).

    • drey

      Correct!

    • Melody

      Jesus wouldn't focus on men's laws for very obvious reasons. Did you seriously miss that?

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  • Brian Hammonds

    Thanks, Collin...helpful perspective!

  • Patrick J Goshorn

    I hope all Christians who think loving their homosexual new one ghbor means that we should compromise marriage remember that John the Baptist was arrested and then executed for loving his neighbors enough to tell him that his marriage was wrong.

  • Big Ben

    Here we go again, rehashing arguments for and against SSM. blah blah blah. I wonder why nobody picked up on this quote of Colin's?

    "Whether you've struggled with same-sex attraction yourself or counseled anyone with these inclinations, you know the agony Douthat describes. Problem is, gays don't see us as agonizing over our acceptable sins. The pursuit of self-fulfillment covers a multitude of adultery, divorce, and pornography in our churches. Why shouldn't it also cover homosexuality?"

    At the end of the day, it wasn't so much the argument that we lost as the moral authority. It was hypocrisy, the yeast of the pharisees that did us in. The day christians decide to be serious about what the Gospel says, and radically live it out will be the day the tide turns on SSM. Are we willing to fulfil our marriage vows? Do we value our children more than work,ourselves or money, or having a so-called life; enough for them to embrace our values instead of the world's? Are we prepared to radically walk the talk? Even when it seems so insane?

    What have we done about verses like. "The love of money is the root of all evil." "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church". "Father, not my will but yours be done" "Pray for those who persecute you"

    just to name a few. Instead of wriggling out of our way by rationalising away God's Word. These are symptoms, not the real malady.

    • Melody

      Unfortunately even if we try to do that, we still get lumped in with everyone else that doesn't. I'm tired of hearing that argument. It doesn't matter what you or I do. In the end what matters is that we stand with what God says is right no matter what it costs us. And not wiggling out with the excuse "well I was just trying to show love".

      • Phil

        "I was just trying to show love." What a crazy idea.

  • tricia

    Judging by the deluge of comments 2 things are clear.We all have opinions and the majority of us like to see them in print.
    The Bible is very clear on what a Covenant marriage is, and who should be in it,we are also commanded to love our neighbour as ourselves.God in His wisdom has deemed this so, once we start to compromise and deviate from Gods word, we are in trouble, just look around and see the results.The majority of the world functions because we have adopted the attitude that anything is acceptable, and to worship self is the ultimate goal. May God have mercy on us All.

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  • Joanne

    I haven't read through all the comments so I don't know if anyone might have brought this up already. But I just wanted to share something that went through my mind as I read this article. I could be wrong about this; this is total speculation. But am I crazy for speculating that in the long term, this de-sensitizing of our culture to homosexuality COULD have some effects that end up "working in our favor" (not the best way to phrase it but you get the point)? Obviously it breaks God's heart and should break ours, for homosexuality to be celebrated like it is nowadays. At the same time, though, for so long this topic has been shrouded in hatred and disgust and bullying - across the board. As a college student at a secular university I have an interesting perspective, noting that whereas in high school being gay made you a target for slander and spite, now in college no one shows any negative feelings whatsoever towards homosexuals. Can I be a little bold and say that although overall this might seem troubling, there are things about this new revolution that I think can turn into REALLY good things?

    Right now, there is kind of a polarization going on between this new celebratory movement and the church. As everyone's coming out in support of homosexuality, we in the church are digging in our heels and saying, "no, this is sin." May we continue to do so. At the same time, are we as Christians also holding onto some of the same comfortable attidudes, attitudes of pride and disgust, that make it a little more enjoyable to our flesh to come down on the gay agenda? If this happens, the polarizatioin will increase even further and this ultimately is going to drive people into even further rallying of the homosexual cause.

    But what I'm suggesting might happen is this - as public attitude grows more favorable and tolerant and accepting of the gay lifestyle, it is in turn becoming far less taboo to come out and say, "I struggle with same-sex attraction." Let's face it. A big fear in the church of letting this struggle be known is the fear of negative reaction from your brothers and sisters in Christ. People might never look at you the same way. People might misunderstand your struggle and assume you choose to feel this way. You'll be ostracized. These have been legitimate fears in the church when it comes to same-sex attraction. No one wants to admit that Christians really struggle with it. But with this new movement of our culture, I have simultaneously seen and heard more than one account of churchmembers standing before their brothers and sisters and saying, "I struggle with same-sex attraction." Could it be that this is the first time it's actually becoming safe to do this? In my opinion, the only way the church is ever going to be effective in communicating a Biblical view of homosexuality is for more of this to happen. For people who struggle with it to feel safe in confessing so. For us to let go of the pride and the fleshly vehicles we carry our values in, and humbly rally around our brothers and sisters who struggle with homosexuality, not excusing their sin but the opposite - encouraging and helping them to live a Spirit-filled life of turning from sin. Something we ALL are striving towards.

    While it's certainly not good that in our culture, homosexuality is being celebrated, I believe the effects that this movement might produce, a greater awareness of the real struggle of homosexuality and an eradication of hiding from or being afraid of its existence, might just advance the church's cause in having a legitimate voice in the matter. A voice that applies our soul-saving Gospel to even the struggle of homosexuality.

    • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

      @Joanne: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. A friend of mine were actually talking about this yesterday and that is basically where he comes down on the whole issue. There are some minor points of disagreement I have, but I don't think I need to elaborate. I think you are right on the whole, and I think it may be a "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good," sort of thing. I mean, God's plan is still being worked out even in the midst of us going "AHHH! What is HAPPENING here!?!"

      • Katye Stone

        I think we have to be careful about claiming that "the church" is obviously against homosexuality. MANY churches and synagogues are not. Many who identity as Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian, along with Reform and Conservative Jews, have all affirmed that upon their reflection of Scripture, tradition, and humanity, accepting homosexuality and allowing homosexuals-- and women-- to be ordained and fully participate in the life of the religious institution is what the justice of God demands from us.

        The church is not united on this issue. While conservative evangelicalism is part of the church, the church has many other expressions and voices that also come from a place of sincerity that is rooted in the compassion and justice of God.

        I have close contact with a UMC church that participates in a "reconciling ministries" program, which openly affirms gay and lesbian couples and individuals. These people are often so broken and hurt that they have nearly given up on God's love for them and on being a part of the church. This church stands with affirming homosexuals in their whole humanity. Many people who come to this church share how this is the first place where they have felt accepted for who they are and really loved. It is a place where they can heal.

        • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

          This is true, Katye...but only when you are talking about the local (visible) church.
          What SHOULD be said, for clarification is that orthodox Christianity teaches that homosexuality is a sin. Or perhaps it would be easiest to say, the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. Whether other congregations (local and visible) actually do their job or not, and teach the truth or not has no impact on the truth of that.

          • Katye Stone

            Heather, I appreciate you sharing your view on this. You write that "the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin." I think this itself is an interpretation of the Bible. Given that many other churches interpret the Bible differently, it seems more accurate to say that "we interpret the Bible as saying that homosexuality is a sin." Also, it seems a matter of question as to what is "orthodox Christianity" and who gets to define it-- do these other groups not also have a say. They would claim that they are orthodox, in following the affirming embrace of Jesus for the hurting and the oppressed. This is why I initially posted about the issue revolving around matters of interpretation.

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              Katye: It's less po-mo than you might think. The bible does actually teach that.

            • Katye Stone

              This is not just po-mo. The centrality of interpretation has a rich emphasis throughout the history of the church, as is evidenced in the writings of theologians of the early church. Even the New Testament is something of a Jewish midrash and hence interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures. Postmodernism, in my and many others' readings, is thankfully rediscovering an ancient tradition that was buried and forgotten throughout much of modernity-- indeed, leading us back to a more faithful way of approaching the text. There is a continuum of how far one wants to take the significance of interpretation-- however, that it is present in all readings is beyond dispute. In some cases, this could mean that Paul really did write such and such a statement-- and this may have been what Paul meant. But we still have to ask the interpretive question that deals with what is cultural (both Paul's and our own) and what is translatable and essential.

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Katye: Well, we are at an impasse. Thankfully I actually know my faith and the teachings of God can really and truly be known. The bible really does teach what orthodox Christianity believes on this issue.
              I mean, I could sit there saying: Well, ya know...I mean, I know the Bible SAYS you shouldn't kill people...but, I mean, is that real? Is that just an interpretation? "Did God really say...?" Sounds like Satan's first temptation in the garden to me.

            • Katye Stone

              Heather, we are at an impasse. Parts of the Bible also have God commanding to kill people. Interpretation remains central. I am not saying that the Bible does not "say anything" or that it "says only what we want it to say;" I am only arguing that we are always interpreting what the Bible says-- for example, we always choose to focus upon certain verses over others (you just did when you said the Bible says not to kill, as other verses can be interpreted to go against that).

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Katye: No, I don't choose verses over others. I'm not talking about my interpretation of the bible, or Katye's interpretation of the bible. I'm talking about the bible's interpretation of the bible. The bible absolutely says "thou shalt not murder." SO, that has to square up with those Old Testament passages...if you look at those, none of them are murder. They are versions of capital punishment. They had a purpose in the CIVIL law (which orthodox Christianity believes was fulfilled in Jesus) of the nation of Israel. I repeat, I do not focus on some verses over others.

              AND Katye, if I did that...WHY pick homosexuality as opposed to the two other forms of deviant behavior (pedophilia and bestiality) which flank the discussion of homosexuality in Leviticus.

            • Truth Unites… and Divides

              Katye Stone: "Interpretation remains central."

              The Author of Scripture remains central.

            • Phil

              How do we know what the "the Author of Scripture" said?

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Phil: Same way we can know what the author of anything said...reading the book.

            • Phil

              Heather, "reading the book" leads to the conclusion that slavery is permitted by the Bible. There is not one passage that condemns it.

              Yet, with regard to slavery, you say (in essence) that you cannot simply read the book, you have to understand what slavery was then, what those passages were referring to, the context, etc. Is this not interpreation?

              Do you not see how these two things are contraditory?

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Phil: Well, this strand actually was talking about homosexuality and not slavery...

              BUT a child over the age of ten should be able to read the bible and wouldn't come to the conclusion that "slavery is permitted." I mean, it's not like there haven't been scholars who've studied the past and even conveniently included notes in almost every study bible you can pick up at your nearest Christian book store. It doesn't require much deep study to ascertain this.

              Again, this isn't "an issue" the bible takes up. The point of the bible is EVERYONE (slave, free, male, female) is estranged from God. And God was gracious enough to save some by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. That's the story of the bible. Although there IS a record of a free slave. Although there ARE documented stories of Jesus allowing women to be one of His disciples. The bible is not a book about freedom (except freedom from sin) nor about women's rights (except in saying we are all alike in God's eyes).

              Reading the bible, you should be able to get this. Now, just like any other book if you STUDY it, you can get more out of it. Studying the historical context, you can get more out of it. But reading it is a good start. There are a lot of perfectly clear things, and we needn't pretend to misunderstand them.

            • Phil

              I have no idea why you write "a child over the age of ten should be able to read the bible and wouldn't come to the conclusion that 'slavery is permitted.' Of course they would. Slaves are told to obey their masters. (among numerous other passages). Of course slavery is permitted.

              But to be fair, it is possible that the child would come to the conclusion "you should not enslave other Christians" (citing Paul's Letter to Philemon). But that only leads to the conclusion it is OK to enslave non-christians!

              At any rate, my point is that you simply cannot "Read the Bible."

              BTW, I agree with you about "the story of the Bible." The problem comes when we try to use the Bible to define how we should live on a day-to-day basis. That wasn't the point of the Bible. But people still do it anyway (because we have to live in this world, somehow -- and because Jesus didn't return when he said he would. See Mathew 10:23; Luke 9:27; Mathew 16:28.)

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Phil: This STILL isn't the topic at hand....BUT...

              They wouldn't come to the conclusion that slavery is permitted. They would probably come to the conclusion that slavery happened in biblical times, and God had some rules about that. Nor would they decide it was ok to enslave non-Christians. Let's not be alarmist here.

              And my point is still that I disagree with you: You can just read the Bible. Do I think it's a good idea? Not really. I think there are many biblical scholars and theologians who have a lot to say, and I think we should listen to them. But God's word is sufficient.

              As Christians we are to live like Christ. The moral law is still there. Are we bound to it in that if we fail we are immediately "going to hell." No. But the "rules" still apply. We shouldn't murder (slander, hate), commit adultery (all sexual sins), we shouldn't steal (money, time, general dishonesty at the workplace).

              You would have to be a little older than ten to figure out what Jesus meant by those passages, but I assure you you are wrong when you say "Jesus didn't return when he said he would." He still is coming, but we won't know the day nor the hour. He's God and can't lie.

            • Phil

              First, with regard to "the topic at hand," you chose to respond to my 10:40 am post, with a comment about how you simply "read the book."

              I chose to respond to that by noting your previous comments (below). (But you are right, that was in a different "strand.") If you don't want to engage on that, because you believe it is off topic, feel free.

              But back to this topic: Of course a child would come to the conclusion that "slavery happened in Biblical times, and God had some rules about it." But the logical conclusion to that (even a child could understand) is: Slavery is ok so long as you follow the rules.

              There is simply no (biblical) basis for the child to conclude: Slavery should not happen now.

              Your asserting otherwise doesn't make it so.

              With regard to the "moral law," I think it is very dangerous to try to figure that out from the Bible. I believe a lot more people would (should) be stoned to death.

              Finally, I am not wrong about "Jesus didn't return when he said he would." I quoted 3 passages that prove I am right. However, I am sure I will never be able to convince you of that (and despite those passages' clear meaning, which I got based on just "reading the Bible.")

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              Yes, your 10:40 post was in reply to @Truth Unites...and Divides, which was in reply to me and Katye's conversation about what the bible says about homosexuality...not about slavery.

              Well, all I can say is you know some very very stupid children. I never thought that when I was a kid and neither has any other child from any of the churches I've attended/been a member of.

              *sigh* The laws regarding stoning in the OT were all civil laws. The principles still apply, but the punishment doesn't. There is a fate worse than stoning for most of those things.

              No, you are wrong. I know what those passages are, but they don't mean what you think they mean. All but one I could pretty much understand right away by just reading it...not so sure why you're not getting it. Unless you are purposefully not understanding.

            • Phil

              Speaking of the old testament "moral laws," (where "the principles still apply"), Should there be slavery now? Why or why not?

              You have no (biblical) way to answer that question.

              And, again, I am not wrong about those versus. Anyone can read them, even a 10 year old.

            • Phil

              And no child thinks "that" now because it is not culturally acceptable to think that slavery is ok now. (every 10 year old child knows that). [So the kids simply assume (that is, they "reason") "that was a different time," without any thought as to why it is not permitted now, or what has changed.]

              Of course the 10 year olds would not think that the Bible states that slavery is ok (as "everyone" knows that it isn't ok), so the children don't read the verses that way. (Despite what the Bible literally says).

              BUT, I'd be willing to bet you that most every kid in the south 175 years ago read the Bible that way (i.e. the Bible says slavery is ok.) It is a matter of reading the Bible in a cultural context.

              Again, this only re-inforces my point, that you cannot simply "read the book."

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              Not sure if crazy...or purposefully misunderstanding...

              The moral laws don't speak to the issue of slavery. I'm talking about the moral laws such as "don't dishonor your father" (etc) We no longer stone for that, but we are still supposed to honor our parents.

              No, the bible doesn't change in culture. It still says the same thing. Whether a wave of people (Southern America 175 years ago) ignore passages like Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11, it doesn't change that the Bible's message does not change. When it says "You are all one in Jesus Christ" and a bunch of people assert that they are better than other people, it's the people who are at fault...not the bible.

              Your point is not reinforced because it becomes weaker and weaker with every strange and misapplied reference or odd flaws in logic you use. Let me again reiterate, I don't think it's a good idea to just go off and read your bible and come up with your own interpretation. The problem is you start getting weird ones like you have with the "this generation shall not pass away" verses. So, I DO think it is important to belong to a local church AND to be checking what you think with what other believers have said/wrote in the past.

              But you can definitely answer the question is homosexuality wrong from the bible, just as you can answer "Is theft wrong," or "Is it wrong to worship idols."

            • Phil

              I am truly trying to understand you. I do not understand why you write "not sure if crazy, or purposefuly misunderstanding."

              Nor do I understand your reference to misapplied logic or or misapplied reference.

              But, in the belief that you are writing in good faith (although insulting me is questionable), I do not understand why the moral laws do not speak to the issue of slavery.

              (On top of that, I actually agree with you that the Bible says homosexuality is wrong. I don't believe you should try to get the Bible to say something it doesn't say!)

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Phil: It's called being very frustrated. I really don't know how to make this more clear to you.

              The moral laws do not speak to the issue of slavery. Why don't they? I don't know. God chose not to address it, maybe?

              Now, if you do agree with me on this area I'm confused as to why you are commenting on this portion. Katye and I were going back and forth on the issue of whether or not the bible actually says homosexuality is wrong. Someone else commented and said the author of scripture was central to what the bible actually says (regarding homosexuality). You just asked "How does one know what the author is really saying." Do you see how I thought we were discussing homosexuality. If you agree with me on this, than we agree and there is no need to continue a debate upon which we believe the same thing.

            • Phil

              Who says the moral laws do not s

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              I'm just going to assume you are going to say "Who says the moral laws do not speak to the issue of slavery." Are you in earnest, man?

              Who says 1984 by George Orwell doesn't speak to the issue of animal cruelty? Who says Hard Times by Charles Dickens doesn't speak to the issue of predestination? They just don't. The moral laws just don't.

            • Phil

              Good job guessing the question! But my next sentence--that it was an honest question--got cut off. At any rate I take your answer to be that it is some feature of the world we live in? (as explained in the Bible? Or who explains it? Again another honest question.)

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              @Phil: I am only taking your word that you are being serious, because I do NOT understand this at all.

              It is not a feature of the world we live in. It's just the bible...read the passages that deal with the moral law. It doesn't ever say "Slavery is good" or "Slavery is a great idea" or "Keep getting slaves!" It just says things like: If this happens with your slave...do thus and such...

            • Phil

              Thank you.

              To help with your confusion (and to help me think through these things). I believe that 1) there are many reasonable interpretations of various Bible passages.

              That said, 2) there are also unreasonable interpretations of Bible passages. (For example, citing Galations 3:28 and Colossians 3:11 for the proposition that the Bible is against all slavery--although, to be fair, you may have not been citing it for that purpose--when, at absolute most, those passages imply there should not be Christian slavery. Even there, though, a more reasonable interpretation is that those passages are speaking to inner changes made possible through Christ--they aren't really talking about outer circumstances (like slavery, etc.))

              As of now, I have not seen anything to lead me to believe that the Bible can be reasonably read to be pro-homosexuality. However, I am open to the possibility that something or someone might change my mind.

              I also have not seen anything to disabuse me of the idea that Jesus really thought he was ushering in the Kingdom of God, which would come into existence in the very near future, and which would fundamentally transform the world.

              Also, I believe that interpretation of the texts is vital. As you note, you do not recommend going off and "reading the book" alone because that (might) lead to strange conclusions.

              Finally, I guess I am just unfamiliar with the whole (Christian? Jewish?) concept of moral law as laid out in the Bible. But I won't bother you with it anymore.

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              1. They might be reasonable, but they aren't all true.

              I'm not sure how I can make this more clear. The bible neither supports nor rejects slavery. However, the form of racially based slavery taken in the south flies in the face of those verses I cited.

              Jesus WILL usher in the kingdom of God.

              And there are three facets of OT law: Civil (These were basically what they sounded like. Laws given by God to the nation of Israel to keep social order. example: Leviticus 25:29, "If a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, he may redeem it within a year of its sale. For a full year he shall have the right of redemption."), Ceremonial (laws for the priesthood, for sacrifice, etc), and Moral (Basically the ten commandments). Orthodox Christianity believes that Jesus Christ fulfilled the ceremonial and civil law (so, we no longer need animal sacrifices), but the we still have a need for the moral law. That need is basically to show us how far we are from perfection, so we turn to Jesus Christ.

              However, we also look at the ceremonial and civil laws for a reason. We no longer stone our children for mouthing off to their parents, but we do see rebellion as something not God honoring. Does that make sense?

            • zilch

              Phil- I don't see how Galations 3:28 or Colossians 3:11 can be logically seen as a condemnation of any kind of slavery, unless they are also a condemnation of being male or female. As you say, the sense here is rather that all conditions of life are unimportant, as long as you're with Jesus.

              The other verse I've had quoted to me (by Calvinists, anyway) as Biblical condemnation of slavery is Rev. 18:10-13. But again- this is just a list of stuff nasty Babylon (probably symbolic for Rome) will not be able to sell any more, including slaves. But if you read this as meaning we shouldn't sell slaves, then make sure you don't sell any bronze or cinnamon any more either.

              If there's anything else in the Bible that indicates that slavery is wrong, I'd be glad to hear about it.

            • Phil

              Zilch,

              I've had Exodus 21:16 quoted to me as proof that slavery (as practiced in the American South) was against the Bible.

            • zilch

              Phil- I can see how Exodus 21:16 could be construed to be against slavery- if you don't read the rest of the chapter, which tells you how to beat your slaves nicely.

            • Phil

              Heather,

              Thank you.

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  • zilch

    Wow, what a great discussion. I am a straight male, sixty-two, I've been an atheist all my life, and I just want to put in my two cents as another minority opinion here, inspired by Julia. Basically, I agree with her- the article is entitled "How to Win the Public on Homosexuality", but that's not what's happening: you are losing the public, and getting Scriptural on the public's tush will only act to marginalize your position.

    Of course Christians will have to decide for themselves how they view gays, and how they want to treat them, and what laws they want to vote for or against; but the trends would seem to show that those against gay marriage are going to lose this battle, sooner or later, for the same reason the battles against interracial marriage and against the abolition of slavery were lost: Biblical or not, it's just uncivilized, and more and more people, Christian and otherwise, recognize this.

    Don't like gay marriage? Don't get one. Don't perform them in your church. But don't tell others whom they may or may not marry.

    cheers from overcast Vienna, zilch

    • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

      This is SO funny to me. Don't like people raping children? Don't rape a child! Don't like cops abusing power? Don't abuse power, if you're a cop! Don't like murder? Don't kill anybody.

      • zilch

        Heather- I'm glad it's funny to you. I did realize, as I wrote, that I was leaving myself open for exactly that comeback, which I've heard before, believe it or not. But your comeback fails to convince me, because I don't see marrying someone as analogous to raping children or killing people. Do you?

        • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

          I'm glad you realized it, but wonder why you still posted absurdities....
          Is marrying someone analogous to raping children or killing people? Absolutely not.
          But we aren't talking about marriage. As I've already said, this article is about creating something that doesn't exist. "Gay marriage"

          • zilch

            What exactly is absurd about what I said, Heather? No one is going to force anyone into a gay marriage, so unless you can show that gay marriage does someone damage, I think my point stands.

            And laws create things that didn't previously exist all the time- for instance, freedom for all slaves.

            So how exactly would gay marriage hurt you or anyone else? That's the only legitimate issue here, unless you want to establish a theocracy.

            cheers, zilch

            • Aaron

              "And laws create things that didn't previously exist all the time- for instance, freedom for all slaves."
              Laws don't create freedom. Go and get reacquainted with the history of the United States' ideas of freedom from the Founding Fathers. They wanted people to understand that they were, in fact, free. They aren't free because of the law, they are free regardless. If anything, we created slavery and abused it more than we created freedom by law and then instituted it.

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              It's absurd because it's illogical...as shown when I took other things Biblical Christianity is against and used them in the same context.

              Slaves could actually be freed. Two people of the same gender cannot actually be married. They can enter into some kind of contract based on mutual attraction that the state might weirdly CALL marriage. But marriage is given by God and it isn't given to two people of the same gender. So, no, actually laws can't create that. Again, it's like saying the law will create a square circle.

            • zilch

              Heather, you say:

              They can enter into some kind of contract based on mutual attraction that the state might weirdly CALL marriage.

              That's good enough for me, Heather. I don't care what you, or your church, call it, as long as you have no objection to the state "weirdly" calling it "marriage", with the rights that appertain to it.

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              I have an objection. It's not going to change my objection. It's not marriage. They should just call it something else.

            • zilch

              0kay, Heather, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

              Shalom, zilch

            • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

              Assuredly

  • Mark E

    This is like being stuck in a Fringe episode. The reason acceptance of homosexuality is trending upward is because it's advocates are indoctrinating young people and causing them to believe that people are born that way and that they are victims.

    Gay advocate strategies; Wolfson, Savage, Judith Stacey, etc., describe their strategy clearly. They are in record that the only way to gain support is to convince people that homosexuality is not about behavior, but genetics and victimization.

    Gay marriage advocates that have despised marriage and condemned gays for seeking it, have changed their tune in the last 10 years as they saw a way to use it as a way to get a foot in the door to completely change the concept of the family, get benefits intended to help couples raise the children they bear, gain survivor benefits from Social Security, move the issue to the level of acceptance that requires, not just tolerance, but fully protected status against any criticism, and full access to public schools for indoctrinating children.

    It is not about saying 'I do', it is a matter of telling those who believe it is unnatural, unstable, and dangerous, 'You will accept it".

    • zilch

      Mark- I don't know what a "Fringe episode" is, but I'm assuming it's not good. Needless to say I don't share your dire predictions, and I don't see any evidence to support them.

      I'm not a young person and I'm not indoctrinated by gays. One point- you imply that people are not "born gay". But as Phil mentioned above, sexual orientation is complex and poorly understood. The modern scientific consensus, however, is that genetic factors do play a large role. There's a good overview, with lots of links to the primary literature, at the wiki article.

      cheers from cool Vienna, zilch
      P.S. Drop me a line if you're in town, and lunch is on me. I'm told that I behave quite nicely for an atheist.

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  • Phillip

    Paralleling homosexual marriage to promiscuous heterosexual sex is unfair. First, I hear no calls for legal bans on fornication from evangelicals. For that matter, I hear no calls for bans on divorce or on women not submitting to their husbands, either. Evangelicals instead address those issues where they ought, in churches, bible studies, the Internet, through persuasion, not through legal fiat such that individuals who don't share those views are subject to them. Second, to liken same sex couples seeking the right to enter into a loving committed relationship between, with all the societal benefits that entails, to serial screwing is absurd. Maybe the comparison strikes the writer as apt because he disapproves of both (though apparently not in the same way, to the same extent, legally, see point 1). Finally, I am thankful to have read this article, only for the young man's comment about not answering to Brown. His defiance and fortitude are refreshing, unequivocally American, in fact. Unfortunately, it's only part of the story. Should he one day wish to marry a same sex partner, he will answer to Brown and millions of others who, failing to pursuade him with the power of their message and the logic of their thinking, instead resort to legal means. To do what? To deny him his right to happiness as defined by his God, his conscience. The writer's is a weak, soul crushing gospel, hardly good news at all, that marrying the one you love, love being God's defining attribute, is forbidden. I'm proud and glad to have no part of it.

    • Melody

      We had bans on most of those things at one time. You are speaking as though we have taken away something that they had which is a silly and weak argument. Who took those bans away? Remember when a spouse could sue for alienation of affection? It was never the church that lobbied for morality laws to be taken away. Who do you think it was that wanted them changed?

  • Phillip

    Not an argument, just a statement of an obvious set of facts. Let me pose my point as a question, if I've eluded you: if the goal is laws that require conforming with biblical concepts of sex and marriage, why pick only on gay marriage? Why not push for laws curtailing divorce, fornication? Why no organized effort in state legislatures stating that marriage is a union between a leader husband and a submissive wife? I'm unaware of any serious organized effort to conform marriage and sex to biblical norms in those areas. Evangelicals surely are compelled to consider divorce for any reason besides marital unfaithfulness, in other words, serial polygamy, a much more prevalent threat to the institution than a few dudes, who are likely already living and sleeping together anyway, wanting to get a tax break. I'm all ears if you can haul out current examples.

    The author's thesis as I read it is that the public would accept our message on homosexuality if they saw us, evangelicals not giving into our heterosexual desires. I'm saying no it wouldn't, because the public could easily point out that Reggie, the fornicating youth pastor, remains free legally to make his choice to subscribe to the bible or not, whereas the homosexual who wishes to marry has no choice on the matter: he simply cannot marry. Perhaps the public would find the message on homosexual marriage more compelling if you went apples to apples on the matter and pushed for legal restrictions on Reggie's behavior, rather than just calling him out on the Internet.

    I'm tempted to add just for argument's sake that the public might be swayed if heterosexual evangelicals renounced marriage (arguably, Paul would be proud that you did), maybe make a law that a certain percentage of evangelicals would in effect be given over to serving as eunuchs or vestal virgins, or at least as non fornicating youth pastors who also remain single. Then I'd be able to say "at least they, evangelicals, are consistent, legally, morally in what they expect gays to give up, sexually, maritally, and how they expect gays to give those things up, that is, legally, no choice on the matter." Guessing that won't happen and I'm mostly engaged in a thought experiment on the delicious ironies and annoying hypocrisies of evangelicals.

    Lest you think I'm laughing, I assure you I'm not. Yours, anti gay marriage people, is a mean, misery spreading position. But dont listen to me. I admit that as a married straight guy I have no street cred on this issue. Ask your gay friends and family members how they feel about your position. Cite chapter and verse and listen attentively to their responses about how they want a basic civil right, not a biblical or religious right, to pursue their happiness, and what your standing in their way means to their prospect of finding that happiness.

    • http://nohappinesslikemine.blogspot.com Heather E. Carrillo

      Oh, you hear no call for those laws? Well, that's probably because we already HAD those laws and they were eventually taken out by an increasingly non-believing people. Personally I think we shouldn't have no-fault divorce. I think we should bring back the legitimacy laws. So, there you go. There is a call for some of those laws to come back.

      What is a right to happiness? I'm confused as to how you think we have a right to happiness.

      Also, those of us who are single and think it is wrong to have sex outside of marriage AREN'T giving into our heterosexual desires. So, yes, if the sex is sinful (homosexual, fornication, adultery), don't have it. Can (and do) believers have sex that is sinful (homosexual, fornication, adultery) and still be saved? Absolutely. But they have to recognize that it was wrong and fight against it, in the way that all of us single people do.

      And I agree with @Melody...what do our feelings have to do with anything? What do our gay friends and family members feelings have to do with anything? Right and wrong don't change with feelings. If that were true, I could use some more money and maybe break-ins aren't that much of a problem if I don't "feel" that they are.

  • Melody

    You totally ignored what I wrote and you haven't bothered to do any research at all. The other thing you are ignoring is the gradual decline of morals in our society. When I was in high school a song called "My Girl Bill" came out and every one laughed. It was a ridiculous song that no one took seriously. Now look at where we are at.
    Take the biblical stand away and you still have something that affects the fabric of families. Everything has become about "ME" and my happiness in our society. It doesn't matter who it hurts. I know of no where that there is even the pretense of honor in society, not even in the church. Obviously because we have so many that still think that God just wants us to be happy and can't comprehend a righteous and holy God that has every right and will judge us.
    I don't know what all your delicious references are in regards to but I do know that no one is trying to outlaw homosexual behavior. We are objecting to homosexuals and people that claim to be Christ followers redefining what a family is supposed to be. Whether you want to say it was created by God or by nature. It is obvious that two men or two women do not procreate. Providing them with a child that they have no right to does not make a normal functioning family. We don't even know the repercussions of that yet. That will not show for another thirty years. I do know that in my personal life I have yet to meet a non-dysfunctional gay family as in no one ever getting in trouble with the law.
    As for asking how they feel, why would I do that? I let family and friends know that sleeping around isn't okay nor is serial divorce. I do it from a position of a sinner that has learned God's saving grace in ongoing basis.

    Lastly, finding happiness in any other way than with God is an impossibility. A lie that satan continues to convince many even though that think they believe in Jesus. Something I am sure that you discount as superstition and silliness.

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  • http://www.adamlehman.us Adam Lehman

    The phrase "homosexuality fronts a much bigger challenge that threatens us all" shouldn't be in a post entitled "How to Win the Public on Homosexuality."

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