I would greatly appreciate it if you would join me around a table. Let us pull up some chairs, pour ourselves a drink, and have a friendly, yet challenging conversation. One of those conversations that you think about for several days later.
One of the reasons I started this blog is that I found communication in many forms of social media inadequate to address many issues. The reason it is inadequate is because many issues are far too complicated to discuss in the limited space provided by many social media outlets. I prefer sitting down with people for a couple hours and really getting to know the ins and outs of a thought process. However, a great many of my friends live nowhere near me and so this makes table talk quite difficult. This blog allows me to discuss in greater detail issues that are of the more complicated variety even with my friends who live far off. It even lets me start meaningful conversations with people I do not know.
Homosexuality is one complicated issue. I would like to give some common arguments for the acceptance of homosexuality and then address them. In this format I will be able to give a much more thorough explanation of what I believe a proper reply to homosexuality should be. I know I will not address every issue, but at least we can start a more detailed discussion.
A Personal Note
Let me start off by speaking to any person who identifies him/herself as homosexual who may be reading this. I love you. I know you may not believe that. You are probably saying, “How can you possibly say that you love me when you claim that the life I am living is a life full of sin?” Well, I can say that because the life I live is a life full of sin. I sin multiple times on a daily basis. I sin in ways that are inexcusable. I sin when I know not to sin. So how can I possibly love you? Because I do not think of myself as better than you. We are in the same boat. We are sinners.
I also can love you because I have been shown love. God looks at me in my sinful state and still calls to me in love. He has told me to love others the same way He loves me. It would be rather absurd of this sinner to partake of the relentless love of God and then not show that same love to a fellow sinner.
I also can love you because I love you the same way I love all my other sinful friends. I have friends who are atheist, Hindi, and friends who just do not give a second thought to any belief system. I believe that all these belief systems are sinful in some way. And believe it or not, I even have sinful Christian friends. Now I expect my Christian friends to recognize their sin and repent, but we are all the same thing: sinful. Homosexuals are not a special breed of sinners. I view homosexuals no differently than all my other sinful friends. If anything, I find us Christian sinners to be the worst of all sinners. My Hindi friends do not get up and walk away from the table just because they know I disagree with them. So please, sit down and talk with me.
If you could, I would like for you to imagine me sitting across the table from you with a cup of something good to drink. Just like any one of your friends who would like to discuss something where you know there will be disagreement, please look at me that way. I may not know you, but I can assure you that if we did know each other, I would converse with you the same way I would converse with all my atheist or Christian friends.
Probably the most common argument for accepting homosexuality is the argument from nature. If homosexuals are born that way, how can we expect them to be different than what their nature tells them to be? Homosexuality is genetic, so the argument goes. Even though this is probably the most common argument in popular culture, I find it to be one of the weakest.
Everybody is born with certain tendencies. And yes, that is plural. Our sexual tendency is not our only tendency. We humans have all sorts of tendencies. However, we are expected to control, hone, and even rid ourselves of certain tendencies. Just because we have a certain predisposed tendency does not mean we should act on it or even that it is a good thing.
There are some people who are born with a predisposition to anger. Do we tell those people to be proud of their anger? To have celebratory gatherings where they express their anger in public? Of course not. We expect people who are naturally predisposed towards anger to go to anger management classes. I know that if certain people told homosexuals to go to a homosexual management class, then others would call those people bigots. Why do we tell people with certain tendencies which we do not like to control them but then let other people with tendencies we do not mind openly express theirs?
I have heard many atheists say that people who believe in God just need to be trained to think differently, and then they will be freed from their ideas about the existence of a God. Now, it is completely scientifically possible that certain people have a tendency to believe in a God. If these people believe in God, and if they are naturally predisposed to do so, and if these people find fulfillment in their belief, then why would we propose a form of retraining to rid that person of their natural, comforting belief? Again, I know that if a similar retraining was suggested to homosexuals, then the people who suggested such training would be called bigots.
I am not even sure that the homosexual tendency is completely genetic. I know people who used to be homosexual. They either are no more, or at least they have the ability to resist those feelings when they do appear. Did their genes change? No. (By the way, it is completely naive of someone to claim that these people never were really homosexual. I am always shocked by the insensitivity and ignorance of that claim.) However, even if homosexuality is genetic, so are many of, if not all of the other tendencies. Since that is true, we just go back to the beginning of this section and see how even if something is genetic, it does not mean we do not expect people to control their natural reactions.
Some people argue that since we on rare occasions find homosexuality in other creatures in the animal kingdom, then we should be willing to accept homosexuality among humans. My reply to this is: since when did we start taking our moral clues from animals? Killing for mating rights is frequently found in the animal kingdom, and this is a natural action. Should we start allowing that? One male or female animal could have multiple mates, and this is a natural action. Should we start allowing that? The argument from nature is a very weak argument. Using that method of argumentation, we could justify all sorts of actions.
Another argument in favor of accepting homosexuality is that demanding a homosexual to not act out on his/her desires is just plain cruel as a heterosexual simply does not understand the effort that would require of the homosexual. “How about if you try to stop being heterosexual”, it is said to people who do not think homosexuality is moral.
I can get this argument. Admittedly, I would have an incredibly hard time trying to not be heterosexual. However, my reply is that the expectation for a homosexual is not that they would stop having homosexual feelings, but that they would try to stop acting on those feelings. Oh I can hear the moans of the readers from here after they read that sentence … .
How can that possibly be an expectation? Well, I would like for you to try to put yourself in my shoes. I am a Christian who is possibly heterosexual by nature. Sexual sin is not exclusive to homosexuality. I expect myself to not act out on my heterosexual tendencies. I spent just over twenty-eight years of my life trying to not act on my heterosexual feelings. That was not easy. Now that I am married, I still expect myself to not act on my heterosexual feelings. In fact, now that I am married, it is even more important that I do not, because if I do act on my heterosexual feelings, then I am committing adultery against my wife. Remember, I am a Christian. That means that I follow the principles of Christ. He said that if I even look at a woman with lust, then I have committed adultery in my heart. Yeah. Try living under that pressure. Do you have any idea how many attractive women there are? Do you know my feelings and how attracted I am to women? Being completely honest here, all I have to do is walk down a store aisle and see some attractive figure, and that is all it takes for my mind to start spinning. (By the way, it is real shock to the system when the person turns around and looks like she is in her 70’s. Yikes.) Now imagine my plight when I turn on the internet, or watch a movie with an attractive woman in it, or read any magazine with advertisements, or when I have an attractive waitress, or when I drive past a billboard with an attractive woman on it, or when the TV pans to the cheerleaders … . Or when I go to work. I am a trainer at a gym. Do you know how many attractive bodies there are in a gym? Do you know what those bodies are wearing? Yeah. Even worse: my gym has a pool. Do you know what people wear when they go swimming? Yeah.
You may want to say, “Yeah, Curtis, but you still have a wife and can act on your sexual urges from time to time.” True. However, this is not true for all people in the Christian faith. There have been many heterosexual people who have taken vows of celibacy for the sake of drawing closer to God. Ever heard of priests and nuns? There have even been Christians who never had a position in the church who still lived in celibacy their whole life. So while I personally may be able to act on my sexual urges, there are a number of Christians who do not.
What I am saying is that it is not any easier for heterosexuals either. Especially not for Christians who have heterosexual feelings.
Heterosexuals commit sexual sin on a regular basis. What I definitely have a problem with is someone who struggles with heterosexual sin looking down on someone who struggles with homosexual sin just because of the nature of his/her sexual sin. Both sins are equally sinful. It is terrible that heterosexual sin gets such a pass while homosexual sin is so deplored. Indeed, in much of American society, heterosexual sin is a bragging right. That is horrendously sad.
Slavery or Racism vs Homosexuality
Many people like to argue that the stance that homosexuality is immoral is today’s version of early American slavery or racism. Just as slavery and racism were commonplace but eventually became unaccepted by society, so will the stance that homosexuality is immoral be a thing of the past. Just as those who had black skin eventually became accepted by the majority of the people, so will homosexuals. People who insist to keep the stance that homosexuality is immoral, are just like the people in previous generations who were in support of slavery or practiced racism.
I partly agree with this argument. I agree that in a matter of no time, homosexuality will be accepted by the majority. Indeed, those days are already here. Indeed, the days of being looked down upon because one believes that homosexuality is immoral are already here. I am sure there are a number of people reading this who are judging me because of my stance.
However, I disagree with the stated argument because I do not think it is appropriate to compare slavery or racism with homosexuality. Slavery and racism are things that humans create. Homosexuality is not something that humans create. Slavery and racism are things that people force on someone else. Homosexuality is something that comes out of someone. They are in completely separate moral categories.
I am not done with this argument, but in order to complete this thought, I must go to a related topic. So let’s keep going.
Interracial Marriage and Scripture
I have heard many people say that Christians who believe homosexuality is immoral are like those Christians (and people of a secular mindset) who believed that interracial marriage was immoral.
(Side note: Homosexuality was not accepted by secular societies in the past and several secular societies have only recently started to accept homosexuality. So I do not want to hear the completely bogus claim that it is only because of religion that homosexuality is not accepted.)
I again disagree with the comparison with interracial marriage and homosexuality. Scripture never says that interracial marriage is a sin. The people who believed that interracial marriage was immoral had no competent Scriptural argument to back their claim. The same is true for the people who used Scripture to support the existence of early American slavery. Slavery in Scripture is completely different from early American slavery, and Scripture cannot be competently used to support the practice of it. (I could go into much greater detail proving this point, but that is not the focus of this post, so you will have to excuse me for delaying that proof.)
However, Scripture is quite clear that homosexual acts are sinful. There is a passage in Romans that says, ” … their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men … “. I have heard this passage be explained away by interpreting that this passage is saying that it is sinful for a person to leave their natural heterosexual state to commit homosexual acts. However, that interpretation just does not work. At least it does not work for all of the people in the LGBTQ grouping. If someone is bisexual, how is that person supposed to know which of their sexual desires is natural to them? If both are, why does Scripture not ever accept bisexuality and only refers to sexual acts with people of the same sex as sinful? Certainly people who undergo a sex change are people who are changing something about their nature, so is that sinful? Also, there are a number of people who did not recognize their homosexual feelings until later in life. Are those people really going to be called sinners by the people who hold to the above interpretation?
Also, when one understands the Judeo-Christian mindset of Paul, he obviously was not concerned with talking about the particular action of committing homosexual acts while actually a heterosexual. Paul was talking about homosexual acts en bloc.
There are other verses in the New Testament to consider, but I will only address those if someone comments that they would like to discuss those.
I am not a heterosexual
You read that right. I am not a heterosexual. I have heterosexual feelings, however I am not defined by my sexuality. I am defined by God. God makes it possible for me to overcome any heterosexual feelings I have. I do not have to act out my heterosexual feelings. There is something in my life that is much greater than my heterosexual feelings. God is that something. I am a Christian. There is nothing more important in my life than following Christ. That means I abandon certain feelings I have so that I can do what God wants me to do. So I am not a heterosexual. I am a Christian with a heterosexual tendency. I lay down my heterosexual tendencies at the feet of my Savior. My Savior defines me, not my sexuality.
If you are someone who identifies yourself as a homosexual and a Christian, let me propose to you that you are not a homosexual; you are a Christian who has homosexual tendencies. I know that just as God’s Spirit helps me to restrict my heterosexual tendencies, His Spirit can help you do the same with your homosexual tendencies.
I am not supporting a “live in denial” approach to sexuality. I am supporting a position that realizes that one’s self is not primarily defined by one’s sexuality. So I am not saying that if you struggle with homosexual or heterosexual feelings that you just turn your head and whistle away what is going on inside you when temptations arise. What I am saying is that we all struggle sexually. So what? The struggle is not with sexuality, the struggle is with being a follower of Christ.
I want to be a follower of Christ in all areas of life. There are some days that sexuality is not my biggest struggle. There are days where pride or selfishness or some other character trait is my biggest struggle. Struggling through those days does not cause me to throw up my arms and finally define myself as Prideful or Selfish. Instead, those days cause me to see even more fully my complete dependence on a Savior.
If you have homosexual feelings, do not hide that fact. I have opened up and let everyone know that I struggle with heterosexual feelings. If you struggle with homosexual feelings, that is okay. I am with you. I too struggle sexually.
I do not define myself as a heterosexual even though I completely admit the fact that I have heterosexual feelings. You do not have to define yourself as a homosexual even though you have homosexual feelings. There is something bigger than our sexual feelings. His name is Christ, our Redeemer.
I want to finish this by reiterating that I struggle with heterosexual sin. If you struggle with homosexual sin, then I will not condemn you. I want to walk this life with you just like I walk this life with my friends who struggle in other areas.
I will be your friend. Will you be mine?