Defending/critiquing the homosexual lifestyle

In the wake of the Jennifer Knapp story, I’ve had a chance to analyze the reactions of people on either side of debate. One of the things that’s bothered me most is that the media and the blogosphere are predictably going out of their way to find reactions that sound hateful and hurtful. I’m convinced that the larger part of the truly reproachable reactions are the ones called out for attention by those who find criticism of homosexuality to be hopelessly benighted and who make a point to imply that these examples are but the tip of the iceberg of how cruel and uncivil Christians are. I’d like to point out that even Jennifer Knapp told Larry King that the responses have been overwhelmingly civil and fair.

This is not to say that Christians haven’t been critical of Knapp in large part; the evangelical community has, as expected, overwhelmingly opposed Knapp’s decision to be an apologist for Christian homosexuality. But I think any fair-minded person should step into the shoes of their opponents (even Christians!) for half a second.

I’ll save another post for my response to certain Christian critics of homosexuality, but in this one, I’d like to pose this question for the thoughtful.

For people who truly believe that the gay lifestyle is not only displeasing to God but is a harmful lifestyle for anyone embracing it, what reaction is appropriate?

No one seems to want to address the fact that it is neither hateful nor boneheadedly intolerant for people to be distressed when someone they care about has embraced something they are convinced is harmful to that person, or when someone with influence over people they care about acts in a way that effectively legitimizes harmful behavior.

You may or may not be convinced that the neighbor’s house is on fire; you may in fact be throroughly convinced that the person who called the fire department is blind and delusional. But last time I checked, the enlightened are expected to feel compassion and seek care for the blind and delusional, aren’t they? And when you seek to enlighten them and change their behavior, aren’t you doing exactly what they’re doing to homosexuals when they attempt to reform them? Heck, if you think my house is on fire, please act compassionately — I can certainly forgive you if you’re wrong.

Enough emotionalist rhetoric already. Believing the Bible’s clear criticisms of homosexuality (just save the fancy footwork, please — they are in there) may make conservative Christians benighted, naive, or even outright moronic. But it does not alone make them bigoted hypocrites. One must actually think or act in bigoted, hypocritical ways before one can legitimately be criticized as bigoted and hypocritical.

By all means, continue telling critics of homosexuality why you think they’re wrong in their beliefs (here’s a hint: honey attracts more flies than vinegar). But please think twice before assuming that every Christian opposed to homosexuality does so for prideful or otherwise nefarious reasons.

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  • Great post Steve! It especially irks me when people write off every Christian who criticizes the practice of homosexuality as 'homophobic.' Last time I checked, a phobia was an irrational fear of something! My stance is perfectly rational and it has nothing to do with fear. I'm not scared of gay people any more than I'm scared of people who cheat on their taxes. You can disagree with someone's actions or lifestyle without being afraid of them, and to suggest otherwise makes them at least as prejudiced as the people they're accusing.

  • I agree with your premise. The problem I have personally seen is when evangelicals, whose sincere compassion towards homosexual people I would not doubt, get into the issue of what the state's role should be in regulating marriages. The two issues seem to get very confused.

    I have seen these individuals express compassion at one moment ,but then in another moment launch into impassioned rhetoric about the terrible consequences gay marriage would bring about. Comparisons to murder and pedophilia seem to go hand-in-hand with that line of thought – “If we allow one biblically condemned practice, why not [fill in the blank] as well?”

    It seems to me you can't have it both ways, and it can be difficult for some people to sort out the two. Heated rhetoric from the political right feeds right into that I'm sure.

    It is my personal opinion that Christianity would be better off tolerating legal gay marriage. “Here I already have my tax break, you can have one too. Now let’s talk about sexual orientation.” Or something like that.

    Hope that is not too far tangential to your original topic.

  • travisjacobs

    I feel responsible for this post.

  • “No one seems to want to address the fact that it is neither hateful nor boneheadedly intolerant for people to be distressed when someone they care about has embraced something they are convinced is harmful to that person, or when someone with influence over people they care about acts in a way that effectively legitimizes harmful behavior.”

    Maybe that's because it's trivial. Of course it is neither hateful nor intolerant to be distressed. But, being hateful and intolerant towards that person is.

    “And when you seek to enlighten them and change their behavior, aren’t you doing exactly what they’re doing to homosexuals when they attempt to reform them?”

    No, it is clearly not the same. Experience tells us that people who don't realize that their house really is on fire will nevertheless suffer the consequence soon enough. Homosexuals will not, if everyone else treats them with respect. Experience tells us that if it were not for religion and the shame and intolerance of other people, there would be no problem with being homosexual.

    “But please think twice before assuming that every Christian opposed to homosexuality does so for prideful or otherwise nefarious reasons.”

    Perhaps not for nefarious reasons, but such Christians legitimize the nefariousness of those Christians who put emphasis on the text that says homosexuality is wrong, while they ignore the verses that say eating shellfish is an abomination.

    Homosexuals don't actually DO anything to Christians, and that should be the bottom line. Christians, on the other hand, take their way of life and impose it on the rest of us. How many times have a homosexual knocked on your door? How many times have a missionary? How many invitations have you gotten to join a church? And how many to events where homosexuals tries to convert you?

  • Thanks, Matt. Yes, “phobia” is a problematic label. I think it's trying to get at the level of disgust felt by many people who find it to be unnatural when they think someone might be looking at them that way. If a flaming homosexual with the lisp and everything stood next to you in the urinal, you'd likely not be as worried about his eternal state as you would be for your own privacy. Heck, that goes for even if you knew good and well they weren't gay and the kept trying to look over the wall.

    But I'll tell you what — most of those who deride people as “homophobes” are themselves “incestophobes”. I defy anyone to tell me there's a difference in the qualities of emotion (not from any logical basis) aroused from an uncomfortable urinal stare and those aroused if a sibling of either sex tried to play tongue hockey with you one day. You'd likely feel much the same if you saw siblings you didn't even know making out.

    But (and here's a preview of my next post) these visceral reactions against homosexuality shouldn't be confused for the sort of rational stance Christians claim to take. Too many Christians make it out to be a worse sin than others simply because of these visceral, non-rational (not necessarily irrational) reactions.

    • clayton

      If it’s important to read the Bible carefully and important to do justice to another person’s argument, it is also important to do justice to how other people use words. If we are being charitable, it is clear, in the context of actual usage, that the word “homophobic” means something analogous to racist or sexist or anti-Semitic, and not something analogous to arachnophobic. Perhaps at one time racism was considered an emotional disorder, an irrational fear, disgust, or hatred of people of another race. It does not mean that now. Such a meaning would make many uses of the word completely unintelligible. To say a person, a policy, a practice is racist is to make a moral judgement, not a psychological diagnosis. The same is true for uses of the word homophobia.

      Homophobia is as legitimate a word for people who believe in the equality of gay people as racism is for those who believe in the equality of the races. Just as devout Christians who sincerely believe in the inferiority of black people can be called racist, so too can devout Christians who sincerely believe in the sinfulness of homosexuality be called homophobic. Christians, especially moderate Christians attempt to make the moral debate about homosexuality go away by impoverishing and suppressing the legitimate language that gay people use to defend themselves.

      • Clayton, there can be no denying that “homophobia” is still consciously used as polemical rhetoric with the intention of evoking the “irrational fear” aspect of “-phobia”. If not, the terms “anti-homosexualism” or perhaps (more analogously to “racism”) “heterosexualism” would be used. No would would expect labeling pacifists as “pugilophobes” or atheists as “theophobes” to be anything but improperly derogatory descriptions.

        • clayton

          Any word that implies an analogy between malice towards those of a different race and malice towards gays is derided and suppressed exactly as you are doing. Heterosexism has already been suppressed and any neologism that you can suggest would be as well. Homophobia as a term is not going to go away because the truth is not going to go away, and there are no other words left to express it.

        • clayton

          The word racism also has associations with emotions such as fear, hatred, and disgust, and yet you do not demand that no one use it. The derision in your last sentence speaks for itself.

          • Derision? Whaa..?

            I’m sure you’re unaware of the very next post I posted, in which I take many Christians to task for reacting with “fear, hatred, and disgust”.

            “Racism”, on its surface, deals only with the belief that one’s race is better than another’s. As a term, it is used even when there is no outright malice, but merely unexamined prejudices. Because we know that such things are inherently inexcusable, we don’t need to say, “Afro-phobia” or any such, not least because fear is only a symptom of the underlying problem.

            See, I’m by no means saying there’s no such thing as homophobia! It’s certainly a subset of anti-homosexual mindsets. There are people I know of whom I would say are genuinely homophobic, and then there are those who think it’s “wrong” but even befriend homosexuals with no condemnation or even thoughts of “rehabilitation”.

            All I’m saying is that it’s certainly more clinical to avoid trading insult for insult and no petty broad-brush generalization is necessary. That’s all I’ve got to say on the subject.

          • clayton

            The word racism, as I think we agree, has a strict denotation but is also a “loaded” term in that it has a strong negative connotation and legitimate associations with disgust, hatred, and fear. Are we not allowed to use loaded terms? Then we can’t use the word racism. The reason racism is a loaded term is that it is a loaded reality. Subtle people have subtle forms of racism and crude people have crude forms of racism, but racism is still one continuous form of immorality, all based on the same falsehoods. The exact same is true of homophobia, and even if you do not personally believe the analogy holds, at least recognize that this belief, the considered view of many gay people and allies, needs a word to express itself. There is no other word, and you have no right to purge a word from rational discussion because you don’t agree with the worldview it assumes.

          • clayton

            I’ve been thinking more and more about this, and I realize that at every step of the gay-rights movements, there have been self-described moderates who didn’t reject the demands of gay people out of hand but believed that the debate could not proceed until it was shifted to other terminological ground. “No don’t use that word,” is the continual refrain of the muddled middle that could not accept the word “gay” or the word “marriage” or the word “homophobia”. It’s clearly a temporizing strategy for people whose instincts are progressive conservative (as we would call it in Canada) but have no strong personal stake in the matter. The fact is homophobia is not a broad-brush generalization or a petty insult. It is one of the structural principles of dominant ideologies everywhere, and can be seen in forms both extremely subtle and extremely crude. Tens of millions of gay people see this as clearly as they see the moon in the sky. The solution is for the apathetic to recognize the moon, not for the victims of apathy to deny the evidence of their own eyes. Jesus hated willful ignorance.

          • If, as I believe, you are critiquing my point by saying that I am not a
            bleeding edge radical, I admit it. Not everyone is a radical: some must try
            to bridge the gap and press both sides for reason. Those who are most
            passionate direct their causes, and that’s a good thing, but radicalism
            without a supportive middle never brought about anything wholly good. Forced
            reconciliation leads to more hidden and no less dangerous forms of
            polarization.

            My heart is with your side of the argument, Clayton (notice that my remarks
            about that simple term were only made in response to another commenter), but
            I will not cut off my nose to spite my face. I will not slur one radical
            position (even with the truth, if you are correct) in order to defend the
            other radical position from slurs. Please believe me when I say that I mean
            this to be advice for your cause’s success: do not make the good the enemy
            of the perfect. If you want people to start acting respectfully and stop
            reacting emotionally and violently, you’ll have to lead by example and pick
            your battles more wisely; otherwise, I’ll suspect you’re a neo-conservative.

          • clayton

            I would not prefer you to be radical, and I certainly wouldn’t like you to be conservative. Almost every professing Christian out there believes it is their moral duty, and a social service to boot, to be exactly where they are on the political spectrum, wherever that is. I don’t think George MacDonald or Jesus held any such belief. The truth was good enough for them, and neither of them stopped speaking for a moment about all the ways it is possible to come to know that truth through love and obedience. The truth is not polarized. It is the only thing that can possibly unite all the legitimate diversity in the world. But it does expel falsehood.

          • As I often say, though, when we love the truth, we not only want others to recognize it, but we’ll do what we can to make them love it as well. Gay rights advocates would presumably prefer that Christians who believed homosexuality was wrong would nevertheless put aside their discomfort and interact with gays lovingly as Christ did with sinners, even if they did so with the hope of reforming them. Yet failing to engage “homophobes” respectfully or help bring them along and instead demonizing them and their motives is doing precisely what they are doing to the gay community. This has been my entire point all along. And I think it’s the truth, so maybe now MacDonald and Jesus would be proud of me. 🙂

          • clayton

            I agree with you that homophobia is a harsh word, and I myself rarely use it, nor do I often use other words that rankle such as marriage or even gay unless I can’t avoid it. My goal is not to antagonize. But if my goal is to never antagonize, then I have no choice but to go crazy, because I have to deny everything that I know to be true. Jesus, who is the Truth, was and remains offensive to a lot of people because they do bad things. As a Christian, I prefer a God who insults me regularly, but honestly, to an inoffensive God. I can trust the first, I can’t trust the second. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only Christian out there who gets pleasure from being rebuked. I don’t want to be wrong, but if God is right, I am happy, no matter how wrong I am.

            I don’t think we can only find out the truth from God. We have to find it out through each other too. I know about homophobia from much experience, but I am still willing to learn about it from you. I don’t know everything about it. I’m sure you have a unique perspective that will help complete my knowledge. There has to be an openness to communication on both sides, which is why “don’t use that word” seems like such an obstacle to progress and fills me with despair.

      • Heterosexism is the better term of the two

  • atimetorend,
    I agree that there are problems with trying to outlaw this behavior in various forms. As a classical liberal, I think everyone would be better off if the state stayed out of marriage altogether. But I must say that this post was primarily about Christians' reactions to Jennifer Knapp and other Christians who are homosexuals. I haven't heard a renewed resolve to ban gay marriage at this point; usually for these there is less condemnation and more professions of hope for their restitution.

  • Haha! You are indirectly responsible because I was inspired when hearing your show on Jennifer Knapp, but I didn't think you'd really fallen into (all) the traps I mentioned in the post above. 😉

  • Welcome back, Bjørn!

    Of course it is neither hateful nor intolerant to be distressed. But, being hateful and intolerant towards that person is.

    I agree with this.

    As for the house on fire, we're not talking about if they're insane for thinking the house is on fire, or whether our experience tells us their fears for our safety are justified. I'm sure you'll be glad to insult them up one side and down the other for being wrong about it, whether or not they actually reacted hatefully or intolerantly. I got that. But wanting to change their behavior because you believe by your personal experience (they have “experiences”, too) is certainly close as their doing the same vice versa.

    Remember, too, that my analogy was of Christians dealing with a fellow Christian — someone they see as family. They want her reformed; they want her to stop throwing what they think is gasoline around the neighbors' yards.

    Christians, on the other hand, take their way of life and impose it on the rest of us. How many times have a homosexual knocked on your door? How many times have a missionary? How many invitations have you gotten to join a church? And how many to events where homosexuals tries to convert you?

    Homosexuals don't think your eternal soul is at stake based upon your sexual orientation. I would count them cruel if they believed this and just let us all go rot. You still haven't seemed to grant the premise of the OP, that the Christians responding to Jennifer Knapp negatively have in large part been reacting out of (perhaps a misplaced) fear for her welfare and that of others in their community who might be influenced by her.

  • “Homosexuals don't think your eternal soul is at stake based upon your sexual orientation. I would count them cruel if they believed this and just let us all go rot”

    What do you mean “let us all go rot”? You make it sound like all people are paying the price for one person being homosexual.

    “You still haven't seemed to grant the premise of the OP, that the Christians responding to Jennifer Knapp negatively have in large part been reacting out of (perhaps a misplaced) fear for her welfare and that of others in their community who might be influenced by her.”

    No, I got that. The key word here is “misplaced”. Knapp is most likely (like many other homosexuals definitely are) already well aware of their concern for her soul, but has made her choice all the same. And at that point people with such supernatural concerns should keep it to themselves. They are explicitly asked to keep it to themselves, and failure, again and again, to do so negates those good (but naive) intentions. If one, for example, seriously believe that Christians are really, really hurting themselves by believing in these supernatural things, I may be forgiven for saying it once, but when they then answer that it is their choice, that your concern is duly noted but not shared, and that they won't bother you with their beliefs, but will keep their faith private, then one would be boneheaded and even nefarious for going on about it.

  • You make it sound like all people are paying the price for one person being homosexual.

    No, no — this is not what I meant at all. I meant that I would consider homosexuals cruel if they thought our eternal souls were going to rot because of our heterosexuality and they didn't make any efforts at conversion.

    They are explicitly asked to keep it to themselves, and failure, again and again, to do so negates those good (but naive) intentions.

    You're right that this is obnoxious, and wholly unnecessary — who doesn't know the Christian objection to homosexuality by now? But if your son (for instance) got involved with drugs, would you clam up and say, “I already told him once it was bad for him”? I doubt it. 😉

  • “But if your son (for instance) got involved with drugs, would you clam up and say, “I already told him once it was bad for him”? I doubt it. ;-)”

    No, but the big difference that I know you are aware of, is that in this life there is nothing wrong with being homosexual, save for the intolerance of bigots. The homosexual son or daughter should just counter, say, that they believe that drinking coffee will upset the cosmic balance, and that their father must really stop doing it. That should put the craziness of all these faith-based beliefs in sharp light.

  • Stephen

    “No, but the big difference that I know you are aware of, is that in this life there is nothing wrong with being homosexual, save for the intolerance of bigots.”

    Based on this quote, I take it you are against drug use, or at least severe drug use, for a recreational purpose. Is that correct?

    If yes, then how can you, on your own standard, condemn what someone else does with their body? Christians who condemn homosexuality are “wrong” in part because it's none of their business what someone else does, would you not agree? Therefore, you would have no business saying that there is anything wrong with drugs, regardless of the effects it has on the person. You may not like it, but that's none of your business and you “would be boneheaded and even nefarious for going on about it.” But if you are allowed to condemn drugs because of their deleterious effects, regardless of whether or not the “druggie” recognizes those effects, then Christians are perfectly within their right to condemn something – in this case, homosexuality – because of the bad effects that they see, regardless of whether or not the person involved recognizes those problems.

    In addition, your example is a bit of a red herring, because it distracts from the real nature of the issue. “Faith-based beliefs” are not developed out of thin air as you imply, and you do a disservice, not only to centuries of quality philosophical thought, but also to yourself if you think that way. Christians don't come up with these arguments as a “justification for their hatred”; if that was true, then all groups that fall under the “sinful” category ought to balk at the “injustice” of Christian-based hatred. Not that I'm comparing homosexuality to, for instance, lying in terms of consequences, but Christians view them equally as sin, so does that mean that they're both victims of “the craziness of all these faith-based beliefs”? No, Christians condemn what they see God condemning; that isn't to say that they don't mess up and get a little over-zealous in their reactions, but nonetheless their condemnation is based on God, not themselves (and of course, this assumes that Christianity is a shared belief, which I understood to be the issue under discussion).

    Stephen

  • “But if you are allowed to condemn drugs because of their deleterious effects, regardless of whether or not the “druggie” recognizes those effects, then Christians are perfectly within their right to condemn something – in this case, homosexuality – because of the bad effects that they see, regardless of whether or not the person involved recognizes those problems.”

    The big, important difference that I have troubled pointing out, is that there is plenty of evidence that there are bad effects from taking drugs, but none from being homosexual.

    “this assumes that Christianity is a shared belief, which I understood to be the issue under discussion”

    Hmmm. You know very well that was not an assumption I could agree with. For the sake of this discussion, you could go ahead and assume it. Fine. If the homosexual person also lives under the belief that homosexuality is a sin, then I see your point.

  • Not going to answer for Stephen here, but I just wanted to make it
    clear that “Stephen” and I are different people. 🙂

  • Ooh! I may have mixed you up. Perhaps that changes what I know Steve and Stephen knows very well, but hopefully nothing else… 🙂

  • Stephen

    Bjorn,

    Yes, I am a very different person from Steve. 🙂

    But on to the subject at hand. I think you missed my overall point. Is the person who is doing drugs hurting anyone else? If they experience damaging effects for themselves, but knowingly and willingly partake of that, as long as they keep it to themselves, what are they doing wrong? Why stop them and involve yourself in their business? Let's change what you said a bit:

    “If one, for example, seriously believes that 'druggies' are really, really hurting themselves by using illicit drugs, I may be forgiven for saying it once, but when they then answer that it is their choice, that your concern is duly noted but not shared, and that they won't bother you with their beliefs, but will keep their drug use private, then one would be boneheaded and even nefarious for going on about it.”

    YOU may believe, based on studies, that such drug use is bad, but if the drug user doesn't share your belief, then who are you to try to convince them to stop?

    My point is that on your own criterion, it doesn't make sense to harass drug users for their behavior. If Christians – who 1) see consequences that are not necessarily physical, but rather spiritual and possibly social; and 2) can also quote statistics about the negative physical consequences of said lifestyle (see William Lane Craig's discussion of homosexuality on his “Reasonable Faith” podcast) – if Christians are wrong to involve themselves in the lives of homosexuals, then how would you be justified in telling your child, “Stop doing drugs”? If you ARE justified, then Christians are justified. If Christians are NOT justified, neither are you. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

    Yes, yes, but science is the difference! But that simply begs the question, “What is invalid about what Christians are saying?” You can point out bad science, by all means, but if Christians who are against homosexuality and see it as a sin try to “point out the error” of their brothers and sisters who don't, it's up to you to demonstrate what is inherently wrong with their criterion. These Christians see themselves and their brothers and sisters as part of one body, not as private individuals, and therefore are attempting to keep the body healthy by removing “pathogens.” In other words, their concern is justifiable/understandable BASED ON THEIR CRITERION, even if their methods are not, which is essentially what Steve said to begin with.

  • Jesus4Ever

    If there was no such thing as homosexuality or lesbianism, then there would be no such thing as gay marriage. The real question is 'Is there anything wrong with being gay?”… before we answer that we have to first ask,” Is there anything wrong with anything?” In other words, are there certain things that are absolutely wrong ? if so, on what basis are those things wrong? Is there anything wrong with stealing, murder,rape, child molesting? If so, on what basis. Are certain things wrong just because you and I say they are wrong or is there a higher authority who trumps our opinions. I believe there is… and that Higher Authority is God. Not just God, but more specifically The God of Christianity and His Son Jesus Christ. His Word is the Bible. Either You and I will accept what God says in the Bible as the standard by which we differentiate between good and evil or we will ultimately make our own distinctions and that is usually based on feelings, ie I feel such and such is wrong behavior, so it must be, or I feel such and such is not wrong, therefore it must not be wrong. Are there no moral absolutes? Either we look to God and His Word the Bible as the standard by which we judge right and wrong or we base it on feelings. In some countries they love their neighbors and in other countries, they eat their neighbors, both on the basis of feelings. Do you have a personal preference? In some countries, it's socially acceptable for a man to beat his wife. Is this right or wrong?.. If you say there is no such thing as true right and wrong , then you really have nothing to say about any acts of supposed morality or immorality… based on what? feeling ? You can say I don't like it , but if there's no moral absolute, that's about all you can say… that includes everything from rape, murder, stealing,wife beating , child molestation, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, prostitution, etc… and the list goes on. If there's no moral standard, then your view of right and wrong is just that… your opinion. and it has as much value as everyone else's opinion ( zero,zilch) and it would mean that you have no right to ask anyone to change their supposed immoral behavior.. immoral in your opinion..
    Well , there's good news, There is an absolute standard that we can look to. There is a basis by which we can differentiate between right and wrong. It is the Bible! What does the Bible say about itself? 2 Timothy 3:16-17- 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
    What does the bible say about homosexuality? Before I tell you what the Bible says about homosexuality, you should first ask yourself, Am I going to accept,believe and do what the Bible says regarding this? In other words, If the Bible says homosexuality is a great thing, are you going help spread that message? and if the Bible says that homosexuality is sin, then are you going to share that also?
    Here's what God says in the Bible concerning homosexuality.
    1 Corinthians 6:9-11
    6 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
    Romans 1:18-32
    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
    24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
    Also see Genesis 19 about Sodom’s Depravity.
    Lest anyone be deceived as to why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, Let Jude 1:5-7 serve as a clear warning to anyone and everyone who thinks homosexuality is acceptable to God. It is not, never has been, never will be!
    5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
    It's also interesting that you hear people say that they don't want to judge when it comes to homosexuality, but your never hear them say that on issues like murder,rape and child molestation. We are supposed to Judge, that is to make a distinction between what is right and wrong behavior. We are not to judge people and tell a person that they are going to hell, because who knows, they may by God's Grace repent and have faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Certain behaviors have already been judged as evil by God and it is not wrong to agree with God on issues he has already decided on. In fact, it is a good thing to agree with God. I don't hate homosexual, but I do hate homosexuality. I don't hate murderers, but I do hate murder. I don't hate rapist, but I do hate rape. I don't hate people who commit abortion, but I do hate abortion. God commands us to love all people and by His Grace and Spirit, we can do that. That does not mean we accept everyone's behavior.
    Homosexuality is sin. Any sex outside of the way God designed it to be is sexual perversion. God designed sex for marriage between 2 people of the opposite sex committed to each other for life. Abstinence before Marriage and Fidelity or Faithfulness in Marriage. If homosexuals would repent of their homosexuality and see sex and marriage the same way God sees it , then they would not want to be homosexual anymore: and would not want to marry anymore.
    What should be the Government's position? The Government should always be on the side of what is right. In fact , everyone should always be on the side of what is right.. That's God's Side. Since homosexuality is wrong , The Government should stand against gay marriage and should give no positive recognition to homosexuality, civil unions and domestic partnerships.
    Jesus said ,” I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except thru me.” He invites us to follow Him. When we accept His invitation and follow Him , It changes our world view, but more importantly, it changes us. God not only changes what we do when come to Christ , but He changes what we even want to do. ( our desires)
    Gay marriage would not exist if gay people would repent and come to Christ!

  • Stephen

    Bjorn,

    Yes, I am a very different person from Steve. 🙂

    But on to the subject at hand. I think you missed my overall point. Is the person who is doing drugs hurting anyone else? If they experience damaging effects for themselves, but knowingly and willingly partake of that, as long as they keep it to themselves, what are they doing wrong? Why stop them and involve yourself in their business? Let's change what you said a bit:

    “If one, for example, seriously believes that 'druggies' are really, really hurting themselves by using illicit drugs, I may be forgiven for saying it once, but when they then answer that it is their choice, that your concern is duly noted but not shared, and that they won't bother you with their beliefs, but will keep their drug use private, then one would be boneheaded and even nefarious for going on about it.”

    YOU may believe, based on studies, that such drug use is bad, but if the drug user doesn't share your belief, then who are you to try to convince them to stop?

    My point is that on your own criterion, it doesn't make sense to harass drug users for their behavior. If Christians – who 1) see consequences that are not necessarily physical, but rather spiritual and possibly social; and 2) can also quote statistics about the negative physical consequences of said lifestyle (see William Lane Craig's discussion of homosexuality on his “Reasonable Faith” podcast) – if Christians are wrong to involve themselves in the lives of homosexuals, then how would you be justified in telling your child, “Stop doing drugs”? If you ARE justified, then Christians are justified. If Christians are NOT justified, neither are you. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

    Yes, yes, but science is the difference! But that simply begs the question, “What is invalid about what Christians are saying?” You can point out bad science, by all means, but if Christians who are against homosexuality and see it as a sin try to “point out the error” of their brothers and sisters who don't, it's up to you to demonstrate what is inherently wrong with their criterion. These Christians see themselves and their brothers and sisters as part of one body, not as private individuals, and therefore are attempting to keep the body healthy by removing “pathogens.” In other words, their concern is justifiable/understandable BASED ON THEIR CRITERION, even if their methods are not, which is essentially what Steve said to begin with.

  • Jesus4Ever

    If there was no such thing as homosexuality or lesbianism, then there would be no such thing as gay marriage. The real question is 'Is there anything wrong with being gay?”… before we answer that we have to first ask,” Is there anything wrong with anything?” In other words, are there certain things that are absolutely wrong ? if so, on what basis are those things wrong? Is there anything wrong with stealing, murder,rape, child molesting? If so, on what basis. Are certain things wrong just because you and I say they are wrong or is there a higher authority who trumps our opinions. I believe there is… and that Higher Authority is God. Not just God, but more specifically The God of Christianity and His Son Jesus Christ. His Word is the Bible. Either You and I will accept what God says in the Bible as the standard by which we differentiate between good and evil or we will ultimately make our own distinctions and that is usually based on feelings, ie I feel such and such is wrong behavior, so it must be, or I feel such and such is not wrong, therefore it must not be wrong. Are there no moral absolutes? Either we look to God and His Word the Bible as the standard by which we judge right and wrong or we base it on feelings. In some countries they love their neighbors and in other countries, they eat their neighbors, both on the basis of feelings. Do you have a personal preference? In some countries, it's socially acceptable for a man to beat his wife. Is this right or wrong?.. If you say there is no such thing as true right and wrong , then you really have nothing to say about any acts of supposed morality or immorality… based on what? feeling ? You can say I don't like it , but if there's no moral absolute, that's about all you can say… that includes everything from rape, murder, stealing,wife beating , child molestation, homosexuality, adultery, fornication, prostitution, etc… and the list goes on. If there's no moral standard, then your view of right and wrong is just that… your opinion. and it has as much value as everyone else's opinion ( zero,zilch) and it would mean that you have no right to ask anyone to change their supposed immoral behavior.. immoral in your opinion..
    Well , there's good news, There is an absolute standard that we can look to. There is a basis by which we can differentiate between right and wrong. It is the Bible! What does the Bible say about itself? 2 Timothy 3:16-17- 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
    What does the bible say about homosexuality? Before I tell you what the Bible says about homosexuality, you should first ask yourself, Am I going to accept,believe and do what the Bible says regarding this? In other words, If the Bible says homosexuality is a great thing, are you going help spread that message? and if the Bible says that homosexuality is sin, then are you going to share that also?
    Here's what God says in the Bible concerning homosexuality.
    1 Corinthians 6:9-11
    6 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
    Romans 1:18-32
    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
    24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
    28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
    Also see Genesis 19 about Sodom’s Depravity.
    Lest anyone be deceived as to why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, Let Jude 1:5-7 serve as a clear warning to anyone and everyone who thinks homosexuality is acceptable to God. It is not, never has been, never will be!
    5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
    It's also interesting that you hear people say that they don't want to judge when it comes to homosexuality, but your never hear them say that on issues like murder,rape and child molestation. We are supposed to Judge, that is to make a distinction between what is right and wrong behavior. We are not to judge people and tell a person that they are going to hell, because who knows, they may by God's Grace repent and have faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Certain behaviors have already been judged as evil by God and it is not wrong to agree with God on issues he has already decided on. In fact, it is a good thing to agree with God. I don't hate homosexual, but I do hate homosexuality. I don't hate murderers, but I do hate murder. I don't hate rapist, but I do hate rape. I don't hate people who commit abortion, but I do hate abortion. God commands us to love all people and by His Grace and Spirit, we can do that. That does not mean we accept everyone's behavior.
    Homosexuality is sin. Any sex outside of the way God designed it to be is sexual perversion. God designed sex for marriage between 2 people of the opposite sex committed to each other for life. Abstinence before Marriage and Fidelity or Faithfulness in Marriage. If homosexuals would repent of their homosexuality and see sex and marriage the same way God sees it , then they would not want to be homosexual anymore: and would not want to marry anymore.
    What should be the Government's position? The Government should always be on the side of what is right. In fact , everyone should always be on the side of what is right.. That's God's Side. Since homosexuality is wrong , The Government should stand against gay marriage and should give no positive recognition to homosexuality, civil unions and domestic partnerships.
    Jesus said ,” I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except thru me.” He invites us to follow Him. When we accept His invitation and follow Him , It changes our world view, but more importantly, it changes us. God not only changes what we do when come to Christ , but He changes what we even want to do. ( our desires)
    Gay marriage would not exist if gay people would repent and come to Christ!

  • Christian Man

    I am a begger, and I tell the other beggers where to find bread.

    The other beggars sometimes listen when they see my strength increasing, but even then they mock me all the more. Some of the other beggers are very proud of their poverty, and parade in their dirtiest clothes for all to see. These are beggers take the greatest offense at the bread I that was revealed to me, and are filled with hate for the bread.