Homosexuality has become a divisive issue with which to attack Christianity and traditional values. What does the bible say about the nature of homosexuality? Is homosexuality still as much a sin today, as it was in the past?
Homosexuality has ascended to a privileged position in our popular culture, because it has become a choice launching pad with which to attack the followers of Christ. Exploiting issues of personal freedom and expression, homosexuality is now a tool with which to propagandize Christianity as being an ignorant and repressive religion.
In many ways homosexuals make the perfect victims. They illicit sympathy, and are often portrayed as martyrs of what must be a cruel and judgmental religious subculture. How could an entire group that appears so peaceful and happy be labeled as sinners, for indulging in their seemingly harmless lifestyle? What sort of conformist worldview would seek to impose uniformity on the many beautiful forms of love that people share with one another?
So homosexuals have become the persecuted ones; the salt of the earth who are struggling to break free and express what they feel in their hearts. It doesn't matter that many other faiths take very critical views of the homosexual lifestyle. Nor does it matter that many non-believers dislike homosexuals, often for no other reason except that they find homosexuality repulsive.
Rather, all that matters is that conservative Christianity denounces homosexuality, not on aesthestic grounds, but as being the result of internal misguidance and moral failing. All that matters to our critics, is that a religion that champions humility and forgiveness in the face of oppression, condemns the homosexual condition.
Homosexuality is further touted as being a glaring example of Christian hypocrisy. Many well publicized church scandals have been used to bolster the universality of the homosexual condition. If some of the same ones who denounce it, also do it in secret, then its ubiquity must validate it as part of the human experience?
The moral relativism that dominates popular culture has even persuaded many Christians to accept the legitimacy of homosexuality. Being willfully ignorant of scripture, and being deceived by a facade of tolerance and love, these Christians have deferred to man's vain reasonings in place of the truth. They have fully embraced homosexuality, and consequently rejected the timeless foundation of God's Word. But there are some Christians who are able to discern the specious nature of sin and death, even when it has sought to manifest itself as love. These Christians understand the depravity and fragility of the human condition, and will oppose the lies of those who seek to replace light with darkness.
In the bible, homosexuality is not dealt with as an isolated issue, but as one of a number of forms of sexual transgression. Even though there are few passages dedicated to this subject, the scriptures make perfectly clear that homosexuality within any context is a sin. The earliest example in which homosexuality is addressed is the historical account of Sodom and Gomorrah.
God destroys the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because they are havens of perversion and sin, homosexuality in particular, "And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them" (Genesis 19.5 KJV bible), "Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground" (Genesis 19.24-25 KJV bible).
Many have tried to spin this story so that it is more politically correct, by suggesting that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was something other than communal homosexuality. However the bible itself rejects these "creative" interpretations, identifying for us the reasons that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7 KJV bible). Their sin wasn't only fornication and lust, but also going after "strange" or "other" flesh, which in this context is a clear reference to homosexuality. So the significance of homosexuality is undeniable in the account of Sodom and Gomorrah's destruction.
It's true that Sodom and Gomorrah were places of promiscuity and various kinds of debauchery besides homosexuality, and that these also played a role in its condemnation. However, it would be intellectually dishonest to not recognize that promiscuity and debauchery are more prevelant in the homosexual community and lifestyle. There are certainly glaring exceptions to this on an individual level, but the story reflects the degenerative nature of sin on a societal level. Sodom and Gomorrah is a portrayal of the pervasiveness of sin in a society that has lost all shame, and come to esteem hedonism as righteousness.
Homosexual activity is further twiced condemned in the Old Testament Law, "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20.13 KJV bible), "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18.22 KJV bible).
Context is critical when dealing with the subject of the Old Testament Law, and how it relates to us as Christians. Many of the rituals and commandments of the law are esoteric and deeply symbolic in meaning, something that was often lost on the nation of Israel. However, with these particular commandments, we can't just shrug them off as being symbolic or transcended through Christ.
This is because the NT reiterates that homosexuality is a transgression against God, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (male prostitutes), nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1st Corinthians 6.9-11 KJV).
The word in verse 10 that is translated as "abusers of themselves with mankind", is the Greek word arsenokoites. This word is made up of two words, the first meaning "male", and the second meaning "bed or resting place", in the sense of a marriage bed. So the passage makes clear reference to homosexuality as something that Christians should not be engaging in, when Christ is at the helm of their lives.
It's impossible to address the morality of homosexuality without considering the issue of choice. The question of it's morality often boils down to whether or not homosexuality is a choice, because if it's not a choice then how could it be immoral?
One possibility is that homosexuality is completely a matter of free will, and that one chooses to become a homosexual the same way that one chooses his or her clothes and music. This may be true in some instances of experimentation, but most people have a hard time imagining that someone would wake up one morning and decide to be gay. There is still a tremendous stigma upon homosexuality in many families and cultures. It doesn't make sense that someone would choose a path in which they have to struggle with these issues, as so many homosexuals do.
The other extreme, is that there is no choice involved in the homosexual condition. Their sexual orientation is predecided from birth, and they have about as much choice in the matter as their skin or eye color. This is the preferred explanation in politically correct circles, for the reason that it helps them label those who denounce homosexuality as bigots. Many have resorted to junk science and poorly done studies to try to prove that sexual orientation is determined from birth, but there remains no persuasive evidence in support of this idea. Most people can see that neither of these extremes explains the phenomenon well, as it is a combination of both desire and choice.
In Romans 1 we are given a number of insights into homosexuality, and the extent to which it is a choice, "Wherefore God also gave them [unbelievers] up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet" (Romans 1.24-27 KJV bible).
Notice how it says that God gave them up unto "uncleanness" and unto "vile affections". God "gave them up", meaning that as a result of God's absence within their impious and unthankful hearts, such things as homosexual desires were free to manifest themselves. As with many forms of sin, the desire or impulse to do it often arises out of our control, sometimes in ways that can be very incovenient and self-destructive for us.
This doesn't mean that those with homosexual tendencies are greater sinners than the rest, only that that is how sin has manifested itself in their lives. Neither does this mean that there aren't other factors that determine why someone may or may not have these tendencies, but ultimately it is man's impious and fragile nature that gives opportunity for homosexuality to manifest.
So rather than being purely a matter of choice, or being completely predetermined, it may be more accurate to compare homosexuality with such things as alcoholism, anger, jealousy, fornication, or even incest. The choice is not as to whether one decides to have these tendencies or impulses, but the extent to which they embrace or war against them.
Remember, that the one who sins is the servant thereof, "Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" (John 8.34 KJV bible). Those who embrace sin, and indulge it, cause it to grow stronger and have dominion over their lives, until they have less and less control over things. This is true of the human condition in general, and not something that is particular to homosexuality.
Finally, we can better understand why homosexuality has become such an issue of conflict within American culture. Whereas many forms of sin are still seen as blatantly destructive or harmful, the popular culture has sought to embrace and even idealize the homosexual condition. We don't have pedophilia or slothfulness pride parades, but we do have celebrations of homosexuality, as part of an overall agenda to force others to view it the same way. The secular humanists see man's fundamental nature as good, and in the absence of clear victimization or damage to society, there is no moral foundation from which to denounce homosexuality.
However, from the Christian perspective, homosexuality is just one more manifestation of sin in a long list of them. It is a stronghold of sin, that some Christians will have to war against in their own lives, and which they will ultimately have success in dealing with through the power of Christ.
For this reason, Christians should not seek to "convert" homosexuals on account of their homosexuality. Rather we should seek to convert and share the truth with people, with all of their various flaws and burdens, and allow them to make their own decisions, and fight their own battles.
On the other hand, we shouldn't allow politicians and school officials to indoctrinate our society about the virtues of homosexuality. Advocating on behalf of homosexuality in such a forced setting, especially with children, is an attack on the freedom of religion and thought that America was founded upon.
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