Christianity and Homosexuality
By Justin Matas
One of the major issues in modern society is homosexuality. It, along with abortion, seems to take up a very large portion of today’s media and the press because of its highly controversial nature. This essay will deal with homosexuality and how it relates to the Christian Faith. I will cover abortion in another essay.
Before I go on, however, I would like to clarify three very important things: First, this essay is mainly directed towards Christians. Now that’s not to say non-Christians can’t read it; it simply means that in order to understand and accept the arguments I will present, you must essentially be a Christian, or at least believe in God. If that Faith or belief is absent, and the totality of all of your philosophies amounts to only materialism (in other words, that physical matter is the only thing in existence), then my arguments will amount to nothing in your eyes. (As will all arguments professing some kind of moral standard)
The second thing I’d like to clarify is the definition of the word “homosexual.” In this essay, homosexual refers to a person who is sexually or romantically attracted to members of their own gender. It does not necessarily mean someone who engages in gay sexuality activity; it simply refers to orientation.
Finally, I need to define the word “Church.” Whenever I mention Church, I am referring to the collective body of all true Christians everywhere. In other words, Church does not mean a building or a specific denomination in this essay, but refers to every true Christian in the world.
Okay, now that we’re done with the appetizer, we can proceed to the “meat” of this essay. As I said before, homosexuality is a big issue in modern society. Both the Christian Church and the gay rights activists are constantly at odds with one another, and neither side seems to be clearly winning. That’s because there’s truth and fallacy on each side. When asked the question, “Is homosexuality right or wrong?” the activists will take one extreme view to the “political left,” and the Christian Church will take the opposite view to the extreme “political right.” And the answer, in my humble opinion, actually lies somewhere in between.
Generally, the Church takes an extremely negative view of anything related to homosexuality. According to the Church, people become gay of their own free will, based on the choices they make. Gays are viewed as individuals who are patently sexually immoral and/or had a bad family life, who start off heterosexual but end up gay because they either “got bored of the opposite sex,” or they were abused in their childhood. Basically, the Church says that everything related to homosexuality is wrong, from gay sex all the way down to simply being attracted to one’s own gender.
While the Church takes a very negative perspective of homosexuality, gay rights activists take an overly positive view. According to them, people are born gay, and their orientation stems not from corrupt sexual “boredom” or their childhood, but from uncontrollable genetic factors present from birth. While these activists may not necessarily encourage promiscuity, they still support anything and everything “queer,” from gay sex to gay marriage to adoption rights for gays (I will cover gay adoption in another essay). They condemn the Christian Church as “fascists” and “bigots,” and argue that Jesus was not about judgment but about love and treating everyone equally.
In my humble belief, these two sides (the activists and the Church) are both partially correct and partially wrong. Since I began by talking about the Church’s view on all this, I’ll start by correcting some of the falsities with their standpoint. The first and biggest issue is whether or not gay people are “born gay,” or if they become gay through gross promiscuity or a bad family background. To them, people simply cannot be “born gay,” because if they were, then that means God must have created them to be gay. And that would not only be illogical, but it would be immoral because God prohibits homosexuality. Unless of course He doesn’t prohibit homosexuality, in which case every single law in the Bible would be seriously undermined.
The mistake the Church makes here is a simple one, and it lies in the logic that, “if they’re born that way then that’s how God created them.” The key word is created. Here’s a question for you: Did God create you or me? The answer is actually yes and no. The Lord didn’t create you and me directly, but through His direct creation of Adam and Eve, He indirectly created all mankind. In other words, God didn’t actually have a direct hand in creating you or me; He wasn’t present inside our mothers “knitting” us together just the way He’d like us to be. Instead, He directly and personally created both Adam and Eve, and then He let the natural human reproductive system He invented take over for Him. The reproductive system does the work for Him. If I was to go off and make a machine that could produce cars, then I’m not technically building each car by hand, the machine is doing it for me. See what I’m saying? Hopefully you do, because this point is critical to my entire viewpoint on homosexuality.
But you may be asking yourself right now, “How on earth does a car-producing machine relate to being born gay?” Well, to answer that question, I’ll ask another one: If I hand my friend a drink and tell him to go give it to you, am I responsible if my friend accidentally spills it? Obviously, the answer is no. And it’s the same thing when it comes to human beings and cars. If someone accidentally drops a monkey wrench into the machine, then it may start to malfunction and produce cars differently then how the designer conceived them. It’s not the designer’s fault, and it’s not the car’s fault; the blame rests on whoever dropped in the monkey wrench. In the case of mankind, that would be Adam and Eve. Because of their original sin, all of mankind (and the entire earth, for that matter) fell out of grace with God. Adam and Eve “threw a monkey wrench” into the human reproductive system, and thus it now produces people who are not only inherently evil from birth (which includes everyone except Jesus), but also people with diseases and mental handicaps, such as blindness, autism, etc. And also, if you haven’t already guessed it, it creates people with a homosexual orientation.
When you really look at it from my perspective using the logic I’ve just described, the whole question of whether or not someone is “born gay” or not is actually completely irrelevant. And that brings me to my next point against the Church’s stance. Throughout its history, the Church has been strongly opposed to not only gay sexual acts, but the very concept of “being” gay at all. Most kids who grow up in a Christian home and “discover” that they’re gay do not tell their parents (or anyone for that matter) because they fear being ostracized and disowned. They feel that even being attracted to one’s own gender is a sin, and thus eventually come to the conclusion that they are incurably evil and Jesus will not accept them. This is unbelievably tragic, because all of this could be prevented if the Christian community would come to understand that simply having a homosexual orientation is not sinful at all. I challenge anyone to show me where in the Bible it says, “Thou shalt not feel attracted to one’s own gender.” Nowhere can this or anything else like it be found. The Bible is very clear about what is prohibited concerning homosexuality and what is not (however, there’s one exception, and I’ll discuss that at the end of this essay).
There are two main prohibitions in the Bible that concern homosexuality: 1) is that gay sexual acts are sinful, and 2) is that lust is sinful. For the first prohibition, Leviticus chapter eighteen deals with illicit sexual activity, and verse 22 specifically forbids gay sex. In the New International Version of the Bible, Leviticus 18:22 reads, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Notice that in the verse it says, “do not lie with a man as with a woman;” it doesn’t say, “do not kiss one of your own gender,” or “do not hold hands with one of your own gender.” It’s simply referring to gay sexual acts, not gay affection.
As for the second prohibition, lust is very different than simple attraction. If you’re walking down the street and a good looking guy or girl walks past you, and you say “Wow, he or she looks hot!” that’s simply attraction, and its not sinful at all. However, let’s say you’re walking down the street and another good looking guy or girl walks past, but this time not only do you say “Wow, he or she’s hot!” but you begin imagining yourself doing various sexual things with them; that’s lust, and its sinful according to Jesus. Lust is simply sexual attraction taken too far in your mind, and it’s a fully intentional and purposeful act, not an uncontrollable biological phenomenon.
The main point I’m trying to get across with all of this is simply that the Church needs to look inside itself and examine its motives. The Church’s ultimate goal in relation to homosexuality should be to help save people who are gay, not to ostracize and pass immediate and unbiblical judgment on them simply because their particular orientation seems “gross.” Now I’m not saying that the Church should condone sin; there’s a big difference between gay orientation and gay sexual acts. The Church can and should condemn people for their illicit acts, but not for their uncontrollable sexual attractions.
Now, on to my arguments against the gay rights activists. My main point against them is their open support for sinful sexual practices, which are clearly and unmistakably forbidden in the Bible. If you remember the beginning of this essay, I mentioned that you needed to be a Christian for my arguments to really hold any meaning. If you’re not a Christian (or, at least, you don’t believe the Bible is the true Word of God), then you could easily say that homosexuality is not sinful. You can either accept the Bible and its prohibitions on gay sex acts, or you can argue that the laws in the Bible are meaningless (which is the topic of another essay, so I won’t get into that here). Therefore, if you’re not willing to accept the Bible, then I encourage you to continue listening [reading]. But be warned that to accept my upcoming moral arguments on homosexuality (or any moral arguments, for that matter) you must also accept that the laws given in the Bible are valid and from God.
I have visited several websites run by so-called “Christian homosexuals.” (i.e., people who claim to be Christians, but who also engage in sexual practices forbidden by the Bible). Common to all of these websites is one central argument supporting their lifestyle, and that is as follows: In the Bible, God does indeed prohibit homosexual promiscuity, but when it comes to two persons of the same gender making a solid commitment to one another (such as the marriage vows between a man and a woman), sex is fully acceptable. These “Christian homosexuals” say that the verses in the Bible mentioning homosexuality only apply to those individuals who are simply promiscuous fornicators, and not those people who are engaged in a “permanent loving relationship.” After all, they say, why would God prohibit two people from loving one another? Jesus wasn’t all about “don’t do this, and don’t do that,” but said that love is the foundation of all of God’s laws.
Now, I don’t mean to sound offensive, but this is all really one big steaming pile of complete nonsense. These people are clearly not only out of touch with Jesus, but are also dishonest. All you have to do is read the verses in the Bible concerning homosexuality, and the context in which they were written, and you will instantly see the absurdity of the “Christian homosexuals’” position. These people know in their hearts the falseness of their position, but still they refuse to relinquish it. That’s why they are dishonest. And even though I really shouldn’t have to, I will still attempt to show why they are clearly wrong.
Let’s look at Leviticus chapter 18. This entire chapter is mostly one big list of sexual perversions. A few examples would be “don’t have sex with your sister,” “don’t have sex with your mother,” “don’t have sex with your daughter-in-law,” “don’t have sex with animals,” etc. Now, the whole logic of the “Christian homosexuals’” position rests on the assumption that the commandment in Leviticus against gay sex applies only to those who are not in a “committed, loving relationship.” However, this reasoning can ultimately be used against them.
Here’s a question that deals a knockout punch to their argument: If the command against homosexuality doesn’t apply to those in a “committed, loving relationship,” then why can’t that same logic be used for the other sexually-related commands? As in, if a brother and sister love one another and get “married” to each other, so to speak, then why can’t they have sex? And please don’t say “because they could give birth to a mentally or physically handicapped baby,” because my argument goes even further than brother and sister. What about two brothers? Or two sisters? Or even a mother and her grown daughter?! How about a father and his grown son?! How far are these “Christian homosexuals” going to take their logic? You see, if one’s going to use the “love argument” to allow gay sex, then they’re also allowing incest. It only follows naturally from that kind of reasoning.
Hopefully, you can at least see what’s wrong with a mom having sexual relations with her daughter. If you can’t, then my friend I’m afraid you are beyond any human’s help at this point. Only God could bring you back to the real world, and I’m sure He’s already been trying for some time.
To me, the entire argument proposed by these so-called “Christian homosexuals” is simply immature. It reminds me of a funny analogy that perfectly describes their reasoning. Imagine there’s this family, which consists of a mom, dad and two young boys. The mom and dad go out to dinner, leaving their two boys at home alone. Before they leave, Dad says to the boys, “Now you two behave while we’re gone. Don’t play football in the house.” The boys are disappointed, and sulk around for a bit.
Eventually the older boy says to the younger, “You know, Dad only told us not to play football because he doesn’t want us to break anything. So lets go ahead and play, but we’ll just make sure that nothing can get broken.” And so the two begin their game, and an hour later Mom and Dad come home to find them relaxing during half-time, with not one thing broken in the whole house. Dad, with a look on his face that seems to say “What the %&$#?!?!” marches up to the two boys and demands to know why they’re playing football when he expressly forbade it. Grinning like the Chestshire Cat, his older son says, “Dad, we knew you only told us not to play because you didn’t want us to break anything. So we’ve been really careful, and made sure nothing could get broken!” Well, needless to say, those two boys will soon become very familiar with the concept of “being grounded.”
The point is, those two boys had no right to play football in the house, even if they thought they were eliminating the reason for their Dad’s command. They disobeyed their father’s rules, and deserve to be punished. It’s the same thing with gay sex. We don’t have to understand why God prohibits it. He just does. And this brings me to my next point against the gay rights activists. They say that Jesus wasn’t all about “don’t do this, and don’t do that,” but instead that love is the foundation of all of God’s laws. In arguing this, they clearly reveal that they know next to nothing about Jesus. Matthew 22:34-40 says the following: “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, challenged him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
As you can see, the gay rights activists are correct when they say that Jesus was “all about love,” but they’re gravely mistaken about where that love needs to be directed. According to Jesus, our primary focus in life needs to be to love God (not each other) with our entire being – body, mind and soul. Any action or thought that goes against this commandment must be avoided. Now you may be wondering, “How do we love God? After all, He’s not physically here with us. Should we simply dedicate a large portion of our time to worshipping Him?” Well, that’s not really how Jesus said we should love God. Worshipping Him is good, but it’s not the fullest way we can show our Love to Him. In another verse, John 14:15, Jesus says that, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” (Emphasis mine) We must make sure to obey the commandment to love God above all else before we can we look to the second command, which is to “love our neighbors as ourselves.”
Therefore, we are not allowed to show any act of love towards our neighbors if that act doesn’t meet the requirements of the first and greatest commandment. Now, that situation is relatively rare, because almost all acts of love that we show to our friends and family meet the first commandment. Gay sex is one of those exceptions, however. Sure, you can argue that gay sex can be a way to show somebody else that you love them. In that sense, non-promiscuous gay sex would be fulfilling the second commandment. But it violates the first and greatest commandment because Jesus has commanded us not to engage in gay sex, per Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:27, and other verses like them.
Well, I’ve spent a lot of time on the subject of gay sexual acts and why they’re wrong, but there’s one more point concerning the gay rights activists’ position that needs to be discussed, and that’s gay marriage. To be perfectly frank, I am opposed to gay marriage (although not gay civil unions – I’ll discuss that later). I will spend considerably less time writing about it, however, because the biblical evidence against it is far weaker than the evidence against gay sexual acts. Throughout the Bible one will not find any passage forbidding the practice of joining two persons of the same gender in marriage. Nonetheless, this fact cannot be used to support gay marriage, because there are many evil acts that are not expressly prohibited in the Bible (such as suicide). Not only that, but we must also consider that the whole concept of gay marriage is a modern invention, and thus couldn’t have been covered in the Bible because it didn’t exist then.
My case against gay marriage is a simple one. First and foremost, marriage is one of the most important and meaningful institutions that God has created, and if He allowed same-sex marriages, I’m sure He would have mentioned it. Instead, however, we find the opposite is true. Not only is He silent about it in the Bible, but He expressly prohibits gay sex. Now I know marriage isn’t all about sex, but come on – it doesn’t make sense to allow gay marriage while prohibiting gay sex. One of the special things about marriage is that it opens up that sacred marital bed to the couple.
My second point against gay marriage is that it violates the “Safe Side Principle.” Simply put, Christians should always ensure that their actions are not sinful. For the most part, this is easy, because most sins are obvious to us. However, there are some things that fall into that “gray area,” and we can’t be sure whether they’re sinful or not. In those cases, the true Christian should always (and I mean, always) “stick to the safe side,” and choose whichever side is least likely to be sin. After all, if we (as in, us Christians) love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind, (per Jesus’ greatest commandment) we shouldn’t even hesitate to do whatever we can to avoid sin. Immediately, we can apply this principle to several major issues in the world today, such as abortion, euthanasia, etc. The “Safe Side Principle” is one that all Christians should adopt – it would save us a lot of division, grief and sin.
Now, as I said earlier, although I am opposed to gay marriage, I am not opposed to gay civil unions. If two men or two women who truly love one another want to live together, then they should be afforded the same legal and financial benefits that heterosexual couples receive. There are, of course, two conditions to this: One is that this union cannot be referred to as a “marriage” or be fully equated with it, and two is that sexual acts between the couple are obviously still prohibited. There are many hints and allusions in the Bible prohibiting gay marriage, but not gay civil unions, however.
Well, that essentially concludes this essay. There’s only two more miscellaneous things I’d like to cover: One is the definition of “homophobia,” and two is a question I once received in an email, and the answer I gave for it. First off is homophobia. All too often nowadays, we hear people refer to anyone who opposes the gay lifestyle as “bigots,” “fascists,” or “homophobes.” The only purpose this serves is to deride and incite the people whom these words are directed to, and those who use these terms carelessly are, in my opinion, extremely immature. We Christians do not oppose the gay lifestyle out of fear or disgust, but because we honestly believe it to be morally wrong and against our Creator. Homophobia, like all the other “phobias,” should only refer to the irrational fear of homosexuals, not to those individuals who simply oppose it on moral grounds. Calling people names is childish.
Now, here’s the question I was emailed a while ago, along with my answer to it:
- Q: Why is gay sex so "obviously wrong"? Exactly what about it offends god? Why is it against nature? I'm not Christian, so while I'm willing to discuss texts in the bible I'm not going to take "Because the bible says so" as an answer. God is supposed to be infinitely just, and thus he must have some reason for decreeing something for a sin. I agree with him when he says theft is wrong, I agree with him when he says murder is wrong. Both those things hurt other people. But gay sex? What is the harm? And hence where is the sin?
- A: First, to clear up a definition of a word I used: "nature," as I use it, is the way the whole world would function (people, animals) if sin had not entered the equation. Basically, homosexuality is against "nature" because in my mind it would not have existed in Eden, and will not exist in the New Earth (Heaven) - no marriage or sex will, actually. It offends God because it is not at all the way He designed sex or marriage. Think about. Imagine that you are an expert in mechanics, and build yourself a robot that is so advanced it is just as alive and smart as humans. You tell this robot that, if he functions correctly and does what he is made to do, then you will give him all your love and will make his life as happy as possible. But if he functions improperly (i.e., begins to love and serve the cat more than you), then you will have him and the cat removed from the household to live alone (in which case the robot can still love and serve the cat, but the cat can't give him anywhere near the happiness that you gave him).
- In this analogy, your household represents "Heaven," you represent God, the robot represents mankind, and the cat simply represents any person/animal/being/thing that would cause us to sin if we chose it over God (like a homosexual partner). You see? If you picture yourself as God, then surely you can see how God would be offended when the creatures He made chose to disobey Him and love other things or persons more than Him? I mean, He made us, so He has a right to tell us how we should "function." ...God's saying, "Look, do want to love your homosexual partner, or Me? You can't have both." The "harm," as you put it, is that it's against how God created us.
Thank you for reading this essay, and I hope you check out some of my other work. My email address is here. If you have any questions you’d like to ask me, or any comments or suggestions for me, please feel free to send me a polite email. I will not likely respond to hate mail. God bless, and thanks again.
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- All Scriptural quotations in this essay are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.