One of the great mysteries of my youth was precisely which sins God hated the most. Although not all Christians are obsessed with what Dallas Willard calls “sin management”, it seems that most are. Now I am not sure exactly what Mr. Willard means by this phrase, but I do know what it meant growing up in the church.
It meant that you should obsessively moralize about every facet of your life and try to determine whether you are sinning or not. This included everything from what music you listen to, what books you read, what movies you watch, and all the way up to who your friends are. Basically sin management is designed to isolate you from anything non-Christian, all the while shaming you into trying to Out-Christian other Christians.
Now don’t get me wrong, I actually love Jesus, just not in that pointlessly religious way. I really like John Fugelsang’s tweet, excerpted below:
However this is not a post about Jesus, it is a post about whether or not Christians are justified in hating gays. Now I know that Christians will go on about hating the sin and loving the sinner, something I myself subscribed to for the longest time. The problem with that statement is that it is not said by Jesus, Paul, or any of the Apostles. It was actually said by St. Augustine of Hippo. Check out more info on that here. http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/who-said-love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin
So with all that being said let’s review the rules.
Rule 1 – The Bible says so: Christians, of all denominations, claim that they believe in the truth of the Bible, their sacred text. They also claim that all of their religious teachings and doctrines in some way derive from that book. So that if Christians are going to claim some moral rule or theological teaching they will ultimately need to find support for it in their scriptures.
Rule 2 – Interpretation is key: What the Bible says or does not say has to do with understanding the text in its original language, with regards to its actual audience, in the context of the society in which it was written, and also how the actual words are to be interpreted with regards to the correct theology
Rule 3 – There is no established universal, complete, undeniable, or always agreed upon method of theology: Christians also disagree with each other on the meaning of almost every passage in their sacred text because they cannot all agree on the proper theological method which would yield the right interpretations of their text. Some of these disagreements are rather petty, and some of these disagreements are what make the difference between the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant.
So now that we have reviewed the rules let me explain what I am going to do. There are several important passages in the Bible which deal with, what can be most simply defined as, homosexual acts. I intend to present an analysis of these passages in order to demonstrate that none of them condemns the practice, lifestyle, or personal identity of homosexuality within our current culture or even necessarily within these ancient cultures.
So yes, I am biased, but that is because of, yep you guessed it, Rule 3. If you don’t like what I am going to say odds are that you disagree with me because of rule 3. In which case, you should probably find some people who use the same theological playbook that you do so you can go back to hating the people you need to hate in order to feel good about yourself.
So yeah, this blog post is just a setup, but let me continue to set it up.
I will divide the biblical passages I want to discuss into 7 different categories, according to the following list.
- The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah
- The Old Testament Law
- Non-Christian Religious Homosexuality
- The argument about Nature
- Paul’s lists of sins
- The definition of marriage
- Homosexual Love and True Affection
That last one may raise some eyebrows, as if they all didn’t, but that last one is where I explain that the Bible has some positive things to say about homosexual love with some rather famous examples of certain biblical figures.
So the actual analysis will follow in my next post, but this should get things going.