Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lucia Do we redefine Christianity so that homosexuality becomes a valid expression of love?

Cameron Slater, on his Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, wrote a post last month about a young man, Matthew Vines, who argued that the traditional interpretation of Bible on homosexuality was wrong. The post linked to a You-Tube clip of over an hour in which Matthew articulated his arguments, and listening to him, I have to admit I was moved. Here was a young man who was in pain, and who was searching for answers, and had spent two years studying the Bible looking for those answers.

However, I stopped listening about 15 minutes in, because Matthew Vines, in my opinion, had made two fundamental errors in his interpretation of Scripture at that point. All his other arguments rested on these two errors and therefore it seemed pointless for me to continue. Thankfully, after investigating the link given, I found a transcript of Matthew's hour long presentation, which helped enormously in understanding his arguments and being able to counter them.  Here's the first argument where he makes a mistake in logic:

The first problem is this: In Matthew 7, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warns against false teachers, and he offers a principle that can be used to test good teaching from bad teaching. By their fruit, you will recognize them, he says. Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Good teachings, according to Jesus, have good consequences. That doesn’t mean that following Christian teaching will or should be easy, and in fact, many of Jesus’s commands are not easy at all – turning the other cheek, loving your enemies, laying down your life for your friends. But those are all profound acts of love that both reflect God’s love for us and that powerfully affirm the dignity and worth of human life and of human beings. Good teachings, even when they are very difficult, are not destructive to human dignity. They don’t lead to emotional and spiritual devastation, and to the loss of self-esteem and self-worth. But those have been the consequences for gay people of the traditional teaching on homosexuality. It has not borne good fruit in their lives, and it’s caused them incalculable pain and suffering. If we’re taking Jesus seriously that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, then that should cause us to question whether the traditional teaching is correct.

If we want to take this concept further, what is the fruit from traditional sexuality? Answer, children. From the love of a man and a woman come the blessing of children - even if there is no marriage. But, there is no blessing of children from sex between two of the same sex - it is sterile. But what God does for marriage is provide His Grace for the husband and wife to be good parents and stay together. Of course, Grace can be resisted and can be lost through mortal sin (ie pornography, contraception, adultery, abortion), but it is there for those who take advantage of it, and the result is that male/female unions are far more stable if joined together in monogamous, non-contracepted marriage.

Good teachings can be destructive to human dignity if those teachings are resisted, if the help that Jesus offers us to bear them is resisted. It's like having a wound that you refuse to let anyone tend - it's going to fester, and then you are going to feel really bad. Traditional teaching is the treatment for wounds that people have.  Dealing with wounds is always going to hurt, but it's far worse if you redefine the wound to not exist.
The second problem that has already presented itself with the traditional interpretation comes from the opening chapters of Genesis, from the account of the creation of Adam and Eve. This story is often cited to argue against the blessing of same-sex unions: in the beginning, God created a man and a woman, and two men or two women would be a deviation from that design. But this biblical story deserves closer attention. In the first two chapters of Genesis, God creates the heavens and the earth, plants, animals, man, and everything in the earth. And He declares everything in creation to be either good or very good – except for one thing. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” And yes, the suitable helper or partner that God makes for Adam is Eve, a woman. And a woman is a suitable partner for the vast majority of men – for straight men. But for gay men, that isn’t the case. For them, a woman is not a suitable partner. And in all of the ways that a woman is a suitable partner for straight men—for gay men, it’s another gay man who is a suitable partner. And the same is true for lesbian women. For them, it is another lesbian woman who is a suitable partner. But the necessary consequence of the traditional teaching on homosexuality is that, even though gay people have suitable partners, they must reject them, and they must live alone for their whole lives, without a spouse or a family of their own. We are now declaring good the very first thing in Scripture that God declared not good: for the man to be forced to be alone. And the fruit that this teaching has borne has been deeply wounding and destructive.

Well, women are difficult, I'll grant him that. Not only do men have to put up with our off days, they need to take care of any children we might have. There's no free sex and we tend to get very upset if they sleep with anyone else.  Unfortunately, our desires are not perfect as a result of concupiscence, while as with Adam and Eve, we see the ideal (before the Fall, of course).

Matthew Vines, meet Patrick Einheber. He's quite a bit older (Matthew is 21, Patrick is 37) and therefore is able to offer more in the way of experience:
A major part of my struggle as a Catholic who experiences same-sex attraction has been the difficulty of wrestling with my desire for the goodness of love, relationship and pleasure that seems to be denied me by the teachings of the Church about homosexual relationships. After all, aren't these things good and aren't we all entitled to them? Why would the Church, or more importantly, God, wish to deprive some of us of these things? The answer, although it may not seem obvious at first glance, is that they don't wish to deprive us of any goodness at all and in fact wish for our perfect happiness. So how then can we understand these apparently disparate things? I found the solution to this problem in a consideration of good and evil themselves, as the Church and the Bible describe them, and what it is that the good God wishes to give to us in our creation as sexual beings. It's not a simple answer, but it is a consistent, meaningful and beautiful one.

I would strongly recommend that any one who is interested in this subject read more: Same-sex attraction and the choice for the greatest good

Related links: The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality ~ Whale Oil Beef Hooked
The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality ~ Matthew Vines

5 comment(s):

dad4justice said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lucia Maria said...

Hi Dad,

I had to delete your comment. You just need to tone it down a bit.

dad4justice said...

Sorry but the Holy Spirit does not hold back when revival is so close.

I will refrain from commenting on the your blog shortly, as I will not have time for such rubbish. Delete what you like whenever, ban me I don't care, whatever, yawn, yawn.

Kind regards, no offense intended.

I.M Fletcher said...

Also, check out this testimony by Michael Glatze - once a rising star in the homosexual mocement, and editor of YGA, Young Gay America magazine. He became Christian a while ago. Some snippets below -


It became clear to me, as I really thought about it – and really prayed about it – that homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within. We cannot see the truth when we’re blinded by homosexuality.

We believe, under the influence of homosexuality, that lust is not just acceptable, but a virtue. But there is no homosexual “desire” that is apart from lust.

In denial of this fact, I’d fought to erase such truth at all costs, and participated in the various popular ways of taking responsibility out of human hands for challenging the temptations of lust and other behaviors. I was sure – thanks to culture and world leaders – that I was doing the right thing.

Homosexuality allows us to avoid digging deeper, through superficiality and lust-inspired attractions – at least, as long as it remains “accepted” by law. As a result, countless miss out on their truest self, their God-given Christ-self.

[...]

In my experience, “coming out” from under the influence of the homosexual mindset was the most liberating, beautiful and astonishing thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.

Lust takes us out of our bodies, “attaching” our psyche onto someone else’s physical form. That’s why homosexual sex – and all other lust-based sex – is never satisfactory: It’s a neurotic process rather than a natural, normal one. Normal is normal – and has been called normal for a reason.

Abnormal means “that which hurts us, hurts normal.” Homosexuality takes us out of our normal state, of being perfectly united in all things, and divides us, causing us to forever pine for an outside physical object that we can never possess. Homosexual people – like all people – yearn for the mythical true love, which does actually exist. The problem with homosexuality is that true love only comes when we have nothing preventing us from letting it shine forth from within. We cannot fully be ourselves when our minds are trapped in a cycle and group-mentality of sanctioned, protected and celebrated lust.

God came to me when I was confused and lost, alone, afraid and upset. He told me – through prayer – that I had nothing at all to be afraid of, and that I was home; I just needed to do a little house cleaning in my mind.

I believe that all people, intrinsically, know the truth. I believe that is why Christianity scares people so much. It reminds them of their conscience, which we all possess.

Conscience tells us right from wrong and is a guide by which we can grow and become stronger and freer human beings. Healing from sin and ignorance is always possible, but the first thing anyone must do is get out of the mentalities that divide and conquer humanity.


Link - http://www.wnd.com/2007/07/42385/

[...]

Lucia Maria said...

Hi Fletch,

I think we have to be careful that it's lust every time, as the lust has to be directed somewhere and in this case the attraction is to a person of the same-sex.

I've just finished reading Out From Under which talked a bit about the author's confusion in this matter. It was only when she really felt comfortable in her femininity, that she found the masculine attractive.

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