My readers rarely ask easy questions. But I am committed to answering them all as best I can. Today I’m tackling a question about the Bible and homosexuality. It’s a long answer, so I will let it be my blog post for the day. I welcome your comments.
FAITH Q & A
Q: What does the Bible say about homosexuality? I have friends that are homosexuals that accepted Jesus as their Savior. Many say that all homosexuals will go to hell because it is stated clearly in the Bible that it is a sin. But what I am confused about is…don’t we all sin because none of us is Jesus Christ. I hope and pray that all of us that accepts Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, straight or gay, have eternal life. Please give me your thoughts on this.
A: In other times and places, as much as 3,000 years ago, men and women who believed in God wrote books about God. They wrote about the God they knew at that time, tried to address religious, cultural and political questions of their day, and left us with a rich collection of books (biblia) that continue to inform humanity’s faith in God.
Some have wanted to portray those books as actually written by God, not just about God, and to see their words as having supernatural authority, no matter what human history and science say. They have built a global franchise around Biblical literalism. To protect that franchise, they resist any attempt to recognize discoveries that call the Bible’s words into question. (Hence the battle over evolution vs. creationism.)
Then, armed with verses that they identify as God’s exact and eternal word on a subject, fundamentalists address a few issues that happen to matter to them. Homosexuality is one of those. At the same time, they ignore other issues that mattered greatly to the original authors but don’t happen to fit the fundamentalists’ preferences. Thus, they go to the mat over Leviticus 18.22 but ignore issues like women’s menstrual cycles and the inheritance of property, which mattered far more to the authors’ long-ago communities.
This is hypocrisy. It is using a few ancient words to win an argument and affirm a prejudice, while ignoring other, less convenient words on other subjects.
It is lazy. Wrestling with the profoundly complex and challenging issues of our day can’t be handled simply by proof-texting Scripture. Our ethical questions take more work than that.
It is also a denial of God. For Biblical literalism essentially states that God spoke once long ago and hasn’t had a fresh or differing word to say since then. That doesn’t square with the Bible’s own witness about God – which is filled with instances of God’s changing mind and direction – and it certainly doesn’t convey the dynamic, responsive, caring, passionate and courageous God we seek today.
The question, then, isn’t what does the Bible say about homosexuality? But, what do you say?