Defending Christendom against Homosexuality

With more states endorsing gay marriage, and Exodus, the major ex-gay ministry re-thinking ex-gay therapy, this topic is on evangelicals’ minds. One of the best books I’ve read on the topic was a book by StraightToJesusErzenTanya Erzen, an atheist, reporting on her one year of being embedded in a men’s ex-gay ministry outside of San Francisco.

Having been a part of ex-gay ministries, I was fascinated by her history and analysis. Although there were a few points I disagreed with her about, I found her analysis mostly spot on.

She said that the gay men who arrived for their one year residential program found great relief in being able to say out loud to their new church community that they were homosexually oriented, and working on becoming heterosexual. It was as relieving and hopeful to them as “coming out” is to a gay person who has been pretending they are not gay.

TanyaErzenShe outlined the psychological underpinnings of the program: Nicolosi’s and Moberly’s theory that the men had not bonded with their fathers at birth, felt rejected at a foundational level, and needed re-fathering. She said the program offered acceptance of homosexual feelings as symptomatic of the loss and need for father-bonding, and the program offered a close family feeling.

But ultimately Erzen said that of the 12 or so men that joined the program that year, only two to four maintained a somewhat heterosexual life after leaving the program.

She said the ex-gay ministries feel used by the larger evangelical church: that the evangelical church needs the ex-gay ministries to prove that gays can switch to straight and therefore the church can legitimately reject homosexuals from serving as ministers or holding office, and can refuse gay marriage ceremonies. But the church doesn’t really want to embrace the theology that ex-gay ministries bring with them: that people slowly heal, that homosexual feelings are part of a long list of temptations that we all have as we sit in the pews at church. The ex-gay men’s ministries kept saying, “we need heterosexual men to be friends and mentors to these ex-gay men.” And the larger evangelical church kept saying, “Yuck! Not us!” Erzen’s observation was that the larger evangelical church wanted to remain phobic both to gays and ex-gays.

The ex-gay ministries needed the larger evangelical church, and the larger evangelical church needed the ex-gay ministries, but their mutual communication was distant and disjointed.

CHurchLady

Many evangelicals remain locked into a defensive position about homosexuality, valiantly making sure their state does not slide into the camp of being pro-gay marriage. And so we have the endless stereotype of the shrill evangelical church lady pronouncing anathema upon the evil society that welcomes gays. This is the stereotype that most young evangelicals are fleeing.

An Assembly of God pastor (in his 60s) pointed out to me last week that the apostle Paul said our job is not to purify the world (or else we would have to leave the world), our job is to purify the congregation.

And why are evangelicals so upset about gays? A generation ago the church was upset about sex before marriage. Two generations ago the church was upset about divorce and remarriage.

My question: Does the church have a realistic way to support young people to be celibate until marriage? Does the church have a realistic way to support couples who are struggling such that they don’t get divorced? The answer in my mind is “No!” We are still expecting young people to go to college until 22 years old, then establish a career path and then get married at 25, all as virgins. Not realistic. Statistics indicate that only one per cent of the population is virgin at 25 years old, and those that are virgins are not the mentally healthy ones, able to withstand stress.

Church membership in today’s evangelical churches is a haphazard affair, that lasts about three years (according to a local pastor) before the member moves on to another better church; not the kind of relationship that engenders strong mentoring relationships that can mitigate divorce. Evangelical churches are not constructed in such a way that they can have any major impact on a person’s daily life, especially not a person’s sex life.

I was counseling a couple this past week who had an older couple from their Pentecostal church come into their home and mentor them for a day. They felt so accepted (not judged) that their marriage immediately improved. They felt like they were walking on air. This happens about once every 15 years in my counseling experience.

condomsDoes the church realistically support young people to be celibate until age 25? No, and I believe this accounts for 80% of young people leaving the church. Does the church realistically support couples so that they don’t divorce? No, and I believe this accounts for 10% of membership loss in evangelical churches. With 25% of evangelical pastors currently having an affair with a church member, how can they support couples considering divorce? It is hypocritical for the evangelical church to tell the state to deny marriage rights to gays, while ignoring their own heterosexual members’ behavior that the church believes is sinful.

Does the church support ex-gays? No, and they need to re-examine their theology such that they come up with something that reflects more of Christ in their attitudes toward gay people.

My conclusion: The evangelical church needs to focus on supporting and mentoring their members and stop making judgmental statements on the six o’clock news.

 

 

 

 

 

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About Mark

I was raised in the conservative non-institutional churches of Christ and attended Florida College in Tampa, Florida. I served as a minister for 8 years in the non-institutional churches of Christ, and 4 years at a mainline church of Christ in Vermont.
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35 Responses to Defending Christendom against Homosexuality

  1. garycummings says:

    Mark,
    This is a great post. The Church-the Universal Church of all believers in Jesus- needs to steel itself against the homosexual offensive in clear, Biblical, and loving ways. It is also hypocritical when the church does NOT has its heterosexual stance together, to condemn gays. The church should model the true sexuality and marriage behavior. But it does not. The divorce rate in evangelical churches, even the Church of Christ, is MORE than the divorce rate of non-religious people. What does this mean? I am not condemning divorced and remarried people, as I am one.
    My first wife, a woman raised all her life in the Church of Christ, abandoned our marriage when I left the Church of Christ. I had never met so much hatred and hostility from people as I did from the Church of Christ.

    Homosexuality behavior is condemned throughout the Bible. I do not believe there is a true homosexual orientation. People, both men and women, are lured, enticed, seduced,or pressured into homosexual behavior, usually after a life of abuse or neglect from a parent or other family member. These people never developed a strong sense of their own sexual identity because of this or other factors. Gays actively seek these people out and attempt to convince them they are truly gay. “Just try some gay sex, and see if you like it.” “Try it, maybe you will see that you really are gay.”

    From 1971 to 1972, the last year of my Alternative Service as a Conscientious Objector, I was assigned the job as a janitor at a counseling center in Dallas, Texas. Little did I know that this was a gay counseling center. It was this or prison, as I lost my first CO job reporting abuse at state hospital. I took the job figuring that God has a purpose in placing me here. I was right. I got to see and learn the sordid world of the homosexual establishment in Dallas, Texas. The first thing that happened was that when they found out I was divorced, several gay men took their turn trying to seduce me. I said, as respectfully as I could, I am not gay and have zero interest in having sex with men. I told them that I was a Christian and a minister. They left me alone after that. A couple of them complimented me for working there as a CO. One of them told me he wavered about whether homosexuality was right or not. He said, even,if it were wrong, that the church community did not treat men and women struggling with this sin in a humane way. I had no comment about that, as I tried to listen and learn.

    While there, I kept my eyes open, and was basically silent and did my work of cleaning and painting. The counseling center actually did some good for the gay community, by providing temporary housing and assistance for young men on the street. A few of these young men were taken out of abusive relationships. That year I saw that the gay world was:
    -highly promiscuous. Fidelity to a partner was zero.
    -in a same sex couple, one always assumed a male role, and the other a female role.
    -there was a lot of physical abuse taking place.
    -extreme jealousy was the norm.
    -older men did try to recruit younger men, many of whom were teenagers.
    -some gay men, not all, were pedophiles.

    I reread the Bible in relation to homosexuality, and understood that there was NO ontological “given” that homosexuality was right in the eyes of God. Scripture, both Old and New Testament condemned homosexuality as a perversion of God’s creation- one man and one woman.
    Jesus affirmed that the original couple and human sexuality created by God was one man and one woman.

    Recently, I have had to deal with with a case of an 18 year old having sex with a 14 year old girl in his youth group. He conceived a baby with her, while he was the “un-official, non-salaried” leader of the youth group. He and I got into an argument over politics, and he asked me: “:Where is your God?” because I had voted for President Obama. He said this to me while was having sex with this
    underage girl. He also said all the youth thought he was very spiritual. I did not find out about this till nine months later, when the young girl gave birth. This young man missed a statutory rape charge by four months. He had to be at least 4 months older for a charge to be made against him. His family blamed the girl, as did the church. He was just told to not do it again. He left that church and got a job as a dishwasher, then started attending another church across town. Then he made friends with the pastor;s daughter. The pastor felt sorry for him, and let him live in a house on the church property, and let him be a youth leader at the church, along with the pastor;s daughter. Now this young man is going to married to the pastor’s daughter, and is listed as a young director along with the pastor’s daughter. He is salaried now. To me this is a bad picture of how the church failed to handle a bad sexual situation in a church. It was just ignored. The family of the girl adopted the baby, and the young man signed over his parental rights. Then they left that church, and town as well. The young man never received any consequences for his actions, except to be taken into a Christian band, run by his uncle. Now he is a paid youth minister at another church, and may one day be a pastor of that church..

    The church has failed to teach its people about marriage and sexual responsibility. Christian women feel free to abandon the marriage for “religious” reasons. Rape of underage girls takes place, and the men get off on technicalities. Pastors have affairs with women in the church, and when confronted blame the women for being “sensuous”

    I have been happily married for 33 years now (as of next week). Our goal together is to be instruments in God;s hands to help other people. .My wife is a trained Christian counselor.
    I just work with my hands as a Registered Nurse. We help each other help other people.

    • RA says:

      Okay, I’ll bite at the religious debate tackle. 🙂

      1) I disagree that the Bible speaks “clearly” against homosexuality. I’ll wait for you to post particular assertions instead of trying to preempt them.

      2) You seem to appeal to Natural Law for the sinfulness of homosexuality if I read between the lines correctly. I believe the idea of Natural Law has some logical faults.

      A) Natural Law depends on God’s intent for creation. This is something we don’t know. Just because the creation account(s) depicts the beginning in a certain way doesn’t mean we have a glimpse into God’s intended purposes. True, we see what God creates, but that doesn’t mean we see his ultimate intentions. We can only surmise at those. What did God intend for the appendix? The jury’s still out.

      B) For Natural Law to really be a law, it must be pervasive in its scope, applied equally to all creation. But it’s only really appealed to in sexual contexts. The problem with that approach is that it ignores God’s intent for the rest of creation. If we applied it as a universal law, then we would be breaking it by using the penicillin-mold for pharmaceutical purposes instead of allowing it to simply decompose matter. But if someone suggests maybe God intended for penicillin to be used as a drug, then we run back into the problem listed under letter A.

      And suppose we allow the Law to stand despite the lack of all-inclusive scope, we (rightfully) condemn sexual conduct between adults and thirteen year-olds despite the fact that the body is physically capable of such conduct at that age. If we insist on Natural Law, then we must explain why this is an exception since, naturally, all mechanics are in working order, despite the context of a “marriage”. But if we (rightfully, in my opinion) insist that such a relationship is immoral, then we’ve made an exception to Natural Law. And by definition, laws must have no exceptions. Therefore, we’ve already showed we’ve applied the Natural Law selectively, thus we’ve violated its status as a law, rendering it outside of a universal rule.

      C) Natural Law just isn’t biblically based, in my humble opinion. It’s something we’ve read into the text. Can we find evidence for it? Sure. But to do so, we have to operate on the belief that it’s true before we ever start reading the text, and I don’t think that’s the best exegetical approach for interpreting the scripture.

      You appealed to the account in Matthew to prove that Jesus was against homosexuality. If I remember correctly, that was in the context of divorce, and to widen the scope of that meaning would be to add to Christ’s intent and add a burden on the text which I believe it cannot bear. It seems to me to be an argument from silence, really.

      Sorry this is so long, Mark. Just thought a long argument deserved a reply to address each issue presented.

      I really like your blog, being CoC myself. 🙂

      • garycummings says:

        Jesus said “God made them male and female”. Jesus is no liar, as He is God. Natural law and physiology yield a teleology of heterosexuality. Our bodies are made as they are meant to be: male or female (there are genetic aberrations to this rule). A penis and vagina are designed for each other. It is a simple fit of physiology and design.

      • RA says:

        Mr. Cummings, again, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to respond. Based on your comment below, you may not acknowledge my response, but I thought it would only be respectful of your opinion to give a reply.

        No disagreement with what Christ said. I’m totally behind you on that. Also, it’s true that male and females can use their God-given gentitalia to create children. But that says nothing of inherent morality within the act or the parts, and it speculates at the intentions of God to say that any deviation of that act is not what God intended. Truth be known, we just don’t know.

        Furthermore, see my point from letter A. Just knowing what God created tells us nothing of intent. I can create a fire in the middle of the woods. But the uses for that fire can vary, and if you didn’t know my intent, how could you tell the purpose for that fire?

        As to Natural Law, please help me to understand your defense based on the issues I see with such a theology, as noted above.

        Also, I feel the argument about Christ’s words are applied out of context. His words concern divorce, and the context of that verse confirms that. To stretch its meaning to say Christ pointed to Natural Law in an argument homosexuality is to lay an interpretation on that verse which I believe it cannot bear. Good hermeneutics and exegesis require us to keep a verse in context, yes? To take away more, in my opinion, is to read prior conceptions into the text. Christ, having the authority of being God’s Son, told us that God intended, from creation, for there to be no divorce, but we screwed that up. We can’t go beyond that. To do so is to create an argument for silence.

        I understand if you do not reply. I appreciate the time you gave to my ideas thus far.

  2. There are about 400 passages in the Bible about slavery. In some of these it is even regulated, thus implying divine sanction. It would seem there would have been plenty of opportunities for at least one of the inspired writers to be against it. Yet, today we all know that it is wrong and evil even though the Bible does not come right out and say it. So, what about homosexuality? There are only six or eight verses that mention it. An yet we are so certain these are immutable, timeless, absolute and without condition or subject to interpretation. This, even though some of them are right next to the ones about the abomination of eating shellfish and mixing clothing material. If one reflects on it, it will be noted that Christianity has always changed and adapted when experience and conditions have taught that it is best to do so.

    • garycummings says:

      Slavery was regulated throughout the Bible. The slavery of the OT did give some rights to the slave, moreso than the surrounding cultures. God did take the Hebrew children OUT of slavery and that was a powerful paradigm for the African-American Church in America. Paul’s purpose was not to end slavery, but to expand the Kingdom of God. Philemon does overthrow the whole concept of slavery when Paul says to welcome Onesimus back as a brother. William Wilburforce led the fight through political means in England and the abolitionists did do here. The people of God overcame Human sacrifice, slavery, and war in some parts of the church. Sadly not all.

      There are ceremonial laws in the OT about shellfish and etc.which are temporary in that covenant, then there are moral laws against murder, adultery, theft, homosexuality The ceremonial laws and dietary laws were abolished in the NT, but not the moral laws. . Homosexuality has always been immoral in both the OT and NT, and will be immoral till the Lord returns. There is nothing good about homosexuality. It is wrong and people are gay will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

  3. BH says:

    Here is my opinion. Many of your seminary teachers don’t even believe the Bible and so your seminarians come out of school not believing it either. You ought to see some of the stuff you find in the literature coming from these places.

    I’m not even Christian and have joined a different faith tradition but think it is a scandal you Christians tolerate such.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      Many seminaries tolerate homosexuality. They brag about how tolerant they are. I went to one of those-Earlham School of Religion. (Quaker). Now in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Eastern Mennonite University, which had a ban on gay professors, is now asking the community what they should od in hiring practices. They already know because God has spoken in HIs Word-the Bible. Homosexuality is a sin which keeps a person out of the Kingdom of Heaven. Professors should not be allowed to spread their ethical poison buy approving, welcoming, or affirming homosexuality.

      • BH says:

        Forget about homosexuality just for a minute. You have professed seminary professors who don’t even believe in God!

  4. garycummings says:

    Yes, there are some. Some are agnostic. Some you can’t pin down.
    This is another discussion.

  5. stevdor75 says:

    “With 25% of evangelical pastors currently having an affair with a church member, how can they support couples considering divorce?”

    Wow! One out of four! That is amazing. What is the source for that number? I just cannot grasp that. If it really is so, it needs to be named and people counseled.

    • Mark says:

      There are a couple of sources for that info. One is the Francis Schaeffer institute, and the other is the Barna Research Group. http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/?articleid=36562

      • garycummings says:

        I think the number is right, probably a little higher. One thing Jay Adams has said is that pastors should not privately counsel church members of the opposite gender. This would cut down a lot on the affair rate, if there are rational safeguards.
        Other statistics are equally uncomfortable. The divorce rate for evangelicals is higher than general society. Most men peruse porn. 30% of evangelical women have had abortions. The moral life of church teens is about the same as the non-churched.. The church is in terrible shape and is on life support.

  6. BH says:

    I still think the base cause of your problems is that many ministers and church goers simply do not believe the Bible. You have ministers from the pulpit get up and tell their flocks things like Adam and Eve, Noahs flood, and Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt were just myths taught to make such and such moral point to the sheeple living back then and nothing more. And how in the world certain denominations can say there is nothing wrong with ordaining homosexuals or even going so far as to officiate gay weddings is beyond me. I think they know the Bible says this type of stuff is wrong but they lie and say it is okay anyway counting on the average person being ignorant of the Bible or simply not caring.

    • garycummings says:

      BH, you have a valid point. The trouble is that the worst racists and most pro-war folks say the Bible is God’s Word. The majority of the CHurches of Christ went along with the Jim Crow laws. Now, as you say many “modern” preachers do not believe the Bible is God’s Words. Part of the reason for this is theological liberalism. They use the same religious language, but have different meaning., who is a pastor in a Preb. Church, told me the other day “Of course we know that the Genesis Flood story was copied from The Epic of Gilgamesh. He is a patient of mine, so I am prohibited from discussing theology..Another problem is Neo-Orthodoxy, which teaches that the Bible is not the Word of God, but contains the Word of God. This allows us to cherrypick what we want the Bible to say. I actually had a COC professor tell the class that and he was very popular. Over a life time of preaching, I am sure he influenced a lot of students who later became
      leaders, preachers and church elders.

    • stevdor75 says:

      Many of the people you are talking about grew up in devout and very religious families. Their love of Jesus, people and scripture guided them to pursue the ministry and deeper studies of the Bible, history, biblical languages and associated fields. And some of them arrived at a different place, theologically, than the one they were accidentally born into and inherited. Many of them know the Bible very well and the 2000 year history of Christianity’s many changes and meanderings.

      • BH says:

        Back around 15 years or so ago I was moderating the Internet Infidels discussion board. One of the other moderators and I would private message each other often. He mentioned he lived in England and he had a cousin who was a bishop in the Catholic Church. One day they had a chance to meet and eat together and catch up on good times. Religion came up and the guy on the infidel board told his bishop cousin he was an atheist to which bishop cousin said he was probably right but stayed in the church anyway because it does help the poor and he was too old to do anything else.

        I do not deny that the average church goer was lied to about a lot of things—for example there are a lot more to textual variants in the Bible than simple spelling errors, and there has been good cases made for textual changes or forgery among some of the so called early christian writings or histories. And it may very well be a lot of the Bible was borrowed from ideas the non-Jews had. But it is just flat out dishonest to stay a preacher and keep preaching if you do not believe your own holy text.

  7. garycummings says:

    Yep, and I do too. My conclusions are different than the COC, because they do not believe the Word of God, just their cultic version. Being religious is not a test of fidelity. It was the religious people who crucified Jesus.

  8. BH says:

    garycummings,

    When you were Church of Christ were you nonsunday? And if so did you ever know a Lester Hathaway?

    • BH says:

      meant to say non sunday school.

    • garycummings says:

      Yes, I was Non-Sunday School. The Church I served as a minister was NSS. I never knew a Lester Hathaway. I attended ACU fr my BA and the first part of my graduate work, and eventually got an MS from ACU. The woman I married was an NI Church of Christ person. We both met at ACU.

  9. garycummings says:

    There are textual variants, but none which challenge any doctrine of the Christian faith. Most are “additions” to the text found in the Textus Receptus or the so-called “Received Text”.. Manuscript history and variants is interesting. Even this is not the point here. We are talking about homosexuality and recovery from that. I have worked with gays for the past 40 years in the health care field. They are as competent as anybody else. I do not believe in an innate homosexual orientation. God made us “male or female”. It is a lifestyle, which is practiced leads to an experiential homosexual orientation. That can be overcome by faith in Jesus Christ and fidelity to the Kingdom of God. That is my opinion, based on my education and experience.

  10. Greg says:

    Thanks for this post, and comments. I’m afraid the harsh light of science is going to be what eventually changes what the majority of the faithful believe about the issue of homosexuality.

    As has already been written here, the scriptures are clear: homosexuality is a sin and those who participate in it, bound for torment. To teach anything different is to ignore what the Bible clearly says. As a former c of C preacher myself, I preached many such sermons.

    The problem is, science is also clear: homosexuality is not an aberration, or a choice, or a mental illness or in any way unnatural to humans. On the contrary, homosexuality is found in most mammalian species in just about the same percentage as it is found in humans. There’s nothing unusual about it.

    It’s no surprise then why nearly all ex-gay ministries eventually fail in their quest to change a person’s sexual orientation. What the well-meaning folks working in those ministries don’t seem to understand (or refuse to see) is that when it comes to homosexuality, there’s nothing to cure. To assert that it is a result of abuse or a lack of “fathering” etc., muddies the waters. Homosexuality happens even without those “causes”. To try to “cure” that which is normal in human sexuality is doomed to failure.

    I’m not suggesting that you can’t get some homosexuals to not live a gay lifestyle, because you most certainly can. Like the many good, closeted homosexual Christians I’ve known over the years, it is quite possible for a gay man to marry and have children with a straight woman. But that doesn’t mean he’s straight. It means he is “making a choice” that goes against his true nature.

    So once again Christians are faced with the unenviable position of having to believe what the Bible says about a topic verses what science proves. The origin of the universe and the evolution of life, are just two examples of scientific finds that have the potential to shake the faithful to their core, because they directly call into question what Christians believe about creation, the fall of man, and the nature of sin.

    In the end, the church isn’t going to “win” the issue of homosexuality any more than they will “win” any issue of scientific fact that is contrary to scripture. The younger generation of the church already knows this and has no problem with it; they’ve already made up their mind on the homosexual issue (hint: it isn’t the traditional one).

    Better to face facts: Evolution happened (and IS happening), the universe is billions of years old, man is more closely related to chimps than chimps are to gorillas, and the Bible may not be the book we once believed it was.

    • garycummings says:

      The DSM III used to list homsexuality as a mental disorder. They are right. What changed that thinking is a change on philosophy, and not science. That was just a deliberate act, and then it is quoted as proof that homosexuality is normal. I have a MS degree and have worked in healthcare for 49 years. I have seen the destructive power of homosexuality. It is evil, wrong and perverted. There is no good thing about LBGTQ philosophy. God has spoken in HIs word, and I will stay there,as the judgement of God has been verified by my experience and observations. The Bible is God’s inerrant, infallible Word of God.

      • RA says:

        I appreciate your background, Mr. Cummings. But mightn’t so much of an LGBT person’s struggle represent the reaction to society’s condemnation and ostracism? And might the self-destructive behaviors you’ve noted arise from said rejection instead of the orientation itself?

        To clarify, are you a homosexual? With all due respect, it’s not terribly fair to speak on behalf of someone whose shoes you’ve never had to or never had the capability of traveling in. Who knows your past experience’s better and what you feel better? You or an outside observer?

        Also, calling someone evil and perverted is not likely to win a human being to Christ. In fact, it usually pushes someone further away.

        Just some intellectual fodder for pontification. I enjoy a good discussion. 🙂

      • garycummings says:

        RA, I am not homosexual. Just a fact.I disagree as respectfully as I can with all of your assertions. Evil does not like to be exposed as evil. You seem to pontificate on the goodness of something God calls abomination or sin. I have no further reason to communicate with you. People have to repent, that is change the way they think and act about sin and turn to Jesus. I do not have to be a sadist to know sadism is immoral. I do not have to be a mass-murderer to know that murder is immoral. This is not a “good discussion”.

      • RA says:

        I hope I’m doing this right. There wasn’t way to directly reply to you, Mr. Cummings, so I hope you can read this.

        Where I would disagree is the basis on which you build your argument.

        You call it an abomination to God. I disagree that the word abomination has the same context as the Hebrew word used in scripture. The word toevah, the word translated into Latin as abomination, was widely used in terms of idolatry or something outside what is ritually pure, and the context in which the levitical verses that you reference are couched seem to denote proscriptions against idolatrous worship. The levitical writer of that passage can’t seem to untangle the action from idolatrous practice. Shepherds are actually called toevah from the Egyptian standpoint. Do you agree that shepherds are equally abominations in God’s sight?

        As to your comparison of homosexuality to sadism and mass murder, I disagree in the sense you operate on the assumption that homosexuality is as much a sin as the others. We must go back to the basis for your argument, which is the assertion that homosexuality is a sin to begin with, and if the basis is not true, then the analogy drawn on said basis is not true, either.

        And I’m sorry you feel discussion will not help us see each other’s position more clearly or help us see ideas we may have overlooked. I appreciate the time you took to respond.

  11. garycummings says:

    RA, I have better things to do with my life than debate someone who despises the Word of God and hates Jesus. No thanks.

    • RA says:

      I can assure you the attack on my faith wasn’t necessary. A simple call for an end to discussion would have sufficed. And for the record, I love God and Christ with all that I am, and I take his word very seriously. Peace be with you.

    • Greg says:

      Oh my – it’s getting VERY “church of Christ-y” in here, isn’t it? LOL! Won’t be long before one of us splits and starts a new discussion group across the street like we used to split and start new congregations back in the 70’s! Those were the days, weren’t they, boys?! LOL!

      OK, everybody calm down. There’s no need for this dopey little yak-fest among fellow Kooks to get ugly. 🙂

      First, in fairness, I don’t think anything’s been said or even implied here that would give ANYONE the impression that RA “despises the Word of God or hates Jesus”. So let’s not say that he does. Now, if he wants to say that about himself, FANTASTIC! THEN you can stone him – but not before.

      Secondly, if Gary is tired of discussing this whole mess and wants to be done with it – I’m sure all will understand and be fine with it.

      But before this topic abruptly ends like a modern-day c of C 2-day summer VBS session (by the way– back in the day, OUR VBSs were 2 full WEEKS long – you buncha weenies!), I DO want to make clear a couple of things:

      1.) Saying that SOME homosexuals are promiscuous, jealous, physically abusive, and pedophiles is true; BUT so are some heterosexuals. Promiscuity and pedophilia are not exclusive to homosexuals, so let’s not imply that they are.

      And just as some heterosexuals are normal, loving, faithful to their partners, adore their children, and are by no means pedophiles; the same is true for some homosexuals.

      To make a blanket statement that “homosexuality is destructive, evil, wrong, and perverted;” simply is not accurate, and implies that homosexuality is ONLY capable of evil, perverted, and anti-social sexual behavior. That’s NOT true.

      2.) To imply that scientist have changed their thinking on the subject of homosexuality — that it is no longer a mental disorder –BECAUSE of a “change in philosophy and not science” shows a lack of understanding of how science operates. Science does not make its conclusions based on how it FEELS about a subject. It makes (and changes) its conclusions based on evidence.

      I hear Christians often making such claims in regard to the scientific community; that there is some conspiracy among the scientist of the world to “hide the truth” about creation, or the origin of man, or homosexuality etc. This charge from Christians is ridiculous, uninformed, and needs to stop. There is no scientific conspiracy against Christian beliefs. Science couldn’t care less about what Christians believe about anything. It cares about facts.

      3.) Finally, as for me, I no longer believe that the Bible is inerrant, or infallible or the word of God. I’ve come to that conclusion reluctantly, tearfully, but certainly…because of facts –not because of what I choose to believe.

      That’s all. Just figured I’d let you know where this straight, 22 years married, ex-c of C preacher is coming from. Thanks. 🙂

      • Mark says:

        Hi Greg,
        Thank you for your calming influence in the discussion. Any effort to bring us back from one extreme or another is always appreciated.
        I just disagreed with one point: your faith in science. In my experience, although much of research is based on the evidence, there have been many studies that indicate that money and power influence scientific studies. There have been many complaints about drug studies funded by big drug companies that stand to gain billions of dollars from the outcomes of these studies. Scientists have cried foul! In my opinion the same can be said of any study that journalists and the public are ready to gobble up as gospel truth. A generation ago it was AIDS in Africa: everyone knew that Africans are way more promiscuous than white people, right? And that 40% of Africa’s population would be wiped out by the year 2000, right? A generation before that it was 40% of America’s population would be wiped out by AIDS by 1990. Billions of dollars hung in the balance, so these studies were extremely important. The same can be said of current climate change studies: billions of dollars hang in the balance. Would it be a big surprise to find out that a little bias has unwittingly crept in? Any scientist who found evidence that climate change might not be happening would immediately lose their job. And we know what happened to the C of C’s claim that no bias or emotion has influenced our decisions to follow only the Bible, with book, chapter and verse cited at every turn.

      • RA says:

        Greg, I’m a little disappointed I’m not going to be stoned; it’s been a few years since I’ve been pelted near to death with rocks. But, man, was that summer a doozy. VBS, I believe. 🙂

        Also, I apologize for my part if I’ve used a tone that was divisive. It certainly wasn’t my intent, and I certainly didn’t want to insult Mr. Cummings beliefs, and if I did offend you, Mr. Cummings, I offer my sincerest apologies. I just wanted to test out some of my hypotheses against a belief counter to mine. For me, that’s the best way to see if my usually hair-brained ideas are sound. If they are unwanted, excessive, or just downright stupid, I again offer my apologies.

        And, Mark, thank you for allowing me to ramble out my ideas. You’re a kind man for not simply blocking me from posting.

  12. stevdor75 says:

    Mark,
    You of course are right that everyone has bias, including scientists. There are financial and societal forces that influence pretty much all of our viewpoints. But I would like to say that I am convinced that even while accounting for this, it appears to me that the general narrative of the scientific consensus is valid. So I feel that I should recommend that we take it seriously and help each other out in this matter. Steve Allison

    • Greg says:

      Steve – I’m in full agreement.

      RA – I’m sorry you had such a horrible VBS experience.

      And Mark – you’re absolutely right regarding my “faith in science”. Science and the scientific method have given us more understanding and truth about the universe than scriptures ever did. That’s because the Bible isn’t a scientific book, never claimed to be, and should never be regarded as such.

      But I don’t want to give the impression that I think science is NEVER wrong – quite the contrary. Science IS and HAS been wrong MOST of the time. And that’s exactly one of the most powerful aspects of the scientific method. Someone puts forth an hypothesis, peers challenge it and show why it’s wrong and then we end up with a little more truth.

      It’s this very method that has been the reason for the huge advances we’ve experienced in recent years in science, medicine, cosmology etc. Ironically, at the same time, God has been answering MORE prayers of increasingly MORE sick people with much MORE success just as science has become MORE successful in unlocking the secrets about treatments for those illnesses.

      (BTW – in regard to global warming, it should be noted that the scientific community is close to 98% in agreement that the evidence is overwhelmingly in the affirmative. That conclusion isn’t the result of 98% of scientists fearing job security. G.W. is happening. We deny this one at our peril, boys)

      Religion by contrast, doesn’t work that way at all. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Its teachings are held up as eternal, never-changing truth in all matters. Practitioners are asked to hold on to what was written centuries ago by people who believed the earth was flat and that demons and sin caused illnesses – regardless of any facts to the contrary.

      So it shouldn’t surprise anyone when “God said, it, I believe it, that settles it” serves to abruptly end any discussion of any uncomfortable subject for some Christians – they have no other choice but to end discussions that way. I get it. I used to be one of them. And I’m fine with that if it works for them – but I just can’t close off the hose that easily anymore, especially in light of what’s proven to be true.

      One of the greatest books on this topic is Carl Sagan’s, “The Demon-Haunted World – Science As A Candle In The Dark”, 1995. I would encourage every Christian to read it and see where you land. We need not be afraid in seeking the truth on any topic (including homosexuality and the origins and nature of scripture). Even “Doubting” Thomas asked for proof and was given it. If religion – and it’s stand on homosexuality – can weather the heat of true scrutiny, then it deserves to be followed with all our might – if not, we move on to what can.

      Mark – thanks again for keeping this forum open for dissenting opinions and discussion. That’s really rare, man. And really huge. You da man.

      Greg

  13. I’m way late in seeing this post and commenting. Some good thoughts and observations. So much of Evangelicals’ reactions to gay marriage or “reparative therapy” is subconscious. And there is little desire or openness to explore one’s subconscious, in my experience, within Evangelicalism (where I no longer fellowship as to church, but interact with many online and have many friends/relatives there). That is the power of subconscious, the expectation that human ambivalence will produce hypocrisy in ALL of us at various points, etc. is downplayed heavily…. until it comes to others, such as gays.

    As the article points out, THEN the theory often becomes something consciously buried of a lack of early bonding with the father, or overly dominant mother or other discredited theories. I’m not saying such dynamics NEVER lead or contribute to homosexual orientation, but it does not at all seem the predominant factor. Rather, genetics or some other prenatal or very-early-life biological factor does. However, this explanation doesn’t go down well within a traditional Christian theology and worldview.

    So I suppose those Evangelicals who are thinking much about it at all, tend to create an exception for accepting psychoanalytic (or psychodynamic, at the least) theory in this case. One would have to ask, “So, why wouldn’t they then look to early developmental factors to explain a whole raft of other things Christians do, like everyone, which they are not really planning or wanting to do?” (Overeating, being impulsive, anxious, depressed, etc., etc.) . BTW, I’m a former marriage counselor and psychotherapist with reasonable familiarity with psychodynamic theory and its application to therapy approaches… which often are valid and useful.

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