Top 10 Misunderstandings by Homosexuals about ChristianityPosted: August 31, 2013
This is a companion post to the one called Top 10 Misunderstandings by Conservative Christians, about Homosexuality.
Some of these misunderstandings are held even by some Christians, so it’s not surprising that non-christians get confused. But this list should not be read to imply that all homosexuals believe all of the following ten points. The reality is that homosexuals are very diverse. Some have Christian backgrounds (even being the child of a minister) while others have little to no Christian background or understanding. So their perception of Christianity differs a lot, depending on the individual, with the understanding of one person sometimes contradicting the understanding of another person. But despite the variation, my perception is that the following are some of the most common misunderstandings –
1. God hates homosexuals, and calls them abominations.
Ive looked through the Bible for passage where God calls anyone an abomination, but I could not find an instance of it. Yes he is quoted as referring to homosexual behaviour (sex) as abomination, but not as referring to homosexuals themselves as abomination. This is a subtle but important difference. God is also depicted in the Bible, as loving people in general, including sinners. This misconception that God despises homosexuals, IE a failure to distinguish sin from sinner, is very common, and is often perpetuated in the gay media.
2. All Christians perceive homosexuals to be people without value or merit.
Yes there are some who call themselves Christians, who have this attitude. But with an attitude like that, are they really Christians? Perhaps not, since it would likely be a violation of the commandment to love your neighbour. And there are Christians who try hard to love their gay neighbour. One of the Christian heroes from recent centuries, is author C.S. Lewis, who apparently maintained a close friendship with a gay neighbour, despite regarding homosexual sex as sinful. I think it’s interesting though, how many gay people perceive Christians to consider them as people without merit. But everyone has both flaws and merit. Christians are sometimes rather condemning, but Im not sure that they actually condemn quite that much. Do perceptions and reality, actually match on this one?
3. Homosexuality is about who you love, and because God supports love, He supports homosexual relations.
This is basically an opposite perspective to the above two. It’s reflective of what you might hear from those who dismiss the Bible, or dont know what it states, or are dedicated to mistranslations of it. This misunderstanding is influenced by the fact that in English, the word ‘love’ can be ambiguous, sometimes seeming to refer simply to goodwill, and other times referring to a deep emotional commitment such as marriage. But there is little in the Bible that specifically opposes love and it’s true that the Bible presents God as very much love-centred. The Bible encourages love, including love between members of the same sex. It’s lust and sex between members of the same sex that the Bible presents as sinful, not love. The Bible presents God as regarding marriage as being an inherently heterosexual institution.
4. Christians dont like anyone who is different from them.
This one is an exaggeration, but there is an element of truth to it sometimes – especially when the ‘Christians’ are better described simply as conservatives. People who live in an isolated subculture can find foreign cultures such as Islam or gay culture to be so different that to conservatives they seem strange and threatening. Accordingly, the conservatives shy away from these things and their perceptions remain as negative caricatures with humanity stripped out. Research (by Agnieszka Golec de Zavala et al, 2014) has shown that conservatives tend to have a deep-seated discomfort with homosexuality. This is not true of all Christians though and is not true of all conservative Christians. Neither is it true of Jesus, who is depicted in the Bible as mixing both with the ‘respected’ religious hierarchy of the day, and with social outcasts.
5. Christians think they’re perfect, and they love to criticise anyone who doesnt match their perfection.
This is even more of an exaggeration than the one above. In fact I dont think it’s true at all. The Bible portrays a difficult set of goals for Christians – goals which are an ongoing challenge for anyone. Very few people who know the Bible well, consider themselves to be perfect, because they see how difficult it is to live a truly Christian life. Certainly Christians do criticise things that they perceive to be sinful, and sometimes they are overly selective in which sins they criticise. But such criticism generally isnt just criticism for the sake of it, or for the sake of making the Christian feel superior. It’s human nature to criticise things that you feel are immoral or bad for society.
6. Jesus said nothing to indicate that homosexuality is sinful.
Firstly we dont have record of everything that Jesus said. However, the records that we do have, do not mention homosexuality specifically. But those records do depict heterosexual relationships as the Christian model. It’s also relevant that Jesus’ teachings built upon doctrines of the Old Testament, including declaring some of those doctrines to be void. Yet Jesus is not recorded as having specifically declared the Old Testament outlawing of homosexual sex, to be void. This one is further detailed here.
7. Christians are bigoted, and simply choose to interpret the Bible in such a way that supports their bigotry.
Yes there are elements in the Bible that are open to interpretation and opinion. But it’s just a fact that there are other elements in the Bible that are not so open to interpretation, including some references to what is sinful and what is not. Part of this is its repeated portrayal of homosexual sex as negative, and it’s treatment of heterosexual relationships as the Christian model. There is really no room in there, to interpret homosexual sex as Biblically sanctioned.
8. Christians violate their own religion when they judge homosexuals.
The question of what it means to judge someone, and when judging is and is not appropriate, is not as simple as many people suppose. Many people like to quote the Bible where it says not to judge. But it seems to me that in terms of what is permitted in churches, Christians are actually required to judge. 1 Corinthians chapter 5 indicates that sincere Christians should not associate with those who call themselves Christians but who are seriously corrupted by sin, specifically those in sexual sin (note this does not apply to associating with non-Christians). And in Revelation chapter 2, the indication is that Christians are required to not tolerate teachers who lead others into sexual sin. Christians are supposed to “judge correctly” (John 7:24) and to encourage other Christians to be holy (Gal 6:1-5, James 5:19-20, Titus 1:13) rather than ignoring the sin. Christians are not supposed to judge non-christians though (1 Cor 5:12). Those who cite Matthew 7:1-4 to claim that Christians should not point out others’ sins, tend to ignore verse 5, which encourages us to help others avoid sin.
9. The only significant sins according to Christianity, are homosexuality and abortion.
Some of the references in the Bible to homosexual sex, are strongly worded in the negative. And if you are fully a person at conception, then abortion is a heinous act. But there are other sins which the Bible gives far more attention to that these two, and Christians need to remember that. A big reason that Conservative Christians consider homosexuality as a hot issue, is that it’s a key area where wider society is moving away from Biblical values, and it’s resulting in Christians experiencing some of their religious freedoms being curtailed.
10. Christianity condemns homosexuals for a trait they have no control over.
Here is a video with further relevant content –