1: No, this isnt Uneducated, Unchristian Hatred
Avoiding false assumptions about my angle
Before proceeding, I should clarify to avoid false assumptions you may have, based on the fact that Im critiquing homosexuality in the context of Christianity. Due to all the accusations people make about perspectives such as this one, the clarification will take the next 5 paragraphs!
Homosexuality is natural for some
I dont deny the authenticity of the deep emotional pain that the presenter describes as arising from being gay and trying to be a devoted Christian. I agree it’s difficult to be same-sex attracted to the point that such people have statistically much higher rates of suicide, and I sympathise with this pain. This article does not dispute that. Neither do I claim that homosexuals should simply turn straight. I realise it’s not that simple (ref-2, ref-3, ref-4, ref-5, ref-6). I recognise that many psychologists, such as evangelical Christian David Myers, report that “sexual orientation in some ways is like handedness: Most people are one way, some the other. A very few are truly ambidextrous. Regardless, the way one is endures” (Psychology, 10th edition, p. 428). I recognise that it’s more (ref. 2) than just about sex and that psychiatrists, while not unanimous on the issue, have by and large concluded that sexual orientation cant be reversed, and they even say the same in regards to a sexual orientation towards children (ref-2, cf). Nor is this article seeking to establish what the that the Bible says about homosexuality is fair. Rather, this article is largely academic; just about the question of whether the Bible actually sanctions homosexual sex and same-sex marriage.
Christianity is not simple and it’s not simply about being nice
Most people tend to think of the god of the Bible as being benevolent and advocating benevolence. On a simple level, they perceive the Bible to advocate a happy, positive, caring life. So if something makes you happy and appears to cause no harm, they would tend to assume that the Bible would support that. But it’s not that simple. The Bible prescribes some very specific requirements for those who wish to follow Jesus, and in some cases, those requirements have no obvious link to happiness. Sure the Bible advocates many broad principles which tend to result in a happy community, eg loving your neighbour, and not being proud or selfish. But it’s a big book, advocating many principles, with some of them being quite specific, and some of them requiring a degree of unhappiness. For example, in Matthew 19:16-30 we see Jesus saying it’s difficult for rich people to gain access to heaven, and that he asked his rich followers to sell their possessions and give to the poor. Some were not happy about that. And in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, one of the early Christians detailed that at times they experienced great pressure and despair. And in 2 Timothy 1:10-11 that same person says they suffered for the sake of pleasing god.
Being a Christian does not necessarily mean being happy
As the presenter in fact pointed out, the Bible does not tend to promote the idea that following it will make you happy. Rather, the Bible states that followers will experience “joy”. In the Bible, joy is an emotion that relates to uniting with god, an emotion that you can supposedly experience even in tough times. IE in James 1:2, it says that Christians should consider it to be a joyful experience to face difficulties. And in Hebrews 10:34, it says that Christians at that point joyfully accepted the loss of their property. Along those lines, you might ask whether the god of the Bible requires gay people to joyfully accept that they cant act on their sexuality.
Being same-sex attracted is not itself sinful
Another pertinent point is that contrary to what a minority of people think, and contrary to what Matthew seems to imply here, most theologians and church ministers do not consider being same-sex attracted to be a sin (EG). To be sexually attracted to anything, is simply to be tempted (James 1:15), and even Jesus was apparently tempted (Matthew 4:1-11, Hebrew 4:15). Those who describe homosexuality as a sin, are usually referring to engaging in homosexuality, either mentally or physically, eg homosexual lust or homosexual sexual behaviour, rather than simply to homosexual attraction.
There is an increasing tendency in society, to label people who oppose certain things, as “haters”. Often this label is applied very selectively. Countries that disallow smoking in the workplace, tend not to be called ‘haters’, despite that discrimination. Universities and Colleges that dont admit low-achieving students are not called ‘haters’, despite their discrimination. But churches who say their congregants cant engage in homosexual sex, are sometimes called ‘haters’, even if they are otherwise polite and pleasant in their conversations and dealings with homosexuals. Unfortunately, there are some conservative Christians, who are haters. The reality is, most people find it hard to follow a moral code without holding a sense of negativity towards the elements on the ‘immoral’ list. However, hatred towards homosexuals is unbiblical in light of the Bible requiring Christians to love their neighbours whether those neighbours are Christians or not. Various individuals in the fray do say that most Bible-believers are not hateful. As the gay former bishop Gene Robinson has said,
“Merely calling these religious conservatives ‘bigots’ seems to me not to be very loving, because it fails to acknowledge and honor the beliefs these people hold dear.“
Likewise this website neither advocates hatred towards homosexuals, nor does it support it. The video presenter is wrong to imply as he does here, that those who believe homosexual sex is sinful, naturally seek to oppress and “destroy” same-sex attracted people. Statements from various churches (EG Adventist, AOG, Roman Catholic, EG4) of an Evangelical nature, and people like Dan Cathy and Pat Robertson appropriately declare that they believe that persecuting homosexuals is sinful itself. And the actual practise of some Christian institutions (EG) are warmer towards homosexuals, than some would have us believe. Even secular sources have found that Christians responding to the topic of homosexuality, have tended to note a need to be respectful. But even if persecution isnt involved, some still claim that saying anything negative about homosexuality leads to a negative social climate where homosexuals commit suicide. This claim is overly simplistic. Unfortunately sometimes human beings commit suicide, whether they are gay or straight, and whether they live in the more GLBTQ-affirming cultures or not. The experience of people such as EricJames Borges, who eventually became very involved in a GLBTQ*-affirming environment, yet still committed suicide, suggests that reasons for suicide are multifaceted and not necessarily based on discrimination. Personally, I have a number of gay friends and our friendships are without friction, so long as we dont talk religion…