Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Can Gay People Be "Saved" (conversation online)

MooseDave:

Is there such a thing as bi-sexual in you mind? The second question and most important is, is there a way for Gay people to be one with God? For example, can a gay be Christian and be saved?

CoryTheRaven:

No doubt there are different types of bisexual, but the variety with which I am most familiar is more "transorientation"... That is, they don't really care what the gender of the person they're attracted to is. They're just attracted to them and that's that. It may be that they're more predominately attracted to one gender over the other, or even specific types of people in either gender, but regardless, it's just a matter of whoever you happen to be attracted to.

Regarding the question of God, I've worked with numerous GLBT Christians in a GLBT affirming ministry, in which GLBT persons were welcomed completely and fully with no expectations except that they be participating members of the community. I've also sat across from bishop-appointed investigative committees grilling us for being that way (and I don't recommend it on a Friday night!).

As a Christian, I believe that God's Love is impartial: She loves everyone regardless of race, gender, wealth, intelligence, physical health or beauty, nationality, socio-political views, religion, or sexual orientation. Of course, not all of those categories are equal in merit... some of those things may damage rightly and lovingly lived relationships between us and God, each other and Creation. A multicultural worldview is better than a racist one, a more liberal politics is better than a more conservative one, pursuing education and growth is better than grasping ignorance, and a more open-hearted faith is better than a hard-hearted fundamentalism. However, a lot of those categories don't have any discernable negative effects. They're irrelevant, or at least, relevant only insofar as the extra insight that viewpoint may provide on the nature of God. Neither a woman nor a man are closer to God or "more saved" or "more loved" because of their gender, but each may have different insights to give.

Of the two, I think GLBT falls into the latter. It has no inherent, discernable, negative effects on someone's relationship with God, others or Creation. There are no "problems" with homosexuality that are peculiar to homosexuality: straight people have just as much a problem with lust and promiscuity as homosexuals, and straights are doing a good enough job of soiling the sanctity of marriage with divorce, cohabitation and adultery on their own. On the contrary, I think the experiences of being homosexual and its context in our society can provide a lot of insight. It takes a lot of strength for GLBT Christians to fight for equality in the church.

Regarding the Bible, well, there's a LOT that needs to be unpacked in regards to that, but suffice it to say that I've examined the issue and studied Scripture for myself and have found the anti-gay argument lacking. Usually what those proof texts are actually about is something like ritual cleanliness, the moral imperative to hospitality, or is of ambiguous translation anyways.

MooseDave:

Well that is so much a better answer than I got on YouTube with this :) I am very glad that you shared this. I just have a few questions though. Go gay people need to stop having gay relations? What of being wed in a homosexual union? Can a person who is in a life term relation with another of the same sex enter heaven, even though he/she is practicing sexual practices that are talked against in the bible.

I have friends that call the bible hate literature for such as Leviticus 20:13 - This calls for the death of someone who has gay sex. You must have a more liberal way of looking at the bible and not one of literal interpretation. I think of this part of text as being socially necessary in the time it was penned, and not relevant to today’s world.

CoryTheRaven:

In the sphere of marriage, if I had my way, I'd let homosexuals get married and do away with "common law marriage". The benefits of marriage should be for those willing to make the commitment.

The thing with the Levitical prohibitions on homosexual sex is that it doesn't actually proclaim the acts as being morally wrong. What it says is that these acts are "abominations", meaning "ritually unclean". There is a whole scheme in the Torah (first five books of the Bible) about cleanliness and un-cleanliness, but for the most part it amounts to the idea of things being separate and not getting "confused". A "confused" thing is an unclean thing, which is why you're also not supposed to eat fish that walk (lobsters) and birds that have hands (bats), or wear clothing of two different fibers or sow fields of two different crops. So according to Leviticus 18 and 20, homosexual sex is "confused" and therefore "unclean": men aren't supposed to lie with a man as with a woman, and a woman is not supposed to lie with a woman as with a man.

Yes it does say that they should be put to death, but there's actually quite a lot you would be put to death for in the Torah. The one that sticks out most in my mind, for some reason, is the law that if two guys get in a fight and the wife of one of them tries to interfere by grabbing the balls of the other man, she shall be put to death. In the Christian context, these rules are meaningless... Not only have we done away with the consequence of capital punishment, but we've done away with the whole theological idea of "clean" and "unclean". Christianity is (supposed to be) about love uniting things, not holiness separating them.

Unfortunately, too many Christians haven't progressed far enough to see how this ethic applies to homosexuals now like it did to Gentiles 2000 years ago. It is for reasons entirely unrelated to religion and the Bible that they feel threatened by homosexuality (a friend once remarked that there's no secular argument against homosexuality, to which I replied that oh yes there was and I've heard it shouted at me from car windows). But because they don't fully grasp what the Torah is about and how Christianity responds to that, they transfer those feelings to the Bible, believing that the Bible is proclaiming homosexuality to be morally wrong.

Morality has nothing to do with it anyways... One of the things that frustrates me about the debate, both in the nation at large and in my denomination in particular, is that everyone treats it like a morality issue when it isn't. Conservatives argue that it’s more moral to be straight while liberals argue that it's more moral to be tolerant. But that's not what it's about at all. It's an IDENTITY issue.

It's obviously an identity issue for homosexuals yearning for acceptance for who they are by church, government and society. However, while conservatives try to couch it in moral terms, it's about identity for them as well: defining themselves and their own identity by being part of the heterosexual group. They're at the "ethnocentric" stage of development where they define themselves and their values through identification with any number of normative groups - eg: white, male, Protestant, Canadian, working class or executive class, heterosexual, Conservative, Roughriders fan - and see different groups as deviant, immoral and even evil.

How else to explain the supposed threat that gay marriage poses for straight marriage? For them, marriage has value as the primary rite of heterosexual identification... It's a "straight thing". Allowing homosexuals to get married makes it lose that exclusive heterosexuality. At best, you'll get conservatives saying that gays should have all the rights and be able to have civil unions, but just not to call it "marriage". Why? Because marriage is "their" thing, and extending it to homosexuals makes them feel like a part of their identity has been co-opted.

It's not until later stages and a more multicultural worldview that you're able to break away from the group identification and figure out what your own values and identity are (and consequently emerge into a true moral sensitivity rather than the simple conservative cultural relativism of "what we do is right because it's what we do"). That's when you begin seeing that marriage has value because it's the commitment being made between two people, and that can't be corrupted or spoiled by who else gets married. That worldview is also where I'm coming from as a Christian and where, I believe, true Christian thought and faith begins... with a multicultural ethic of union in love rather than an ethnocentric ethic of holiness in division.

MooseDave:

Great answer thanks.

4 comments:

  1. I totally dis agree with this that you are putting out.It is time to use the bibke for what its for and not make it what we want.The words In the bible are clear as water.To have sex with the same sex is a sin,it is not for the christian to hate the person but the sin,I dont hate are dislike gay people,i dont like what they do.Stop putting this stuff out there this is wrong.the bible says that a man should find his own wife.Its not your fault though that you believe this that you put out you need to soul search and really get in his word.You have no Idea .

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  2. Two things wrong with your comment. First I am the one asking the questions and CoryTheRaven is the one telling the world that the bible and gay sexuality are compatible. The second this is that the bible is just words in a book and is penned by man kind, not a God of some kind. It reflects the misunderstandings and hatreds of a much past age.

    Personally I believe in God as a being of perfect love, not one of hate and pregidous. I also believe that there is as many ways to see God as there are people. So I must reject you mass market attempt at controlling the world threw a book.

    If you have truly examined this book you follow so closely, then you would see it is not compatible with a peaceful world. For many many years the world has been at war for words in a book. The power struggles of man other wars where routed in religion on some level as well. The world needs to see that Religion is a danger to humanity and needs to be stopped as soon as we can manage it, for the good of humanity.

    Your words are on the verge of outright hate and are malice in fact. You like most people that follow a book as a way to live, are just one step form being the avenging hand of God. We see this in the suicide bombers and those that would kill people for being Gay. I fear a few more bible study classes for you and you will be lurking by a bathhouse with a baseball bat.

    You say you do not hate the person, but your words say otherwise. To hate what a person is driven to do by their sexuality is to hate the person, as there is no difference between the two subjects.

    Peace and I hope you find you way to a true light soon, and stop being a puppet of you paster.

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  3. P.S. you will note I am not hiding in the shadows "anonymously". I am standing for the world to see who I am. Only Terrorists hide in the shadows.

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  4. Well I see our anonymous guest is not going to post back to me... Post stupid comments and run back under the bed I guess... People.

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