SO WHAT IF TWO GUYS want to get hitched? Or two gals?
What’s wrong with them getting married and not having sex anymore, like the rest of us? (I kid married people, with love.)
That’s pretty much the Bible Question of the Week.
It comes from Igal German, who gets a free, signed copy of one of my books for taking the time to ask the question.
Here’s the way he put it:
Why does the Bible condemn same-gender marriages?
Because the writers were goat herders and an unmarried tentmaker – not biologists, social psychologists, or shrinks.
That’s pretty much the answer some Christians would give if they said it the way they thought it. Generally, however, their internal filter helps them phrase it more politely: “The writers were inspired by God, but shaped by their times.”
Christians who favor same-sex marriage argue that:
- We don’t advocate slavery, though Paul told slaves to obey their masters.
- We don’t tell women to shut the heck up in church – well, most of us don’t – but that’s exactly what Paul told them to do.
- We don’t tell women they have to cover their head in church, but Paul did.
So if we make those exceptions, why don’t we make an exception for people who love one another and want to live the rest of their lives together not having sex like the rest of us?
That’s the argument many Christians make as they defend their support of gay marriage.
I think the vast majority of Christians would have a hard time letting go of the incredibly clear Bible passages condemning homosexuality.
Like the passage written to a church in Rome by the very unmarried Paul who travelled with a young man. Paul went so far as to call gay people perverts: “They dishonor their bodies by sexual perversion with each other” (Romans 1:24).
“The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it for me.”
Most of us who have been Christians all of our life have heard the Bible preached that way.
But other Christians are saying we need to cut the Bible writers some slack and recognize that on some matters we know more than they knew.
- We’re better educated.
- We know the Bible better.
- And danged if we’re not 2,000 years smarter, and probably better looking. Certainly more fragrant.
The Bible writers carried fire with a stick. We flick a Bic.
To answer Igal’s “why” question, I have to say God doesn’t do “why.”
He does what he does and he says what he says, but he almost never gets to the why.
Go ahead, try to find one in the Bible. There are some, but very few.
This is not one of the few.
If you’d like to read the arguments that Christians make for and against accepting gays into the community of faith, read “My sister came out as gay.”
It’s the best thing I’ve written on this topic, and it’s from 100 Tough Questions About God and the Bible.
Meanwhile, if a pastor in my denomination married a gay couple, he would get his fanny handed to him on an offering plate and whipped out the back door like a Frisbee for the dog.
Christians disagree over whether or not to give the gay lifestyle and gay marriage their full blessing. That’s why churches have split…and why more will soon do the same. It doesn’t take a prophet to predict that.
The issue of homosexuality is going to, sooner or late, split the Methodist Church, and possibly impact other protestant denominations as well. I believe it has spawned a larger, and just as important an issue, in that we have come to doubt the Holy Bible. To me the wording and instruction on homosexuality is very direct and clear, no parables and no doubt as to what the authors of those passages meant. But, from our pulpits, to our study groups and, Bible studies, the word of the day concerning just about everything, is, “What does this mean?” and “Is this literally true?” I would remind everyone on here that it has only been within my lifetime that issues such as women in ministry and covering your head in church, just to name two, have been challenged and not followed anymore. Do we not have faith that the Bible is God’s inspired word? If we do, I think we have moved a little too far over in our doubt. I want to assure everyone on Stephen’s Blog that I am not a homophobe, not a gay basher, not anti-feminism, and have nothing but love and compassion for those who struggle with these and the countless other issues in the Bible.
And here I thought I was going to get the definitive answer. I am prayerfully on the fence. It is imperative that we get this one right.
Stephen M. Miller
I understand, Eric. On tough issues like this, I don’t generally offer “the” answer. I report what I think are some of the most popular arguments and the reasons behind them. But I leave it to the readers to take it from there, and consider the arguments. I don’t tell them what to think. In many cases, I’m on the fence, too, trying to figure out which way to drop.