Stop Comparing Your Lust to My Sexual Orientation

Admitting that I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m embracing sin. It means I’m being honest.

“Just because you’re attracted to men doesn’t mean that you should accept it.” I’ve heard the words often.

“The other day, my best friend’s husband admitted in our small group that he struggles with lust. My pastor said that most men struggle with lust. Since men are naturally inclined to this, does that mean that they should just accept it? It’s ‘natural’ for them, isn’t it?” Usually, this is followed by a slight smile, as if they’ve dealt the final blow and won the conversation.

The idea is fairly simple: gay people shouldn’t accept their sexuality just like men shouldn’t accept their propensity to lust. It is an argument against the idea that homosexuality is naturally occurring and thus acceptable — “it’s the way I am.”

Men, according to this argument, have a strong drive towards lust. If gay people can accept their sexuality, why shouldn’t lusting men be able to act on their attractions?

The connection makes sense on a surface level — both speak about sexuality, but that’s where the similarities end. Besides promoting an animalistic view of the male sex drive, this argument exposes ignorance in the church about human sexuality, and it is causing damage in the process.

“The attraction is not the lust.”

My sexuality, our sexualities are not lust. There is a fundamental difference here.

Lust, in the sexual sense (which is the sense I will be referring to in the course of this piece), requires an attraction. That attraction is oriented toward something, usually men, women, or both. This attraction is where we get our spectrum of sexuality.

But, the attraction is not the lust. It is a byproduct of our sexual orientations, not the other way around. In other words, lust necessitates sexual orientation but sexual orientation does not necessitate lust.

When I was growing up, I would go to youth groups and summer camps where on certain nights they would separate the men from the women in order to have “real talk time.” We would go out into the woods, build campfires, and spend several hours talking about lust and women. We would learn strategies on how to guard ourselves against lust.

These strategies were many things, but none of them were attempts to completely remove attraction to women. I can imagine the silence if someone were to raise his hand and proclaim, “I know! What if we just stopped liking girls?”

In these circles, it is assumed that it’s possible to hold one’s own sexuality without lusting — that’s what we were being trained to do as Christian young men.

“Admitting my sexual orientation is not acting upon it.”

Yet, strangely, this idea doesn’t often carry over to homosexuality (and it’s virtually nonexistent in popular ideas around bisexuality). While many churches are now teaching that homosexual desire is not in itself sinful, the persistence of this lust argument is evidence that the message isn’t actually believed. There is pressure in many of these same churches to not accept one’s sexual orientation if it is anything different from the majority.

In my teen years, I believed that if I used the word “gay” to describe myself, I would be giving myself over to Satan. Because of this, I couldn’t utter the word out loud until I was in my twenties and instead chose Christianese identifiers like “same-sex attracted.”

As my friend Jonah eloquently points out in a recent piece, within many of our churches we teach that “experiencing same-sex attraction isn’t a sin,” while also telling LGBT people that they must be constantly “fighting it,” “battling it,” or “taking up their crosses.” There’s a disparity between these sentiments.

As with heterosexual people, lust can be an outflow of homosexuality. But that lust is not what bisexual, lesbian, and gay people are “embracing” when we come to terms with our sexuality. Neither is promiscuity, or flamboyance, or any other thing stereotypically associated with the so-called “gay lifestyle.”

By accepting our sexualities, we are naming something that is true about our experience. Admitting my sexual orientation — to myself and others — is not acting upon it. It is possible to be certain of one’s sexual orientation without engaging in sexual activity (case in point, I’ve never even held hands with someone in a romantic way, and yet I am certain that I am gay).

It should be a given in faith communities, even in communities where sexual activity is reserved for male-female marriages, that there is space to admit and accept one’s own sexual orientation. For me, to say that I am gay is to say that I am sexually attracted to men. Anything else would be a lie.

“Honesty should be fostered and celebrated.”

The argument comparing lust and sexual orientation, and others like it, expose an ignorance around sexuality within the church. This is causing damage because it makes it difficult to have productive conversations around sexuality.

If sexual orientation is misunderstood as being sinful, or is compared to something that is sinful, environments are created where it is not safe for LGBT people to bring their full experiences. We cannot turn off our sexual orientations with a switch, we cannot simply confess them and stop experiencing them, but they are something that we can hide from others. Unfortunately, one of those places where hiding is often required is in the church.

To combat this, it is important for faith communities to foster understanding around what sexual orientation is (attraction towards certain genders and gender expressions) and what it is not (lust, sin). This understanding builds the ground for open conversations around sexuality, morality, and theology.

Too often, I walk into conversations around faith and sexuality where it becomes abundantly clear that some people in the conversation have no idea what they are talking about. Yet, they present themselves as experts. These conversations are nearly impossible to navigate and they rarely ever produce meaningful dialogue. Without understanding, we end up talking past each other and drive each other away.

Stop comparing sexual orientation to lust. Lust requires orientation. Orientation does not require lust. Coming to terms with my sexuality does not mean I am embracing sin. It does mean that I am being honest about my experience. Regardless of what we believe about what I should do with that experience (the morality question), that honesty should be fostered and celebrated.

May we be people who create these spaces.

Images courtesy of alberto a.s. and Shutterstock.

Matthias Roberts
Written by

  • Joel Sutton

    I really wanted to like this article. The title was promising, it got off too a good start, but then completely missed the point. The author states, ” It is possible to be certain of one’s sexual orientation without engaging in sexual activity (case in point, I’ve never even held hands with someone in a romantic way, and yet I am certain that I am gay).”

    With this one statement, in essence, “it’s okay to be gay, just don’t act on it,” any progress this article might have made was derailed. Why shouldn’t a same-sex couple act on their desire? My wife and I regularly act on our desire for one another and rather than condemn this aspect of our relationship, the church calls it “beautiful” and “a God given gift.” Billy Graham said, “The Bible celebrates sex and its proper use, presenting it as God-created, God-ordained, God-blessed.”

    The physical act of sex is one of the important ways that we manifest and communicate (the biblical idea of “knowing”) our interdependence, our desire and commitment to live our lives not simply as two individuals in a relationship, but as a couple committed to giving of ourselves to each other.

    If that is so, why would we go so far as to say that our sexual orientation, regardless of where that orientation lies is a God given gift, but then stop short of celebrating the physical manifestation of that gift for those who’s orientation is toward the same sex? And not just stop short, but go the extra step of denying or condemning it?

    If we’re honest, it’s because we can’t get past the fact that it isn’t what is normal or natural to heterosexuals. We can’t get past the “ick” factor. But just because it is “icky” to us doesn’t make it less “God-created, God-ordained, God-blessed.”

    It’s time for the church to get out of the business of orchestrating what goes on in the privacy of our bedrooms. As long as our sexual relationships are not used in harmful ways (to punish, to coerce, to dominate) then they should be celebrated regardless of the orientation of the couple. Until we understand this as a church, our commitment to welcoming and including our LGBT brothers and sisters will consistently fail.

    • http://www.notboringyet.com Matthias Roberts

      Agreed – I’m simply making a distinction that sexual orientation is not predicated on activity. This distinction, while seemingly obvious, is often lost in conversations around sexuality. I’m not advocating a harmful view of “just don’t act on it.”

      • Aerin

        I found your article fascinating and completely agree with it. You are absolutely correct that there is nothing sinful or “lustful” about any particular sexual orientation. Your article does, of course, beg the immediately following question, which is whether acting on it is sinful. I completely understand that your article purposely avoided the question as irrelevant to your analysis. I am nevertheless curious about your response.

        • Ralph A Jansen

          How do people miss Romans 1?

          • Aerin

            Oh I didn’t miss it. I was curious about Mathias’s response. That particular passage has been interpreted in various ways.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            But there is only one interpretation. (The right one, obviously….) The question is what happens to the whole discussion if we throw society out the window, with acceptance and social consciousness, and look at ourselves without all that extra baggage. What if there was no one who said because you think this way you are different, and you must be gay. What if it was understood that thoughts don’t make the man, actions do? (I would put, “lust after” more in the actions column). I don’t really think there is a sexual orientation perse, but that a lot of it is a societal construct. That is to say, I don’t think there is an issue or reason to say anyone is gay or homosexual if they never act on it. (Sociology would agree,as in their studies, one is not considered homosexual unless one has actually had intercourse with someone of the same sex.)

            I think there is a social issue when everyone is considered normal if and only if they conform to certain standards, and heterosexual action is considered part of the standard. (For instance I never had a girl friend, and didn’t actually go after any girls when I was in High School. The immediate thought is that one must be gay if one acts that way. It is like being in college and talking to someone of the opposite sex. Immediately you are getting married in everyone else’s mind (it really is that bad…really). The social consciousness has made it difficult for everyone.

          • hyhybt

            What you’re throwing out the window as irrelevant, or even nonexistent, is a part of *who people are.* A person’s orientation is *absolutely essential* in the matter of which other people, if any, they can form certain types of relationships with. (Notice: not “they can perform certain actions with.” But it’s the relationship that makes the action appropriate or otherwise, even with hetero sex.)

          • Ralph A Jansen

            Romans 1 makes it clear that there is no appropriate homosexual conduct. (Quite clear.) (Notice I did not say thoughts or memories.) In relation to Sodom and Gomorrah, in Ezekiel God calls the sin that he saw that made him destroy Sodom and Gomorrah was an abomination. The sin was rampant/all consuming homosexuality. The sin was so strong that even though they were made blind, they were brought to exhaustion trying to find the door to get at the angels while they were blind. The blindness did not even give them pause, so consuming was the sin. It burned strongly within.

            What I am saying is (having had a small part in what happens to children when society gets it all wrong) is that a lot of the whole problem some people have is caused by the social consciousness that says if you act this way, do this or that, the you are gay, whether you are or not. This can really confuse a child unless their mind is set and they have already accepted who/what they are. When I reached puberty, I was quite clear on who/what I was, no matter what society said.

          • hyhybt

            First paragraph: that’s your chosen interpretation of those passages, nothing more.

            Second paragraph: no, that’s what it would be like under YOUR preferred system where what’s on the inside doesn’t matter, only action.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            Actually, I didn’t interpret the passage because it is pretty clear in the English. (It does help to be a linguist. The original Greek helps too.) I know it is easy to throw away your soul on interpretations of a passage that do not fall in line with the straightforward wording, because you don’t want to agree/believe it. God had Paul write it for some reason.

            If everything matters in this case, then anyone who ever says they are homosexual is condemned to hell already, whether they lust or commit actually have intercourse with someone of the same sex. You just condemned a lot of people to hell.

            What is on the inside doesn’t matter except for/to the person it is inside of and to God. Society has decided to make it it’s business, even though it is none of society’s business. (And those people who want to force themselves on others make it other’s business.)

            You will accept me, and if you don’t I will use the law to destroy you and everything you do. (This is what you see in the bakery case, and other cases around the country.)

            Think of Sodom and Gomorrah. If 10 men had not shown up to the house as part of the mob, God would not have destroyed Sodom. He told Abraham that if He could find even just 10 righteous people in the city, it would not be destroyed. The passage in Genesis makes it clear that there wasn’t even ONE. God made it very clear that every man, young and old, was there from every quarter of the city. So corrupt and abominable the sin that God didn’t even give Lot the time to pack.

            Perhaps even if it was just lust and no action from the people, God would not have destroyed it. (He did say that basically the sin was so great that it could not be ignored, and the investigation showed that what was known by God was completely true.)

      • DrewTwoFish

        Good Lord. How do you maintain your Christianity in the midst of the seemingly unending ignorance and myopic thinking of your brethren? You’re a better man than I.

    • Ryan M.

      It’s always important to remember that, in any given debate, the big picture can be broken down into a number of propositions that can be dealt with individually. Sometimes this even allows those who are on different sides of the broader debate to find points upon which they agree and can work together, even though they part ways in other areas of the debate. The beauty of this article is that it doesn’t matter which side of the spectrum you sit on regarding the permissibility of homosexual practice; it doesn’t matter whether the practice is right or wrong, we can affirm that acknowledgement of sexual orientation is a statement of honesty not a surrender to Satan. Of course, this isn’t something that the homosexuality-affirming side of Christianity needs to hear, but it is something that many on the conservative/traditional side need to improve upon; importantly, it’s something that they (we) can improve upon without violating what (we believe) Scripture teaches. There may never be agreement upon whether homosexual practice is permissible, but we should be able to achieve unity within the Church regarding the treatment of people who are homosexual with the dignity rightfully belonging to any image bearer of God.

      As an aside, while I may be mistaken, your comment suggests that you’re somewhat ignorant of the reasons why those of us on the conservative/traditional side of the debate believe what we do. It is true that some people who don’t take time to think about the issue oppose homosexual practice because it’s “icky”, but that’s hardly the best case that can be made. If I weren’t a Christian, I would have no issue whatsoever with homosexuality; I wouldn’t consider it icky or unnatural or any of the other strawman characteristics you’ve listed. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the broad teaching of the Bible is that homosexual practice falls short of God’s very good plan for what sexuality was designed to achieve (I see you’ve already commented on “(Don’t) Come As You Are”, so I’ll just point you to some of my comments there rather than restating my case here). I appreciate Matthias’ work in trying to bridge the gap between the two sides of the debate. Jesus didn’t give people a sermon about their sin before showing them love; sometimes he doesn’t even give the sermon afterwards, occasionally leading to confusion as to whether he considered their actions sin or not. I see Matthias calling the Church to that sort of love, and that’s something we should be able to find Church unity in even while other issues remain under dispute.

      • Tom from North Carolina

        So did God’s very good plan involve creating some people to be attracted to the same sex?

        • Aerin

          I suppose so. Did God’s great plan involve creating children with Down Syndrome? With facial deformities? Missing limbs, a la Nick Vujacic? Please understand that I am not equating homosexuality to these things (or these things to each other), but rather am responding to the implicit statement in your comment.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            So I was actually responding to this statement:

            Nevertheless, I am convinced that the broad teaching of the Bible is that homosexual practice falls short of God’s very good plan for what sexuality was designed to achieve.

            and was trying to make the point that if God’s plans are so good and homosexuality is so bad, why aren’t we criticizing God’s plan? My comment was not very well presented. I was trying to say that we “assume” God has a plan and it’s good. I question both those assumptions.

          • Aerin

            I see–I did misunderstand your comment. I appreciate the clarification. These questions present no easy answers.

        • Ryan M.

          The world is a fallen place, courtesy of the events of Genesis 3; there are a lot of things that exist that aren’t part of God’s very good design for the world that nevertheless happen. Theologians, of course, distinguish between God’s will in the sense of what would be completely in line with obedience to his character and God’s will in the sense of what he actually permits to take place; people being born with homosexual orientation must, by definition, fit within God’s will in the latter sense, but that doesn’t mean that it lines up with God’s will in the former sense. While none of these categories can be directly equated with one another, there are people born who are psychopaths, completely incapable of empathy; there are people born with physical deformities as mentioned by a previous commenter; there are people born with all sorts of conditions that don’t fit into the first aspect of God’s plan, the ideal reality that was present in Eden and will once again be present in New Jerusalem into eternity. But, for whatever reason, God let sin enter the world, accepting into his plan for events that, at least for a time, the world would experience existence apart from his ideal will for it. The Bible, unfortunately, does not elaborate on his reasoning for this decision, and places like the book of Job would discourage the illusion that we have the right to demand such an answer. A desire for humans to freely choose him is often postulated as the resolution of this tension, but there is no Biblical basis upon which to assert that this must be the case.

          Given that there exists a tension between God’s will for the world that it conforms to his character and God’s will in what he allows to take place, it’s important to clarify which aspect of his will we’re talking about when answering your question. I was speaking of the former type of will in my original comment, the Edenic design for marriage. Even in a fallen world, Christians are called to be God’s ambassadors, acting as a beachhead in the world where his will, that is the former type of will, is done and his Kingdom comes. It is this will that I believe homosexuality falls short of. However, in a world that God allowed to fall, there are a great many things that are broken. Nevertheless, everything that takes place in this broken world ultimately fits into God’s grand plan for the universe; homosexuality is no exception. At the end of Joseph’s story in Genesis, Joseph is speaking to his brother’s soon after his father’s death, as they beg for mercy (without their father there to protect them, they were worried that Joseph might think about getting his own back for what they’d done to him). Joseph’s response to the horrible things they did to him is to say that, while they intended those things to harm him, God’s plan for those events was for good; those events led to Joseph being in the right time and place to spare many nations from the worst of an upcoming famine. That doesn’t make the actions of Joseph’s brothers any less sinful, but it demonstrates God’s ability to use fallen actions in his ultimate, good plan.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            First of all Ryan, you can’t possibly believe that the story of Adam and Eve is literally true and thus justifying sin in this world. Can you?

            And more importantly, even if one assumes this story to be true, the idea of holding all generations of man accountable based on the actions of a single person is perverted. It goes against everything we’ve learned over thousands of years of cultural evolution and responsibility.

            Lastly, given at the time that Eve didn’t know right from wrong, God letting the serpent into the garden was the cause of all this. Ultimately he was responsible for protecting Adam and Eve. He failed. Eve would be no more responsible for knowing which voice to listen to than my 18 month old granddaughter.

          • Ryan M.

            I would not be the first, nor anywhere near the most intelligent, person to believe so; in asking the question you are essentially shifting this from a discussion specifically about a Christian perspective on homosexuality to the fundamental accuracy of Christianity, at least in its conservative forms. I do believe that, at some point in history, there was a man and a woman, that the woman committed that first sin while her husband was present and that he joined in very soon afterwards. I’m also inclined to believe a number of other things about that couple, but I’m open to the possibility that I’m wrong there since they aren’t as fundamental to the rest of the Christian faith. Original sin, however, is pretty closely intertwined with the idea of salvation through Christ. It is with some reluctance that I attempt Christian apologetics here, given that it’s quite tangential to the article, but I would feel remiss if I didn’t.

            To be honest, our culture seems pretty okay with children experiencing the consequences of their parents’ actions, as long as we believe that it’s impersonal forces at play rather than a human imposing those consequences. Unless you’re advocating for a society with 100% inheritance tax and communal raising of children, we’re pretty okay with children inheriting wealth and culture from their parents. If the first humans sinned and, as a result, all those descended from them inherited a culture of sin, then it’s hardly perverted to hold those descendents accountable for the sin they’ve committed all on their own. While the example of a person whose only sin is the Original one is an interesting hypothetical, every real person who has existed has added plenty of sins of their own to the ledger that ensure it won’t be the Original one that makes the difference between them and their salvation.

            Eve (and, for that matter, Adam, given that he was present) had the choice of believing God or declaring him a liar. Eve may have had to take Adam’s word for it but, at the very least, Adam had experienced God’s miraculous power during Eve’s creation. He didn’t just lack a reason to distrust God; he had evidence that made it logical to believe what God said. When tempted, he could have simply responded by saying “I trust God”. There’s debate over what it means for Adam and Eve to have received the knowledge of Good and Evil, but there’s nothing that says they weren’t capable of rational decision prior to the Fall. God gave them the choice to trust him or reject him; he didn’t force the choice. If nothing else, they were responsible for their choice not to trust him.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            On what basis did Eve or Adam know that God’s voice was to be followed or that Satan’s voice ignored. Remember, it was God’s job to protect Adam and Eve. It’s not like God had a billion prayers to listen to.

            When my children were younger or now when I’m taking care of my grandchildren, leaving them at the mercy of someone who could hurt them would be my fault, not my grandchildrens’ fault. We blame Adam and Eve for what was clearly God’s responsibility. Giving a command to someone does not mean you’ve done your job.

          • Ryan M.

            You’re assuming that Adam and Eve, when created, were not capable of distinguishing between what they should and shouldn’t do, and also that there hadn’t been interaction between God and them between their creation and the Fall that clarified the reasons why they should listen to him. The Biblical narrative does not include such things, which means I cannot base my argument on them having happened, but it quickly reveals that yours is an argument from silence. The remainder of the Biblical narrative depicts Adam and Eve as responsible for the decision they made; if we are to insert anything into the silence of whether or not Adam could be held responsible, the most reasonable assumption is to insert into that silence what the Biblical narrative itself inserts.

            The thing about Genesis is that it’s not written as a theological treatise, it’s written as a narrative; its genre marks are those of a historical narrative, telling a story that took place in the past. As a result, it includes only the elements that were required to tell that story in light of the genre expectations of its audience and their preexisting assumptions. Questions that we may wish were answered in the text for theological reasons weren’t relevant to the narrative purpose of the text, and thus are left silent. Instead of explaining to us extensively what “knowledge of good and evil” meant, we’re simply informed that it was an attribute that Adam and Eve initially lacked that constituted a key difference between them and God. Instead of an elaborate philosophical treatise on how Adam and Eve possessed the attributes required to distinguish between God as trustworthy and Satan as untrustworthy alongside the ability to make informed moral decisions for which they were truly responsible, we receive a narrative in which they are disobedient and are punished for their disobedience, thus demonstrating narratively their responsibility for their actions. Genesis communicates information, but it does so through stories; silence means that a detail was unnecessary for the story, not that the detail wasn’t there at all.

          • Tom from North Carolina

            Ryan said:

            You’re assuming that Adam and Eve, when created, were not capable of distinguishing between what they should and shouldn’t do, and also that there hadn’t been interaction between God and them between their creation and the Fall that clarified the reasons why they should listen to him.

            That is not an assumption. That’s a conclusion based on what the bible says about Adam and Eve. It’s also based on sitting through literally dozens of sermons where Adam and Eve were described as children, not knowing right from wrong. Could you possibly get a more accurate illustration of good and evil than of God and Satan?

            Since Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good or evil, they had no reference from which to judge. You seem to be concluding actions by God that are nowhere described in the bible and concluding that God educated Adam and Eve on differentiating between what voices to listen to and what voices to ignore, is unsupported.

            You also said, “The remainder of the Biblical narrative depicts Adam and Eve as responsible for the decision they made;”

            But these depictions of responsibility take place after having eaten the forbidden fruit. Do they not?

            You also said, ” Instead of explaining to us extensively what “knowledge of good and evil” meant, we’re simply informed that it was an attribute that Adam and Eve initially lacked that constituted a key difference between them and God.”

            Apparently, knowledge of good and evil meant awareness that nakedness was bad since they immediately covered themselves up. Their understanding of good and evil before eating the fruit means they don’t have the ability to differentiate between what God says (good) and what Satan says (bad). I don’t think there’s anything in the bible that contradicts that conclusion.

            Now, what about God’s responsibility to protect Adam and Eve from Satan? What about God’s ability to predict what would happen and do nothing about it anyway? Doesn’t that imply that God wanted the fall to happen?

            And finally, why punish all of mankind for the sins, however unlikely this event was to have actually happened, for the sins of two people. Why wouldn’t God wipe the slate clean for each person?

          • Ryan M.

            Just because something has been said in dozens of sermons doesn’t make it accurate; I can guarantee you that there have been thousands of sermons preached on Christians being raptured up before the Great Tribulation, but that doesn’t mean that the dispensationalists have it right. There have been many sermons about how all that homosexuals have to do is “pray away the gay”, and if that doesn’t work they’re just not praying hard enough; tremendous damage has been caused by such misguided sermons. Many people may have preached on Adam and Even being incapable of distinguishing between good and evil in a moral sense, but that doesn’t mean that such sermons are correct. We know, for example, that Eve knew that she wasn’t supposed to eat the fruit from the tree, and that either her or Adam considered it so very important not to eat from the tree that they decided they shouldn’t even touch the fruit of the tree (compare the command God gives in Genesis 2:16-17 with Eve’s statement of the command in Genesis 3:3). That’s a very human thing to do; when we recognise the extreme importance of not doing something, we like to set a boundary even further back from it so that we don’t even come close to breaking the commandment. The command is given to Adam, so either he modified it before passing it onto Eve, she modified it herself or they both agreed with the modification. Whichever it was, at least one of them placed great importance upon not breaking the command.

            While the depictions of Adam and Eve being held responsible for sin take place after the Fall, the depictions themselves assume that Adam and Eve can be held responsible which requires that they were responsible even before they sinned (if they couldn’t be held responsible, it would be non-sensical to judge them for the first sin, only the sins that came after). The rest of the Biblical narrative treats the first sin as something that can be counted against Adam and Eve, meaning that the underlying assumption of the text treats the Original Sin as something they had the moral capacity to know they shouldn’t have committed but did so anyway.

            As for “knowledge of good and evil”, part of the problem with understanding what they lacked knowledge of is that the Hebrew words for “good” and “evil” (particularly “evil) are incredibly broad. The word for “evil” implies “unpleasant” or “painful” as much as it does moral evil; it could just as well mean that Adam and Eve lacked knowledge of comfort and pain, having only ever experienced the bliss of the Garden, which would more directly explain why the consequence of eating from the tree was death (on the day you eat of the tree of knowledge of comfort and pain, you shall surely experience pain, even unto the pain of death) and the curse involved painful toil to produce food and pain during childbirth. We are told that they were unaware of their nakedness, but nakedness only becomes a problem in harsh environments, so that could once again be connected to their newfound knowledge of pain.

            It’s true that God let the Fall happen, which means that in the ultimate sense, it fits into his plan. He did not “want” the Fall to happen in the sense that he never wants people to disobey him, but it seems likely (though I’m not in the position to explain God’s motivations and reasoning) that there was something else he valued more that caused him to let Adam and Eve disobey him rather than forcing them to obey his will.
            As for why he would punish all of mankind, well, let’s take a step out of our historically abnormal Western worldview for a second and look at things the way humans have for most of history. It’s somewhat of a Western anomaly to consider people as primarily individuals, autonomous units completely responsible for their themselves and only obligated to those to whom they choose to make themselves responsible. For most humans throughout history, people are part of a collective, and unit whose identities are so intertwined that the actions of one impact and represent the actions of any. Blood guilt in tribal cultures wasn’t just placed on the guilty party, but on the entire tribe of the guilty party, for example. The reality of human existence is that we aren’t individuals, we are fundamentally collective and, while we can attempt to ignore our connection to the collective, we can’t actually sever it. We are part of Adam and Eve’s family by blood, according to the Bible, and therefore we experience the consequences of their sins. As for whether we will actually be judged on the basis of their sin, the Bible doesn’t make that clear; what it does say, however, is that because of their sin, we’ll accumulate plenty of sins of our own to be condemned by even if we aren’t morally guilty for their sin. Nevertheless, because we can’t escape their family, we can’t escape the consequences of their sin (although the redemptive story of Christ is that we can be cut off from this family and grafted on to another, taking us out from under condemnation and bringing us into righteousness and glory, but the physical reality of that change will not be apparent until the final resurrection).

          • Delwyn Campbell

            Why couldn’t Ryan, along with Jesus, Paul, Martin Luther, and PRACTICALLY EVERY believing Christian in the world OUTSIDE of the Western 1st World (which grows more decadent by the DAY) POSSIBLY believe that the story of Adam and Eve is literally true? After all, based upon the other significant figures in Historic Orthodox Christianity, he is in good company, company which you, Tom, apparently do not share. So, whose on the wrong side, Ryan, Jesus, Paul and Luther, or Tom?

    • jjmil03

      Joel, I think you are missing the entire point of Christianity – what God says, IS. You can’t participate in a sexual act if you aren’t married. You can’t be married unless you are marrying someone of the opposite sex. That’s what marriage IS, defined by Moses, Christ, St. Paul, and the Catholic Church, for the last 4,000 years.

      It’s “ick” to a lot of people because you are using body parts in a sexual act that at it’s very root is a twisting of their actual purpose. Sex is the coming together of two complementary sexual organs. While a same-sex act is a sexual act (because it involves a sex organ) it is not “sex” by definition. Instead, in the case of men, you have a sexual organ placed in a place of the body that is “ick” by design. It’s a sexual “act” but it’s not “sex.” The reaction is understandable – maybe the phraseology needs work, but you can’t deny the honesty in the reaction either.

      What “privacy” in the bedroom do you speak of? Last time I checked, God is EVERYWHERE. Your actions in the bedroom might be private to the rest of the world, but they aren’t somehow hidden from God. You too can sin in the bedroom – birth control, purposefully rendering the sexual act sterile in any way, are all sins. The Church gets a lot of flack for its stance on Homosexuality, but if married people actually knew what the demands of the Church really were, they would be more mad about that! If the Church speaks of those cases, surely it can speak of these cases as well.

      If you aren’t a Catholic, then I don’t expect you to really agree with anything here. And you are free to believe as you choose, but please don’t presume to tell the Catholic Church what she can or cannot speak about when it comes to morality. Disagree, but from the Church’s perspective, speaking on these matters will help save souls who would otherwise be ignorant of the facts. That is the Church’s job; to keep her children free from sin as much as possible.

      • Joel Sutton

        Where, exactly, did Moses define marriage? And, marriage as we define it now, even between a man and a woman is not marriage as it was 4000 years ago.

        • jjmil03

          It’s widely attributed to Moses as the author of Genesis. Genesis explicitly defines marriage – “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”

          Moses also wrote Leviticus – which explicitly condemns homosexual actions.

          That good enough?

          • Joel Sutton

            Sorry, It’s not good enough. It used to be widely accepted that Moses authored Genesis-Deuteronomy, but not any more. Current scholarship identifies at least 3 different authors, none of whom are Moses.

          • jjmil03

            Sure, we can get into the “who wrote what argument” if that is what you want. Plenty of scholars say Moses. Still more say other people. Let’s call it a toss up for arguments sake…hell, let’s say you are right. Put it this way – Leviticus was essentially Moses dictating to the Israelites what the rules were going to be after they messed up at Sinai. So even if he didn’t write it, he said it (which is really the point), and it’s pretty obvious to anyone who read that book of the bible, what his definition of marriage was. And certainly he didn’t mince words about what he felt about homosexual behavior. All of the Israelites knew the Genesis story as well – including Moses.

            I’d argue that the burden of proof to redefine marriage (if that is what you are proposing), or redefining the morality of homosexual acts, is on you, not me. Marriage has been heterosexual since the dawn of creation – Adam and Eve. Homosexual acts have always been, and still are, and aberrations of normal sexual activity. 5% of the population (being generous) isn’t “the norm.” Any doctor would tell you it’s incredibly dangerous sexual activity as well. Not just STDs, but all sorts of other issues stemming from the basic biological fact that the act is not “ordered” properly. Just because you “can” do something doesn’t mean you “should.”

            To your second point – you are right. 4000 years ago, men and women got married and stayed married in the Judeo-Christian model. In almost every culture, marriage was a permanent fixture. If vows were broken, people were killed. Even those who cheated, did whatever, still came back home to their spouse. Once the advent of the “sexual revolution” came about, it completely destroyed societal marriage. Today, it’s pretty much a free-for-all. Society has bastardized marriage to the point where its true purpose has been hijacked. Now its about living with someone until you are sick of them, and finding someone new. And kids – pfft, if you do happen to have them, lets keep it at one, maybe two, and the mom will get to raise them when daddy finds a new wife. Best to keep the wifey on the pill so there’s an easy escape route too.

            That’s how people see marriage today. No wonder why people are disillusioned. Hard to argue against gay marriage when we Christians distort it to the point where isn’t any reason not to allow them to get married. What’s the difference between a sex act that is intrinsically infertle and a normal sex act that is chemically infertle? Who cares about who gets married when on average half of Americans get married 2 or more times? Its just sad…

          • Ryan M.

            Current scholarship identifies many authors, yes, but the Hebrew notion of authorship doesn’t require that you wrote every word from scratch; a redactor would legitimately considered the “author” if the final (or nearly final) form of the text was his. It’s more than possible within the traditional perspective that Moses had access to a variety of oral traditions and fragmentary written documents, and that he acted as a redactor when composing the Torah. It’s worth noting that Leviticus and Deuternomy are the only documents that he would have been likely to have composed entirely from scratch, and under the classic JEDP model of authorship, those two books are assigned almost entirely to a single source (Leviticus to the Priestly source and Deuteronomy to the Deuteronomistic source), suggesting that they were more likely to have been the work of an individual rather than a redactor combining or editing multiple sources.
            It should also be pointed out that there is plenty of scholarship that questions the underlying assumptions of the JEDP hypothesis; the idea that Deteronomy has to be late, for example, is heavily challenged by the fact that Deuteronomy is modelled on a Hittite suzerain-vassal treaty, which supports authorship around the time of Moses far more than it does authorship during Josiah’s era of reform. There is also remarkable literary unity within the Torah, suggesting a unity of redaction (if not authorship) that would not be expected based on the progressive redaction that has been assumed by so many scholars over the years.
            As a final point, even if the Torah is the result of redaction by many different people who are not Moses, even the New Testament uses the traditional idiomatic reference to the entire Torah as “Moses”, and thus it is not inaccurate to say that “Moses defined marriage” if a definition of marriage is present in the Torah.

    • Raphael Revels

      You are asking why Christians and the church consider same sex couples acting on their desires wrong and not the same as non-same sex couples acting on their desires?

      The answer is a bit complicated because firstly if they do say that they are wrong it isn’t couples that acting on their sexual desires that is considered good it is a man and his wife acting on their sexual desires with one another that is good, unmarried couples are almost just as bad. I say almost because God says a same sex couple acting on sexual desires with one another is an abomination. And because by God’s law a man cannot marry another man and a woman cannot marry another woman it will never be pleasing or acceptable in God’s sight, so if the church ever says it is good of if a Christian ever says it is good then they are lies because it cannot be good unless God says it’s good.

    • Delwyn Campbell

      Fine – show me in Genesis where God created homosexual couples and enabled them to “be fruitful and multiply,” and I’ll start celebrating same sex marriages. Show me where Jesus Christ SAID that God intended for a man to leave his father and mother and be joined to his HUSBAND, and I’ll be right with you, celebrating…
      Oh…but you CAN’T, because God DIDN’T, and Christ DIDN’T.
      “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end are the ways of death.” If you were “born gay,” then God made you a eunuch. Live in the state in which you were called. That is the only counsel that God’s word gives concerning you. It doesn’t tell us to recast marriage in your image, or accommodate it to your desires.

  • http://www.rogeroverton.com Roger Overton

    I appreciate your distinction and the care with which you make it. I think there may be a more practical linguistic problem, though (I apologize if you’ve written about this elsewhere- I’m new to your blog). When most Christians hear “gay Christian” they think the individual has embraced a “gay lifestyle,” as you called it. At this point, I don’t think it’s practically possible to disassociate “gay” from homosexual activity. Regardless of the problems with using labels, we’re going to keep on using them. If “gay Christian” is fixed in our lexicon as someone who embraces homosexual activity, how ought we to refer to a Christian who has same-sex attraction but does not act on it?

    • http://theredemptionofhope.wordpress.com/ Ally C

      “Side B” [gay] Christian tends to be the go to– or celibate Christian. Or, we could not assume we know people’s sexual activity just because someone identifies as LGBTQ.

      • AnotherJosh

        I had a whole reply composed, but it was far too wordy, so I’ll just upvote you instead.

    • Jamo Taylor

      How can it be right or Biblical to identify yourself as anything but a Christian – a saved sinner. If I go around identifying myself as a “lying Christian”, saying that I have the inclination to lie a lot, but I don’t act on it, doesn’t that detract from the fact that I believe lying is wrong and something that I want to overcome. If I am a Christian, that means that at some point in my life I have come to the realization that I am a sinner. That my way of doing things is wrong, and goes against God’s law. But Jesus died to set me free from those sins. If my identity is “James the lying Christian”, then how will I ever become “James the Christian” – not just in the eyes of others but in my own eyes. If I have acknowledged my sin and have asked `God for forgiveness, then why would I keep identifying myself by my sins? I’ve been born again.

      • http://theredemptionofhope.wordpress.com/ Ally C

        Well… many of us don’t believe sexual orientations in and of themselves are sin because there’s a difference between orientation and behavior. Whether you’re straight, gay, lesbian, or asexual– it’s what you do out of that orientation that could be licit or illicit. Thus, many of us identify as “gay Christians”. It’s not that we’re elevating our sexuality, or celebrating our sin nature– we’re just, as Matthias said, being honest about one aspect of ourselves. i could just as well, and often do, simply call myself a Christian. But in discussions about sexuality, i find it helpful to label my orientation as gay/lesbian because that’s what it is– i’m attracted to other women. And for me, whether i’m sinning in regard to my sexuality has less to do with my general attractions than it does with what i’m doing with those attractions.

        • Steve

          I agree with you Ally. When finding a church I always ask how they feel about homosexuals. I don’t want to attend someplace to have them pop up and tell me I’m going to hell. Typically, the only person I share my sexuality with is my partner and God. When people ask, I tell them I’m a Christ Follower. My relationship, sexuality and sin are nobody’s business except for Gods unless I feel the need to clarify an issue. I wonder what Jamo would say about intersexed people with chromosomal additions they are born with? I think people would be surprised that God’s creation is not so black and white or Male and Female.

      • hyhybt

        There are NO other statements which are true about you other than that you’re a Christian? You’re not tall, or short, or fat, or thin, or brown-eyed, or blue, you don’t belong to any subset of Christianity such as being a Methodist or Baptist, and so on? Because unless the answer is that you’re not, completely 100% not, anything that can be described by any adjective other than “Chrisitan,” your complaint is nonsensical.

        • Jamo Taylor

          I was referring to people who calls themselves “gay Christian”, as opposed to just Christian. So to your point, calling yourself a “tall Christian” or “fat Christian” would also suggest that your identity is not rooted in Christ.

          • hyhybt

            How so? Because English doesn’t work that way for the rest of us.

          • DrewTwoFish

            lol

          • hyhybt

            The only time people refer to themselves as “gay Christians” is when the intersection of the two traits is relevant. That I am gay does not alter that I am Christian, but neither does being a Christian alter the fact that I’m gay. They’re wholly separate things. That’s not a reflection on the relative importance of either of them, just that both are true, and that, solely because many Christians don’t like it, the combination is frequently important to acknowledge.

            If a large portion of Christianity insisted that being blue-eyed was “incompatible with Christian teaching,” if blue-eyed people had to be careful about which churches would accept them and always on guard for being called sinful and apostate by their brown-eyed brothers in Christ, then the phrase “blue-eyed Christian” would come up in similar situations.

    • hyhybt

      Gay means someone who is attracted to the same sex, period, the end, whether they ever do anything about it or not. Acting accordingly is the most likely and reasonable response, but not a necessary one.

    • DrewTwoFish

      Language changes. I don’t think “gay Christian” is fixed in the lexicon as someone who embraces homosexual activity. I’m pretty sure that’s not what it means to most gay Christians. Straight people might do well to actually ask gay people about these things.

      Not possible to disassociate “gay” from homosexual activity (meaning gay sex I assume)? How is that? Are all straight people having sex?

  • Jamo Taylor

    I’m not an expert on relationships, sexuality, or even the word of God. But I don’t think I need to be in order to have an understanding of this problem. If you say I am ignorant, because I say that homosexuality is lust and lust alone, then by the standards of the world I’m happy to be considered ignorant and even a fool, but this is how I believe God has shown it to be.

    If I understand you correctly, you are basically saying that there are 2 parts to attraction between people – orientation and lust. You’re saying you can be “oriented towards” a person of certain gender, but that this doens’t necessarily mean you have lust for that person. I would agree with you in so far as to say that yes, I can be attracted to another man, without lust. This is what I would call friendship, not attraction. I can find another man “attractive” (not visually) because he is funny, he is smart, he is nice to me etc. The visual part of attraction is where things get sexual. If you are visually attracted to someone of the same sex, that is a result of our sexual desire. If I see a pretty woman walk past and my eyes stay with her a bit longer than they should, perhaps that isn’t lust entirely, but it’s not something I would imagine Jesus doing. My attraction for that women has it’s basis in lust, the lust of the flesh. If I were more like Jesus, I would see past her outside appearance. In the same way, if I find myself starting to have romantic feelings towards a male friend, and I start imagining us as a couple, I would say that this, even though in of itself might be more mixed emotion than lust, has it’s root in sexual desire, and therefore is lust.

    Honestly, I think that most of what we call attraction – when we are referring to visual attraction, or romance, or the desire for another, has it’s root in sexuality, and therefore, regardless of whether it is referred to as lust, it has the intention of sex. Sex outside of marriage is sin, and so desiring sex outside of marriage is sin. The homosexual act itself is sin, and so desiring that act is sin.

    I am not a saint, and I am also guilty (although forgiven) in the area of sexual immorality. But, I believe that God has given us an outlet for our desire to have sex, because we are weak in the flesh – it’s called marriage, and it’s designed to be between a man and a woman. Anything outside of that is sin.

    • Ryan M.

      I feel like you’re missing the distinction between healthy, non-sinful sexual attraction and lust. I can look at a woman and recognise that she’s physically very attractive; at that point, I have not yet sinned. I may even recognise that, on the basis of her appearance, there would be a certain appeal to pursuing a relationship with her; once again, I have not yet sinned at this point. I can then go further, and dwell on her attractiveness, possibly imagining future scenarios with her; it is at this point that I’ve strayed into the territory of lust. Sexual desires are not inherently lust-orientated (we can thank people like Augustine for the presence of that misguided idea in Church culture); the sin is not recognising that someone is physically attractive, it’s in reducing that person to an object to be physically attracted to. It’s more than possible for someone who is homosexual to commit the sin of lust, but a simple recognition of romantic attraction is not the point at which that has taken place.

      • Jamo Taylor

        Actually I really think it is sinful to be attracted so someone of the same sex. Healthy attraction? We should be attempting to see our Christian brothers and sisters as that – brothers and sisters. Would it be wrong to be attracted to your brother or your sister? Well, yes, whether hetero or homosexual. Now I’m not saying we don’t all fall short of God’s incredibly high standards, but don’t bring in the world’s standards of “healthy attraction” and make them God’s standards. To me, “admitting” you’re gay shouldn’t be an identity thing and should be just like admitting other kinds of sin. You had the inclination, you did or didn’t act on it, you’re sorry, you move on. Allowing Christians to identify as gay gives them reason to think they can’t be changed by the Holy Spirit. It’s like me saying I’m attracted to my sister, but it’s not wrong unless I act on it, and I have no intention of overcoming my attraction because its not a sin.

        • AnotherJosh

          I have no intention of beating myself up in reparative therapy or “pray away the gay” torture camps or any other such things to “overcome my attractions” (by which clueless straight people usually mean “become straight”), because it simply does not work*. The above illustrates well what happens when straight people try to work out a theology of sin for gay people without actually listening to anything a gay person says on the matter.

          I’ll say for the record that you’d find Denny Burk’s opinions on this topic to feel right at home, and I’ll also say that the vast majority of celibate gay Christians I’ve read find him sorely unconvincing, because he – and you – make what is at most a temptation into a sin that must be repented of and ultimately “conquered” through sanctification (despite the fact that in real people’s lives, which Burk seems to conveniently ignore, this never actually works). All it does is bring a heaping metric ton of guilt and shame, of which LGBT people raised in conservative evangelical environments already have enough of.

          So all that to say, I suppose, that I’m not buying what you’re selling, because it’s a faulty product that harms people who attempt to apply it to their lives. I’m all in favor of avoiding [true] sexual immorality, I simply [and strongly] disagree that the biological impulse that makes my eyes dart across the street when a hot guy is walking the other way, providing that I don’t further entertain lustful thoughts, is anything for which I need to repent.

          * People who are bi/flexible may convince themselves that it “works,” at least for a while, but they’re generally still bi, and not fully straight.

          • Jamo Taylor

            God made us male and female. If a person were asexual, then they wouldn’t experience attraction. They would be able to appreciate beauty, but would find both sexes equally beautiful. To say you are attracted to one sex and not the other is to admit the sexual nature of your attraction, and therefore the root is in the desire to have sex, and that desire goes against God’s law

          • AnotherJosh

            “Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.”

          • DrewTwoFish

            Well, actually “someone” made interex people too, and gay people and so on. There are a lot of us who don’t fit into that tidy binary system. So, now what?

        • Ryan M.

          So you’re saying that Abram sinned when he married Sarai because he was attracted to and married his sister? The prohibition against incest does not appear until the Mosaic Law; while it may feel somewhat uncomfortable to admit, it’s not a prohibition for all times and places, it’s a prohibition that appeared somewhere down the track for some reason that is not universally valid (a modern reading from a non-metaphorical historical interpretation of Genesis suggests that a relatively unfallen human genome would not be overly susceptible to the risks of inbreeding, but as genetic errors accumulated it eventually became necessary to prohibit inbreeding). If it was so completely 100% wrong, we would have to question the very nature of the creation account, in which God made humanity in such a way that the only way for the second generation of humans to reproduce was via incestual behaviour between brothers and sisters. Now, the addition of a prohibition against biological incest in the Mosaic law and Christ’s condemnation of sexual immorality in a culture who defined sexual immorality on the basis of Moses means that biological incest remains just as forbidden for us today. However, physical attraction to brothers or sisters is not the problem here, it’s the actions that may result from it. If you’re attracted to your biological sister, that doesn’t have to be a problem. If you let that attraction turn into lust, it has become a problem. If you let that attraction turn into action, it has become a problem. But the attraction itself, while socially frowned upon, is not inherently sinful.

          Another problem with your argument is that if I, as a male, marry a Christian female, she is no less my sister in Christ after marriage than she was before. Based on your argument, I should not be physically attracted to her because she’s my sister; if that’s the case, may I please point you to the Song of Songs/Solomon, and remind you that physical attraction between spouses receives an immense amount of Biblical affirmation purely on the basis of that book’s inclusion in the canon.

          Physical attraction is as much a physical reaction as it is a mental one; there are certain hormonal responses and brain processes that trigger subconsciously when we’re physically attracted to someone. It’s extremely helpful to be able to recognise and acknowledge this attraction, because only be consciously admitting such attraction can we then decide what the appropriate response is. It is not sinful to acknowledge that another man’s wife is attractive; there are many, many sins that can result if one dwells on that acknowledgement, but the sin is not in recognising that attractiveness alone. In fact, in theory, one can simply use such an acknowlegement to thank God for that person’s beauty, as part of his good creation. God has made beautiful things; we should be able to learn to see that beauty and have our thoughts directed to his glory in our thankfulness for that beauty. I hold to the conservative position about whether it’s sinful to engage in homosexual acts, but let’s not commit the same error that Eve did in the Garden. When Eve is challenged by Satan, she doesn’t repeat God’s command, she states something more stringent, seemingly born out of a fear of not even coming close to breaking God’s command. God had said “do not eat”; Eve says she “should not touch”. The problem is, this puts words in God’s mouth and makes it easier to think that you’ve already broken God’s law when you actually haven’t, creating guilt among the guiltless (which is Satan’s MO). Recognising physical attraction is not sin; following it through to lust or sexually immoral actions is sin, but the attraction is not.

    • AnotherJosh

      I agree that lust is sin, but I strongly disagree with the immoralization of visual attraction, which is merely the natural outcome of our biological wiring to reproduce (which in some people, as in some animals across hundreds of species, is oriented toward the same sex, or toward all sexes, or toward nothing). The idea that a same-sex attracted person must flagellate themselves every time an attractive person catches their eye is harmful and has caused levels of depression and self-hatred in LGBT people to degrees that you simply can’t comprehend.

      To your point about God’s supposed outlet for sexual desire, how do you think that response has any meaning at all to a person who finds the thought of sex with an opposite sex person to be as disgusting as you probably – presumably – find the thought of sex with a person of the same sex as yourself?

      • DrewTwoFish

        Yeah, good grief. Is gay person “sinning” simply by existing?

        • AnotherJosh

          That’s what happens when straight people try to figure out gay people in a self-imposed vacuum (i.e. by refusing to listen to anything an LGBTQ person says). I say this for the benefit of others, because I’m sure you’re already well aware of this phenomenon.

          • DrewTwoFish

            Exactly. It becomes readily apparent a number of commenters here haven’t had any serious discussion with real live gay people.

    • http://theredemptionofhope.wordpress.com/ Ally C

      Attraction isn’t just visual or physical, though– at least, not for many people. i can be emotionally attracted to someone before i’m physically attracted to her. Actually, for me, that frequently happens. Attraction can encompass the physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual– all aspects of what makes up a human.

      • Jamo Taylor

        Agreed, attraction is not just physical. But why is it that so many homosexual relationships have one masculine and one feminine role/persona? It’s natural to want a heterosexual relationship – men and women balance one another out. Seeking the same emotional, spiritual, intellectual, practical etc. interaction and dependance in the same sex is not God’s design.

        • http://theredemptionofhope.wordpress.com/ Ally C

          That’s incredibly stereotypical and not at all representative of all LGBTQ relationships, you realise that, right? For straight people, heterosexual relationships are natural. For LGBTQ people, LGBTQ relationships are natural. i’m not God, i can’t speak for God so i can’t speak to God’s original design but this is the world i inhabit: straight people exist and LGBTQ people exist and we’re all made for relationship.

          • Jamo Taylor

            You can call it stereotypical, but that’s what I’ve seen. We are designed with gender, and sex was designed to reproduce, with bits that fit together. That’s God’s design and I think it’s quite obvious.

          • http://theredemptionofhope.wordpress.com/ Ally C

            Please don’t reduce LGBTQ people to sex acts (“we are designed […] with bits that fit together.”) It’s rude, and not at all beneficial to the discussion at hand.

          • Jamo Taylor

            Just trying to state the simple facts of how God has designed us, not being rude at all. A man has a penis which is designed to go into a woman’s vagina for reproduction. That is God’s design.

          • http://theredemptionofhope.wordpress.com/ Ally C

            Or maybe it’s not at all, given that sexuality exists on a continuum and people have sex in a myriad of ways– straight people and LGBTQ people. You are free to believe it’s God’s design that sex only equals a penis in a vagina. And others are free to disagree. At any rate, yes, it is rude to reduce people to (perceived) sex acts– which is what you do with your implication that gay sex can’t be God’s design because the “bits don’t fit”. Me stating that i’m gay (or anyone stating that they’re LGBTQ) says zero about my (their) sexual activity so there’s literally no reason for you to bring up sexual acts.

          • Jamo Taylor

            Nope. Sin exists on a continuum. Humans will always find new ways to do it (and that doesn’t exclude me). But God’s law doesn’t change. I brought up the “sex act” as you call it because you asked how one could know God’s design.

          • Steve

            I have to chime in here! God’s law did change from the OT to the NT. As Christians we no longer have to provide sacrifices for our sin according to God’s law recorded in the OT because, this is where God changed the rules, Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for all of our sins. We no longer have to burn pigs, lambs and cows to appease our sins. God’s law changed. I wonder what else he changed that we don’t know about?

          • Noggindog

            No, God’s law did not change from OT to NT. That misunderstanding comes from the idea that God intended ALL people to follow the law He set down for the nation of Israel. That entirely misses the point of Hebraic Law, which was in very large part designed to set the Hebrews apart from the rest of the world. Peter and Paul discussed the same issue: Has the law changed? Are Christians supposed to follow Hebraic Law? The result of that discussion was that Christians are not bound by Hebraic Law, not that the law changed.

            It is equally erroneous to draw the conclusion that God “changed His law” regarding creating Adam alone, and then adding Eve to the equation later. Creating Adam alone and adding Eve later serves to illustrate for us the relational aspect of our existence in a much stronger way than merely mentioning that we are relational beings, and were created that way. Indeed, there is nothing in the creation story that suggests God “changed” Adam to make him relational. Your interpretation would have God creating an Adam who needed relationship, but not “realizing” Adam would need a mate until later on. To the contrary, God created a relational Adam from the gate, and let him exist alone for a time to illustrate the importance of the relational aspect (because, I might add, marriage is a metaphore for God’s plan for His relationship with us. That is a good and sufficient reason for God to want to emphasize the relational aspect of humanity.)

          • DrewTwoFish

            Have you actually talked to any gay people? Wait, I mean had a conversation with them where you actually listened? I suspect if I told you my hair was on fire but your take on the Bible said otherwise you’d let me go up in flames. There IS a continuum of sexuality and gender. These aren’t opinions or metaphysical theories but observable facts. Applying a particular moral filter that impacts how we navigate these realities is one thing but to deny them altogether and, for all intents and purposes, call your brethren liars is, um, a bit of conversation stopper, wouldn’t you say?

          • Jamo Taylor

            So because your facts are supposedly more true than mine, I’m preventing conversion?

          • DrewTwoFish

            These aren’t my facts. These aren’t your facts. They are facts. For example, intersex people actually exist. Gay people exist. Etc.

            I don’t understand your reference to conversion.

        • hyhybt

          “But why is it that so many homosexual relationships have one masculine and one feminine role/persona?”— Pretending for a moment you were asking that as a serious question, the answer has two parts: first, because that’s what you want to see, and second, because natural variation means that people fall at different points along the scale you would label as masculine-to-feminine, and therefore any two people are unlikely to sit on *exactly* the same point along it.

          • BigHobbit

            Well put.

    • benedicktus

      In part your saying that a gay person lives to a different standard than straights. We visually find someone attractive and it’s lust. You visually find a woman attractive, and it’s attraction. Both sides of the equation have to have the same conclusion, or something’s amiss. I see many men attractive that I in no way want to have sex with. Do you have a problem with women in that regard? What, really is the different?

      • DrewTwoFish

        I can tell you what the answer will: the attraction is sinful in and of itself because it’s “disordered.” Of course, the assumption is that straight people are drawn together for loftier reasons than gay people when really they’re horny, lonely, and in need of companionship…just like gay people.

  • willow

    I appreciate the gentleness and wisdom with which the author handled this volatile topic, and I hope that these types of discussions will begin to heal the breaches in our society and churches. At the same time, I find this article incredibly sad. Sharing your life and body with a partner that you love is one of the most incredible joys we can experience on this earth. I am a Christian, and, after much study, I confidently believe that gay marriage is not inconsistent with Scripture (and no, I am not gay). While I think that choosing to be single and celibate for the sake your church’s rules is noble, it just seems really tragic and unnecessary.

    • erin alexandra

      Hi Willow, I am a christian also who is hoping the church can respond to this issue with sensitivity and grace too, which is why I am curious to know how you came to hold the belief that scripture supports gay marriage?

      • Jane Newsham

        Hoping it’s ok to comment here.
        The Golden Rule encourages us to treat other people the way that we would wish to be treated (Jesus’ words).
        We extend the same respect to a same-sex married couple that we hope they would extend to our own marriage.
        We don’t disrespect them because this was the view in Bible times, we acknowledge that we live in a modern age where we extend respect and acceptance to all sorts of people that Biblical communities wouldn’t have done (people of different tribes, mentally ill people, leprosy sufferers, divorced women etc). Just because the Biblical mindset wants to treat some people badly doesn’t mean that God wants people to be diminished or disparaged.

        • Ryan M.

          There is, however, a difference between respecting same-sex married couples and condoning same-sex marriage. As a somewhat blunt anecdote, I have a close non-Christian friend who came out to me as bisexual a few years ago while telling me that she had started dating a female. Our friendship had typically been based on fairly unsubtle terms, so I felt no qualms about responding with, “You know what I believe about that, right?”. She responded in the affirmative, to which I responded, “Right, so I don’t need to harp on about it; it doesn’t make any difference to our friendship”. She has, since then, remained as close a friend as before she came out to me. I respect her and care for her deeply, but I didn’t pretend to be condoning the choice she’d made. “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is often used to justify hating the sinner, but the underlying idea isn’t the problem; it is possible to show love without affirming or condoning everything in a person’s life.

        • Raphael Revels

          There is no same sex marriage in Christianity because God doesn’t condone it therefore it is impossible to treat what by faith can not exist the same as something that can.

      • benedicktus

        Just to throw my two cents worth in, there’s a whole lot of difference between “is not inconsistent” and “supports”. I (and maybe God) are perfectly capable of not supporting something that we have made no pronouncements about.

    • Raphael Revels

      I don’t see how you can say gay marriage isn’t inconsistant with scripture whe God calls sexual relations with the same sex an abomination as well as clearly stating that he created woman to be mans companion/helpmeet

  • Abby

    I’m curious why the author did not use any Scripture to defend his position…

    • DrewTwoFish

      Perhaps because these are realities that exist irrespective of one’s theological perspective. It shouldn’t be a position that needs defending.

    • Ryan M.

      Perhaps because the issue the author is speaking of falls in a mostly silent area of Scripture. The concept of a homosexual orientation was fairly unknown in the Biblical era based on our knowledge of history. Homosexual practice was, on the other hand, well known and reasonably common; any Biblical prohibition almost certainly concerns some form of practice, not an orientation. The author is arguing for the distinction between the two, which requires drawing more upon extra-Biblical sources than Scripture itself.

  • somedutchdude

    Most of the posts here are TLDR, to be honest.

    • hyhybt

      The problem is not that people expressing complex thought use paragraphs to do so. The problem is some people’s attention span is absurdly short.

      • DrewTwoFish

        I think it’s all of it. Nuance, detail, and examples are sometimes necessary but there are are genuine windbags out there. And please, more paragraphs if you do feel the need to blather on for several thousand words.

    • DrewTwoFish

      TLDR?

      • Jeff Preuss

        Too long, didn’t read. 🙂

  • brad

    Interesting article! I am left wondering how we determine which “orientations” or “attractions” or “desires” are sinful and which are not. Or is orientation and attraction amoral? Anybody have any ideas?

    • DrewTwoFish

      Are you straight? Do you stop being straight when you’re working on math problem or mowing the lawn or driving your car? Or do you only become straight you become aware of a woman? Do you think to yourself, “I choose to be attracted to this tall red head but I’ve decided not be attracted to petite blonds with blue eyes”?

      Isn’t sin an act?

      • brad

        I’m not sure how I would describe my orientation. There are many things I am attracted to and oriented to that I feel ashamed of . . . that I feel are wrong to even desire. I don’t choose to desire them, but I do.

        • DrewTwoFish

          Do you hear yourself? Why are you putting yourself through the ringer like this? Surely, one is not guilty merely by being tempted. By that logic, even Christ would have sinned. (It’s moot to me since I don’t believe in God but I’ll define sin as something that hurts yourself or another.)

          Think about your statement: I didn’t choose to desire. Can you be responsible for something that you neither choose nor act upon?

          I feel badly that you seem to be in state of condemnation simply by existing. That’s some twisted theology. Give yourself a break, brother. There are lots of REAL things to feel guilty for.

          • Delwyn Campbell

            You “don’t believe in God;” well, in a family conversation, which is what this basically is, you are an outsider. The author is writing to Christians. One of the basic characteristics of a “Christian” is “belief in the reality of God.” It doesn’t stop there, but it does start there.

          • DrewTwoFish

            I’m being honest.

            I was “in the family” for decades, I’m still in the family of man, and this is a public forum. Additionally, I am sexual outlier (Brad doesn’t elaborate on his sexuality). My life was negatively impacted by misguided theology.

            It pains me to see Brad torture himself over things beyond his control, teasing and squeezing out a bit more agony and guilt with the ready help of a twisted condemning theology and its adherents.

            There is wide spectrum of beliefs among sincere and thoughtful individuals who call themselves Christians or Christ followers though admittedly I am not currently among them. Some hold the Bible more loosely, for example, seeing it as a finger pointing to God rather than something to be sucked on (not original). Some merely aspire to follow Christ’s example.

          • Delwyn Campbell

            Good for your honesty, but it still doesn’t allow you to tell me how to correct my son, or comment on the crazy things that my cousin ******* has done.
            On the other hand, the OP “put his business on the street, so I guess that allows the passers-by, such as you, to throw in their two cents as well.

          • DrewTwoFish

            “Allow me?” Please.

            I wasn’t actually addressing the sinfulness homosexual behaviour, in this instance. I was talking about the eagerness of some to condemn their brethren for even being tempted. Given that Christ was tempted that seems to contradict even orthodox theology.

          • Delwyn Campbell

            Well, if he *hadn’t* written a public blog post, but were, instead, having this conversation at his church with his pastor, then you and I wouldn’t be in on the conversation. He launched this “conversation” under Christian parameters of how other Christians should treat the revelation of a church family member that he or she is attracted to people of the same gender. Under those parameters, your comments as a non-believer, while I’m sure are fascinating, are of no help to us, since you reject the essential premise under which we operate: That there is a God, and He does have a Law that we are to honor. If you reject His exitsence, You surely don’t care what He has to say about ANYTHING.

          • DrewTwoFish

            But it IS a public forum, isn’t it? If I see a “son” or “cousin” being abused in public I believe it’s my responsibility to say something, and perhaps throw them a lifeline.

            Though some might prefer it, being the member of one group doesn’t necessarily exclude you from being a member of another. Unless one lives on a self sustaining compound (and even then) we are all connected on some level.

            I don’t believe in God. That’s true. I remain, I hope, open minded. What I do reject is harm done by those place a selective and slavish adherence to their brand of theology over the welfare of their brother and sisters.

          • Delwyn Campbell

            So who is my brother? For example, in Adam, the adulterer as well as the cuckolded spouse are equally connected to me, and, in accordance with our modern sensibilities, the adulterer could have a “good”reason for his/her violation of their marriage vows. For example, those vows kept them from “living their truth” that they no longer love their spouse, but love someone else instead. What does your humanistic a-theology say should be the correct response?
            According to my brand of theology (Unadulterated Augsburg Confession), ALL human life is sacred, and should only be taken within the context of Biblical revelation. Hence, abortion is sin. Modern humanistic a-theology, on the other hand, says that some humans are more equal than others, and the most equal have a say over those which are lesser, including determining the hour of their death. This, not only to the pre-born, but also to the mentally disabled, or the elderly (see Peter Singer).
            You may dislike my theology, because, consistent with the will of God as revealed in the Law, the Gospel, and the Apostolic teaching, God actually had an order of creation/preservation which those who seek to elevate same-sex “marriage” and homosexual desires to the level of that originally created in Adam. They are wrong, as wrong as are those who seek to normalize divorce for just any reason, adulterous marriage, and sex outside of marriage, along with abortion, equating the animals with humans, and the rest of what passes for humanism’s ungodly perversions of righteousness.
            There is an answer to this – the cross of Christ, but to access that, one must agree with God that these things, that are contrary to the revealed will of God in His Word, cannot be supported, but must be resisted when they seek to control us, and must be repented of when they gain the victory over us.

        • benedicktus

          There’s a valid point here. There are things I feel ashamed of too, and I understand that because I fight with it all the time. But we need to remember, as DrewTwoFish was trying to point out, that Christ was tempted in ALL things common to man. He was able to deal with them even though we aren’t, and he eventually took care of the sin problem for men. Temptation, attraction, orientation are all facts. and not sins. I can and am attracted to certain females, and I’m gay. They are just attractive to me – they’re pretty, they’re funny, they’re smart, they’re – whatever and I like them. If you tell me I’m lusting after them I’d laugh in your face cause I have no desire or ability to be sexual with them. Two many people here drawing lines in the sand. As a Christian who has undergone my own share of attractions (some of them not according to Law), I wasn’t able to get rid of them until I stopped trying, God said “about time you quit” and took them from me. Relax, Brad, because of Jesus, God understands (I speak as a human; God understands everything anyway). He’s got your back. Keep on going until He decides to do something with those attractions. Cause, honestly, you can’t.

      • hyhybt

        Not always. For example, it’s sinful to hate someone no matter how nicely you manage to behave.

        • DrewTwoFish

          I hear what you’re saying. I’d put some mental activities under the category of action. One can choose to where to focus one’s attention, whether or not to fan the flames of desire or anger – doing something deliberate.

          What I see from some corners is this blanket condemnation from the get go for simply arriving on the planet. Sounds like a whole lotta sh*t to load on someone before they’ve even taken one step forward.

        • Noggindog

          You would have to define “hate.” When the Bible speaks of hate, it is talking about actions, not feelings or emotions. Even wishing harm on someone, or hoping bad things for them is an action. So if you mean, “it’s sinful to have bad thoughts toward someone even if you are polite to their face,” then I have to agree. But if you mean you have to feel positive toward someone, and feeling negative towards them is sin even if your actions are loving, then I must disagree. And that’s what the crux of this article is about: Do we want to say that being attracted to someone/something is sin, or only that acting on that attraction is sin? And the answer at some point has to be, “The IMPULSE is not sin… the IMPULSE or the initial TEMPTATION to any sin is our fallen, human nature. Harboring that impulse, cultivating those thoughts, fantasizing or wishing we could act on them… there lies the beginning of that particular sin. For the hetero man, being attracted to a woman is not sin… but looking at her with the idea that he wants to sin with her, that IS sin, in and of itself.
          But DrewTwoFish is right: Sin is an act. It may be an act that takes place only in the mind, but it is an act, and it is an act that comes AFTER that original moment where our fallen nature brings some idea or image across our mind.

  • Lance Cummins

    Well written and well said. Thank you.

  • benedicktus

    I’ve been very very pleased with the comments on this post. They have been thoughtful, sincere and for the most part non-judgmental. This is the discussion the Church should be having. The only other comment I have at this point is to the people who wonder why we can’t just identify as Christians and leave off the gay part. Part of that is because we realize that if people accidentally find out our “secret”, we’ll be ostracized. We’ll be told we can’t have any part of salvation. In some cases we’ll be told to straight out go to hell and leave the good people alone. So we’re afraid of attachments without understanding where we stand. Another reason is that, although I may have been in a fellowship a long time there’s always going to be someone who makes snide remarks. “I was at the park yesterday and all these guys were looking at me. All fags need to go to jail”. I heard this in a church building from a solid Christian who didn’t know me. Should I be made to be still, or should I point out the errors in his thinking? My response would be, I thought our mission was to bring people to Christ, not throw them in jail. I chose the coward’s way out and kept quiet. That was perhaps a bigger sin than the fact that I also found his body attractive, although I wasn’t attracted to him. It’s also necessary to convince the world, and the church that God is Big Enough to include us in His plan. I’m sure there are other reasons why we think/feel we need to identify as both; these are the ones that occur to me as I try to be the person I am.

    • AnotherJosh

      Your example here is poignant. If my church knew that I was gay, they’d insist on saying that I “struggle with same-sex attraction,” which is a nonsensical jumble of words that doesn’t apply to me, because I actually struggle not with my orientation, but with anticipating the condescension I’d get from fellow Christians if they knew of my “struggles” – again, their word, not mine.

      If I were “transparent” – the current buzzword in many Christian communities – like other people are about their feelings, I can guarantee that I’d be sidelined, removed from leadership, not allowed to teach the youth as I’ve been doing for a couple of years now, and treated with suspicion – even if I loudly proclaimed that I held to a traditional sexual ethic (which I _am_ traditional about monogamy, just not about gender, but even if…). Thus, they would prove that “love the sinner, hate the sin” is a load of tripe, because they won’t truly love even people who follow their rules to the letter.

      In short, coming out, as I plan to do after my committee term is up and my obligations can be safely discharged, will be an intentional way to expose the hypocrisy and disconnection between what my church says and what they [will inevitably] do. If I went on pretending to be straight, i.e. lying about my true self, as the “your identity is _only_ in Christ” crowd wants me to do, there would be no effective way to challenge this sorry state of affairs.

      • benedicktus

        I tend to agree with you in this too. it’s extremely difficult to “come out” in church. The question was about why we do, and I hope I answered that to some extent. I was, however, no way implying or giving arguments why a person who keeps it to himself should suddenly start proclaiming it. Your stand and reasoning is as valid as anybody’s. I’m sorry if what I said could be interpreted as otherwise.

        • AnotherJosh

          I think I understood what you were getting at, and I was only trying to offer another angle to perhaps illuminate the issue for those on the “don’t talk about it” / “say away the gay” side (which rubs me the wrong way, so if you read irritation in my post, it was unintentional, and it was toward them, not toward you). Anyway, I apologize if I sounded disagreeable, because you didn’t deserve such a response, and that was not my intent. In short, you’re good, and I just suck at clarity sometimes. Mea culpa!

          • benedicktus

            I took no offense, nor read no more than the irritation at the situation. Everything’s fine between us as far as I know. And I’d love further conversation with you. benedicktus@yahoo.com?

      • DareJ

        Totally agree with you—and it makes me angry that you are not being allowed to “walk in the light” (= being vulnerable, authentic, and transparent, according to I John 1).

        That “hate the sin, love the sinner” slogan simply means that there is a part of you that I hate (“because God hates it”), and that you will never be truly acceptable to God (or to me) until you eliminate it completely or at least pretend it’s not there.

        Given the truth at the heart of the original article—that sexual orientation is *not* in and of itself lust—empathetic Christian believers should be the first to embrace marriage equality, which would finally give ‘same-sex attracted’ believers a context in which they could mitigate their lust and channel their urges into the God-given outlet of a committed and monogamous relationship, a God-pleasing option held out to all other-sex attracted believers from their childhood.

        • Raphael Revels

          Sin is not a part of the people of God it comes from the devil to say that it is a part of you is to say you don’t truly believe God when he said that Jesus died to deliver you from it, or that he washes your sins away.

          • AnotherJosh

            Being attracted to members of one’s own sex, as opposed to members of the opposite sex, is neither chosen, nor sinful.

          • Raphael Revels

            Being tempted to persue sexual relationships with the same sex is not sinful accepting that it is a part of who you are is sinful

          • AnotherJosh

            Can you detail what it would look like to _not_ accept “that it is a part of who you are”?

          • Raphael Revels

            As a Christian it would be things like not saying “I was born this way” or “its a part of who I am” or “I can’t change it” and say things like “it’s an affliction I can overcome with God’s help”

          • AnotherJosh

            How would you respond to people who, despite having as best an upbringing as one could hope for, found themselves attracted exclusively to members of their own sex from as early as they ever had attractions to anyone at all, and who desperately tried everything they could, sometimes for decades, to “overcome” their sexuality “with God’s help,” and never changed?

          • Katherine Harms

            Everyone is tempted toward all sorts of sinful behaviors and attitudes. Most people have numerous issues with temptation which never go away. The temptation to act on an attraction to people of the same sex, or the temptation to swing, and even the temptation to think you were born the opposite gender to your DNA are all temptations, and if you fight them for a lifetime, you are no different from me fighting my quick temper. We are all sinners. You can’t exempt sexual sin from being sin by claiming that this sin is different from all the rest because you are “born that way.” We are all “born that way.” We are all born sinful, and we all battle with our sinful inclinations for a lifetime.
            I don’t think the Bible gives us a license to treat people afflicted with the particular temptation of homosexuality differently from other sinners, but the Bible does make it clear that this temptation is not a normal expression of sexuality and the expression of it is sin. There is one normal sexual orientation, and one normal gender expression determined by DNA. The rest is sin. That doesn’t make those who suffer from one sin worse than those who suffer from another.
            The thing that makes homosexuality and bisexuality and transgender problems all worse than a lot of other things is the public advocacy for calling sins normal. When homosexuals fall into the atheist view that every possible expression and behavior in sexuality is normal, then the rest of us must resist it and argue against it. You are trying even here to say that homosexuality is normal. It isn’t.

          • AnotherJosh

            That’s very nice, and there are some things you’ve said that I agree with (and some that I don’t), but that’s kind of beside the point of where I was going with the questions to which you replied. Raphael implied that I should not be allowed to say that I was “born this way.” Now, I don’t know for sure what made me gay, but it wasn’t childhood trauma, and contrary to the nonsensical ex-gay tropes, it wasn’t my parents; I’ve been this way for as long as I’ve been aware of anything, and I’m not going to censor myself in real life because some clueless person on the internet thinks it’s a sin to admit to an innate non-hetero sexual orientation.

            My other point was that orientation doesn’t change for the vast majority of people, and attempting to do so tends to cause significant harm. Therefore, I refuse to admit that it’s something I can “overcome with God’s help,” because God clearly has chosen not to change most people’s orientations – and I’m not going to waste my time trying and lamenting the inevitable failure of those efforts.

            But anyway, Raphael hasn’t shown back up, so I assumed that the discussion came to a stop when Raphael could no longer answer with the predictable (and predictably wrong) conservative evangelical script on the origins and treatment of homosexuality. If Raphael chooses to come back with an honest attempt at an answer, well, that’d be cool, but we’ll see…

          • Ralph A Jansen

            Born this way. We were all born sinners, but as far as sexuality goes, I don’t think we were born one way or the other. It is possible that singular events in childhood could affect it. (I am just remember things I don’t talk about, back when such thoughts (sexuality) were new). For instance, the differences in the brain. I believe these are caused by the sin, not that one is born that way. I believe people who feed on pornography have brain differences as well. Once again, I believe due to their activities, not any way they are born. It is possible to conquer pornography, but it is not easy.

            From what Paul says in Romans, it sounds like we aren’t born that way, God just lets go. I am sure there is much more to it then that, but Romans 1 has a bit to say on the subject of people and sin. (Not just homosexuality, but all sexual sins.) I think the problem is that people are more accepting of hetero-sexual sin then they should be. All sin should be dealt in the same way.

            Note: There have been homosexuals who became Christian and did change. It isn’t impossible, but it may take work. (And like Paul (say the thought is a temptation and not a sin) God may leave temptation or weakness as a trial. As Paul said, he had problems that he prayed about to God to take away, and God did not take it away. Paul dealt with his problems through the grace of God, and said so himself. Don’t ever give up (that is to say, once you have taken up the plow, don’t look back or you are not worthy of the kingdom of God. <-Note: Jesus said this.

          • AnotherJosh

            What you’re saying about God just letting go directly contradicts my story, and the stories of many other Christians I’ve talked to who discovered their exclusive same-sex attractions at puberty, well after they’d committed to following Jesus as children. And largely, childhood trauma and bad parenting haven’t been in the picture (though when they are, it’s notable that such things happen to just as many straight people, who turn out … straight, thus disproving those theories of causation).

            Your point that gay to straight conversion “may take work” shows a significant lack of understanding of the actual situation in reality. In most individuals who are gay (i.e. experience same-sex attraction), while they may be able to live celibate lives if they are committed to it and have the support of a loving Christian community, they never stop experiencing same-sex attraction, no matter how hard they try (and some have tried excruciatingly hard, for decades). So no, I disagree with all of your points on “change.” It largely does not happen, and should not be expected.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            What I am saying about God letting go comes from Romans and Hebrews. When one contradicts scripture, one is already in the wrong. (And I am not necessarily in the right, but in this case, it is a very serious situation that deserves/requires a closer look. I hope you agree, because if the extreme of what I believe is true, it means no one who was a homosexual can be saved. (Something I do not believe.)

            Romans 1:24-32 (NASB)

            24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for [p]a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed [q]forever. Amen.
            26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is [r]unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing [s]indecent acts and receiving in [t]their own persons the due penalty of their error.

            28 And just as they did not see fit [u]to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, [v]haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

            I included verses 24-25 because it speaks of their bodies being dishonored among them. That seems to speak of action not thoughts. (The burning lust became action and their bodies were dishonored among them.) God turned them over to… (God let them go, released them, turned them over to something/someone other than Himself.) It sounds like once someone has been sent down this path by God, it is all over. (Though God’s grace is real, and I do not believe that God might not take mercy and save one who is like this. With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. (Jesus reply to the disciples who asked, “Then who can be saved?”

          • DrewTwoFish

            Possible but highly improbable. If God existed, he could choose to grow an amputee a new limb but that doesn’t happen. Does the church castigate the amputee for not having a enough faith or working hard enough when a new arm fails to appear?

          • Raphael Revels

            The loss of a limb isn’t the same thing as giving into sin it has nothing to do with thoughts/temptations acting upon those temptations it is a purely physical situation, though that isn’t to say that God won’t regrow someone’s limb if they asked him to but in that situation it isn’t just about faith God could regrow the limb , replace it with prosthetics or even choose to let you live without the limb, he could also send you someone who will act in the place of that loss limb instead. The loss of the limb could be that person reaping the consequences of their past.

          • DrewTwoFish

            As for my analogy: of course, no analogy is perfect. I don’t know why people seem to need an analogy to be akin to a mathematical proof for it to have any merit. The point is that some put an expectation of change on gays because their orientation is “invisible.” That doesn’t make it any more or less intractable.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            I put this before Raphael because I believe you missed my point (or I misunderstand you.) The part that says that all things are possible with God goes back to something Jesus said to the disciples when dealing with the rich young ruler. The rich young ruler told Jesus that he had kept all the commandments from when he was young. Jesus was touched by this and answered the young ruler’s question on what he must do. He told him he lacked one thing. Sell all he had and give it to the poor. As the young man was quite rich, this depressed him and he left.

            Jesus said that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, then for the rich young man to enter into the kingdom of God. (It is just as bad as it sounds.) The disciples reacted strongly to this and asked Jesus then who could be saved. To this Jesus said with man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. That is to say, it is impossible for man to save himself, but God can make it possible for man to be saved. In other words, man on his own could never overcome sin and make himself acceptable to God, only God can do this for man.

            Without creating a whole new argument, basically, all things are possible with God, but that doesn’t mean He has to do anything.

          • DrewTwoFish

            This basically echoes what Josh says. I’m quoting you: “Note: There have been homosexuals who became Christian and did change. It isn’t impossible, but it may take work.” There may be a few isolated cases. I remain skeptical. At any rate, for the vast majority of people their orientation is immutable. (This may not be exactly what you’re talking about.) To place the burden and expectation of orientation change, with all we know, on them is simply cruel. Here, I’m separating orientation from action. As for my analogy. Of course, no analogy is perfect. I don’t know why people seem to need an analogy to be akin to a mathematical proof for it to have any merit. The point is that some put an expectation of change on gays because their orientation is “invisible.” That doesn’t make it any more or less intractable.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            I think the whole issue with this orientation thing (something that may not have existed in the social consciousness prior to all the psychobabble of so many decades ago, is that to many, this has nothing to do with being homosexual. It is action that has everything to do with it, and saying you are LGBT means you support and approve the actions of the LGBT. (If you knew everything that that entailed, it may make you sick.) I think there is a lot more involved then anyone seems to understand.

            For instance, in the past (going back quite a ways) marriage was not based on feelings, romantic inclination or even attraction. These are nice and all, but that is not what it was all about. Divorce was not nearly as widespread as it is now, and a lot of families stuck together even if there was no attraction. Martin Luther only got married as to set himself apart from his old Catholic life, where he was not permitted to ever get married. He did not get married through lust, attraction, or romantic endeavor. Perhaps he didn’t even have the need to get married, but got married to set himself apart from the Catholic Church.

            I do not believe thoughts make a person homosexual or gay. Lust is a whole other side to all of this, but I do not believe thoughts make a person homosexual. (Neither does sociology.) Perhaps if the church did a better job explaining its position, and those in the church understand they cannot be Christian and homosexual. (Once again, I speak of someone living the life of homosexuality, not thoughts.)

          • DrewTwoFish

            Granted, there is some psychobabble out there but sometimes language has evolved to fill a legitimate need, a need to describe the nuances of various phenomena that people have had a limited understanding of. I disagree with much of that you have said but you don’t seem like a jerk. Having said that, you seem attached to a paradigm that seems to shut some doors to the understanding. Has that same paradigm as led you to make generalizations about gay people and what we get up to? I don’t know.

            I’m sorry but some people are gay (or homosexual) just as some people are straight whether or not they ever engage in sexual acts. This attraction is not a decision but a reality that one discovers. This is not mutually exclusive with a decision to follow a certain moral code (e.g. Christianity, Islam, whatever). You not being comfortable the way words are used doesn’t change that reality.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            The problem is that the psychobabble that has evolved to fit the need, may not answer or meet the need. Take Sigmund Fraudster for instance. He never actually knew what he was talking about, but people believed him. It helped fill a need he felt, but that doesn’t really mean anything. The question is figuring out exactly how to understand everything in the light of scripture and our place before God. (Note, the op did write as a Christian, so what I have been writing is balanced more to that.)

            For every day people, life is life. One should not force it upon another. (Except that is what is happening right now.) You may get preached tom, but that is because some people really care about what they see as happening to such people. (Just how much would they have to hate you to let you go to hell (if that is what is going to happen) without saying anything?) That would be kind of heartless.

            No. I am not a jerk, and believe in tolerance. You believe what you believe, I believe what I believe, but we can still talk about it. I wouldn’t go out for coffee, but that is basically because I don’t drink coffee…or get out much. <-A little self-deprecation.

          • Raphael Revels

            I decided to put this post after Ralph’s post because I thought he did a pretty good job of explaining it but to clarify when I say as a Christian you can not say “I was born this way” as it pertains to being homosexual is because even if from the earliest point in your life that you can remember you were tempted to enter into a sexual relationship with a member of the same sex, that does not mean that it is a part of you it is a temptation that has been with you for a long time. Jesus over caim all sin which means you don’t have to give in to it, sin cannot be a part of you if you are a child of God because sin is not a part of God and neither is temptation.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            They obviously haven’t talked to Sigmund Freud. The question I would say is just where does God draw the line of homosexuality. A simple thought, or the action? If we use Sodom and Gomorrah as a guide, then we know for sure that God does not like the action. (The angels said nothing about destroying Sodom before the men of Sodom tried to rape them. Also note, the passage makes it clear that every man in the town, young and old, every last one was there. This counter-balances what God told Abraham when he said he wouldn’t destroy Sodom if he found righteous people there. (The discussion stopped at 10, so perhaps it is really telling when there apparently wasn’t even one.) Ezekiel says it was for abominations that God saw. Well, God saw rampant, consuming homosexuality first hand.

            I would say it is possible (not to put words in Paul or God’s mouth), that the thought process, if brought to God in prayer, is a problem. If you pray about it with God, then you are dealing with it. If you just find a guy to sleep with, then you aren’t dealing with it. The question is how are we to look at thought, lust, sexuality, and sin. Just what does God see as righteous in thought. Does it all have to be rainbows, or is a natural balance of sun, snow, rain, and thunderstorms okay? One needs to understand exactly who they are. If you see homosexual before you see Christ, you have problems. Which should be on our minds more? Who we are, or who Christ is? Aren’t we supposed to be who Christ is? (I speak of sanctification.)

          • AnotherJosh

            Are you implying that you agree with any Freudian ideas, or do you disagree? Freud’s ideas significantly influenced the reparative therapy and ex-gay worlds, which are increasingly viewed as being completely discredited, except in a small Christian ex-gay bubble, where Freudian ideas are still championed.

            I’m curious how long you’ve been involved in the conversation about Christianity and LGBT matters. Your terminology is not very precise, and it’s hard for me to pick up on exactly what you’re saying. Those of us who’ve been talking about it for some time make distinctions between attraction, lust, and illicit physical sexual actions.

            These distinctions hold regardless of whether the situation in question is between two people of the same sex or of the opposite sex. To be attracted to a person, to have your eyes drawn involuntarily to them because you find them beautiful, is not a sin, regardless of the direction of the attraction. Lust is when you dwell on them in your mind, making an idol of them, and fantasizing about them. This is a sin, again, regardless of the sex of the person toward whom it’s directed.

            Now, I’m going to strive not to lust after anyone, but I’m not going to beat myself up over basic biological attractions toward people of the same sex. And honestly, I couldn’t care less what straight Christians on the internet think, because you don’t have to live in my mind, and if you think that mere same-sex attraction is [potentially] sinful or needful of being “prayed over,” then it’s clear that you don’t understand how sexual orientation works. I’d spell it out for you if I had time, but instead, feel free to seek out one of the multitudes of writings by more eloquent Christians who also happen to be LGBT.

          • Ralph A Jansen

            I do not agree with Sigmund Fraud, because I don’t think sexuality has that much hold over anyone. (Not that much.) There are some people who are gifted by God to be single. They have no leaning in either direction. I don’t think there is a sexual orientation, except as dreamed up by the social consciousness. If societies pressure on who to be to be considered normal were gone, there wouldn’t be nearly as many issues as there are. Perhaps people would be taught (in a Christian way), I think this way, now what? They could get real answers, because people would be more open to actually talk about this strange side of life which people enter (through puberty) without much in the way of guidance. Just how to control thoughts and what thoughts may mean outside of actual intercourse, or all consuming/burning lust.

            It’s late, so I stop here, but understand. I do not believe there is a such thing as a Christian homosexual, in the same way that I don’t believe there are Christian witches, murderers, thieves, etc. All is left at the cross. There may be memories or lingering thoughts/attraction, but they have no power over the life of a Christian. It is Christ first, not homosexual first.

  • David Loehmann

    Here we go again. Yet another writing explaining homosexuality to those who will never listen. Sorry, but I do not feel the need to explain anything to those who sin so freely themselves, yet cast stones everywhere they possibly can to condemn and despise others. I do know that God created me and He speaks to me every day. He speaks to me when I sit quietly by myself in His creation, when I listen to the other creatures he placed here and which some of us seem hell-bent on destroying, when I look at the blue sky, feel the gentle rain, and listen to the trees talking in the breeze. This whole place we live on was created by Him and He speaks to us all the time. He does not hate me because I am homosexual, but you do; those of you who go against his word, those of you who hate, mock and judge as being less than you, those of you who need an explanation.

    Have a care! With your every expression of hate and judgment you bring yourself closer to Satan, the king of chaos, owner of greed, the lord of avarice. He is reveling in your vile spittle, your need to have an explanation for humanity. This is what he wants, and you deliver it to him so willingly. No, I do not need to explain a thing to you. God can see which side of goodness or evil you have chosen.

    And you, Mr. Roberts, who cannot bring himself to clasp the hand of someone you say you care about, are a cold heart indeed. I have many heterosexual male friends and the first thing we do when seeing each other for the first time in a long time is hug and kiss each other on the cheek. I feel love for them and they feel love for me. Love does not equal sex. If this was the intent of your writing you should have done so. If your intent was to explain lust, then you should have confined your remarks to Bristol Palin.

  • Alex Lindstrom

    I haven’t read all the comments, but as a gay conservative Christian, I just wanted to give you a shout out. We don’t have to marry and have sex to love other men. I feel like I understand the primary purposes of marriage and family, but that would open up a whole other debate. Same-sex attraction/gayness and similar situations…well…we wait on the Lord and do our best with what we have. Love between to of the same sex can be beautiful, even better when it is kept within the bounds the Lord has set. Thanks for sharing.

  • Raphael Revels

    Lust doesn’t just refer to sex. I’m not sure about the people you have talked to about it but to lust simply means to desire something, the bible talks about lusting after the things of God and lusting after things that are not of God, even though the word lust is used in those instances it isn’t talking about sex. People lust after money people lust after things, people lust after the glory of God and after faith.

  • Ralph A Jansen

    A question for the author. Would you accept all the activities that occur within the LGBT for yourself by identifying with LGBT? (The parades, nakedness in the streets, sexual orgies that leave people dead, animals and pvc pipe (I will not say more), and other activities they take part in? That is what it is to support LGBT and to identify with them. (The same for people who like pornography. Look at what they support and buy into. The sex trade, abuse of children (some have just turned 18 and are treated quite badly), pedophilia in some cases, etc. Some people don’t think before they support things, or approve of it.

    Can a Christian be a Christian and support/accept/love this kind of behavior? Would you be on line in Sodom, blind trying to reach for the door? Would you be cheering them on from the side line? If you saw such activity would you be the first to disavow yourself of all of it?

    It is like when the question is put forward to libertarians, what they would do to cause chaos in society. Such responses are, drive faster than 55 miles an hour, park and not feed the meter, etc. Why? Because they don’t really want chaos and anarchy. Just a little more freedom, and less government interference.

    Do you identify with their activities? (Do you know just how far they go?) This is acceptable to the LGBT, so if you identify with the LGBT, you identify with all of it. Do such things really belong in the church?

    • DrewTwoFish

      I appreciate the fact that you are making the distinction between temptation and action. But seriously, where do you come up with phrases like , “Homosexuality is a sin, so there is no homosexuality.”

      Do you know any gay people? Really know them? I’m guessing not because throwing in child molestation with adult relationships of mutual consent is pretty quick way to shut down dialogue.

    • hyhybt

      That is an entirely unreasonable position. It’s logically analogous to saying that, if you call yourself a Christian, you’re supporting every horrible thing (and there have, as I’m sure you know, been many) that has been done in Jesus’s name.

      • Ralph A Jansen

        It is not anologous to saying that if you call yourself a Christian, you support things that do not support what Christ taught. What Christ taught (and what Paul, Peter, John, etc.) taught are what I support, that is to say Christianity. Anything that falls outside of these things are not Christian, simply put. People make mistakes, no matter who they are. That does not change what Christianity is.

        There is a word in our language, sodomite. It is because of Sodom. It is synonymous with homosexual. This does not have a good connotation. To support homosexuality is to support all that is homosexuality.

    • bakabomb

      As a straight Christian, please allow me to remind you that all the activities you lament are also engaged in by straight people (yes, including marching down the street “naked”). And I’m not sure why the specific aversion to PVC pipe. Many more unusual and outrageous props have been used in the privacy of folks’ bedrooms. You can hardly single out the LGBT community as practitioners of these types of activities, neither can you point to the LGBT community as the primary perpetrators of nonconsensual sex. There are a lot more opposite-sex rapes and rape/murders than same-sex ones.

      It’s pretty much a “take the log out of your own eye before bemoaning the speck in mine” proposition.

      • Ralph A Jansen

        If you read all my posts, I do bring up sexual immorality, which includes homosexuality, and everything else. The only thing that is not sexually immoral is being married. Anything else is sexual immorality. The focus here is whether one can be a Christian, and be sleeping with someone of the same sex on the side (all the time), or is that still a ticket to hell. (Make it blatantly clear I am not speaking of thoughts.)

        I really don’t want to talk about the PVC pipe, but lets just say that little animals are involved and leave it at that. I was staying at the not so bad end of the spectrum. Some of the other things I have read make this pretty mild actually. There was a coroner who worked in NYC on over 16000 cases who could correctly identify a murder committed by a homosexual just by looking at the body. He said that there is no crime like it. Just the shear violence to the person. Multiple-gunshots, multiple stab wounds, etc.

        Did you know that in the military, there are more men who are victims of sexual assault then women? (Note that is male on male.) One year there were 26000 victims of sexual assault. 14000 were male, and only 12000 were female. Considering that the population of homosexuals in the military that year was considerably less than heterosexuals (I believe it was less about 2-3%), that is about 2-3% of the population committing over 50% of the crime. When looking at all crime and what is related to, the homosexuals in the military committed the vast majority of the crimes. (I don’t remember where the report is, but there is a report that was compiled during the DADT repeal debacle.) So I am not really sure if there are more opposite sex rapes then same sex rapes. In the military, there are more same sex rapes then opposite sex rapes, and this was before DADT was repealed.

  • Jennifer Rose Avery

    I wish people did more research about why being gay or bi and in a same-sex couple is not a sin and that more people talked about that, so homophobia could go away.