Monday, October 22, 2007

Homosexuality: Part 2

The conversation has been great so far. Lots of great back and forth. I greatly appreciate everyone's willingness to calmly, and logically discuss this. Thanks. This post will be part 2 of 3 (I think. Another may be needed. We'll see.) Part 3 will look at several Biblical texts typically quoted when this issue arises. But for now...

Let me make this clear: I firmly believe that there is a difference between being an American and being a Christian. While I personally feel that homosexual relationships are outside of God's design, I don't think its our right as a country to tell two men or two women that they can't legally be married and have the same rights thereof. I don't feel like someone of a different faith or world-view or political position should be able to tell me what's right and wrong for me. How I can or cannot live my life. And I don't feel like I have a right, as an American, to do the same to someone else. That's tough to say. I really struggle with talking about this. But its just how I feel. I do believe that homosexual eroticism is not what God intended for humans. Yet, I don't think I have the right to tell everyone else they have to agree with me 100%. But enough of that...

My point is (obviously) that I believe homo-erotic relationships are wrong. I do. But Ben brings up a great point. If people are born "gay," and its a "sin," then what kind of God are talking about here? That would be an evil god. True. And I can't argue with two points there. One, I do think people can have homosexual orientations or tendencies from birth. Two, I do believe homo-erotic behavior is a sin. But I don't think God "makes" us that way. Let me explain...

For a long time now, I've been telling people I think sin is breaking down humanity. Slowly unraveling our DNA as we progress in time. If Adam and Eve were perfect, we've fallen far from the tree, so to speak. Birth defects. Cancer. Syndromes and and diseases. Look at how things seem to be getting exponentially worse and worse. I truly believe sin is eating away at our genetic structure.

That being said, I hate to bring this up again, but I must: all this comes down to Reformed vs Free Will theology. If God really makes/forms people in a sinful state then predestines them for an eternity of punishment, what an evil God that would be. A typical Calvinist answer would be that "God is just in giving us what we deserve as sinful humans." True. But I find that premise totally outside of the character of the God of the Bible. Sure God holds us accountable. I don't know precisely how that works for everybody, granted. But I still believe in a God who loves his creation. A God who unconditionally loves what he made. I simply cannot believe God would even "allow" people to be born gay, then destined for hell.

I think we allow it. We chose sin. We chose this. We allowed it to happen. I don't think we can point the finger at God. I think we need to point the finger at us. We screwed this up. We brought sin into the equation. Now we're all jacked up and the world's all jacked up and we say one of two things: 1, blame God; 2, God's just in allowing this to happen. Well, I think that both of those responses are bull. God set things in motion. Gave us so much. And we messed it up. Now we have to deal with the repercussions. And some of them are terrible.

Being born with homosexual tendencies isn't any worse off than anyone else. Harder to deal with than most things that are "wrong" with us. But nothing that's sending anyone straight to hell. Just something else to have to choose what to do with.


josh hussung said...

John David,

Of course God allows it. And we allow it. There is a choice we are responsible for and God allows us to be born that way. To say that God doesn't allow something to happen implies that he can't do anything about it (which would make you an open theist of sorts). If he could do something about it, and chooses not to, it is allowing it to happen. This doesn't put all of the responsibility on God either.
Think about Pharaoh in Exodus. Genesis says sixi times that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. Was Pharaoh still responsible for what he did? Yes he was, notice that he refused the Israelites several times before it says that the Lord hardened his heart.

When you say that God doesn't allow things to happen, you make Him smaller. You don't give him the control that the Bible tells us he has.

Proverbs 16:33 says, "The lot is cast in the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord." So he controls the roll of a dice, but can't "allow" us to be born in a sinful manner.

Does God love us? Yes. Does he have compassion for us? Yes. Does He control everything? Yes he does.

What a comforting thing to know that God controls all things!

I know you don't agree with me on this.
But I will reitterate my main point: If you claim God doesn't "allow" something to happen, you say that He has no control over it. Don't you think?

In Christ,
josh hussung

John David said...

That's so funny. That's like saying that since I believe in free will, I can't believe in absolute sovereignty of God. Untrue. I believe God is in absolute control over everything and he puts himself number one above all else. It would be wrong of him not to. He's God. He is holy. He is totally unique.

Anyway, I believe God has control over everything. Yes. But I also believe that when he created us and gave us choice and (in the words of Genesis) the duty to care for the earth and all on it--when he did that, he put lots of responsibility in our hands.

A couple of things: I didn't say God allows us to be born in a sinful manner. I said that we allowed sin into the world. Sin is messing things up. People POSSIBLY are born with homosexual tendencies. Which isn't a sin.

Go back and read my past posts on Reformed theology (a few months ago) and I explain your question further. But NO. NO NO NO. Saying we have free will and we allow things to happen and its our fault (not God's)... none of that belittles God.

If you say God allows things to happen. Then God allows evil. God allows mass murder. God allows someone to starve to death every 3 seconds. God allows over a billion people to live in extreme poverty everyday.

Is that God?
That's not the God I know. That's not the Jesus I know. That's certainly not something I want anything to do with.

I think statements like that are totally out of line with who the God of the Bible is.

Josh Hussung said...

John David,
A thing I hate about blogs is that you can't type tone of voice :) And we haven't really talked or hung out since like maybe freshman or sophomore year of college. So I hope that you don't take my replies as being mean-spirited, cause I love you man, and value your opinion. And I am not sitting over here assuming you are an idiot because you don't think exactly the same way I do. So this is one Christian, having a significant conversation with his brother, in a calm, and only mildly argumentative tone of voice :)

"If you say God allows things to happen. Then God allows evil. God allows mass murder. God allows someone to starve to death every 3 seconds. God allows over a billion people to live in extreme poverty everyday....I think statements like that are totally out of line with who the God of the Bible is."

I know that you know your Bible, and you know the many accounts in which God actively commands things like that to happen. Like when he commands Saul to destroy every woman and child of the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15), or when God allows all of Job's kids to be killed. Satan asks God's permission to kill innocent people, and God grants the permission. How much more allowing does it get? Or when he destroyed everybody on the entire earth except for some folks in a boat. Or when he caused there to be no rain in an entire nation for years, during which I'm sure countless people starved to death. That's just a few examples.

That's the God of the Bible as described in the Bible.

I don't mention all of these to paint God as being evil. I show these to count him as being righteous. God hates sin, and punishes sin. He is also sovereign, and in control of absolutely everything. You and I agree that we have a choice. It is our own choice. When I sin, it is a choice that I make, and God is just to punish that sin. Poeple starving to death is just as much an act of God's righteousness and judgment as it was when He killed Uzzah for trying to catch the ark of the covenant.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It is only by his grace that we are still alive. It's by His grace that He didn't kill us from the get go. He has a right to at any moment, but he gives grace to us. But God can pull that grace out whenever he chooses because He is sovereign. I haven't read your other post on Reformed vs. Not, but how do you look at these passages and say that God doesn't have anything to do with things like hunger and death?

It doesn't seem fair to say that the God of the Bible wouldn't allow or cause things that He clearly allows and causes in the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Question for JD - according to your views that people may be born with homosexual tendencies but that they are a result of the sins of the world, do you believe that homosexuality is "curable," then? That is the logical progression that I take from your statement.

Anonymous said...

That was Ben, by the way...

John David said...

In response to Ben: I don't know. That's a point of contention among many, I do know that. I don't think its some kind of disease. I just think its outside of God's design. I think its obvious we weren't intended to have homosexual intercourse just by looking at our bodies. They weren't made to reproduce that way. But, somehow, here we are. Wondering how we got this way. I don't know what to say to your question. Sure, it can be dealt with and handled and approached differently. But cured? That's a good question. Depends on how you view it from the outset, I suppose.

And in response to Josh: I think its very, very interesting that all of the stories or verses you quoted are from the Old Testament. That's a pretty common response I get from most people who follow Reformed thought. Then, the verses they quote from the New Testament, seem to fall way short, in context, of what they're trying to explain. But instead of writing a ton on this, go back and read my two or three posts on Reformed theology and why I think its a slap in the face of God. I agree with you that God is all powerful. God is in control. But there is a difference between God allowing things to happen and God giving us free will and us allowing things to happen as a result of our choices. Please, please, please... go back a few months and read the things I wrote about all this.

At the end of the day, all in all, we're not gonna get this figured out. Ever. 1st Corinthians 13 plainly says we won't know "in full" in this life. We just won't. I think its wrong for us to say our viewpoint is right and has to be the only way of seeing things. We're humans. We're fallen. We're all messed up and prone to be wrong. We petty little humans aren't going to be able to wrap our minds around the God who created time, life, and a universe simply by speaking.

So thanks for discussing things with me. It really helps challenge me and grow my heart and mind. Even to those I vehemently disagree with. I really am grateful for you taking the time to help bring light to things that most people want to shove under the rug.

Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

JDR - what do you mean by "very, very interesting that all the verses you quoted are from the OT?" Can you explain what view of the OT you're hinting at?

John David said...

I don't know what you mean by "what view" of the Old Testament. I was simply pointing out that God has reacted to and related to people throughout history in different ways. There is a stark contrast to the ways God chose to intervene in humanity before Jesus was here. I think there is a huge difference in pre-crucifixion/ressurection Judaism and post-crucifixion/ressurection Christianity. Mind you, God isn't changing. Just the way he relates to humanity.

By the way, Brittany made a good point in the car tonight. She basically said that the way I'm saying things needs to be rephrased. When I say there's a difference between God allowing things to happen and God giving man free will and we allows things to happen... she hears that. She also hears everything else I say when I explain it. Brit told me I should rephrase it to this: there is a huge difference between God allowing things to happen and God making things happen. God have us free will. That free will stands as long as humanity exists as it does now on earth. God allowed us to have free will. Therefore, we allow things to happen. We make things happen: good or bad. God may allow the whole process, but he doesn't cause every outcome. Is that a better way of saying it? Make more sense?

Anonymous said...

That lucidly describes my thoughts on the matter, as well. Laissez-faire, watch and see what happens...


josh hussung said...

John David, hey man, my wife had our first baby! Isaac was born on tuesday, check out my facebook for some pics.

Question: So would you want to have anything to do with God if he still interacted with people the way he did in the OT?

Seriously though, cute baby on facebook!

part of The Mosaic said...

Congrats congrats congrats! Glad to hear it. Went to Facebook and didn't see any pics. Shoot me a message on there when they're up. I know that's probably not a huge concern right now, but anywho...

In repsonse to your question, Josh: that's interesting.

I don't know.
Thankfully, I don't really have a point of view that I can really answer the question from anyway and handle it in a responsible manner. I'm not super knowledgeable on all things Jewish. I'm not super knowledgeable on all things Old Testament either. I'm didn't say God was wrong for acting in the way he did. Like I have any right to question God. I'm just saying things now are different from the ways things were then. And that's clearly evident in Biblical texts.

Tough one.
I dunno.

Anonymous said...

Don't Delete ME!!!!

TJZ said...

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Anonymous said...

I hate John David he is so annoying.

JD-part of The Mosaic said...

Well, you have bad grammar.
And that's annoying.

Anonymous said...