Welcome to blog #2 on this journey as I attempt to answer the question of whether or not a Christian ethic (or Christianity) is harmful to LGBT people. Thank you for joining me. If you missed part 1, you can find that here. I encourage you to start there as it gives some important caveats and other whatnots that will be helpful.
Remember my thesis: Christianity, instead of being harmful to LGBT people, actually leads to joy.
Today I give a brief overview of what a Christian ethic says about LGBT people.
Beforehand, know that I personally hold to the traditional understanding of what the Bible says about these issues. Yes, there are Christians on a wide range regarding how affirming or non-affirming they are personally. However, I find the traditional understanding most convincing.
I have studied the various views on what the Bible says about this (I assume) more than most. If anyone would like a full list of the books I’ve read on this, let me know and I’ll be happy to provide it. By the way, I want to emphasize that the authors I’ve read includes views that affirm homosexual behavior. I’ve read more informal books that are affirming like by Jeff Chu and more technical stuff that’s affirming from Dan Via. This is not to brag, but an attempt to show I haven’t only read arguments that support the tradition in which I was raised. As I said earlier, I haven’t found arguments against the traditional view convincing.
A Traditional Christian Ethic on LGBT People
The traditional view of LGBT people is as follows:
1. LGBT people bear the image of God.
There are volumes about what it means to be made in the image of God. In short, it means that human beings are a kind of image of God. That is what the Bible says about how God made the first people, Adam and Eve. It says they were made in God’s image (see Genesis 1:27). Implications abound.
- The first implication is that every person has great intrinsic worth. There is nothing in the Bible that comes close to hinting that LGBT people are somehow not as valuable as others. LGBT people have great intrinsic worth because, yes, they reflect God. (Not perfectly, mind you!) LGBT people have a unique fingerprint designed by God. They have unique personalities, unique skin tones, unique smiles that are unfathomably valuable. In fact, I think I could make a biblical argument that one LGBT person is worth more than the whole world. Many Christians need to remember this and truly believe it.
- Second, LGBT people have intrinsic need for community. This need comes from being made in God’s image. How do the two connect? The doctrine of the trinity. Since God is three in one, He has always existed in perfect community. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit eternally existed as one. Since people are made in God’s image, they are designed to exist in community.
2. LGBT people, like every other person that has ever lived, are born as broken rebels against God.
Like my previous point, I have a few implications, assuming this is true.
- First, this means LGBT people are no better or worse than anyone else. Christianity does not have two categories of rebellious people—non-LGBT and LGBT. There’s a unity that every person—from Billy Graham to Ellen—shares. It’s that we have all rebelled against God and deserve His judgment for our rebellion.
- Second, rebellion against God may feel natural. We were all born rebels. It is our default position. No one comes out of their mother’s womb yelling about how awesome God is. We all came out yelling for someone to take care of us. Because of this, rebellion may even feel natural. Therefore, the existence of an undesired internal sexual pull toward the same gender does not necessarily negate the Christian worldview. Neither does the existence of gender dysphoria. But here’s where the Christian worldview conflicts with prevailing society: the existence of LGBT feelings does not validate them. In other words, just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is right. There must be an objective standard for what is right and wrong. Otherwise, we create a culture in which pedophiles have an argument for the validity of their feelings and behavior (and no, I’m not equating LGBT people with pedophiles).
- Third, rebellion materializes in people in various ways based on a host of factors. For LGBT people, rebellion and fallenness materialize (in part) in LGBT behavior. (It was only until recently that professing Christians sought to justify LGBT behavior with the Bible.) These behaviors are against God’s intention for how He wants His creation to function. They are a rejection of the owner’s instruction manual, so to speak, and are harmful to human flourishing in many ways.
- Lastly, our brokenness has physical ramifications. Does anyone have perfect DNA? I don’t think so. I have a propensity for anxiety and depression. My brain doesn’t have all the same chemicals that a “normal” brain does. Our daughter Meredith’s brain does not have a fully formed corpus collosum, which makes it difficult for the left and right sides of her brain to communicate. I don’t intend to argue for the existence of a “gay gene” in this section. Instead, I use this to point out the possibility of an image-bearer being a hermaphrodite. While it is extremely rare, it can happen, and is a result of the brokenness even of our very bodies. Perhaps there are other implications on this point as well.
That’s all for now. Any reader paying attention will notice I have not sought to defend these positions, particularly with Scripture. That is beyond the scope of my purpose in these posts. I simply wanted to state what my understanding is in order to build a groundwork for what I hope to show in the posts that follow.
What is my thesis? That the traditional Christian view toward LGBT people leads to joy instead of harm. Before I can show that, I need to spend some time considering the harm that LGBT people claim they have experienced from a traditional Christian ethic. That will be the topic of my next post.
I welcome any conversation you would like to have on this. Just use the contact feature at the top of my blog and I’ll do my best to follow up with you in a timely manner. Thank you for reading.
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