Is Christianity Harmful to LGBT People? (4 of 5)

If you have read every post in this series, thank you. If you identify as LGBT, I thank you especially. That means a lot to me that you’d spend time considering what I have to say when it’s likely you disagree with me. I appreciate that and am grateful.

As the title says, this is part four of the series. Catch up on parts one, two, and three if you’ve just now stumbled upon this thread. That will help you understand my objective.

Speaking of my objective, I offer one point of clarification now based on a response from last week’s post. I am not asking whether or not Christians have been harmful to LGBT people, but whether or not Christianity as a worldview or belief system is harmful to LGBT people. Splitting hairs this might be, but I retain the distinction and now plod forward.

In today’s post I pivot to attempt to prove my thesis. Again, my thesis is that Christianity, instead of being harmful to LGBT people, leads to joy. To start, I turn to God.

God’s Nature–Good

God is good. He doesn’t just do good things, He is good. Knowing God in a personal relationship and being close to Him is fullness of joy. Countless Christians have attested to this. This is my experience as well. Ever since I came to know God personally at the age of seven, I have experienced how good it is to know Him. Granted, I don’t always feel God’s presence. But those moments when I do sense being near to Him (and yes, this is a real experience we can have on this earth) are moments of joy that are beyond compare. There is just nothing like it on this earth.

LGBT people can know God, too. God wants them to know Him and experience the same joy that I have experienced and that many others have as well. The problem is the rebellion I mentioned in the second blog on this topic. LGBT people, along with everyone else, are rebels against God and don’t want to be near Him. In fact, all people tend to believe that being with God is not what gives joy, but having what God gives. This is a problem. It means people don’t and can’t have the purest joy available to them.

The Christian teaching that explains how this joy is possible in spite of our rebellion is called “the gospel.” It simply refers to the good news of Jesus coming to earth, dying as a rebel, and rising again from the dead. Christians believe that part of the purpose of Jesus doing this was to bring rebels into a personal relationship with God. Simply by believing in Jesus and what He’s done, LGBT people can have personal relationships with God and experience this joy.

The Harm It Costs

Now comes the part about harm. There is a condition to having this relationship with God. The condition is that LGBT people must acknowledge that they have been rebels against God, and that their LGBT behavior has been a mark of that rebellion. Jesus called this “taking up your cross.” The apostle Paul called it “dying to self.”

The traditional Christian teaching that I affirm is that for LGBT people to experience the joy of knowing God in this way, they must die to themselves. That is, they must (1) acknowledge that LGBT behavior is rebellion against how God wants them to live, and (2) submit to living how Jesus wants them to live, which is embracing the gender that corresponds with their biology and/or living either a celibate life or a heterosexual one.

While I have not had to allow homosexual or transgender desires to die within me, I have had to die to other rebellious attitudes and actions. And believe me, it hurts. Death always hurts. There’s denial of self. There’s fear of embarrassment. There’s loss of friendships and maybe even family members. There is a cost for being a Christian. It often feels like dying, because it is in a way.

The “harm” one must endure for embracing this Christian ethic looks different depending on the person. (Remember, we’re all uniquely designed by God, so our paths are all different.) But it’s still required for everyone who embraces this traditional Christian understanding. Here I point you to the words of Sam Allberry, a pastor who has what he calls “same sex attraction.” (Note that when he says “the gospel,” we can simply understand him to mean “Christian teaching.”)

“But the fact is that the gospel demands everything out of all of us. If someone thinks the gospel has somehow slotted into their life quite easily, without causing any major adjustments to their lifestyle or aspirations, it is likely that they have not really started following Jesus at all.”

Sam Allberry, Is God Anti-Gay?

The Harm Is Worth It

Look into Sam’s book called Is God Anti-Gay? His claim is that following Jesus and denying his homosexual desires is what has led him to great joy. Look into Rosaria Butterfield, the former queer theory professor and practicing lesbian who taught at Syracuse University. Her book Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert tells similar themes as Allberry’s. You can find the same themes in Christopher Yuan’s story and Jackie Hill Perry’s. There’s a “harm” of denying what feels right in order to have God, followed by joy.

If God is the ultimate source of true joy, then whatever someone must give up is worth it. It really does come down to whether or not God is good and knowing Him is good.

Questions Remain

That is my basic premise—that knowing God and experiencing Him is the greatest joy anyone could have. Embracing this Christian teaching is the key to having Him. LGBT people can have it too.

However, there are more questions you likely have. That is, what happens to those real desires of feeling like a different gender than was assigned at birth? Will those go away? Will being attracted to the same sex stop if this understanding is embraced? If not, then isn’t there a potential lifetime of harm for someone to live that way?

That will lead me to my next post, where I hope to show that a life of “harm” whereby someone has to deny real desires is still worth living. Indeed, if Christianity is true, even if someone has to deny desires their entire life, it’s still a no-brainer.

Thank you, again, for reading and considering my perspective and understanding. As always, if you have any feedback or corrections, I am willing to consider them. Just use the “contact” portion of this site.