Why I, a longtime Christian, changed my views on homosexuality

I know that I am treading dangerous ground with this post. But I also know that many of my acquaintances, friends and family members have been shocked that I, a longtime Christian, have changed my stance on homosexuality and they want to know why (some have outright asked, others have only hinted around the issue, but I know they wonder). For that reason, I am writing this post. This is not in any way an attempt to change anyone’s mind about the issue. I know I don’t have the power to do that even if I wanted to. This is about my personal spiritual journey and beliefs. Making the decision to change has not been easy. I knew it would make some people angry, that many of my former friends would snub me over the issue and that some would call me an outright heretic. I accept that…as long as I truly feel that I am doing the right thing.

So now on to the reasons why my beliefs have changed. There was a time many years ago I had no doubts about the whole “homosexuality is a sin” belief. It was what I had always been taught in church, so I figured it must be true. However, as I grew older I started to question many things about the belief. I studied both sides of the issue thoroughly. I read books written by folks on both sides of the fence. I checked out the New Testament verses about homosexuality in Greek to see what might have originally been meant. I wrestled with my conscious and my guilt complex from all the years of hellfire and brimstone teaching. And in the end, I knew my beliefs had to change. Here are the reasons why:

1) I came to see the hypocrisy in taking the few new testament passages about homosexuality so literally, while we easily excuse and make exceptions for other phrases that we do not like in the new testament. You know, the sections that say that anyone who divorces and remarries commits adultery and the sections that say that women should be quiet in church and are not permitted to teach. Or that women should not have “braided hair, gold, pearls or costly garments” and that women shame their husbands if they refuse to wear a head covering when they pray. These statements are very clear in the Bible and at one time were taken literally but as the church evolved, we realized these beliefs were hurtful, confining, judgemental and unfair. How about the sections that say that slaves should be obedient to their masters? Obviously the Christians helping the slaves escape from the south during the civil war ignored this teaching and thank God they did! The same could be said about the old testament, but since I am a Christian and not a Jew, I am focusing mostly on the new testament since it is under the “new covenant”.

2) The concept of a same-sex, loving, monogamous relationship did not exist in the public mind in the times of the new testament. The public image of homosexuality that did exist (from what I understand), was the practice of having homosexual relations in certain pagan belief rituals, which obviously would have been looked down on by a religion that wanted to separate themselves from the pagan religions. In ancient Greek culture there were also homosexual prostitutes (which is probably why some uses of the word “homosexuals” in the new testament may be better translated as “male prostitute”) and a practice called pederasty which is a lot like our idea of child molestation today. None of the things that the Christians were upset about back then would have been anything like the situation we have today – consenting, monogamous, loving same-sex couples who only want the same rights every other couple has.

3) I really do believe that people do not “choose” to be gay. They are made that way. Science seems to support this belief more and more. But more than that, my personal experience has made me believe this. I’ve seen some who really tried, with all their hearts to become straight, but they couldn’t change who they are. No one wants to be hated, called names, snubbed by their family, condemned or mistreated. Being straight would be SO MUCH easier in this world. But we are who we are. I’ve known Christians who fervently loved God but were gay. Many tried to “pray the gay away” and force themselves into heterosexual relationships…to no avail. In the end, they normally ended up giving it up and walking away from the church entirely or being miserable and hating themselves.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly I want to talk about a little thing called grace. Jesus came to bring grace and forgiveness. He came to show the way. Does that mean he wants us to read the Bible looking for reasons to condemn people? Should we throw out all the “sinners” from the church? All those who lust (because according to Jesus that is the same thing as adultery), all those Christians who become enraged and angry (because Jesus said this makes you subject to judgement), any Christian who has hatred in their heart (because 1 John says that is the same thing as murder), anyone who is divorced and remarried, etc, etc. Maybe, just maybe, we should strive to extend grace to others like God gives it to us…

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Why I, a longtime Christian, changed my views on homosexuality

  1. I applaud your courage it took to write this post. As a conservative christian, I fight the same battle as I support same-sex marriage as well. I came to the same conclusions you did. Know that you have at least one friend who supports you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We can and should extend love and understanding toward everyone, but it is not our place to forgive or to grant grace. That is God’s right, unless that person harmed us. Then we are to forgive. We can love the sinner (we are all sinners saved by God’s grace) but still not accept the sin. Pedophiles say they are made that way and cannot help how they feel. *shrug* Maybe so, but they can control what they do about those feelings, as can murders who “feel” they must kill.
    We are told to love one another, but even loving someone doesn’t mean we accept and love everything that person does. How God works and how He judges isn’t our place to decide. All we can do is keep our relationship with Him clean and open.

    Like

    • Vivian, I think you are definitely right that in the end, forgiveness and grace are something God gives and by “extending grace” I didn’t mean that we try to usurp God’s role, just that we show grace to others by accepting them as they are 🙂

      Like

    • I would have a much easier time following the reasoning of “love the sinner hate the sin” if it were evenly applied. I’ve never seen a fornicator, adulterer or divorced person treated badly in church or asked to leave. I have seen gay people treated so, however. The Bible has far more to say about heterosexual sex sins than it does about homosexual sex sins. Either we are consistent or we are not. In this, most Christians are not consistent.

      Apart from sex sin, I’d add that many, many Christians are guilty of lying, coveting and even placing things, people or other things above God. These are commandments they are breaking, and they continue to be accepted into the family of believers because their sins are somehow more palatable? That makes no sense to me.

      I tend to prefer the side that says I have enough to worry about as I work on developing my relationship with God. I simply don’t have enough left over to police other people’s relationships with God.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Miranda, I appreciate your bravery in speaking out on this subject. Recently members of my bible study group were speaking out against homosexuality, and I finally got up the courage to tell them that this is an issue on which I cannot agree. I’ve come to believe as you do, that homosexuality is not a sin in and of itself. Here’s a quote from Gene Robinson “The Pope’s Baby Step on Gays” Time 8-12-13 that expresses exactly what I’ve come to believe: “Would a loving God create a certain portion of humankind to be affectionally drawn to people of the same gender yet deprive them of ever expressing that love, finding intimacy with and commitment to another person and solemnizing that love in the institution of marriage? That surely would be a cruel God, hardly worthy of praise and devotion.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Homosexuality Christian view

    While we can do research in the Bible and former own opinions about several issues in life such as alcoholism, homosexuality, adultery, etc. There are certainties to which we must adhere. First we must have a vertical vision and a horizontal vision. Unfortunately most of the homosexuality views are totally horizontal (“person to person”). CS Lewis once said what is not useful in eternity is eternally useless. God, our Father, speaks to us in numerous ways, only one of which is through scriptures or the Bible. Unfortunately a large segment of Christian society only relies on biblical material as God’s speaking to us. Jesus returned from his 40 days after crucifixion and resurrection and ascension into heaven. He established the church and gave the church the true holy spirit. It is this Holy Spirit that taught the church then and now what God really wants. What will make us perfect and immutably Christ-like to spend eternity with Him in heaven. God speaks to us through the church, through our own inward vision, through the Holy Spirit, through other scriptures, prophecy , and tongues (if interpreted), and teaching. It is notable that no teaching which are in conflict with the church itself are God-like. That is our ruler, that is our guideline, that is our challenge. We will feel whatever we like about alcoholism, abortion, adultery, other passions of life which we would like to pursue. God however has set certain guidelines which are inmutable, unchangeable, and eternal. It would be wise before making our own personal opinions to look not only at Scriptures, but to see how the church has interpreted prophecy, and the internal workings of the Holy Spirit as guidelines and more than guidelines, God’s certainty.
    Follows is an excerpt from a Christian magazine (you may omit this as it is bulky, bu exemplary):

    “How do we hear God? Such a good question. And one I have asked before on my spiritual journey. I’ll never forget a time I was living in Manila, Philippines–after re-committing my life to Christ–when I was sitting with a group of friends and one of them said, “God told me to go up to my friend in church and give him some money.” I sat there dumbfounded, thinking to myself, What does he mean God ‘told’ him? I was too embarrassed to ask him for clarification right then, but I went home that night with my mind racing with questions: Was it possible to hear God? Why hasn’t God ever talked to me like that?
    I realize now that God was speaking all along. The problem was, I didn’t know how to listen. We often assume God ‘speaking’ means hearing an audible voice thundering down from heaven in a boisterous, “Thus sayeth the Lord!” kind of way. Though I do know a few people who claim to have heard God audibly, He usually speaks through other ‘modes’ of communication. Just like learning a new language, when one has to train their ear to hear certain sounds and syllables of the foreign words, so it is with hearing God’s voice. We have to train ourselves to know and discern the distinct sounds and syllables of God’s voice in order to hear Him clearly.”

    Have you meditated on your thoughts about homosexuality? Asked your spiritual leaders about it? Read about Sodom and Gomorrah? “Lot” (Noah’s son) offering his 3 virgin daughters so that a gang would not sexually assault his guest? Many more powerful stories in the Bible to consider. Include the fathers of the church: St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, St. Benedictine, so many others over the past two millennia. The choice is not yours. Not mine. Not our friends. Our choice is to love and pray for our brothers and sisters (include my very own brother, please) and stay on the path for guidance in Truth, not in staged love. God was often very stern in His love, but He will never leave or forsake us. It is we, who with our freedom of choice, choose to leave Him. Christ be with you and yours.
    Jon Jacobs

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s