Tuesday, 16 February 2010
In some of my blog posts the question of homosexuality has arisen and I feel I should explain why I believe what I do. At the moment we are studying Christian Ethics in one of our home groups and as homosexuality is an ethical issue it seems reasonable to briefly use the same framework. So all of us make day to day decisions informed by three things - rules, motives and results. Eg.. shall I give to this beggar? Rules - the local homeless shelter says don't give directly, but the Bible says 'I was hungry and you fed me'. Motives - is it more loving to give or not to give? Results - if I give some money will he buy food or alcohol?
I think it is a mistake when Christians only apply 'rules' in our ethical decision making - turns us into nutters. It is pretty clear to me that Jesus operated on an ethical system where he sometimes used rules from the Jewish Scriptures and sometimes preferred motives or results in his decisions, see examples here.
I have heard many arguments about the Bible and homosexuality, arguing both ways. For me it has become clear that the seven 'Clobber texts' in the Bible have nothing to do with homosexuality, and many people who are far better at theology than me have explained that, one example is here. Some of the words translated as homosexual sex appear only once in the Bible and are hard to translate, other texts make much more sense if they are applied to temple prostitution, which I would agree is wrong.
Then there is 'natural law', that sex is clearly designed for procreation. I'm shy about this one, if that is so then surely people like me who do not want any more children should not have sex again. We all know that sex is more than a means of procreation, it cements relationships, it acts as a way of expressing love, it is about vulnerability and intimacy.
I have another rule - that is one of appropriate boundaries. I believe that we need to treat each other with respect - what two people who are adults do behind closed doors, if it is genuinely mutually consensual, has got nothing to do with me and I have no right to comment. I think religion gets very scary when it breaks those boundaries.
If two people want to be in a monogamous and permanent loving relationship and express that love sexually, is it more loving to support that relationship of not? I think the answer to that depends on whether ones feels God is for it or against it. But given that none of us knows what God thinks, and given that God may well think that many heterosexual relationships are wrong, then I think one should apply the same standards to homosexual relationships as we do heterosexual relationships.
Loving relationships enhance both the couple and those around them, see my post about Confirmed Bachelors. I am struggling to think what possible harm a loving homosexual couple can do and I am deeply aware of the harm that the church does in telling homosexual people that it is sinful to express their love. It damages people and it damages the church.