Monday, October 11, 2010

The Missing Piece

Awhile back I wrote a post about homosexuality. Near the top of the post I wrote that I'm not convinced that homosexual activity actually is a sin. Today I'd like to write a little bit more about why that is.

First of all, I want to reaffirm that, even if I was sure that it was sinful, I would still have some concerns about how the church approaches the issue. We live in a world where LGBT individuals are frequently abused and in some cases this leads to tragic results.

The church should always be an institution that stands up against such abuse, no matter who the victims are. Sadly, all too often it is the church that is responsible for the abuse. Even when the church isn't explicitly involved, often times Christian teachings are used as an excuse to justify the abuse. This is tragic and the church ought to take a stand against it.

Still, the reason why I'm not convinced it's a sin don't just stem from concern about the affect this belief has on the larger culture. The main reason why I remain unconvinced is because I don't have enough information. I don't have enough information about the relevant parts of scripture to be certain that homosexuality is a sin but, more importantly, I don't have enough information about the behavior itself.

Most sins have obviously harmful repercussions. Sins like murder, adultery, and theft all have consequences for the victims as well as the people who practice them. Other sins don't have any obvious external repercussions, but they still hurt the people who practice them.

If homosexual activity is a sin, it pretty clearly falls into the latter category. It doesn't harm other people in any way (except, obviously, in cases of rape, but that's a separate issue). If it is a sin, it's because it has some kind of detrimental affect on the people who engage in it.

If that is the case, I have no way of knowing, or understanding, what that affect might be. Since I don't experience the temptation myself, it's hard for me to judge whether or not it is a sinful act. I'm missing the most crucial piece of evidence: the affect that homosexual activity has on the people who engage in it.

Without that piece of information I don't feel comfortable passing judgement on people. The way I see it whatever they do, and whatever they experience as a result, is between them, their partner, and God. It is not my place to stand in judgment over them.

On the other hand, the mistreatment of homosexuals at the hands of Christians determined to carry out what they believe the Bible teaches is something I can see. That kind of sin has obvious consequences. While it is still not my place to pass judgment, I have a duty to point out that this behavior is highly destructive. I have an obligation to speak out against it, and to protect anyone who may be harmed by it. This is a responsibility that all Christians share.

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