Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gay Marriage and the Bible

I have a real quandary.  I've kept myself out of the gay marriage debate in public for a few different reasons.

First, there are a lot of people out there who are smarter than me.  Let's be honest.  If you want really good quality arguments on either side of this debate, there are a lot of really smart people speaking out on it.  I'm not one of those.

Secondly, there are a lot of people out there who are dumber than me.  Again, honesty is important.  There are people raging on both sides of this debate who only want to shout louder than those on the other side.  If they've done that, they feel like they've won, regardless of whether or not they've given any decent arguments, or even listened to those on the other side.

Thirdly, I'm not clear on some of the questions concerning this.  For instance, what about equal rights?  I'm concerned with that.  I think those who have chosen to live a lifestyle I think is sinful still have rights.  So how do I balance that with my beliefs concerning whether that action is correct?  When it comes to abortion, there is the matter of a life to talk about.  In this issue...well, I'm not going there because I think there are legitimate and fair questions to be asked that I don't know the answer to.

These things being said, I do feel like I can weigh in on it from this angle; if you want to argue that gay marriage is a good thing, please leave the Bible out of it.

I mean, really and seriously, leave God out of the debate.  Scripture is clear on this subject, and there is really no reason to wonder.  It's not just in the Old Testament either, so stop shouting "Yeah, it's wrong like pork and tattoos!"  Whatever.  These are called "straw arguments."  They have no merit.  You can bring up the passages in the Old Testament, questioning whether I eat shellfish all you want, but it doesn't actually help your case.  It just proves that you have little, if any, idea of how we should interpret Scripture.  By the way, I don't eat shellfish, but that has less to do with my religious beliefs than it does with my taste buds.  I also don't have any tattoos, but I do love bacon!

It's okay that you don't know how to interpret Scripture, by the way.  I'm a pastor, and I've been trained, and am paid, to know how to do this (though, again, there are people a lot better at it than I am.  This is why I'm okay with the fact that I still have questions).  I don't expect everyone to be an expert.  I just wish people didn't work so hard to prove that they don't know what they're talking about.

So here's the deal.  I won't try to prove creation using Einstein's theory of relativity (because I would have no idea how to do such a thing, and I'm pretty sure there is no bearing), if you will stop using the Bible to defend homosexual relationships.  You can't do it, as it just isn't in there.

Instead, use the arguments that I'm no going to ignore.  Let's talk about it from a social or justice viewpoint.  Then, I think, we can have a rational and forward thinking discussion.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Is that in the Bible?

Probably not.

Okay, it might be.  But probably not.

There seem to be a lot of experts on the Bible out there.  They are everywhere.  They love to tell you things like, "Don't judge me!  The Bible says you can't tell me that what I'm doing is wrong."  Or "All sins are the same in the eyes of God."  One that probable gets said more than others is "This was God's will" when it maybe wasn't.

I was thinking the other day that we need a "Snopes" for Christians.  You know, a website that tells you whether something really is in the Bible.  Just a true/false list will be fine.  Something like this...

God helps those who help themselves - False

Do all you can, and leave the rest to God - False

God hates gay people - False

God defines marriage as between one man and one woman - True

Bad things happen to everyone - True

Then, as I thought about it some more, I realized we do have that.  Actually, it isn't a website, though it is on a lot of websites.  It's really a book.  You know...the Bible.  The problem is that we have Christians with one of two problems.

1. They believe what they want to believe.  You know the ones.  They don't really need a verse.  They just need someone to tell them something is in the Bible, and if it sounds good, than they accept it.  And when I say "sounds good", I mean it sounds like something they really want to be true.  So they accept something as from God simply based on their desire.  They are, in effect, creating God in their image.

2. They are lazy.  They don't take the time to look anything up.  Put quotation marks on something, and it must be true!  Name a book of the Bible, or throw Jesus in the sentence, and suddenly it's truth.  Authors, preachers and bloggers can get away with saying just about anything, and claiming it as gospel, because most people won't take the time to check for themselves.

As Christians, we have a responsibility   We are called to search out truth, and then to live it.  We all need to spend more time in Scripture, constantly asking God to correct the things we believe which aren't of Him, and to teach us new truths.