Believing in God and Gay Marriage.

I want everyone’s honest opinion on this: Can you believe in God and gay marriage? Because frankly, I do.

I actually started straying away, from organized religion at least, while I was still in high school. Then in my senior year, I learned about the Deists in the 18th century. This actually revitalized my belief in God. (I also learned one of my teachers, a rather conservative man, was also inspired by the tenets of Deism.)

Then some time later, I read this interesting article in the American Academic Encyclopedia (–correct name?) that said God is known a number of ways, including philosophically, interestingly enough. Although, it went on to say, philosophy paints the picture of a rather impersonal God, unconcerned about humanity, ironically.

Also, I should tell you, about 20 years ago, I bought this book by this Unitarian minister, God and Other Famous Liberals. Here’s the Amazon listing.

I guess I am asking you all, is it still possible? To be a liberal, to support gay marriage, and still believe in God? Because most people who call themselves Christian today would say definitely not.

I guess I am also asking you to enlighten me about other ways to know God, other than the ways I just mentioned that is. I assume GD is the proper place for this debate.

Oh, and BTW, I should tell you all, I am still rather drawn to the philosophical theory of natural law. It just seems to me morality, like anything else in the universe, is written into the fabric of the universe. Why the heck not?

I know I heard many ultra-conservatives on the Supreme Court are natural law theorists, which is rather troubling. What is their definition of natural law? Cause I know the Supreme Court in the past talked about the right to privacy as being older than the Constitution itself. But I assume original intent jurists do not construe it that way.

Thank you in advance to all who reply:).


Two things here:

  1. different people have different views of God. Some people’s view of God rejects homosexuality, some people’s doesn’t. In turn, organized religions are formed by individuals and there is a feedback look between what the organization believes/accepts and what the individuals in it believe/accept; there are many religions which include SSM, including multiple Christian branches (which I’m guessing is the one God the OP was thinking about - there’s other versions of The Big Guy out there, yanow).

  2. separation of Church and State, dude. Seriously.

Why would it not be?

I don’t agree that most Christians would say it it not possible to believe in God and be “liberal”, however you define it, although there is a very loud and angry subset that does. Some Christian think the religion requires humility, compassion, charity, respect, and forgiveness; nothing about gay marriage violates that.

Man created god, man has in fact created many gods.

Assuming that is true then you are able to ascribe any characteristics you like to the god you choose to believe in and there is every reason for a decent person to choose a god that is tolerant, kind and non-judgemental.

So yes, it is possible if you choose to define your god in that way (and I hope you do)

Yes, easily.
However, as some people have defined the things acceptable to their religions it is entirely possible to support the right of adults to marry and not be a member of a given congregation.

The OP answered his question in the first paragraph.

Of course you can. Most mainline Protestant churches support and even sanctify gay marriage.

I think your problem is that you buy into a stereotypical media-fed nonsense about who Christians are. Here’s a hint, most of us aren’t Evangelical (although most Protestants are these days due largely to liberals abandoning mainline churches.) Evangelicals are a subset of Christianity that arose around the turn of the 20th century from Pentecostal and Holiness movements combined with the form of the southern African-American church. They primarily gained ascendancy among the poor due to their emotionally charged services and sometimes uneasy alliance with charismatic and prosperity movements and as such, have the theological convictions of the early 20th century lower-classes. They grew very quickly throughout the country, but especially in the south as mainlines embraced more progressive and inclusive theologies while Evangelicals were largely non-hierarchical and could break with those. Essentially, you have a split between fundamentalists and ecumenical movements. Mainline, established churches who were largely northern, wealthy and more educated in character became very associated with the ecumenical and theologically liberal movements. Evangelicals became more and more fundamentalist. Simple sorting exacerbated the effect and the ‘Great Falling Away’ of the 70s and 80s where we see people leaving churches primarily impacted established liberal churches, which only served to heighten the power of Evangelicals. Since they didn’t see the same loss of numbers, they took it as proof that their conservative ideology was correct and the liberal movement killed itself. (They aren’t necessarily wrong of course. The problem with preaching an inclusive, somewhat universalist message without judgement is that people feel much freer to explore other belief systems or lack thereof. The reality is that people say they want an open and affirming church that preaches love and service, but as soon as they get one, they tend to vote with their feet and pick one that purports solid answers or just stop believing in God altogether. It’s a Catch-22.)

So anyway, to get back to your point. Evangelicals are a recent movement that has gained ascendancy due to cultural factors and not due to it having some theological purity that represents all Christians. Mainlines actually have a much longer pedigree and in my opinion much more solid theological foundations and many if not most of them do affirm gay marriage. Right now, the United Methodists are in the middle of a battle over it and it looks likely that there will be some sort of reconciliation towards gay marriage. If the UM church was solely a United States church or if the European church actually had any attendees, it would be a done deal, but African and Asian conferences are major power brokers these days and it’s proving extremely difficult to get them to budge on the issue. It’s actually looking like we may see a split where the North and West US and Europe affirm gay marriage and the South and Asia and Africa don’t. Who knows what that will look like.

By the way. I support gay marriage. We have a number of gay couples in our church (a United Methodist church of about 300 attendees in a college town.) I attend church every week and serve on multiple committees. My wife even leads our youth group. Our pastor supports gay marriage and I haven’t polled, but I would wager most of the congregation. I certainly believe in God and I do so in a rather traditional Christian way (affirming the Apostle’s creed.) I am a universalist though which isn’t uncommon among liberal Christians, but which might get me a few points on the heresy meter. So I can assure you that it is more than possible to believe in a traditional Christian God and also believe in gay marriage.

Of course you can. There are no rules for what you can believe about a deity, unless of course you’re part of an organized religion in which case you’re supposed to follow their rules. But all this is entirely up to you. Many religions these days are fine with gay marriage, some are not and may never be.

Believe in a (or many) supernatural being who created everyone different so we could all ignore our differences and work together. Yes.

Do you think any God would object to two adults who love each other getting legal protection?

It would be easier to argue the other way – how can you believe in God and NOT believe in gay marriage? At least that’s how I see it.

This is not true, and may be the root of your conundrum. Look at this recent poll.

Most Catholics and white, mainstream protestants support SSM. Most Evangelicals don’t, but they represent at most about 30% of the American population. And I assume by “most people” you mean “most Americans”.

Do the math, and you will find out that most American Christians support SSM.

People don’t get their ideas about what constitutes “Christianity” from little-publicized polls. They get them from the religious programs on television, internet and radio. They get them from right-wing Christian spokesmen that never miss an opportunity to appear on the air to push their agenda. They get them from the politicians pandering to the right-wing Christians that flood them with demands and money. Why do people think they speak for Christianity?
Because they are the ones, for the most part, that are doing the speaking.

I am a strong Christian.

I agree that gays have the legal right to marry.

Why? While I’m personally against homosexuality I see them as citizens and thus, should have the right to marry. I separate my faith and personal values from my duties as a citizen.

Now after saying that I think churches should be allowed to decide whether or not they should have to allow gay marriages on their property or whether or not their ministers should do gay services. Also a wedding cake maker or a photographer should be allowed to decide whether or not to decline to do a gay wedding.

Then I guess it’s a good thing there are “people” like us to correct them! I’d also expect that neither you nor I are “people” in that sense, so I’m not quite sure what your point is. Are you saying that most “people” (Americans) get their ideas about what it means to be Christians form the sources you mention? I would think most Christians get their idea of what it means to be Christian from their priests or pastors. And in the case of Catholics, it would appear that most American Catholics think for themselves on the subjects of birth control, SSM, divorce and abortion.

Anyway, rather than speculate about where the OP got his mistaken idea, why don’t we just ask him? You could be right, but let’s ask him just the same. Jim: Why did you think most American Christians were against SSM?

Definitely! There are as many conceptions of god as there are people. Why not believe in a gay-friendly deity?

Churches are a private organization and have their own rules. I believe there have been cases where churches were required to allow their facilities used as they had made them available to the public before.
If you own a business open to the public, you should serve the public without prejudice.

I would find it difficult to believe in a God that at one point was okay with putting homosexuals to death is a fan of gay marriage now.

Then again, there were a lot of stupid rules back then that almost no Christian currently practices.

So, as long as you can rationalize it away as “God changed his mind”, or believe in a god that never specifically condemned homosexuals, then sure, you can believe in God.

You’re acting on a faulty premise. You’re assuming putting homosexuals to death was genuinely God’s idea. It’s a lot more likely that it was people who were putting forth their own ideas while claiming to speak as God’s representatives.

Assuming you’re a Christian, you believe God showed up on Earth and spoke directly to people when he appeared as Jesus. And his message was about loving other people, accepting them, and helping out people who are in trouble. I don’t see how you can reconcile that message with persecuting gay people.

I’m a Christian, a lay leader in my church, and I support full marriage equality. In fact, full access to all Christian sacraments: baptism, eucharist, marriage, ordination, etc. And my denomination (The Episcopal Church) backs me up, although like most things we are not all in 100% agreement.

Not only do I not see it as a conflict, I believe full inclusion of all people to be a Christian mandate.

As an atheist, I come from the perspective that when you define a God you do so by defining what it does, says, and believes. (When defining things that exist, you can skip all that and define things temporospatially - ‘Fred’s that guy over there.’) This means that when you’re telling me what god you believe in, I can reasonably ask you whether that god hates treating gay people humanely, and expect you to answer yes or no.

Further, as an atheist, I believe that gods are totally arbitrary and can have whatever properties you like - you’re making it up, so you have complete control. Which is a long way of saying that it’s up to you whether your god hates people or not. And until you know whether he does, can you really know who this god you believe in is?