If Christ saves, why condemn homosexuality?

First off: I’m not trying to offend or criticize any religion. This question is asked out of ignorance, not disrespect.

I was raised with very little religious background; my mother is a secular Jew, my father pretty much atheist. I consider myself Jewish, though I’m not observant. I know a little about Christianity and Islam, and I have a limited understanding of Buddhism. Beyond that, I’m not well-versed in religion. The religion that mystifies me most is (Protestant) Christianity because of what seem like a huge inconsistency, and here it is:

If salvation is gained through faith in Christ alone, what is the point of adhering to any moral standards? Sure, the Ten Commandments are important to Christians (or they say they are,) but evangelical tracts and television shows I have glanced over the years constantly insist that even if you were a bank robber, pedophile, rapist, or wife-beater, “YOU CAN STILL GET SAVED! ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS PRAY THIS…”, etc.

Conservative Christian spokesmen do nothing but condemn homo-sin-uality, but if a man has faith in Christ as his savior, what difference does it make whether he wants to have sex with other men? He’s going to heaven anyway, according to Protestant Christian belief, as long as he is ‘saved in Christ.’

Leviticus 18:22 condemns homosexuality as an abomination, sure, but what Jerry Falwell and friends never say is that it also condemns a lot of other things, like eating shrimp and pork, for example. Nobody insists that people who don’t keep Kosher are going to hell; it is assumed that since Christ saved manking, there’s no reason to adhere to those Old Testament dietary guidelines.

So then why the big deal about homosexuality and other “deviant” behavior? Why the emphasis on “virtues” and “family values” and all that jazz? If I’m saved by Christ, why do I need to keep watching my ass?

GD territory for sure. The mods will probably move this thread there. Do a search and you’ll find many threads on the topic. Not all Christians are of the same belief as homosexuality. That’s all I’ll say until the thread is move out of GQ.

Check out similar threads in Great Debates, IMHO, and The BBQ Pit forums, where people have been asking similar questions. In particular, this thread asks about the restrictions mentioned in Leviticus. I’m not enough of a Bible scholar to contribute anything to that topic.

And it’s been a long time since I’ve attended any formalized church service, so I may be getting my details wrong, or they’re out of date:

In general, though, the idea is not that Christ’s sacrifice gave every Christian a get-out-of-sin free card. It doesn’t absolve you of the sins you commit during your lifetime. Instead, it absolves you of the Original Sin – mankind’s fall when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge in the garden of Eden. Every human is born a sinner as a result of that, and it’s only by accepting Christ’s sacrifice as absolution of that sin, can you gain entry to heaven.

As for sins committed during your lifetime: the idea, at least for Protestants, isn’t that God will forgive you of anything anyway, so you can save up all your sins for one big plea for forgiveness at the end. The idea is that you must be truly, genuinely penitent before you can be forgiven.

As for homosexuality: the claim is made that conservative “Christian” spokesmen like Falwell and the like aren’t condemning homosexuals, they’re only condemning homosexual behavior. In other words, all humans are born sinners, so deviant thoughts are bound to creep into our minds. It’s when you act on those impulses, and refuse to stop, surpress the urges, show remorse, and ask for forgiveness, that you’re bound for Hell.

And I’d hope it were obvious, but just in case: I of course think that that’s total nonsense and wish those types would just mind their own business.

By the by…What’s the rationale for Falwell & co. observing Lev. 18:22 (The no gay-sex part) but not, say Lev. 19:27 (Don’t cut your hair)?

Not to automatically criticize whatever the reasoning is, I just don’t actually know what it is.

Paul. General Questions is for a question for which you expect a factual answer.

Religious debates belong over at GD, where this one is being moved.

Read the thread title explanations.

samclem. GQ moderator.

I don’t have time to respond at length, but in brief, most exegets would say that Levicitus contains ceremonial and symbolic commands (e.g. “Don’t cut your hair,” “Don’t wear mixed fabrics.”) and command which address morality in a more fundamental manner (e.g. the Ten Commandments, and Leviticus 21). Actions which are labelled as “abominations” are naturally considered to be more severe than merely ceremonial acts.

The bottom half of this article expounds on this somewhat. Like I said, I don’t have time to respond exhaustively, but that’s the bottom line.

Oh, and without taking sides in this debate, I daresay that PaulFitzroy’s claim below,

… is grossly inaccurate, despite common accusations to this effect. It makes for heated rhetoric, but with all due respect, it has no place on a message board that is supposedly dedicated to fighting ignorance.

It’s an exaggeration. I was trying to add emphasis to my question and got carried away.

Most christians will affirm that being saved by Christ is freedom. However, once you are “saved”, the Spirit of God dwells in you and drives you towards him. Thus, while you are by no means sinless, you don’t desire to any more because you desire to obey the Spirit of God. I am never sure of people’s patience to read through scripture, but since you are curious about this subject, then I will quote Paul who wrote it far better than I could 2,000 years ago.

“If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

So, if I claim to be “Saved”, but my life is basically the same as it was before, then I’m not really saved, I was just looking to justify myself.

Now about homosexuality, which is of keen interest to me, since I affirm that I am both gay and christian, I could write much. However, to summarize my viewpoint, I can quote two passages. 1] "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. " Jerry Falwell and I were both loved equally by God before we were saved, neither of us did anything to deserve forgiveness. 2] "Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. " Jerry Falwell and I are both justified equally before God after we were saved… however everytime Jerry Falwell skewers gays as “demons”, he actually puts himself below me since he is trying to position himself as holier than me, when he’s really not.

Oh, and I quoted Galatians 2, Romans 5, and Romans 3.

Why should who condemn homosexuals?

Me?

Well, perhaps it would allow me to feel that I was better than them. It might make me feel that I was closer to God than they were, and more holy. It might allow me an excuse to order the lives of other people to my liking, by assuming the authority of God Himself. Or, it could provide me with a cloak of seeming righteousness, behind which I could hide my own feelings, whatever they are.

Lots of reasons.

I would rather not, though, thanks anyway.

Tris

Don’t beat yourself over the head about why Christians think one way or another. It’s like trying to translate Chimp sounds into poetry. There is no logic; all is arbitrary.

According to the nutjob Catholics, if you die with a mortal sin on your soul (i.e., don’t confess to Father Felcher), then you’re going to HELL. You not only have to believe in Jesus, you gotta be a good boy, too. Catholics consider homosexual acts to be mortal sins. So, you’ve got to trust in Jesus and not bang a dude in order to get to the Pearly Gates.

According to the wacko evangelical Protestants, as you say, you’ve got to be-LIEVE in JEzus in order to be saved–and once you’re “saved,” you’re saved. You could become Adolf Hitler II but still be with JEzus when your career was done. So it’s not just saved gays that get a free pass for their “sins,” but also mass murderers, too!

As I said, it’s all about as meaningful as chimp poetry.

Just to mention that this interpretation (christ sacrifice redeemed the sins of humanity, hence, it’s not possible anymore to sin and everybody is saved) has been a rather common heresy which sufarced time and again in the history of christianism, under various names, since the earliest times.

Sol wrote: "In general, though, the idea is not that Christ’s sacrifice gave every Christian a get-out-of-sin free card. It doesn’t absolve you of the sins you commit during your lifetime. Instead, it absolves you of the Original Sin – mankind’s fall when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge in the garden of Eden. Every human is born a sinner as a result of that, and it’s only by accepting Christ’s sacrifice as absolution of that sin, can you gain entry to heaven.
(emphasis added)

Augustine of Hippo developed his doctrine of original sin from a mistranslated Latin version of Romans 5:12*. This mistranslated the Greek and implied that the sin of Adam was passed on to his descendants, i.e. that all babies are born inheriting the guilt of Adam. In contrast to this view, the Greek Fathers generally held that Adam passed on merely the consequences of his sin, i.e. death.

Although many Calvinists follow Augustine’s ideas, many Christians (including me) reject them.

In this, and his ideas on predestination, Augustine owes more to his earlier belief in Manichaeism than to Christianity.

  • ‘Death passed on all men for in him [Adam] all sinned’ should read ‘Death passed on all men inasmuch as all sinned’.

My take on it is it’s not the homosexual activity that is the problem (after all we are all sinners with our own weaknesses), it is identifying yourself by the sin you are commiting, and in a proud way.

In other words there is quite a difference in saying:

“Forgive me father I am a thief” and saying “I am a thief, I was born that way and you must accept me as a thief. I, and all the other thiefs deserve the right to enter any store and not be watched by security because I demand equal rights to non-thiefs”

I eat lobsters and who the fuck cares, kanicbird? You’ve probably eaten them too, and wouldn’t understand why that should be a matter for comdemnation and eternal damnation. But eating lobsters is a no-no according to Levitucus.

:confused: I think you miss my point. And yes I did eat a lobster yesterday. There is quite a difference between answering your question, and me calling myself “Kanicbird the Lobster Eater” and demand that people respect my right to eat lobster at chuch functions.

Like I said we are all sinners, and we all have our issues, but it is the act of proudly identifying yourself as a sinner that I would think disqualifies you from askign for forgivness on that sin.

still a bit :confused: with your post however.

There’s always someone worse off than yourself; if you can point at them, it might make you less miserable and wretched. I really think Tris nailed it - I do believe that, under the surface, the mindset is driven by a sort of brown-nosing desire to please God by pointing out The Bad Guys (or at least Those Who We Consider To Be Conspicuously Worse Than Ourselves).

So, are you ashamed of being a lobster-eater, hence of breaking the Law as defined in Leviticus?
“I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished”

(this last quote added in case you would state that this part of the Law has “dissapeared”. I assume I don’t need to mention who I’m quoting)

That’s completely vacuous, as well as being morally bankrupt.

If you believe, for example, that eating lobster is a sin, but you choose to do it anyway, do you honestly think that it’s okay as long as it’s not how you choose to identify yourself? How does that even work as the basis of a moral structure? Do you allow yourself to eat a lobster because you know you’re going to ask for forgiveness and it’s only this one time? Is it all a question of degrees?

I believe that it’s you who’re missing the point. Openly gay people simply do not see homosexuality as a sin.

And if you can give me a single example of how being a thief is anything at all like being a homosexual, I’d like to hear it.

Sincerely,
“SolGrundy The Man Lover”

I always heard it like, “Jesus saves, but Moses invests.”

;j

Jeez, indeed. For four years, I never found a good use for that smiley, and now twice in one day.

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, ‘It is finished’: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
-John 19:30