“The difference between just doing what comes naturally and principled self restraint is called civilisation…”
– Greg Koukl
Writer’s note: I wrote this post originally in June 2015, around the time of the SCOTUS decision. I didn’t properly publish it for any length of time back then for several reasons, one being that I didn’t want to add to what was (at the time) a climate of extreme emotionalism on both sides of this issue. I hope that as the smoke clears something I wrote back then might be helpful for those still interested in this topic (in December 2015) and particularly for anyone interested in giving the Christian perspective a fair hearing.
It is my hope that upon reading this you still feel able to call me ‘friend’. Let me say I am well aware that we may disagree on this issue and for some of you this disagreement will be quite wholehearted and passionate. However, I believe friends should be able to acknowledge their differences and even have rigorous discussions on such matters without writing one another off as valued human beings based on their differing views. I write this letter not simply to add to the plethora of [often angry] posts on social media in support of or mourning the [at the time of writing] recent SCOTUS decision, but rather to try to respond accurately and consistently to two groups of people;
- Those who have engaged in conversation with me on this issue with genuine interest in the conversation prior to various social media threads becoming entirely cumbersome and genuinely unhelpful as a result of militant, angry or emotionally driven posts that cloud the train of thought of all parties and derail any form of helpful discussion.
- The many friends whom I have seen jump on the social media ‘progressive activism’ bandwagon (so to speak) by painting their profiles with rainbow colours in support of the decision and who may have been wondering why or how I could possibly not do the same with a clear conscience.
Before I continue I would like to make clear what I believe and why I am seeking to write this letter in love for those who struggle with same-sex attraction and for those who have been swept up in the wave of popular opinion in support of the marriage redefinition agenda.
What I believe and why I think it is worth writing this post… please hear me out.
As a Christian I believe I am a sinner who is saved by grace alone. Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:21-26). That includes you and me. It includes me as much as it includes you or anyone else. The consequence of sin in our lives is death and separation from God, as He is perfect and sin cannot exist in His presence. The good news is that He has given his grace and forgiveness as a gift. In doing so God secured eternal life for those who believe (Romans 6:22-23) through the death of His Son who lived a perfect life and died as a propitiation, a perfect sacrifice and ransom, to pay for my sin (and the sin of all believers) once and for all (Romans 5:8-9). I believe that God is sovereign over all things (Psalm 115:3, Psalm 135:5-7), and works in the hearts of sinners to bring them from death to new and eternal life (Ephesians 2:1-6). I also believe that because his grace and forgiveness is a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9), I cannot boast in anything I do or have done. Any and all glory is rightfully His.
God therefore commands people everywhere to repent of their sin (turning away from it completely) and come to Him (Acts 17:22-32), believing in Jesus as their saviour (John 3:16-17) – the only one who can rescue them from the mess that sin makes of their lives (John 14:6) and obeying His commands. Obeying God is not a means of earning His forgiveness, but it is our right response to His love and sacrifice in the person and work of Jesus Christ (John 14:15) and is evidence to the world around us that our faith is genuine (James 2:15-17). I also believe that when we truly know Him, while we still make mistakes, we no longer make a habit of intentionally sinning, as God is now working in us to make us more and more like Jesus.
Let me make this abundantly clear; it is not my job as a Christian to condemn anyone to Hell. It is my job to follow Jesus’ words in ‘the great commission’; to share the good news of Jesus and to ‘make disciples’, teaching people to obey Jesus’ commands (Matthew 28:16-20). It is also my job to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15-16), which I am hoping to do here.
If the previous three paragraphs are a load of codswallop to you “because science” or “because the Bible isn’t a reliable source” or something – perhaps you’ll appreciate what I have to say in response to those objections at the end of this letter.
There is a definite distinction between the reality and the rhetoric
I’ve noticed that on this issue in particular, there’s a distinction between that which accords to reality, in relation to the way this conversation is approached by true Christians, and the rhetoric almost immediately locked and loaded by proponents of same sex ‘marriage’ who are ready to fire as soon as the Christian refuses to collapse into a sea of gooey, platitude-ridden agreement.
To be clear from the outset; there are some people in this world who use the label ‘Christian’ and who act in ways that are anything but Christian. The members of the family cult in Westboro for example that hold “God hates…” signs while singing terrible, hate-filled songs at passers by are not acting in a Christ-like manner! Although I have nothing to do with these people, I am sorry for the times when those who claim to associate with Christianity act in ways that are all judgement and no grace. These people forget so much of what they claim to stand for and I believe they will be judged accordingly. True Christians do make mistakes though – sometimes in the way we interact with others. Again, to anyone who has been hurt by this, I’m sorry.
Having said that, I know of many Christians who try to approach this topic with gentleness and respect, while maintaining their conviction about God’s design for human relationships. It is no doubt a sensitive topic (sexuality probably always will be somewhat sensitive by nature) and I want to (as many churches I’m sure would agree) be ready to walk with those who experience same-sex attraction, being ready to listen and to offer assistance, prayer and support where possible/necessary. That said, this sort of sympathetic/compassionate approach does not mean I must openly accept and celebrate the continuation of a lifestyle that I believe leads ultimately to a lack of fulfillment and a distortion of human intimacy.
Already, some of you may find the word ‘hate’ coming to mind, and therein lies my first point. Hatred is simply not a prerequisite to disagreement with a lifestyle, a point of difference or a socio-political agenda. Often I’ve seen the words ‘hate’ and ‘bigot’ used toward well-meaning and winsome Christians, simply because they don’t capitulate to the culture when challenged by their pro same-sex ‘marriage’ peers. While I am not a huge fan of the man’s books, author Rick Warren has been quoted as saying “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” Like it or not, Warren is right. It is fallacious to assume that hatred and bigotry are the same as disagreement. If that were true, every single debate that has ever taken place, no matter how respectful and well moderated must have been hate-fuelled. This reality/rhetoric divide I believe comes prepackaged within the pro same-sex ‘marriage’ agenda because those at the forefront portray the issue as purely emotional and biological and therefore claim that disagreement must be intended to hurt or to marginalise or defame.
Of course I believe the issue is not just emotional or biological, it is also spiritual – even for those who claim not to be “religious”. Choosing to disbelieve in God does not automatically negate the existence of God, sin and human responsibility… but I will offer a few words on that later.
The Intolerance of Tolerance
I think a real catch on this issue is that marriage is not the only word for which society has been intentionally changing the definition. ‘Tolerance’ has also had a meaning-change, at least according to secular society. In a video entitled The Intolerance of Tolerance, D.A. Carson explains that the verb ‘tolerate’ (as defined by the dictionary) used to mean “the acceptance of the existence of different views…” whereas it is almost exclusively now taken in noun form to mean “the acceptance of different views, that is the accepting of the different views of other people in religious or political matters…” He goes on to explain “to accept the existence of different views is to acknowledge that there are differences of opinion and not to persecute people because of it” whereas to accept the views themselves is different entirely. Note: one may automatically claim that not changing the definition of marriage = persecution, but I will address that in point six.
The latter definition of tolerance (accepting the different views themselves), which is now much more common, is perhaps akin to a form of moral-Marxism masquerading as inclusion. In Marxism, unrest gradually intensifies on the part of those seen as the ‘on the ground workers’ and those seen as the big wigs upstairs who control the sale and distribution of the products the workers have been working on. This eventually leads to a social revolution, which is supposedly followed by a socialist system wherein governance is cooperatively shared and distribution is based directly on firsthand contribution. Of course this may sound nice on the surface because we have all at times felt like the underdog and that our voice isn’t heard, therefore the idea of a revolution in which we hope to become a self-governing society holds some sort of idealistic allure. History however has shown that this Utopia is more of a mirage than a magic bullet as someone still ends up enforcing the rules in order to keep things running smoothly. The parallel with our present society is that there seems to be an ideal in the minds of many that says authority that contradicts one’s own opinions must be wrong and should rightfully be overthrown. In other words, under the guise of ‘inclusion’ many in our current society are wanting to redefine longstanding (legal and religious) institutions to instead cater to a certain minority, while at the same time excluding the rights of others to disagree without being accused of some form of hatred.
It seems obvious to me that one should not expect others to compromise their convictions to fit with the wave of public opinion all the time. This is just not practical. It simultaneously seeks to create social robots while opening the door for 1984’s Big Brother and the ‘thought police’. It is this exact sort of revolution that has taken place in the US and caused the Supreme Court to listen to those who side with a very vocal minority. In doing so they’ve removed the freedom of state governments to govern and instead mandated a nationwide redefinition that still includes some while ignoring the opinions of others (an overturning of the tables, but still not a situation that can be considered fair in reality). I’m not calling all those who support the SCOTUS decision Marxists. Not by any stretch. What I am saying is that I see some similar tendencies towards an idealistic social revolution that are not necessarily as well grounded or as healthy for society as many people presume.
Many recently ‘cheered’ the legal shift by the USA on this issue via the social media rainbow avatar. What I noticed was that those who expressed a difference of opinion were often quickly attacked or labeled with all manner of derogatory terms. Again, to reiterate; removing the ability for people to hold other opinions in a meaningful way in the public sphere by allowing a minority to drive the redefinition of a key term like ‘marriage’ is perhaps post-modern (which some see as a virtue), but not wise. True Christians will continue to speak up for the traditional view of marriage despite the attempted silencing by the secular culture because we believe that real, harmonious, Biblical marriage has spiritual significance as well as relational significance and that we are called to submit to the authority of God on this (and indeed all matters of life and faith) rather than our unbelieving friends. The way I see it, reasonable unbelievers who uphold ‘fairness’ (based on their moral preferences) as a relational ideal should acknowledge that for a Christian to do instead hold to the Bible’s teaching on the matter when it comes to their own convictions is simply consistent and tolerant (in the traditional sense of the word) rather than intolerant and hateful.
Are people really born gay?
(I’ll keep this point fairly short, not because there isn’t a lot that could be said, but because this is a blog post not a 1000 page thesis…)
I, like many of you, know some lovely gay people. Believe it or not, I want what is best for them. I do not claim that same-sex attraction is something that can be dismissed as a simple choice that occurs during or after puberty, but that does not mean I agree with the premise that people are born gay either. Again, this is not based on a lack of love, but is influenced by an honest assessment of the science I have seen on this issue.
I mentioned that a lot of the rhetoric from the pro-redefinition agenda is heavily emotional and I believe that is often linked to the theory-treated-as-fact that homosexuality is biological and therefore cannot/should not be ‘suppressed’ or ‘helped’ or ‘changed’ by those experiencing same-sex attraction because it is part of their identity.
Without posting the full video here, I’d love to refer those who are interested to a video of socio-medical scientist Rebecca Jordan-Young speaking at Harvard University following the release of her book Brainstorm: Flaws in the science of sex differences in which she explains that even in the most formidable studies in the field of sex/gender/sexuality research, there have been some serious flaws that have led to misleading or inconclusive results. Jordan-Young explains that even the core terms used in these studies have been based on differing working definitions, leading to conflicting results that throw doubt on some of the big ‘discoveries’ in the science of sex differences over the last 10-20 years. If the top scientists can’t agree on the key terms that form the building blocks of their research in areas relating to gender and sexuality, the reliability of the results quickly crumbles. Each year it seems there are articles that come and go for and against the idea that people are born gay, but from the reading I’ve done (including secular (non-religious) sources) the science supporting this assertion is at best inconclusive and at worst misleading, meaning it should not be claimed as fact. It seems likely from the reading I have done that homosexuality occurs developmentally over time due to a range of contributing factors in the life of the individual, rather than biologically.
Additionally, even if someone was born with a certain tendency or didn’t consciously choose it, that does not automatically mean it is good/permissible for them to act on that tendency. People are born with all sorts of tendencies, some are more prone to drug and alcohol addiction than others – but that doesn’t mean they should be encouraged to embrace a life of alcoholism and drug addiction (not that these are the same as homosexuality, but the principle of tendency as it relates to proactive action is the same). For those of us who are married, the temptation to lust can rear its head if we are not careful, but that does not excuse infidelity. As Greg Koukl points out rightfully in this video and the quote at the start of this letter, just doing what seems natural or ‘right for you’ is not necessarily the best course of action. The quote I refer to is as follows; “the difference between doing what comes naturally and principled self-restraint is called civilisation.” If everything that came naturally to people was permissible we would live in chaos and would probably not live very long!
Again, this isn’t a simple issue and I want to show love and understanding to those who experience same sex attraction, but I do not believe that just because you feel something it means you will always feel that way or that you should necessarily act on it. Therefore, again I hold to a traditional view when it comes to the definition of marriage.
Objection: but Jesus never mentioned homosexuality… did he?
This has got to be one of the most common objections I hear from my non-Christian friends as they quickly Google “what did Jesus say about homosexuality” before deciding that because the English word doesn’t appear in the Bible, Jesus didn’t care about it.
The first thing to note is that when translating from Hebrew and Greek to English (from ancient Biblical manuscripts to modern day Bibles for example), the translators take into account the semantic range of each word. Semantic range refers to the range of English words that the word in the original language represents. It is not uncommon for Greek words to have multiple meanings or even for one word to encompass a range of implied meanings and for the meaning to differ based on author, context, audience and so on.
Jesus never used the word homosexuality because the word didn’t exist, but he did use the word porneia which was a word for sexual immorality that includes homosexuality. Jesus spoke of these things in Matthew 5:32, 15:19, 19:9 and Mark 7:21. In Romans 1:18-32 (see below for extract) Paul also speaks very clearly of homosexuality as something that is not condoned.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
So yes, Jesus and Paul did talk about it, you just can’t do a “control+F” (Edit > Find) on the Bible to find the word “homosexuality” because the translators have taken care to translate by taking into account the semantic range of the words in the original language and the context in which they appear to most accurately represent the full meaning of what was said.
For more information, see this article by The Village Church, TX.
Objection: Judge not, lest you be judged.
Probably the second most common objection comes when people quickly turn on their “Christians are judgmental” switch and search the Bible online for the word ‘judge’. Let’s be clear, Jesus did say “judge not, lest you be judged” in Matthew 7, but he was not saying we should never make any judgements about what is right and wrong. To do so would be absurd and would mean decisions about ethics and morality would lose all meaning.
Context is vital here (as is usually the case)! Last year I taught some Year 11 and Year 9 English and I taught my students that step 1 of analysing a text was to understand its context. This is not a word Christians use with tricky passages as a get-out-of-jail-free card. It is an underlying principle of hermeneutics/interpretation that makes it possible to accurately understand a text.
If you read on in Matthew 7 Jesus says what type of judgement he is talking about;
“3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.“
So the type of judgement Jesus is talking about is hypocrisy. We are called not to be hypocrites when looking at the behaviour of others. Again, all have sinned. It is not just non-Christians that sin, but the point is that Christians don’t go on making a habit of intentionally sinning. If a Christian is secretly involved in a same-sex relationship and yet stands against homosexual ‘marriage’, that is hypocrisy and they are in the wrong and should repent. Of course this does not mean that Christians must hold the opinion that redefining marriage is desirable. To assume so would be to twist scripture and as American preacher Paul Washer once said (and I mean this partially with tongue-in-cheek), “People tell me judge not lest ye be judged. I tell them, twist not scripture lest ye be like Satan.” He said this because when Satan tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11) he took scripture out of context and tried to convince Jesus to do things that were not in line with God’s instruction and Jesus rebuked him for it.
To be fair though, we must all understand the importance of context. Non-Christians using out-of-context Bible verses to try to shut Christians up is like a layman opening up to page 200 of a 400 page doctoral thesis and choosing a sentence he likes and then trying to prove that the rest of the thesis is wrong without reading it. It doesn’t work. It is a smokescreen. It is lazy and it is fallacious.
Objection: not changing the definition of marriage is to ‘discriminate’ which is always ‘bad’ and ‘mean’.
This is another common misconception. If I asked you what you had for breakfast and you said “cereal” and I asked what type and you said “Corn Flakes” then straight away you’ve discriminated against the other breakfast cereals. If I asked how many shirts you wore today out of the total number of shirts you own, again you will have gone through a process of discrimination to make your choice, probably with reasons for doing so (ie. I wore a buttoned shirt to work instead of a T-shirt or I wore a blue shirt to match my blue shoes). At its absolute core (its primary definition) – the word discriminate means to make a distinction between two things, recognizing there are differences between them. I mentioned in an earlier point that many would say that not redefining marriage would be to discriminate against those who experience same-sex attraction. In this case they are using the secondary meaning of the word and claiming that not redefining marriage would be to persecute those who experience same sex attraction. I don’t believe that to be true. Marriage has a certain meaning which cannot be retained if the definition is changed – it is a relationship for life between a man and a woman, it is not just a relationship between two people. To recognise differences between what fits the definition of marriage and what does not is not hateful or discriminatory for the sake of being mean or disallowing membership of some kind of club on arbitrary grounds. It is just upholding a standard that has long existed for important reasons.
Now the obvious objection that follows is “why can’t it just be two people – why does it have to be exclusively a man and a woman” and the obvious counter question to that is what is so magical about the number two? In the case of male – female marriage you have two different but complementary genders coming together to form a special union which is unique and which begins a new family, which may or may not result in children, though that is definitely a possibility. This is what the term marriage is used for, and Christians also believe this picture of two fundamentally different people coming together is symbolic of Jesus’ relationship with the church, whom he loved enough to die for. For proponents of same-sex ‘marriage’ though, the question must be asked – if none of this Biblical reasoning seems relevant to you, why is the number 2 the magical ingredient? Why not three people? Again, we don’t open the definition of marriage up to groups of 7 people or to those within families, so what is it that means the number 2 is the defining factor? Twenty three people don’t have the right to marry, just like homosexual couples don’t. Marriage has traditionally been a right that is offered equally in that every person has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. Redefining marriage to allow people to marry outside the existing boundaries means placing arbitrary bounds on a word and ultimately removing its meaning altogether. Some might try to dismiss this as a ‘slippery slope’ argument, but it is a question that needs to be answered.
One more caveat I would make here is that as a Christian I believe it is NOT okay to persecute those experiencing same-sex attraction. Love and friendship should be extended to all, no matter their sexual preference. However, as has been suggested already, loving a group of people does not automatically mean redefining certain terms to suit that person or group of people. This leads to the next and possibly most important point.
By what standard?
I’ve asked the question about why the redefinition would necessarily stop at 2 people (gender not mentioned) and I said that loving a group of people doesn’t mean redefining terms to suit them necessarily. Therefore, the next question is by what standard do we make these decisions? As Christians we believe God has spoken clearly on what marriage is, all the way through the Bible, from Genesis (the second chapter of the first book) to the latter parts of the New Testament. Jesus also specifically defined marriage as being between a man and a woman in Matthew 19:
He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
So we have a standard that we hold to that is not arbitrarily chosen, but has been designed from the beginning by the God who designed us and knows what is best for us to flourish in this world. By contrast the current pro-redefinition agenda uses words like “rights” and emotions like “love vs hate” to steer the redefinition process towards an arbitrary judgement that the male and female part isn’t important, but the ‘two people’ part is. What I’m trying to say is that if you make decisions on the meaning of key terms based on public rhetoric rather than an objective standard, the foundation of the newly defined word will be very shaky indeed.
Again, it is not out of some negative emotive pretense that Christians stand by the traditional definition. It is because we are trying to be faithful and consistent with the standard that God has defined for us.
Objection: Christians should just love people instead of expressing their beliefs…
Inherent in this objection is that old misconception that Rick Warren talked about. Loving does not mean openly condoning. Also Jesus did say that a good way to summarise the law and the prophets was “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.“ in Matthew 22:34-40.
Note two things; Jesus did tell us that God is to come first and our neighbour is to come second (refer back to by what standard for the significance of this). Notice also that when Jesus spoke of marriage in Matthew 19 he was referencing part of the law from Leviticus 18 on the subject of sexual relationships. In other words Jesus wasn’t saying “just love each other and don’t follow any moral boundaries”.
Those of you who know anything about Leviticus might ask “why do you shave your beard then” and “why wear clothes made with two types of cloth, aren’t these rules in the law too”? The answer is yes, these are part of the ‘holiness code’ outlined in Leviticus 17-27, but again context is very important. Some of these laws (like grooming, not eating certain animals that were deemed unclean and not wearing certain garments) were specifically designed for the nation of Israel, to point to Jesus (the only one who could fulfill the law perfectly) and to set Israel apart from the other nations in the Old Testament as God’s people. The New Testament makes it quite clear that some of these laws were lifted when the gentile believers were added to God’s people (eg. the gentiles didn’t have to be circumsised etc.), but the consistency with which Jesus and Paul speak about marriage in the New Testament as between a man and a woman shows this aspect of the law remained for all people, not just the Israelites.
Also Christians believe that homosexuality is counter to God’s design for human relationships. Therefore to love someone with same-sex attraction means coming alongside, listening, helping, praying for them, being hospitable and so on – encouraging them to embrace all that God has for them. They may find that God removes their homosexual desires or they may choose to abstain from acting on those desires (the same as Christian singles, even those who remain single their whole life abstain from sex outside of marriage). Ultimately I think it comes back to what sex is. Christians believe sex is designed to join two different people together in the most intimate way possible, to enable procreation and to exist within a lifelong committed relationship. The secular world often treats sex as meaningless. If sex is important and carries a certain meaning, people should want to protect and honour it. If sex is seen as something that can mean different things to different people based on their preferences then people try to strip it of boundaries they don’t agree with or don’t want to be accountable to. Again, I defer to God’s authority, the joy of true Biblical marriage and the meaning of sex God has outlined for us.
Consider this – if I believe someone is intentionally living a sinful lifestyle (whether homosexuality is involved or not); as a Christian is it loving for me to encourage them in it? No. To be loving would be to offer humble and gentle correction, recognising that God’s grace covers all of our sins if we turn to Him and repent.
The Bible – more reliable than you’ve assumed..?
I won’t go into heaps of detail on this because it is really another topic. Having said that I have utilised the Bible as the authority I submit to in this letter, so a few words to finish off will hopefully be helpful.
Unbelievers often claim “Christians follow God based on blind faith.” I disagree. Every position is a faith position, whether atheistic, agnostic or Christian. The objection here would be “atheists have scientific evidence, what evidence is there for the Bible?” The first thing to say in response is that although you don’t like it, science hasn’t proven the origin of the earth as the Big Bang, nor has it proven macro evolution (change of kinds), so what is treated as fact is often still theory in reality. Secondly all people who seek human flourishing (including the ability to apply the scientific method) rely on the existence of three things, induction (the future being like the past), laws of logic (that humans can interact in a meaningful way without for example breaking the law of non-contradiction) and the presence of a common ethical/moral code. All three of these things are generally agreed (even by well known Atheists such as Gordon Stein) to be universal, immaterial and unchanging. Of course the naturalistic materialists (Dawkins and company) claim that nothing exists that is immaterial, universal and unchanging because if they admitted that such things exist they would have to admit the possibility of God existing. However, the reality is they act as if these three universal absolutes hold true and they use them without knowing where they come from. Therefore, they put faith in the fact that science will one day have the answer, without having reason to believe that the scientific method will remain valid (as they can’t account for the law of induction on which it is based). Christians put faith in a God who is the source of these universal absolutes. Therefore the existence of God makes sense. This is just a cut down version of a much larger transcendental argument, but it is one that hopefully makes one think. As a Christian, I believe the Bible because without it you have to continually borrow from the Christian worldview in order to make sense of the world around you.
Secondly, there are over 5000 manuscript copies of the New Testament text (not including the Old Testament manuscript evidence which when combined with the NT equals around 25,000 copies). This is the most overwhelming historical record of any text in antiquity and yet many pretend that the Bible could have been written in someone’s backyard. The fact is that with this many copies in existence thousands of years ago, the events that were recorded would have been verifiable originally by people in those societies. Therefore if something was false it would have been stamped out as nonsensical. The message spread because it was verifiable and because it was good news. For more information, check this link from Stand to Reason.
In closing, a word to my friends struggling with this issue; I don’t have all the answers, but I believe in one who does. I want to be the kind of Christian that is loving and helpful and wants what’s best for you, and I hope you understand that my reasons for holding the views that I do are out of love for God and love for you as my neighbour. I’m sorry if my communication doesn’t adequately address the wealth of experiences you feel are relevant to the conversation. I want to be one who listens. I also want to be one who stays true to the ultimate authority in my life rather than the current wave of public opinion. If you’ve got questions, keep searching. Find a good, welcoming, Bible-based church in your area and consider meeting with the pastor and attending on a Sunday.
I hope you can see that consistency and love can lead to a different opinion without ill-intent. I pray that some of what has been said has been at least interesting or perhaps encouraging. I want to finish with a couple of videos. The first is a song that I find uplifting when I am struggling with life’s big issues. It’s called I AM by Crowder and in it he sings “There’s no space that His love can’t reach. There’s no place where we can’t find peace. There’s no end to Amazing Grace. I am, holding on to you, in the middle of the storm, I am holding on, I am.” If you struggle with same-sex attraction and you’ve read this far and are wondering, so what – what will God do for me? The answer is that I don’t know the exact way that God will choose to work in your life, but I do believe He will if you’re willing to ask and submit to His leadership and his word. The second video is the testimony of hip-hop artist Jackie Hill Perry who talks about how God worked in her life while she was deep into a same-sex relationship. You can also read some articles she’s written entitled “The Search for a Better Pleasure” and “Love letter to a Lesbian” here.