This is not a bashing of christians nor its teachings, but rather there is a lot of information on the issue of the bible and homosexuality, than say Judaism or Islam or other religious teachings. What I say should apply to any religious of the same streak, not just christianity. In here, when I use christian, I also mean catholics. Let’s start…
I am often surprised to read or hear comments from christians that they are surprised that the mega churches and small churches like COOS wants to create a christian Singapore and impose its values of hatred and bigotry onto the non-christians and indeed other christians. Don’t they know their own christian history or are they that ignorant of the centuries of violence, discrimination and killings that had occur using god and scriptures as a justification?
People who believed in science were killed by the church to stop them from question god and s0-called witches where burnt because their religious practice is disliked by the church. In recent history, the churches have used god and their scriptures to vilify communists, support segregation, keep slavery in place, prevent inter-racial marriage, suppress women and now to condemn homosexuals. The Nazi who also believe in christ and god, had used the work of Martin Luther (who vilified the Jews based on his biblical interpretation) to justify antisemitism.
One must indeed wonder what is it in the teachings that is promoting hatred, discrimination, violence and anger for more than 2,000 over years and even far back in history in the time of mosses and leviticus.
Well-meaning christians who support gay people will tell you that the homophobic interpretation of the scriptures are incorrect. They would often explain why Sodom and Gomorrah is not about punishing gay sex, but rather those who violated ancient rules of hospitality. And Paul’s letter was not about man should not be sleeping with another man, rather its against cult worship and temple prostitution. Then you have passages from leviticus which they will tell you are based on old Hebrew laws and superseded by the new gospels.
Unfortunately, in defending against discrimination against homosexuals in the scriptures, well-meaning christians seems to accept valued judgment of other behaviors and too ready to accept violence, condemnation and killings of other beings just because they don’t conform to christian laws (which are of course not homophobic, they stress). So in defending against the condemnation of homosexuals, they condemn the people in Sodom and Gomorrah and also those spoken of in Paul’s letters.
I am sure not all inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah are guilty of the crime in which the whole city were burnt to the ground. There may be other guests, young children and animals amongst those kill in the cities. Furthermore, so what if they are indeed guilty, was it right to kill people off because they went against their god’s laws? If it is justified to kill people off because they flouted god’s laws, then what is stopping someone else from interpret god’s law and start killing off black people, gay people and Jews?
How can they who are so against people judging homosexuals and condemning them, also agree on the same condemnation and judging against other people using the same valued judgment?
I have yet heard of any christians who can categorically declare that all the violence and killings within their scriptures are unacceptable and incorrect. For as long as they are willing to accept sanctioned violence, discrimination, hatred and killing within their scriptures based on their christian value judgment, then there will always be violence, discrimination, hatred and killing of people whom people will interpret as going against their christian values.
The biggest problem I feel is that many christians are not able to reconcile the amount of violence, discrimination and hatred in their scriptures with those of love, compassion and understanding.
You cannot preach peace, if you keep going to war
You cannot preach love, if it only goes to those who believe
You cannot preach compassion, if hell exists to punish sinners
You cannot preach understanding, if you keep judging people based on your values.
This is not different from the muslim world declaring that its wrong to kill innocent people for Islam’s cause. However, they don’t declare that its wrong to kill, as long as not the innocent. The interpretation then is one who is innocent or not in the eyes of different muslims. As such the cycle of violence against the non-innocent (which is a valued judgement) will always be there.
The most classic example is that of mosses and the trouble he and his god caused in Egypt. In the story, innocent Egyptians are tortured and their first born are killed just because their pharaoh refused to budge to mosses’ demands. How do christians view this story? Whether it real or not, do they think that its justified to torture and kill innocent civilians so that god’s power could be noticed?
Another classic example is that of Eve, apparently she was punished with the pain of child birth because she disobeyed god. Its been thousands of years since Eve (if the story is true) and women are still having labor pains. What kind of god can be so unforgiving?
Even in the gospels, you have story of jesus driving demons into pigs and then drove those pigs to rivers and killed them. If that is not violence against animals, I don’t know what is that.
Some will say that we cannot believe in the literal stories in the bible. If that is true, then how do you pick and choose what should be literally understood and what are just parables and stories? Is the resurrection literal or a story? How do one then choose one part to be literal but some parts to be just stories.
Even if they are stories, are all the violence, killings and discrimination justified?
The hell question is probably even more difficult for a lot of christians to defend. Hell to many christians is a place for sinners and disbelievers, those who don’t accept god nor follow his bidding. How many well-meaning christians tell you that the concept of hell is incorrect and unacceptable in a teaching of love and compassion? Actually at least one can, John Shelby Spong.
Interestingly, when you listen to Spong talk about hell and being human in his other speech, it runs a very similar thread to some Buddhist teachings.
Actually, even Buddhist teachings which does not sanction violence, discrimation, killings or valued judgement at all, can over the centuries be misinterpreted to support those such as in Sri Lanka, old Tibet, the Dalai Lama “understanding” of homosexuality, Japan during it fascist period, Korean, Burma, Thailand, etc.
What more if teachings sanction violence, discrimination and killing through valued judgment in one form or another?
Correcting the misinterpretation of the teachings is only 1/100 of the job done. To eradicate any form of discrimination, violence, hatred and bigotry, christians must not condone any violence, killings and discrimination based upon valued judgment and must eradicate all forms of sanctioned violence of the mind and of the flesh from their teachings. If not its just a shallow idea of love, diversity and tolerance.
So gay christians and supports alike cannot blame anyone from interpreting their scriptures and discriminating against them as long as they continue to support concepts of violence and sanctioned violences based on christian moral judgment within their scriptures.
Note: that I deliberately spelled god in lower case. Spelling it with an upper case G is giving it too much credit