that passed between a Christian and his friend who announced
that he had embraced the sodomite lifestyle.
— No names are used in these articles. —
I hear you are quite "conservative" in your points of view. I only bring this up because quite honestly I hope to always consider you to be a friend. But I have always known you to be conservative and perhaps that is why I have never told you in person since my "coming out" process began four years ago. It is always scary and I still worry about how people in your life take the news.
If you don't find that who I am, as a gay person, offends your sensibilities then I would love to stop by sometime and catch up.
Though I am "quite conservative," at least politically, I don't know that I'm any more conservative than I've always been.
Candor forces me to admit that I'm not totally surprised by your "revelation" contained in your message. But I wouldn't be a very good friend if I didn't share my concern for you.
Though I could emphasize the physical danger of homosexuality — the average homosexual male only lives to be about 42 compared to 75 for married men, and only 1 percent of male homosexuals live to be 65 or older — I'm more concerned with your spiritual welfare. My views regarding homosexuality have nothing to do with being conservative; they're based on biblical teaching.
If you accept the premise that God exists and revealed His will for man in the Bible, then you have to accept the teachings contained in it as absolute truth. The Bible explicitly and emphatically condemns homosexuality as a sin that will cause you to lose your soul. There's no ambiguity — it's called a spiritual death sentence if you die leading a homosexual lifestyle. I would be glad to share specific biblical teaching if you're interested. But just know that I'm not trying to hurt you or denigrate your character in any way. I still consider you a friend, and I hope you accept what I've written in the spirit in which it's intended — as someone doing what is in the best interest physically and, more important, spiritually, for his friend. I'd love to continue this dialogue, if you're so inclined. And you're always welcome in my home.
That is true, I'm sure you are likely not any more conservative now as you were then and your candor is appreciated. I'm sure that my "revelation" was not a surprise in that anyone who ever really knew me had to have had some insight into my true self.
While I appreciate your concern and the use of statistics that have been purported in research funded by religious groups I would describe as "anti-gay," the flawed statistics imply that it's somehow more dangerous or life threatening to be a gay person. To this I respond with the following thoughts:
I understand that life is a journey and believe that faith is also a journey and that I am but a pilgrim. I learned the same way you did that homosexuality was a sin and that to be a homosexual surely meant eternal damnation. So I began to reject religion — all religion — and reject God, because I couldn't understand how he could make me gay and then condemn me for it. So I began to research the history of the bible and religion as whole. Basically, I questioned faith and God. After years of this I reach a conclusion. One that I felt is well founded and based upon fact and faith. God loves me as I am for I, yes a gay person, was made in his image as well.
No offense to anyone else, but I feel closer to God now than I ever did growing up, because I had to get to know him. I had a "troubled" relationship with him. I learned on my own what it means to be a man of faith and what it means to be spiritual. Most people take what is taught them on Sundays as fact. Not many people read the Bible and reflect on its meaning. They hear the "preacher's" interpretation and accept it as their own... the traditional shepherd and flock. I challenge the concept that that is how it should be. I also take offense to the idea that liberalism is a bad thing.
Jesus was a liberal himself. If you have truly read the Bible then you yourself can't deny that Jesus Christ was "liberal." I believe that God was speaking through him and that God speaks continuously, even today. As a "liberal Christian" I do not believe that the Bible is infallible. I do however believe it is the truth — that truth being love. Love for all without judgment.
It is common for those who consider homosexuality an "abomination" to "prove" their cause by quoting every scripture they can find pertaining to sexual sin and promiscuity. By doing this it is important to understand that we Christians in the gay community also are a hundred percent against sexual sin. The difference lies in the fact that we do not believe God has singled out any particular community or nation of people as "evil" or "sinful," believing instead that God's edicts are applied without prejudice to all peoples and communities; homosexual and heterosexual alike.
Therefore before calling homosexuality a sin, one should interrogate Scripture to find if this premise is even true. Unfortunately, many well meaning Christians are just repeating what they have heard from the pulpit or attempting to frame God's will around their prejudices and fears.
Concerning your contention that "I could take offense to the implication [that you lead a promiscuous life]." I didn't mean to imply that you are promiscuous, only that your lifestyle is unhealthy. Any physical ramifications are less important than spiritual ones, so I'll only address your biblical arguments.
You write "So I began to reject religion and reject God, because I couldn't understand how he could make me gay and then condemn me for it. God loves me as I am for I, yes a gay person, was made in his image as well."
This assumes God made you a homosexual. Certainly God loves you. But the question is this: Does He condone homosexuality? God loved the sinful world so much that He sent Jesus to die for all of us (John 3:16). That doesn't mean He approves of all of our actions. Love and approval aren't synonyms, and the former doesn't necessarily imply the latter.
You write "I also take offense to the idea that liberalism is a bad thing. Jesus was a liberal himself. If you have truly read the bible then you yourself can't deny that Jesus Christ was 'liberal.' " Remember, you injected conservatism and liberalism into the discussion. I'm more concerned with the Bible's teaching. Since "conservative" and "liberal" are terms with political connotations, I would prefer to set them aside when discussing the Bible and focus on what it teaches.
You write "I do not believe that the bible is infallible. I do however believe it is the truth, that truth being love. Love for all without judgment."
If the Bible is fallible, how can it be true? Are some portions fallible and others infallible? Truth, by definition, precludes error. The Bible can't be truth and fallible at the same time — that's a contradiction.
You define truth as love, but that is your own definition, not the Bible's. It teaches that we know truth by abiding in Christ's word, which will make us free from sin (John 8:31-32). It is also the standard by which Jesus will judge our conduct at the last day (John 12:48-50). Jesus loves us, but His word says that certain activities are forbidden, and loving Him means obeying Him (John 14:15).
You write that truth is "Love for all without judgment." Does that mean accepting homosexuality and not condemning it? Once in your letter you write, regarding statistics that you believe are "anti-gay," that "such statements are made in ignorance and quite frankly with an heir of judgment." Then, twice you use the phrase "prejudices and fears" — though the second time is in the singular — describing Christians who condemn homosexuality.
You state that truth is loving you without judgment, yet you judge various opponents of your lifestyle to be ignorant, judgmental, prejudicial and fearful. Those are awfully judgmental descriptives.
Do you maintain that all opponents of homosexuality are characterized by at least one of those traits? If so, does that mean you've decided opponents of homosexuality can't possibly be correct? If that's the case, then you're being intellectually dishonest.