When Chick-fil-a president Dan Cathy said in public that he stands for Christian values and that his company is built on those values, the LGBT community and their supporters went nuts. All of a sudden an incredible firestorm of vitriol exploded forth. It began with negative reports in the media, continued with high profile entertainers uttering expletives and vowing to never again eat at Chick-fil-a, and climaxed with several big city mayors and influential council members vowing to use their influence to keep Chick-fil-a stores from opening in their cities. All this from the people who are calling Christians intolerant.
One of the real difficulties for Christians is that slowly, over the last two to three generations, a new set of beliefs has taken over as the dominant foundation of American culture. The shift has been rapid, but not sudden. It has basically slipped in and, piece by piece, pushed Christian values to the side. Because of this gradual shift, even many Christians have, without even realizing it, incorporated many of the non-Christian beliefs into their own value systems.
A great illustration of this is a Facebook post by a Christian who wrote, “I can’t tell if all of the people who posted pictures of Chick-fil-a today are anti-human rights, or pro-diabetes … either way, can we please stop wasting time discriminating.” You see, being opposed to “homosexual marriage” has been turned from sin into discrimination. The result is that Christians are now seen by many in the pop culture as being “bigots and homophobes.”
Without even realizing it, not only have the definition of words been changed, but even our understanding of the nature of Christian values. Truly, what is a homophobe? The word itself would suggest it to be someone who fears homosexuals. Common definitions expand that, however, to include not only fear but hatred, as well.
And a bigot? What is that? The basic definition is a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. Honestly, there are most likely people who call themselves Christians who truly are homophobic and bigoted based on these definitions. That being said, homophobia and bigotry are not Christian values, and no person who is truly following Christ would ever be homophobic or bigoted. In fact, just the opposite. We certainly do recognize homosexuality as a deviation from God’s ideal for humanity, but it is certainly possible to not accept what God has revealed as sinful behavior, yet not be fearful of, hateful toward or blindly intolerant of an individual.
If the truth were told, those in the LGBT community demonstrate a great deal more hatred and intolerance toward Christians and Christian belief than the other way around. If any true bigotry exists, it is much more prominent on the other side.
Begin with a Definition
But, to get at the real issue at hand, we have to move beyond the emotion and name-calling that abides on the surface. We have already made reference to a couple of words that have been redefined and cause confusion. But the redefinition of a different word actually goes to the very core of the entire issue. Not only have the words homophobe and bigot been redefined, but the word “marriage” has been altered, as well.
Inherent in the very concept of marriage is the assumption that it is between a man and a woman. The definition of the word “marriage,” is the union of a man and a woman. The LGBT community’s attempt to expand that to include person’s of the same sex is literally a senseless or meaningless concept because, by definition, only a man and woman can marry. Same sex individuals can imitate marriage by living in the same dwelling, performing sexual acts with one another and so on. But it is impossible for them to marry because that relationship falls outside of the very definition of the word.
On a related note, we need to acknowledge one other misguided definition. In order to make the concept of homosexual marriage seem more “right,” there is a relatively new expression that has surfaced – marriage equality. The purpose for inventing this term comes right out of George Orwell’s book 1984. The idea is that if you can manipulate the language to make something seem “right” or “fair,” people will not only accept it, but have a very difficult time fighting against it.
First of all, as we have already seen, “homosexual marriage” is not actually marriage at all, so this is a wrong expression right off the top. But then, when they insert the word “equality” next to marriage, it strengthens the idea that homosexual marriage is a good and right thing. After all, what kind of bigoted person could possibly be against equality? The only way to fight against this is to not accept the term and to point out the mistaken concepts based on the definition.
Where Did the Idea of “Gay Marriage” Come From?
So, exactly, where did the idea of “gay marriage” come from and why is it being pushed so hard in our day? Answering this question is actually not that difficult when we understand its worldview foundation.
Of course, there have been people throughout history from virtually every worldview who have engaged same sex relationships. That being said, this has generally always been practiced outside of the mainstream because, with very few exceptions, homosexuality was seen as a deviation.
In our day, though, there is the attempt to actually make homosexual practice a part of the societal norm. The worldview foundation which allows for this possibility is Naturalism.
In some ways, this is a bit strange because Naturalism asserts that life on earth is completely the result of the operation of natural laws. Following that line of thinking, one of the highest values is the survival of the species. A logical result would be to look at homosexual behavior as bad because it does not promote that value.
There is another implication of Naturalism, though, that does allow for the promotion of this kind of deviant behavior under certain circumstances. Since Naturalism does not acknowledge the existence of anything outside of the natural universe, the assertion is that there is no God (no moral lawgiver). That being the case, human beings must create their own moral laws. This can be done at two levels – the individual and the societal.
On the individual level, every person must decide personal morality for themselves. Those who choose to live a homosexual lifestyle do so based on what feels good or seems right to them.
On the societal level, you end up with a moral code which reflects the beliefs of the majority of individuals or of those powerful enough to impose their beliefs on society. In situations where a society is struggling to survive, homosexuality would have a greater negative impact because homosexuals would not be contributing to the survival of the species since they are not reproducing. On the other hand, in the situation which exists in our current time, the survival of the species is not a real concern (in fact, many think we are overpopulated). Thus, homosexuals who contribute in other ways (economically, job skills, etc.) are not viewed as a problem and perhaps even as an asset.
In any case, since there is no God to reveal right and wrong, human beings are in a position where they must create their own morality. Whatever elements they choose become right and wrong based on human judgement.
Actually, more than wanting equality, the advocates for same sex marriage are looking for a way to justify immoral behavior that they don’t want to give up, or to acknowledge as immoral. When a person sins, God convicts that heart. There are only a couple of ways to get around this. The first is to repent and receive God’s forgiveness. However, there are many who don’t want to do this. Thus, they go for the other possibility, which is to redefine the sin into something that is not sinful. If they can convince themselves that something is not sinful, then participating in it cannot be a source of guilt.
By the way, there are many non-homosexuals who also advocate for homosexual marriage. What would their motivation be? Actually, for many, it is much the same. While their particular sin might not be homosexuality, it very likely is some other kind of sexual immorality. So for them, it is generally not so much that they are advocates for no guilt homosexual immorality in particular, but for no guilt sexual immorality in general. That way, their beliefs and actions can also be justified in their own minds. It is basically a way to avoid personal responsibility for whatever sin might be in their lives.
Where Did the Ideas of Christian Sexual Morality Come From?
On the other side of the ledger we have the Christian view of sexual morality. Based on the clear teachings of Scripture, homosexuality (as well as any other kind of sexual relationship outside of marriage) is wrong.
The Christian authority source for understanding what is right and wrong is God’s revelation in the Bible. Christians believe that God objectively exists and has revealed himself to mankind. This revelation includes such things as who he is, what he is like and how we can know him. It also includes how he expects mankind to live life.
This explanation of morality, though, is not merely an arbitrary code of laws. It is actually an explanation of the very character of God himself. It is his desire that we imitate that character. Thus, we see that God is not nearly so much interested in “what we do” as “who we become.” A person who becomes like God will do the things God wants him or her to do.
The human institution of marriage is actually a reflection of the personal interaction that God has within the Trinity itself. While gender has a material expression in human beings, its essence is spiritual. This is the one characteristic of the image of God which he gave to man but which he divided up (part to males and part to females). All of the other “image” characteristics are complete within every individual. It is within the marriage relationship that this gender element finds its completion as a man and woman come together to form “one flesh.” This is simply not possible within a homosexual relationship.
Implications of the Approval of Gay Marriage
While many people believe that acceptance of homosexual marriage is harmless, there are actually a sizable number of problems that it fosters. Here are some of the major issues it brings with it based on a Christian worldview.
In the individual – The Bible is clear that sexual relations outside of biblical marriage is rebellion from God. So, for the individual, homosexual marriage brings with it separation from God.
In the culture – The acceptance of homosexual marriage is very rarely a sin that stands in isolation. Most who accept this sin also accept other kinds of sexual immorality, as well as other kinds of immorality in general. In modern culture, we see the effect of this in the rampant sexualization of the culture and the acceptance of sexual immorality in general.
In politics – Leaders in the political arena are the ones who establish the rules for society to follow. With politicians making and interpreting law in such a way as to promote homosexual marriage, this kind of immoral behavior, and the destruction that flows from it, is only going to become more prominent.
In education – As educators over the last two to three generations have taught our youth that homosexual behavior is just as proper as any other kind of behavior, it is only to be expected that as the younger generation enters positions of leadership within the culture, they will implement policies which promote this immorality in every corner of society.
In the media – As the media has tremendous influence on the attitudes of people in the culture, it is only to be expected that as they express approval, homosexual marriage will become more accepted within the culture. And indeed, this is exactly what we see.
In the entertainment industry – The great majority of people who are prominent in the entertainment industry view homosexual marriage as an acceptable practice. As such, this kind of behavior is written into movies, TV programs and all other kinds of entertainment as a normal and positive expression of life. This kind of promotion and acceptance leads only to desensitization of immoral behavior.
For freedom – As was illustrated at the beginning of this article with the example of Chick-fil-a, supporters of same sex marriage not only seek to express their own beliefs, but to actually suppress the ability of non-supporters to express their opinion, or to even function freely in society. This is actually taking the form of preventing people with a different opinion from having freedom of speech and religion in the culture.
The Christian Response
Contrary to what many non-believers think, when Christians speak out for a biblical understanding of marriage, it has nothing to do with hating or being afraid of homosexuals. The truth is, we are working from an entirely different worldview paradigm than the non-believers, and our motives are different from what they think.
As Christians, we recognize that all human beings are sinners, including ourselves. We are also admonished by God to love all people. But loving all people does not necessarily mean accepting their beliefs about sin. It is possible to hate the sin and love the sinner, and this is what God has called us to do. Sin takes a person down a path of destruction, and loving sinners means pointing that out in order to lead them to life.
To deal with this problem, we must understand the true issues. It is not about bigotry or homophobia, but about where morality comes from and the consequences of sin (in the individual and in society). To effectively deal with this, we must understand the worldview foundation that supports gay marriage and know how to make our Christian argument – and do it in a way which becomes a witness for Christ. To the degree we do this rightly and effectively, we will be able to point people to the truth about God and his saving grace.
© 2012 Freddy Davis