Earlier today a relative of mine posted this story on Facebook about a Christian singer who came out of the closet last year. This relative has a good heart and her views represent the best Christianity has to offer. And the conversation that followed was as good as can be expected, really: Christians debating on how to be loving while not condoning a sinful lifestyle.
What to do? Some were demanding forgiveness and prayer and some were taking a clear stand against the sin, not the sinner. Blah blah blah. I know they mean well, but it makes me nauseous. It wasn’t about the actual person involved, but rather a conversation about the best way to promote Christianity while keeping god happy. The internal battle of the individual isn’t just secondary, it’s non-existent.
Stories like this should be proof that homosexuality is not a choice. It demands real thought from Christians, not just empty sentiments about how it relates to their own selfish god needs. Stories like this should make Christians feel empathy. It should make them ask themselves important questions:
What would it be like to have these feelings as a Christian?
Was god’s plan really for her to live a life of celibacy? What an overwhelming thing to realize at the age of thirteen!
…..All these conversations Christians are having about homosexuality…. How crushing that must feel to Christians like her. Of course she felt ashamed and like an outsider. I wonder who else around us might be feeling like an outsider in the church and dealing with a weight as big as this?
How can we change as Christians to meet their needs? Why are we failing them?
But no, there is no empathy. There is no love for people at all, just impersonal talk about right and wrong. Imagine what this woman has endured. As long as she believes god exists, she must believe her natural sexual impulses are off limits. How does one deal with that? What does it feel like to love god, have these feelings, and live in an environment that offers no understanding? No way to reconcile the two?
One Christian had a familiar suggestion: Well, pedophiles must deny their sexual impulses. What’s the difference? How sensitive and loving. I’m sure that would have been a comfort to her during her teenage years when she wanted to die. That is exactly what Jesus would do, I’m sure of it.
Why aren’t Christians more empathetic? Because empathy is impossible to achieve in this case without questioning the bible. The best of them will simply say love everyone and leave it up to god, but what kind of love is that? It’s avoiding the issue entirely. It doesn’t help the person who is desperate for direction, it is just a less cruel way of saying they aren’t good enough.
Maybe, just maybe….Christians got this part wrong. I know Christians don’t like to think that anything in the bible isn’t exactly what god intended them to know- but have they read it? There is a lot of weird stuff in there. Questioning church leaders of the past and their decisions about the bible doesn’t have to mean questioning god’s very existence. Couldn’t we just consider that for a moment?
And here lies perhaps the biggest problem I have with Christianity. They have already made up their minds about everything in the universe and they are no longer open to suggestions. Even when the conclusions they have drawn about the bible conflict with their god’s greatest commandment, they still won’t budge. They make it fit or simply ignore it. They will turn against each other in an effort to protect the decisions man, not god, set in stone.
Occasionally time and circumstance forces them to evolve. For example, using the bible to support a case for slavery in America isn’t as popular as it once was. That’s good news. And many other bad ideas previously protected by the bible have found their way to extinction in the name of progress and fairness. But it is always a fight that starts with Christians unwilling to bend. It doesn’t matter what they learned in the past, the bible retains its status as god itself.
How long before they evolve on homosexuality? How long will they claim that it is a choice? How long will they waste time on talking points instead of caring for those who are being traumatized by the belief system that raised them and then rejected them?
As long as Christians continue to demonstrate a lack of true empathy, love, and support even among their own- they will continue to be mocked and ridiculed for their hypocrisy. And they deserve every bit of it.
It’s 2015, Christians. If you really think it’s time to have the courage to stand up for god, then it’s time to have the courage to face the tough questions of how your faith has chosen to define him.