Wednesday, 30 January 2002

It seems to me that there needs to be a third way to approach this whole subject that is not so polarized. A desire to know truth regardless of the consequences to ourselves as individuals or our society in general. A third way that upholds what we currently understand the Bible to say, apart from cultural backlighting and influence, of sexual wholeness evenly applied to the relationships of both homosexuals and heterosexuals. And for me, that is the key -- evenly applied to both gays and straights. I know there are those who advocate for such a thing, but their ideas are not often heard nor considered. Why? Because it seems for the prohibitionists any viewpoint that could even for a moment accommodate the notion that homosexuality may be okay before God is anathema. Likewise, for those holding the opposing viewpoint, it is hard to accept the restrictions on sexual behavior due to a 'religious' or 'moralist' argument from something like the Bible.

For anyone who does not want any type of restraint concerning their sexual endeavors, any time of 'moralistic' or 'religious' strictures on sexual experience or expression, he or she will not take up readily a calling for restraint no matter the force of the argument. For anyone who wants to simply believe dogma whether it makes any sense or not according to religious thought or scientific thought will never accommodate a belief contrary to their dogma. Yet, the gap must be bridged if we want to know -- truth!

My belief is that science will never conflict with the right understand of scripture and scripture will never be in conflict with the right understanding of science. If this is God's world, whether created in 6 literal 24 hour days or over millions of years, good science will only reveal God's handiwork, which may require us to adjust our 'beliefs.' Mysticism and reason, rationality and faith can come together to support and inform each other, if approached in the right way. So, we believe in God by faith, not blind faith, but faith none-the-less. We believe in science because good science empirically reveals the physical order of things. In a sense, God created, science reveals. Common stuff, I know, but why is that so hard for both people of faith and people of science (and there are those of both) to give the other some common ground. If we truly want to know truth, we must consider all sides.

There are lots of thoughts going through my head right now. Sam was on a panel discussion yesterday that I wish I could have attended for Cleveland Prism (I think). He took the gay Christian part. There needs to be more of that. In an attempt to cogently formulate a good apologetic for the consistency of science and Christian belief as applied to whether homosexuality is neutral and whether gays can be Christians, I gotta start somewhere. So, here are some thoughts on ways I might want to approach the subject if I were to be on a panel discussion of some sort (these are just thoughts, mind you):

The whole discussion must first be prefaced and certain ideas must first be established to understand my viewpoint (at least that's the way it seems right now).

First, heterosexuality and homosexuality are more then just what gender one has sex with. There is an emotional intimacy, an ability to love the beloved on a different plan or level of intensity and commitment then even the closest of friends. The psycho-emotional make-up of relationships between the beloved and the best friend are fundamentally different, apart from lust, apart from the sexual.

I have heard prohibitionists and conservatives say that a homosexual relationship without genital contact would be okay. So, then, it would seem, the sin isn't the love for a beloved, but touching certain body parts. I have heard them say that the only difference between a spouse and a best friend is that one engages in sexual activity with a spouse. I think that is tragic, if that is truly what they believe. It cheapens the unique relationship and emotions between the one who loves and the recipient of that kind of love. It sounds like a homosexual who is in a straight relationship and has to justify why he or she doesn't have the intense and unique feelings for his or her 'beloved' that are present in that type of relationship.

Secondly, we are granted in our civil form of government the freedom of religious belief, and frankly the freedom of belief period. All sides are to be heard if we honestly want truth to be considered. There is a difference between championing a belief, whether formulated by faith, science, or a combination of both, or advocating for that belief, and demanding that the civil government force that particular belief on the citizenry. We live in a democratic republic that guarantees that the tyranny of the majority will not prevail. There must be accommodation, else those in power can arbitrarily impose their particular bent on the rest of us. Holding a belief that homosexuality is wrong and should not be practiced must be protected. Likewise, the belief that sexual expression with no restraints must be protected. Government does have the perogative to establish laws that maintain civic order, but again that is different then forcing other to accept a particular belief. I know that is a fine line.

Prohibitionists are demanding that civil government outlaw homosexuality, once again. What.......????? One group cannot be allowed to formulate laws that infringe upon the rights, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of another group of people. One group's feelings should not be the determining factor in establishing law or public policy. I have to put this together better. More later......

The panel discussion on Monday at Malone College was interesting. Mostly the same as other panel discussions I've been to covering the issue of whether one can be homosexual and a Christian and the issues surrounding homosexuality in general. The four panels where fairly good. The two theologians both received degrees from Duke and yet were on opposing sides. I still find the prohibitionists arguments the weaker of the two. There are just too many inconsistencies in application, but the same can be said for the opposition's viewpoints at times.

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