Many fundamentalist Christians condemn homosexuals, justifying their bigotry on the basis of a ‘literal interpretation’ of the bible. Yet any sort of objective assessment of their beliefs quickly reveals how they reinterpret scriptures in their own favour all the time.
Take Maragret Court as one example of someone who vocally condemns gay and lesbian people. The majority of Christianity (for instance the Catholic Church) completely reject women in meaningful roles, while other denominations, such as the Anglican community, is ripping itself apart over the issue.
For Ms Court the issue is settled. The verdict is in her favour.
I happen to agree with Ms Court, but that is because I consciously choose to interpret the bible in a life affirming way. But it takes a conscious interpretation of the bible to acknowledge that. Ms Court presumes her interpretation is accurate, despite its fundamental disagreement with almost two thousand years of tradition and the beliefs of generations of Christians.
Take another example, the ‘prosperity’ theology of some churches, particularly American churches. This theology takes explicit exhortations of Jesus Christ for his followers to embrace poverty and replaces it with a belief that his followers are uniquely blessed and should expect financial rewards in this world. This represents a complete turnaround from almost 2,000 years of Christian belief and practice. But no matter, it makes it a lot easier to be a Christian in this day and age!
It has been speculated that the prosperity theology contributed to the Global Financial Crisis!
It is interesting how each instant people who profess to believing the literal word of God reinterpret generations of understanding and practice in their own best interest. Good on them I say, but don’t pretend it is not motive by self interest.
Take Ben Wyndal’s response above. I don’t judge him for his inability to deal with the issue of homosexuality. After all he has a family to feed, a career to pursue. His self interest is caught up in not rocking the boat. The Christian church has a long history of turning its back on those who disagree with accepted theology.
Matt Glover, a Lilydale Baptist pastor who supports gay marriage, was sacked as a consequence from a church he had pastured for over 10 years. The response from his fellows was that:
“Some in the church felt he was ”opening the door to sin” and activist Christian group Salt Shakers asked followers to pray that God would ”improve or remove” him.”
(A comprehensive response from Glover is available here. )
No wonder most Christian leaders are too afraid to take a stand against the bigotry of the mainstream Christian perspective. They know which side their bread is buttered on!
It takes a brave person to go against the social tide, particularly when their income depends on it. This helps give context to responses such as Ben Windle’s.
While such attitudes are perfectly understandable, they are hardly adequate when the beliefs been perpetuated have a detrimental effect on those who are really vulnerable to social pressures, teenagers. Gay and lesbian teenagers commit suicide at much higher rates than other groups.
They deserve better.