Ray Comfort Brand Christianity

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I read a blog today by Ray Comfort that I wish I had never seen. The blog was on the 'abomination of homosexuality', and it got me quite upset for a number of reasons that I will attempt to discuss below. Before I begin, I want to say that while I have some serious problems with Ray Comfort's philosophy of how to read the Bible, and while I think he seriously misses the point when it comes to what it means to preach the Gospel, I don't have everything figured out. Like Ray, I know in part - not in full.

With that said, I won't claim that I have answers that are any better than Ray comfort. But I hope to present, if it's possible, a better Biblical view of the issue which takes more into account than what one can get from a simple cursory reading of the scriptures. In other words, I want to bring the scriptures along with the culture and times to which Bible was speaking into view.

We begin with words.

The English word, 'homosexual', as used in Ray's proof-text - Corinthians 9 - is an interpretation of the Greek word that literally translates as "Sodomite".  Here's the problem: according to Ezekiel 19:49-50,

"Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out, as you have seen."

The Bible never runs a commentary on the homosexuality thing with regards to Sodom, but it does talk about the men wanting to rape angels. If that's not bad enough, the most righteous man in Sodom tries to give the mob his daughters. Not cool. The only thing we can then do is philosophize about what 'detestable sins' were committed by Sodom. Thus, we can derive opinions, but that's about the extent of it.

The Historical Context

In contrast, Paul was speaking to people who had more than likely seen friends and family lustfully deceived into fertility cult activity (ie the cult of Dionysus). Man-man or woman-woman intercourse after getting obliterated drunk on wine was a part of cult 'worship' in many 1st Century Greco Roman cities; not always, but in the case of Rome and Corinth, definitely. With this backdrop, it should come as no surprise that Paul doesn't mince words. Getting hammered, then having sex with anyone at all and calling it worship is not just wrong; it's sick. It degrades people into mere objects, and it degrades worship to mere pleasure seeking. This is not what we were made for.

Paul also says something about lust that we all know is true: the more we pursue lust (in any form - greed, sex, pleasure seeking etc) the more boring it gets; until one day we find ourselves doing things to get the same 'high' we never imagined we would do. Apparently, the Corinthians started by having sex with members of the opposite gender, but that got boring so they changed it (Romans 1:18-32). To be fair, Paul does say that in this context, they switched natural desires for unnatural ones - but the context also reveals that it was their lust for sex that caused the problem. People who come out of the closet in present day America aren't sex maniacs. The argument can be made, however, that heavy use of pornography can degrade a person's sex life. The more a person engages with porn, whether via the internet or via prostitutes, the more a person becomes entangled with them. This is how addictions work.

 Again, the issue is not homosexuality itself. Homosexuality is not the same as sex addiction.The lust for sex, power, control, greed and pride are what leads to the enslavement of addictions.

So What?

Here's what I'm getting at: We cannot say that what was true of the sex cults of Corinth is also blatantly true across the board for homosexual men and women in our own countries, unless we are willing to paint ourselves with the same brush that we are using for them. Similar conditions are there for people to go down the same road the Corinthians did. instead of sex cults, we have the internet which is exposing everyone to porn at younger and younger ages. But not everyone goes down the road of sex addiction, and some are LGBTQ regardless.

I'm really simplifying this to make it clear.

The Options

So what do you do with a person who says "I am attracted to other people of the same gender?" do you
  • Find a 'close enough' Bible verse, and condemn them based on that
  • Point them back to the Law of Moses; because that's where our hope is
  • Ignore it, and wish them well.
  • Show them Jesus in every way possible, just like you would anyone else
You might think I'm creating a false dilemma, because of how I've worded the bullets. But I'm actually trying to communicate the heart of each option. I could have worded it much softer, but I didn't think it would help much in this case.

If we go with option A, and if we use Corinthians as our 'support', then we should know that we are actually saying that this person is not only attracted to members of the same sex, but that he or she used to not be that way, and is furthermore using that attraction to somehow worship false idols. Also, there is a good chance they are oppressing the poor and widows. That is, after all, what it literally means to be a Sodomite.

If we point them back to the Law, and point out that God finds what they do detestable, then what we are saying is that we ultimately put our hope in the Law. Jesus is there as an afterthought to help us follow the Law better and be good moral people.

If we ignore the issue, then there's a pretty good chance it will slide down some sort of slippery slope, just as our ignorance and unwillingness to talk about sex over the past three generations has led to a new generation that is highly and even disgustingly sexualized; to the point where many young men and women are losing nearly all sense of commitment and sensitivity toward one another.

The only option we are left with is Jesus. And we need to start having discussions about what it means to show people Jesus.
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