OMG a political/religious post??? I know! Am I crazy? Maybe! The thing is that I’ve seen a bunch of posts about this, but so far every one I’ve seen boils down to “Maybe you shouldn’t believe every single word the Bible says.”
But the fact that the Bible is the Word of God is a big thing for a lot of Christians. Trying to tell a Christian that he shouldn’t oppose marriage equality because his Holy Book is dumb or backwards or outdated is going to be an uphill battle, because that’s a huge part of his faith. It’s basically saying “I don’t like your beliefs and the effect they have on the world, so you should follow my beliefs instead.” Which is the kind of thing that most people, the non-religious included, are reticent to embrace! Fortunately, I think this argument doesn’t actually need to happen.
I am no Biblical scholar (in fact, I just recently actually read the whole thing from start to finish for the first time ooooops), but here are four things I ran into that made me begin to think that…
OUR HOLY BOOK DOESN’T ACTUALLY SEEM TO SUPPORT A LEGAL BAN ON GAY MARRIAGE
1) Ezekiel 5:5-8
“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the centre of the nations, with countries all around her. Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees. Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not even conformed to the standards of the nations around you. Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations.”
One thing to keep in mind while reading this is that Jerusalem and the Jews were supposed to be God’s people. They didn’t have a melting pot nation like we do; it was basically a kind-of-theocracy where the kings were supposed to listen to God and do what the prophets of God said. So basically, in these verses God is ticked that HIS PEOPLE haven’t been following his rules, and the whole reason he’s going to start handing out judgement to HIS PEOPLE is that HIS PEOPLE are behaving even worse than the non-God-fearing people around them.
But he says nothing about the non-God-fearing people not following his rules! The only reason American Christians should be super worried about God’s judgement isn’t because of THE GAYS or rampant abortions or any of those things — according to this verse, we need to worry if Christians are behaving more deplorably than the non-Christians around them.
….In which case….. we maybe should be worried?
I know that Sodom and Gomorrah is a thing, but keep in mind that even Sodom and Gomorrah would’ve been spared if God had found ten righteous people within those cities.The problem wasn’t the existence of sin or sinners, but the lack of people fearing God. WHICH BRINGS ME TO…
2) 2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Same basic deal, except way more direct. God outright says it’s all about HIS PEOPLE cleaning up their own act. If the country is a mess and Christians are trying to fix it by taking control of it and making it better with their own power, it seems like they are kind of doing the opposite of that “humbling themselves” thing. God has told us what to do if the country is a mess, and he’s promised that he’ll heal the land if we do it.
Whenever there’s a disaster and extremist conservatives start announcing that it’s because there is rampant homosexuality (or rock music or whatever) in our nation, they are only condemning themselves — God has promised his people that he’ll heal our land if we turn to him, and he said in the Ezekiel verse before that the reason he struck out at Jerusalem was because his people weren’t following his laws. If God really is judging our nation, then according to our Holy Book it can only be because God’s people are trying to do things in their own power instead of following HIM. If those who don’t follow God aren’t following his laws, it isn’t really our job to deal with that, BECAUSE…
3) 1 Corinthians 5:12
“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?”
WHOA, WHAT. This one is particularly cool because it’s in one of Paul’s letters. If you’re reading this for marriage equality reasons, you probably know that Paul is the one apostle in the New Testament who actually called homosexuality a sin. I know there’s some controversy floating around on whether that’s REALLY what Paul meant or not, but if we assume our translation IS accurate, the fact remains that Paul also said this! If someone isn’t a member of your faith… he says we’re not to judge them.
I can’t stress this enough. The only source in the New Testament that says that homosexuality is a sin ALSO SAYS not to judge people who aren’t in your faith by those rules. I can’t see any way around this to justify passing laws to condemn those who don’t follow Christian rules.
4) Jesus, just, in general
There’s a pretty big chunk of the Bible that’s dedicated specifically to Jesus’ life. One cool thing about Jesus is that he lived during a time when the Jews were NOT under a theocracy, so someone in America who’s trying to follow his example has a pretty clear picture of how to handle a secular government. Jesus never got on the Romans’ case, even though they had a bunch of other gods and a lot of unfair rules. He didn’t condemn and judge so-called “sinners,” though he would always encourage them to stop sinning once they started following him. He basically only ever got on the case of religious leaders — of the people who claimed to be following God but weren’t.
EPILOGUE: IS THIS SAYING CHRISTIANS SHOULD JUST SHUT UP AND KEEP THEIR BELIEFS TO THEMSELVES?
No, definitely not! Christians should definitely be free to tell others what we’ve seen and learned of God, and I don’t think it’s wrong to tell someone else “hey, I think this is really true, let me show it to you!” If you found a really awesome doctor who cured you of a disease that no other doctor could help with, you’d want to be able to tell your other friends about it, and it would be sort of weird if your friends were like “NO NEVER SPEAK OF THIS DOCTOR.”
But it would be rude and unhelpful to be pesky about it, and the point at which you start screaming at your friends for not seeing your doctor is when you’ve gone too far. When you want to make it law that your favourite doctor is the only doctor that anyone can see, you’ve slipped into absurdity. Legally forcing people to be Christians is pretty awful and totally defeats the purpose of the faith, and legally forcing people to follow Christian rules isn’t really much different.
IT IS MY HOPE that anyone who repeats this or links this will not do so smugly or with the desire to finally beat that conservative dude at his own game bwahahahaHAHA! I don’t think that will be helpful! I just wanted to post something to say that it is totally possible to believe that the Bible is completely the word of God, and to still not support legislating that. That God doesn’t really call his people to make a bunch of laws to force everyone else to get in line. Just follow him! He’s in control, and he’ll worry about everyone else. :”)