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(Note: I know this may start a firestorm, so I will be careful here.)

I believe that the Bible states that homosexuality is immoral.

I also believe that it does NOT condemn homosexuals to hell (a sin is a sin is a sin). When a person receives Christ in them they are saved and ALL their sins are forgiven.

Some faithful Christians believe that it is not a sin to be homosexual. I would like to know the line of reasoning and/or Scripture passages that they use as their basis.

Also, I would like this to be about homosexuality itself, not about homosexuals or the culture of homosexuality (i.e. stereotypes about homosexuals, etc.).

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related to (but not a duplicate of, I believe) What does the bible say about homosexuality? –  Richard Aug 24 '11 at 18:50

7 Answers 7

up vote 77 down vote accepted

The question asks "Why do some Christians believe it is moral to be a homosexual?" Because clearly, some do. This is not the place to hold forth on your own beliefs on the matter, this is Stack Exchange, where we answer the question posed.

Potentially Valid Reasons

  • Many Christians believe that "being" homosexual (having homosexual sexual tendencies to some degree - remember bisexuals exist too) is not sinful in and of itself, but that having sex with another same-sex person is a sinful act. So a chaste homosexual is as holy as anyone else who's not sinning. Though most of us sin a lot of the time, so it kinda sounds stupid when you put it that way. I know I've repented of lust then lusted again; that's the human condition. And homosexual acts are simply a sin like any other, from gossip to lying; most of the current firestorm about homosexuality specifically is political and bigotry related, not religion related.

  • Some Christians believe that the Biblical passages regarding homosexuality are misapplied/badly translated and therefore do not speak against what we would today regard as "otherwise moral" homosexual practice.

  • Some Christians believe that the Bible is inerrant in concept but not literally inerrant, and that there is a lot of cultural baggage associated with it that has to be sifted out. There are a lot of things we do/don't do partially based on this understanding (rejection of slavery, for instance).

  • Related to the previous point, some Christians believe that just as Jesus obsoleted the Law in favor of the love of God and the Golden Rule, we should look at the "big picture" and not focus on lists of sinful acts. Because, to be honest, the Bible says a lot of things. The OT says to not eat shrimp; that ban is not one most modern Christians recognize. If you love God and your neighbor, then the specifics which were intended to generally point you in that direction are not needed any more. Some Christians would say that the rejection of legalism and embrace of a more direct relationship with God (which is more complex than any set of rules) was the main point Jesus was trying to get across to us during his life.

  • The church I'm in has better theologians on staff that I, and they say it's OK. Some denominations officially accept homosexuality in whole or in part. For a good overview of different Christian teachings on homosexuality, see wikipedia.

Mostly Invalid Reasons

There are probably other reasons; those previously listed are the ones I feel have a halfway decent foundation. The illogical/unfounded reasons one might hear are:

  • "But they're born that way." People are born with all kinds of tendencies including alcoholism, gambling, etc. - that's a particular thorn/burden for them, not some "get out of sin free" card. In fact, I assume that there probably is some kind of genetically related predisposition to homosexuality (which of course doesn't map to 100% of practicing homosexuals, there's some practicing by choice and some refraining by choice) but even if there is, it has no relation to the morality of the act. If genetically I have a high testosterone level and am lustful in general, can I just get a mulligan on adultery? No, of course not; this is an odd argument that is applied to no other sin.

  • "Oh, who cares what the Bible/church says?" This of course is a difficult position to hold about anything for a Christian. And if you're of another/no faith, we love you and all, but our worldview is guided by those things you reject, so that opinion is of limited help to someone wrestling with this problem from our worldview. One can argue that the Holy Spirit has guided them to this understanding, which is fine, though in general we are asked to test our perception of the Spirit's guidance by the Scriptures and church to verify it's God speaking and not that we went off our meds last week.

  • "I know a homosexual and they're not a bad person." This is someone unclear on Christianity's teachings in general, unaware that even good people sin and require repentance. The demonization of homosexuals by the more hateful elements in society actually feed this one; once someone meets a homosexual and sees that they don't have little goat horns and rape babies, they assume they were probably lied to 100% and reject even honest Biblical critique. Understandable, but not logical.

The polarization of society on this topic makes a lot of the usual Scriptural measuring sticks difficult to use. We are encouraged by culture and the media to think of things in terms of "right side/wrong side", so when we try to apply, say, "By their fruits you will know them," we see some homosexuals who clearly favor a licentious and ungodly lifestyle, but others who seem as normal as anyone's parents, just gay. And similarly we see some Christians with balanced views on the topic but plenty who are spouting hate and other clearly unchristian stuff as well. Which "side" is right? That's a false dichotomy that leads to confusion. My one contribution to this discussion is that I think we need to reject what the world is trying to tell us about which faction/football team we're on and, like God does, address it on an individual basis. There's a lot of judging around this topic based on the extreme activities of the exceptionally disturbed on one side or the other.

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+1 for actually answering the question –  cledoux Aug 31 '11 at 14:48
Saying basically the same thing, but at greater length: huffingtonpost.com/rev-dr-janet-edwards/…. –  TRiG Sep 26 '11 at 18:37
I think it's unclear what the difference between the last invalid reason and the legitimate doctrine that you will know them by their fruits. The latter is often used as part of the defense of the second valid argument, at least, according to @TRiG's Huffpo article. –  trlkly Jul 30 '14 at 23:45
@mxyzplk, Hmm, you have not stated your stand. So what are your personal thoughts on homosexuality? –  Pacerier Jun 11 at 6:58
See my first sentence. That's not relevant to answering this question. If more people could refrain from just giving their opinion this SE would be a better place. –  mxyzplk Jun 11 at 12:12

When reading this question, and the answers that follow, several scriptures came to mind regarding God's feelings. I will list those first.

The last scripture in my answer, I believe may actually answer the question rather directly.

The first was Romans 12:1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

This scripture clearly asks us, beseeches us actually, to strive to be that which is other than simply acceptable in our culture, but to be holy and acceptable to God.

God makes His views clear for us in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

This scripture is also clear regarding God's feelings toward homosexuality. The following verse,

1 Corinthians 6:11
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

This gives us all hope. We are all sinners.

To answer the question, "Why do some Christians believe it is moral to be homosexual?"

We have been warned about the Deceptions of False Teachers in;

2 Peter 2:18-19
For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.

There is, unfortunately, a tendency to turn from "unpopular" scripture to attract greater numbers into congregations. There has also been serious discussion of removing the word "virgin" from scripture in regard to Christ's birth for the purpose of attracting more church members.

It seems apparent that some Christians believe homosexuality is moral because they are being fed by false teachers. Scripture is clear.

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+1 for "Scripture is clear." –  Andrei Rinea Feb 1 '12 at 19:41
This answers the question "Why do some Christians believe it is moral to be a homosexual?", and in general, "Why do some Christians believe things that most other Christians don't?" but if you read the full post, he is asking about what arguments they use to support their position, not why it is possible for them to have such a position. –  Andres Riofrio May 10 '12 at 1:58

The question is:

Some faithful Christians believe that it is not a sin to be homosexual. I would like to know the line of reasoning and/or Scripture passages that they use as their basis.

I can answer this from the perspective of a minister in the Swedenborgian Church of North America, a Christian denomination that does not regard homosexuality as a sin, performs gay and lesbian marriages in most of its local churches, and has been ordaining openly gay and lesbian clergy since 1997.

The lines of reasoning I will present below are a brief summary of a major article I published on this subject in February, 2015: Homosexuality, the Bible, and Christianity. This article presents the best Christian arguments that homosexuality is not a sin from a Swedenborgian Christian perspective.

  1. Homosexuality is rarely mentioned in the Bible: there are only five or six clear references to it in the Old and New Testaments combined. In comparison, the sins forbidden in the Ten Commandments receive major coverage throughout the Bible. The heavy focus on homosexuality among traditional and conservative Christians despite this scant Biblical mention of it suggests that the strong opposition to homosexuality comes from cultural opposition to homosexuality rather than from Biblical sources.

  2. In the Old Testament, the prohibition of men having sex with men in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 was made in a specific cultural context that no longer applies. Specifically, in the ancient world, marital and sexual relationships were almost universally viewed as a relationship between unequal partners, and the sexual act was seen as an act of a dominant partner penetrating a submissive partner. Since in ancient Hebrew culture and religion all men were seen as equal under the Law and in God's eyes, it was "detestable" (meaning culturally taboo and ritually unclean) for a man to have sex with another man because it reduced the man who was penetrated to a lower religious and social status. Because it was based on cultural conditions that no longer exist in the Christian world, the prohibition against men having sex with men in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 is one of many Old Testament laws that no longer apply to Christians.

  3. The story of the condemnation and destruction of Sodom in Genesis 18:16-19:29 is often read as a condemnation of homosexuality. However, the parallel story of the heterosexual gang rape of a woman in Judges 19 is not read as a condemnation of heterosexuality. Thus the argument that the story of Sodom should be read as a condemnation of homosexuality holds no water. Further, in Ezekiel 16:49-50 the Bible itself states quite clearly what the sin of Sodom was, and the focus is on arrogance, self-indulgence, and lack of charity, thus setting the tone for our interpretation of the story of Sodom. In short, the story of Sodom has little or nothing to do with homosexuality from a Biblical perspective.

  4. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ himself never said a word about homosexuality, positive or negative. The lack of any condemnation of homosexuality in the Gospels, where the Lord Jesus himself gives the basic teachings for the Christian Church, should give pause to those who believe that homosexuality is a sin for Christians.

  5. Paul's condemnatory references to homosexuality in Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 were made in a cultural and religious context similar to that of the Old Testament condemnation of homosexual acts in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. In fact, the textual evidence is that Paul drew directly on the Holiness Code and other ancient lists of sins in writing those verses. Paul, like the Old Testament writers, condemned homosexual acts because he saw it as an act of one man reducing the social and religious status of another man. This took on even more poignancy for Paul, given that standard Greek and Roman homosexual practice was for an older, dominant male to penetrate a younger, submissive male. Essentially, all homosexual sex in the ancient world was sex between unequal partners, which ran contrary to Paul's Hebrew- and Christian-inspired view that all men are equal under the law and in the eyes of God. Therefore Paul's condemnation of homosexuality simply does not apply to the present day ideal and practice of committed, monogamous homosexual relationships between equal partners--something that was practically unknown in the ancient world. This is not the only issue on which we now see Paul as dated by his culture. For example, in 1 Corinthians 11:5 Paul requires women to wear veils while praying or prophesying, and in Ephesians 6:5 he requires slaves to obey their masters. These are teachings that few, if any Christians still believe are in force. So the argument that everything Paul says still applies today holds no water.

  6. Moving beyond strictly Biblical argument to other Christian-inspired lines of reasoning, the first point is that there is no demonstrable harm to society or to homosexuals themselves from committed, faithful, monogamous homosexual relationships. It is unfair and unjust to condemn homosexuality based on its perversions, just as it would be unfair and unjust to condemn heterosexuality based on its perversions. A fair comparison requires us to compare the highest Christian ideal for heterosexual marriages with a similar highest Christian ideal for homosexual marriages. So the only valid basis on which to condemn homosexuality would be if committed, faithful, monogamous homosexual marriages caused some sort of evil to society or to the homosexuals themselves. There is no good argument for such evil socially or politically. And to state that homosexuals will go to hell because homosexuality is a sin is to commit the logical fallacy of assuming the result. That argument would have to first establish or assume that homosexuality is evil and a sin--which is the very issue being debated.

  7. Even if homosexuality is an evil, it is not a sin for those who practice it in good conscience. Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, 'We see,' your sin remains" (John 9:41). And in Romans 2:14-16 Paul says that Gentiles who are not under the law will be judged by their own consciences. Since most practicing Christian homosexuals do not believe that homosexuality is a sin, but believe that it is good and blessed by God, it will not be charged to them as sin because they are living according to their conscience and according to what they believe is the teaching of Jesus Christ.

  8. The conclusion now generally drawn from overwhelming evidence and experience is that homosexuality is a fundamental, non-changeable trait of homosexual men and women. Many organizations, including many Christian organizations, have tried and failed to change homosexuals into heterosexuals through prayer, repentance, therapy, including Skinnerian aversion therapy, and various other methods. Studies over time and follow-ups on these efforts show that they are an almost total failure, if not a complete failure. The most commonly cited study to the contrary, published by famed psychiatrist Robert Spitzer in 2001, was retracted by its author in 2012. Many prominent "ex-gay" organizations have disbanded or have ceased their efforts to change homosexuals into heterosexuals. How is this relevant to Christian views of homosexuality? If homosexuality is not a "sin" that can be "repented from," but is a fixed, permanent part of someone's basic humanity, it is incompatible with the love and mercy of God for homosexuality to be a sin that is punishable by eternal damnation. If something is a sin, it must be possible to repent from it. But it is not possible for the vast bulk of homosexuals to "repent" from homosexuality. It is part of their basic nature.

  9. God has created marriage between a man and a woman as one of the deepest and most searching and effective forums for spiritual growth and Christian regeneration, or rebirth. In a growing marriage, the partners must continually examine themselves for selfishness, ego, pride, and other sins, and repent from them, in order to truly love and care for their marital partner. Marriage is therefore a gift of God to Christians for their eternal spiritual growth and wellbeing. Gays and lesbians, however, cannot participate honestly and from the heart in heterosexual relationships. If they are going to be in a loving, committed marital relationship at all, it will be with someone of the same sex. God has placed the desire to unite with another person deeply in the human spirit. For gays and lesbians, this means uniting with someone of the same sex. And most, if not all of the spiritual benefits of marriage are the same in Christian or spiritual homosexual marriages is in Christian or spiritual heterosexual marriages. It is therefore God's will that homosexuals who desire marriage should unite with someone of their own sex who shares common faith and values. In this relationship gays and lesbians can gain many, if not all of the same God-given benefits of marriage as heterosexuals can. And it is God's will that all of the people God has created, and whom God loves, should be able to share in the joys and spiritual benefits of marriage. Therefore Christians who would deny homosexuals marriage are working against God's will and against God's eternal love for all people.

This is a very brief summary of a much longer (13k words) article. For the full version, once again please see my article: Homosexuality, the Bible, and Christianity.

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Why do some Christians believe it is moral to be a homosexual?

If "some" includes me, I can give you my answer.

I consider myself Christian, not because of "believing" things, but because I was raised that way and because of how I live and relate to others. I don't look to scripture or church authority to tell me what to think. I do think scripture is important for shaping us for the better. I don't think God had a typewriter, and I don't look to scripture for facts or laws.

On the subject of homosexuality, some people are born that way. What's more, people form intimate loving responsible relationships. That's what they do; they don't need anyone else's permission. Other people will approve or disapprove for whatever reasons they have, but ultimately people are responsible for their own lives. Morality, to me, is about being good to people, not about passing judgement on how others live.

Somewhere in the new testament it says something like "the law is written in your heart". I happen to agree with that.

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Being raised in a Christian home isn't what makes you a Christian. Also even those who believe in Scripture as an authority don't think God had a typewriter, so that's a straw man argument. Scripture claims to be full of facts and laws, so if you don't look to it for those, you have to look past what it claims to be. As to your last point, the NT goes on to say that there are NO people who actually can or do obey that law written on their heart by nature, they all break it because our hearts are deceitful. –  Caleb Sep 18 '11 at 18:39
Being a Christian is about a solution for what to do with hearts that have transgressed that law written on our hearts, and it is not something we can ever do on our own. That's where saving grace and then belief and repentance come in. –  Caleb Sep 18 '11 at 18:41
@Caleb: So there's a rule to tell who's a Christian and who isn't? I don't remember asking. –  Mike Dunlavey Sep 22 '11 at 0:13
Upvoting, not because I think these are great arguments, but because it answers the question. –  Andres Riofrio May 10 '12 at 2:00
@Caleb unfortunately, this site defines 'Christian' as anyone who claims they are such, and not in any of the normal, useful ways. –  the dark wanderer May 14 at 2:14

Could it be that some Christians recognize that the Bible was written thousands of years ago, in a very different culture, and it needs to be viewed in a more modern light? Just as owning slaves was allowed in Biblical times, yet would be viewed as sinful today. I think people might also note that the only way to find something declaring homosexuality to be sinful is to search through the bible word by word with the express purpose of finding something that justifies that predetermined view. It certainly isn't declared sinful in a prominent place, such as the ten commandments.

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So, something that was allowed but is now illegal should be taken in the same like as something that (biblically) has always been immoral? If you can link to doctrine, it will improve your answer and save it from the probability of being flagged and deleted later. –  Richard Oct 23 '11 at 18:49
One need hardly search that closely -- homosexual acts are denounced as sin quite prominently. Many people try to explain away these references as being no longer relevant or not inspired or various other things, but saying its hard to find in the text is a pretty week argument when many people would be glad to take you on an exhaustive tour (not a short ride). In fact part of the reason this is a contentious issue is that it sometimes seems singled out by Scripture as especially heinous among sinful acts. –  Caleb Oct 23 '11 at 18:50
Also, you might be interested in this question: What does the Bible say about homosexuality? –  Richard Oct 23 '11 at 18:50
I don't see how citing doctrine or scripture helps with this question. The question is not "What does Christianity say...", but rather "Why do some Christians believe..." Clearly, some Christians don't accept the Biblical statements that have been cited. The question is why? I think the answer is that many people do not accept the Bible or Church doctrine as the only sources of truth. Both have clearly been wrong on moral issues before (e.g. witch hunts, inquisitions, slavery...) and Christ's overall message to humanity was to treat people with love and compassion, not to persecute them. –  Mark Oct 25 '11 at 16:37

Why do some Christians believe it is moral to be a homosexual?

Not all people who call themselves Christian want to conform themselves to what the Bible says. Some are indifferent to the Bible or select a denomination that uses theological nimbleness to dance around inconvenient portions of the Bible.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

Many denominations are market oriented and quickly adapt to any change in prevailing winds.

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Many believe this way, in part, because they throw out the Old Testament Law as it regards homosexuality, on the basis that there are other Laws that we are not bound by today (such as eating certain meats). In a sense, they are correct: since Christ is the fulfillment of the Law, we are not bound by the Law or its penalties, and must always fight the good fight of faith that refuses any attempt to achieve righteousness through obedience to the OT Law.

Despite this (on the flip side), it is also because they either ignore or simply do not know what the New Testament says about homosexuality:

Romans 1:

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Relevant theological note to prevent discrimination: As has been brought out, sin is sin, and the answer is the same: Grace through Faith in Christ Crucified, in order to live in Resurrection Power. I'm thankful He calls, saves, and changes sinners!

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I removed the second half of your answer which was off topic for this question. –  curiousdannii Jan 29 at 1:17
Saying they're wrong doesn't count as a valid answer. You've already had one answer deleted from this question. I was trying to help you keep this one. –  curiousdannii Jan 29 at 4:09
Don't repost, just edit this one. –  curiousdannii Jan 29 at 12:26
Thank you for your help, curiousdannii –  Adam Denoon Jan 29 at 14:15

protected by Caleb Oct 28 '11 at 12:10

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