Homosexuality has always been a controversial issue in many religions and is increasingly becoming more relevant in society. Throughout the past centuries, homosexuals would hide their sexual orientation to prevent the cruel punishments and ridicule that would result from openly accepting themselves to the public. Today, more people identify within the homosexual spectrum as society gradually becomes accepting of same-sex relationships and marriages. However, religion is a factor that restricts the growth of homosexuality acceptance throughout the entire world. Homosexuality is often perceived to be taboo and an abomination to society in the eyes of many Christians. This causes a large divide between the two communities as both groups have conflicting views on the issue. Homosexuality and Christianity is divided due to the interpretations of Bible teachings, varying religious views on the matter, and the difficulty for one to be a part of both communities.
Many people who are affiliated with Christianity are opposed to the idea of same-sex relationships due to the interpretation that it violates teachings in the Bible. David P. Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University, discusses the most-referenced bible verses regarding the Christian ban on homosexuality in Evangelical Christianity and how they are interpreted in Reconciling Evangelical Christianity with Out Sexual Minorities: Reframing the Biblical Discussion. There are six main verses that are used to reference the intolerance of homosexuality in Christianity: Genesis 1-2, Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Matthew 19:1, Romans 1:26, and Corinthians 6:9 (Gushee 145). Evangelical Christians associate these verses with a male and female paradigm being the only acceptable form of relationship in society. The texts are often centered around sexual acts rather than relationships and offer harsh language towards the acts (Gushee 146). However, they do not relate to modern sexual identity and orientation. Gushee concludes his essay with the idea that many Evangelical Christians draw a moral line that causes people to be driven away from the church and God (Gushee 153). In The Bible on Homosexuality: Exploring Its Meaning and Authority, Kenneth A. Locke, a professor at Hsi Lai University, explains the importance the Bible has on morals for Christians, including homosexuality. The Bible is the fundamental resource for many Christians when it comes to inspiration and guidance. The Bible is still relevant because it can be related to life today, but still lacks information on social issues that are more prominent now than they were when the text was written (Locke 126). Locke also explains the biblical verses in relation to the historical and cultural context, discussing how many translated words are potential errors and how they can be interpreted in many ways. Many Christians can interpret biblical texts differently, causing some Christians to either oppose or accept homosexuality.
Another factor that causes a division between homosexuality and Christianity is the different views Christians have on homosexuality. Many Christians are taught to have certain beliefs on issues throughout society, including homosexuality, depending on who they are surrounded with and who they are raised by. Dawne Moon, a professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University, discusses the different views religious Christians have towards homosexuality in Beyond the Dichotomy: Six Religious Views of Homosexuality. There are two main sides to the argument consisting of the belief that an individual is born homosexual, and the belief that sexual orientation can and should be changed (Moon 1216). However, Christian views can be further divided into homonegative, moderate, and homopositive. Homonegative Christians view homosexuality as sinful and an abomination while homopositive ones view it as good and just. Moderate Christians have both negative and positive views towards the issue (Moon 1218). The difference in views shows how there is no one universal belief regarding homosexuality in Christianity. There are many ways to disprove both arguments for and against homosexuality; therefore, a Christian’s view will be up to the individual’s interpretation and beliefs. The varying views Christians have on homosexuality creates a division because there is not one common belief on the matter.
It is often difficult for an individual to be both a Christian and homosexual. Typically, homosexuals are pushed away from Christianity due to differences in views on same-sex relationships and commonly-occurring discrimination. Nasrudin Subhi and David Geelan studied the effects Christianity has on current and former Christians who identify as homosexual in When Christianity and Homosexuality Collide: Understanding the Potential Intrapersonal Conflict. The survey conducted revealed that eighty percent of homosexuals who were affiliated with Christianity experienced conflict between the two communities (Subhi 1396). The conflicts between the two have affected the participants through high rates of depression, guilt, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and isolation (Subhi 1399). In the essay 1Cross + 3Nails = 4GVN: Compulsory Christianity and Homosexuality in the Bible Belt Panopticon, Bernadette Barton, a professor at the University of Kentucky, discusses homophobia and discrimination based on sexuality in a region where Christianity is the primary religion, the Bible Belt. The area consists of the West South Central, East South Central, and South Atlantic regions of the United States where Christianity dominates the majority of the population (Barton 72).
Barton, a self-identified lesbian, discusses experiences where she was discriminated against for her sexual orientation and the Bible was used to justify it. She also includes a story of a homosexual man who knew he was same-sex attracted since the age of eleven but never came out due to the fear that he would be in danger and alienated from his family. Another story is also told of a woman who came out to her family who thought she had a devil within her that was causing her to be homosexual. Her family attempted to keep her captive in their house to have a preacher pray the homosexuality out of her (Barton 79). Barton’s study of homosexuals in the Bible Belt shows that they are often placed in harmful situations where they are rejected from society completely or experience physical violence on the basis of their sexual identity. Individuals who identify within the homosexual spectrum experience difficulty when it comes to accepting their sexuality and Christianity as one and are typically forced to choose one over the other. This is due to the difference in beliefs on homosexuality and the dangers and discrimination that accompanies the sexual orientation.
The divide between homosexuality and Christianity is caused by the interpretations of biblical teachings, the difference in views, and the difficulty for an individual to be both a Christian and a homosexual. The issue is becoming more prevalent in society as more people are becoming more comfortable publicly identifying with their sexual orientations. The division between homosexuality and Christianity may persist in the future as the belief of whether homosexuality is morally acceptable is at the discretion of the individual.
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