Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Reason Why the Church Hates Gays: Fear and Lack of Understanding

Sorry for the relative silence when it has come to me posting. Expect a little bit more of it over the next week as I deal with the University of Memphis and Brock on course transfers and such. That being said, I stated that this week was going to be about the interplay of religion and politics, specifically dealing with homosexuality. Before I start with that though, I would like to address something that I feel is very important, and that the Christian Church should listen to.

St. Augustine of Hippo once said,  "If it happens that they authority of Sacred Scripture is set in opposition to clear and certain reasoning, this must mean that the person who [interprets scripture] does not understand it correctly."

This sentiment was echoed again by Galileo, while arguing against the churches sun revolves around the earth idea,  who stated, "If Scripture cannot err, ceratin of its interpreters and commentators can and do so in many ways."

So why is this important? I will directly apply these ideas to the realm of homosexuality, as I often do, but it also can be applied to other controversies in History, such as slavery, the solar system, etc.

Many within Christendom think that Reason is some sort of boogyman, intent on destroying the truth of Scripture. They think that science is naturally evil and bent to destroy faith, and that faith is naturally good.  I always used to argue with my parents with the idea of truth. For if truth is truth, then it will stand up against anything that comes against it; science and reason cannot and will not go against truth. For since God is the author of both of them, to do so would call into question his perfection. Thus, if science and reason tell us something, yet our belife says otherwise (aka interpretation of scripture), our beliefs and interpretation must be wrong. Yet is the Christian church willing to admit to this? Not the majority of them. There are some denominations who are slowly taking the words of Augustine the heart, yet many still resist. I belive that they resist when it comes to homosexuality, and reason in general,  because of two things. Fear and Lack of Understanding.

First, Fear. The Church, since the age of Constantine has had immense power. Whether it be through the established church of Catholicism, or the institutionalized church of Britain, or the cultural church of the United States. The Church has wielded great influence across the ages, when it comes to politics. For anyone knows, that if the church is not behind something, that it most likely will fail. So why is this important? The Church as a whole is very slow to change, it is afraid that if it does embrace the current scientific knowledge or reasoning that it will show itself to be meaningless. Many within the church have come to think of their interpretations of scripture as being inerrant, because that is what the church has taught them.Thus,  if they change their interpretation of something, they admit defeat, and admitting defeat means losing their influence. Why would someone want to be on the side of an organization that constantly is wrong? And not only is wrong, but virulently defends their wrong interpretation.  Thus the Church, in order to feel that it is relevant, must not side with science or reason, and must stick with the doctrines and interpretations of millenia.

Second, Lack of Understanding. For years, homosexuality has been what the church has labeled an "abomination". For "normal" people cannot imagine what two gay guys or two lesbians do in the bedroom. Because of this "ick" factor, as it has been called, people are at once resistant to welcoming them. Human nature as it is, will automatically shun the different and welcome the similar. Hence, why racism is still a very big issue in the world today. Not only do they have this Lack of Understanding about homosexuality in general, they have a lack of understanding about their own beliefs. Christians - generalizing here - think that they hold a monopoly when it comes to their interpretation of scripture. If science or reason disagrees, science and reason must be persecuting and willfully going against scripture. But what does this really say? As I said before, science and reason tell us the truth about God, for it is the essence of His creation that we are studying. The reason of science does not disprove God, but instead shows us that our understanding of scripture itself  is flawed. And would this not make sense, for we are imperfect beings, so naturally our interpretation would be flawed. Yet those Christians who hold onto their interpretation do so because they don't have an understanding of their Faith. They think that if they are wrong on one thing, that they are wrong on all. But that is not true Faith. True faith recognizes the limits of human interpretation and reason and says to God, though I don't understand I will trust in what You have shown me in the natural world, and what scripture says about You. That is true faith.

So in conclusion, Christendom must take to heart the words of Augustine, and must throw off the Fear and Lack of Understanding that has so characterized itself over the centuries. Only by doing so will the Church again become relevant to the world.

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