A reader writes:
Your reader wrote:
"And so, on some distant day, once my friend has realized I still love and care for him, I will also have to tell him what my religious beliefs dictate concerning homosexual behavior. To stay silent would be to live as morally compromised a lie as those who choose not to come out of the closet."
As an atheist, should I be compelled to tell every Evangelical I meet that their God doesn't exist just so that I can feel better about myself?
Yes, you should, if you want to save their mind if not their soul. But I'd rather you just left them alone. For some reason, I have never felt it incumbent to tell anyone what their view of existence should be. Maybe it's the Catholic in me, but this is something I remember believing - and arguing with my mother about - when I was barely out of elementary school: I've always found evangelism to be unspeakably rude. That's my only problem with Mormons. Knocking on my door and interrupting my life to save my soul is an act of astonishing presumption and poor manners. I respond in kind. Another reader writes:
I find myself genuinely furious at this letter, more so than from someone outright condemning homosexuality as perverse and sick.
This hand-wringing, this clutching at pearls over how awful it is to be Christian today and have your beliefs challenged, questioned or even outright denied. Do they know how silly that comes across? I have no doubt it's genuine, it's just - man. Here's how I see it - this persona has a problem with people like me challenging his life, belief and personal truth. This is bad and should change. However, if people like him challenge my and every gay person's life, belief and personal truth, we have to deal? because they have the Bible supposedly on their side? I really see this line as being the next line of attack on gay rights, the Woe Is Me: A Christian's Life Censored tack that this writer employs. I for one am not buying it for a second.
Another makes what I believe is the deeper point:
Your reader is right to say that Jesus came to bring division to the land. The problem with this fellow is that he is on the wrong side of the divide. Jesus did not condemn homosexuals. He stands with them, not against them. There are certainly parts of the Old Testament and the New, such as Revelations, which condemn homosexuality. There is no evidence that Jesus supported these views. He stands in radical contrast to these attitudes. He did indeed bring about division, by rejecting intolerance and embracing the approach of unconditional love. I empathize with your reader's dilemma in attempting to be a good Christian while asserting the immorality of homosexuality, but in the end, this is not possible. He is trying to be good. Unfortunately, he is simply wrong, as are those portions of the Bible which make such charges.
The Bible is not inerrant, as even some conservative Jews have recognized in this matter. A major part of Jesus' own message was that the Old Testament tradition had errors in it which needed to be corrected. So to claim inerrancy would be tantamount to rejecting Jesus himself. If your reader truly wants to "get right with Jesus", he has got to recognize that he has made an error in this matter, and correct himself. Faith in Jesus himself would be the correct route to make this change. This friend of his could be the vehicle of that grace, and that message, if he would only recognize it as such.
This fear of homosexuality has nothing to do with the message of Jesus - nothing. It is, in fact, a huge obstacle to hearing his words.