In recent decades in Western countries, people have increasingly turned away from biblical values on sexuality and gender. LGBT attitudes have now become part of the mainstream.
Those of us who say that homosexual practice is morally wrong are now very much in the minority, at least in most Western countries. Similarly, those who say that people have no human right to identify with the gender of their choosing are also becoming fewer in number.
In the midst of all this, Christians often come under fire for their beliefs. From time to time, for example, in interviews you will see Bible-believing Christians being challenged on LGBT issues. Usually, these Christians seem to be on the back foot as they are questioned. They often seem quite apologetic, and sometimes even a bit embarrassed, for holding the views they do.
I have never personally come under attack in this way from the LGBT movement, and I have a lot of sympathy for my brothers and sisters who experience hostility and hatred for standing up for Christian values.
Nevertheless, when I see interviews like these, I often find myself wishing that Christians did a better job of defending the faith. I also often wish that they were more prepared to call a spade a spade and that they wouldn’t be so reluctant to cause offence. Basically, I think there are much better answers to accusations from the LGBT movement than are usually given.
In what follows, I will list some of the standard accusations that this movement makes against Christians, and then I will give the reply that I would want to give if I were personally accused in these ways. I hope that readers of this article will find what I say useful and then might be a bit better prepared to deal with accusations they may face.
The answers that I will give are quite short ones, and I don’t for a moment pretend that they cover matters fully. But I think that each answer contains some useful ideas.
There will be a certain amount of overlap between the answers, since the accusations also overlap.
Without further ado, then, let’s begin.
There is nothing unnatural about homosexuality, and you shouldn’t claim that there is.
If by “natural” you mean the way things are, then obviously homosexuality exists, so in that respect it isn’t unnatural. But under that definition we would also have to say that paedophilia isn’t unnatural, since it is also something that exists. And I expect that you, like me, would want to describe paedophilia as unnatural.
So, we do better to define something as natural when it fits with how God has designed things. And it should be obvious that homosexuality does not fit with how human beings are designed. Physically, the male body is obviously designed to fit together sexually with the female body, and not with another male body. Similarly, females are clearly not designed to have sexual relations with females.
If someone insists on denying this, I find it hard to believe that they are being as honest as they can be. The Bible talks in Romans 1:18 about people who suppress the truth. I would suggest that those, or at least the vast majority of those, who claim that there is nothing unnatural about homosexuality are guilty of suppressing the truth. Deep down, I think their consciences are not clear and they know that what they are saying is not true. Homosexuality so obviously contradicts the way people are designed.
It is well documented that homosexuality exists in animals. So this shows that it is a natural thing in humans too.
Again, it depends what you mean by natural. If you mean the way things are, then yes, homosexuality in animals is natural. However, if you mean how things were designed to be, then I would certainly reject the idea that homosexuality in animals is natural.
According to Christian teaching, our world is in a kind of half broken state. I think that people tend to relate strongly to this idea. There is clearly great evil in our world, yet also great beauty.
The animal world is also something that is partially broken. And homosexuality among animals is one aspect of what has gone wrong.
Because animals are not moral creatures, they can’t be blamed for acting out their homosexuality. But humans, as moral creatures, can be blamed for this.
You are homophobic.
Usually when people use the term “homophobic,” they mean more than one thing by it. They usually seem to regard a homophobe as all of the following:
(1) Someone who (wrongly) says that homosexual orientation is a problem.
(2) Someone who (wrongly) says that homosexual practice is morally wrong.
(3) Someone who discriminates against homosexuals.
(4) Someone who hates homosexuals.
It is very confusing to use one label to mean several different things, especially when these things don’t necessarily go together.
I don’t accept the label “homophobic” for myself, for two reasons. First, the term suggests a bad attitude towards homosexuals and homosexuality, and I don’t accept that my attitude is bad. And second, the above list of points only partially corresponds to my attitude to homosexuals.
Let me comment briefly on each point.
On point (1), I certainly do say that homosexual orientation is a problem, just as the Bible teaches in Romans 1:26.
I want to stress, however, that I believe that every human being has many problems of various kinds. We are all damaged in many ways. So it would be absurd for me to look down on someone who has homosexual orientation. I don’t personally have that problem, but I have a multitude of other problems, as we all do.
On point (2), I certainly do say that homosexual practice is morally wrong, just as the Bible teaches in a number of places, e.g., in Romans 1:26-27.
However, I have committed plenty of sins in my own life. So the last thing I will do is look down on anyone who is guilty of homosexual practice.
On point (3), I am, firstly, firmly against discriminating against someone because they have homosexual orientation. There are many people with this orientation who accept that they have a problem and fight hard against it. There is a world of difference between someone in this category and someone who freely engages in homosexual practice. I am nothing but sympathetic to those with homosexual orientation who admit that they have a problem.
Secondly, as regards people who engage in homosexual practice, things are more complicated. I certainly don’t accept that I “discriminate,” since that word suggests that my attitude is bad, and I don’t accept that it is bad. Yet I do believe that sometimes it is right to take account of the fact that a person is a practising homosexual.
As a Christian, I am called to act in love towards everyone, regardless of what they do. And I think that in the vast majority of situations love would mean treating a practising homosexual in the same way that I would treat anyone else. But occasionally it may be appropriate to make a distinction for one reason or another.
For example, if an openly practising homosexual wanted to teach children in some capacity, I would see their sexual practice as a big black mark against them. Children need to be protected from harm, and taught right from wrong, including that homosexual practice is bad. Whether, at the end of the day, I would conclude that this person shouldn’t in fact teach children would depend on how many black marks other potential teachers might have against them.
On point (4), I absolutely reject all hatred for homosexuals, whether they are practising or not. As I have said, the Christian life is one of loving everyone despite their sins, just as Jesus loves me despite the bad things I have done. But love is sometimes tough. Sometimes it means criticising people for what they do or believe.
It is actually very ironic that Christians like myself are accused of hatred, since, not only are we opposed to all hatred, but those who falsely accuse us of hatred often seem to hate us with a passion. The amount of hatred in Western countries that is directed towards Christians like me for what we say on sexuality and gender is enormous. The militant LGBT lobby is now a significant hate group in this part of the world.
Nor is it just the LGBT lobby. Even among mainstream Westerners, Christians are often the objects of a great deal of hatred.
It is notable that many who claim to be against all hatred seem to forget that they are against this when they have no sympathy with the views of a group of people who are hated. If they are sympathetic to the beliefs of people who are hated, they (rightly) condemn hatred strongly. Yet if they are not sympathetic, their opposition to hatred disappears, and in many cases they become haters themselves. This sort of double standards is very common in Western countries today.
You say that gay people will go to hell. That’s hate if ever I heard it.
First, it is those who practise homosexuality who are on track for hell. I certainly do not say that having homosexual orientation means that someone is heading there.
Second, this is not an idea that I have invented. The Bible very clearly teaches that those who practise homosexuality are on the road to hell (e.g., Romans 1:26-27; 2:5-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9). I am simply repeating what it says.
Third, anyone who wilfully and unrepentantly practises sin of any kind is on track for hell. So it’s not as if I am singling out homosexual practice. This is just one sin among many.
Fourth, I don’t delight in the prospect of anyone going to hell. So this isn’t something I say with any relish.
Fifth, it is absolutely not hate for me to say what I say on this point. Look at it from my perspective. I believe sincerely that those who engage in homosexual practice are on the road to hell. I don’t want them to go there. So, by warning people I am doing what I believe is best to help them avoid great suffering in the future. It should be obvious that there is no hate in this. To warn people of impending danger is really an act of love.
You are so cruel when you say that gay people aren’t allowed to love each other.
I do sympathise with people who feel affection that is wrong to express. However, it is far more important to submit to God’s created order. To perform homosexual acts is to massively insult him, and this must take priority over how we feel.
Besides, I am not writing as someone who is happily married and knows nothing of the difficulty of living a single life. I am now over 50 and I have always been single, and, like most single people, I find it hard to live this way.
You are so arrogant to tell people that they can’t identify as a man or a woman if that’s what they want to do.
On the contrary, it is those who think they have a right to identify as whatever gender they choose who are guilty of great arrogance. If God has made someone physically male, then that person is a man, both physically and in his core identity. And if he has made someone physically female, that person is a woman, both physically and in her core identity. To deny this is to mess around with God’s creation and thereby to insult him.
What mainstream Western society now believes about transgendering is really remarkable.
If, for example, a man told me that in his true identity he was really a horse, although he was physically a man, I would say that he had some sort of mental illness. I wouldn’t for a moment agree that he really was a horse.
In no way would I look down on this man or want to treat him unkindly. Instead, I would gently but firmly tell him that something had gone wrong in his feelings and thoughts and that he wasn’t really a horse.
Exactly the same is true when a man says that in his identity he is really a woman. Something has gone wrong.
Again, in no way would I look down on a man who said this. But I would tell him that something had gone wrong and that he was a man, not a woman.
To think that people who are physically men are really women is sheer nonsense, and the same goes for those who are physically women and claim to be men. We can’t separate our identity and our physicality in this way.
I do believe that there is one area where there is sometimes a genuine place for a kind of transgendering, and this concerns people who are born as intersexes. This sort of transgendering is not about people having a gender identity that is different from their physical sex. Rather, it is about reversing a mistake that has already been made.
Intersexes are people who are born with both male and female genitals, and apparently about one in 2000 new-born babies falls into this category. Operations are often performed on intersex babies and children to remove one set of genitals. Usually, either the male or female genitals are much more pronounced than the others, so deciding what operation to perform is quite straightforward. In some cases, however, the male and female genitals are about equally developed.
This is a very complex issue. Anyway, to cut a long story short, it seems that sometimes the wrong operation is performed on babies and children. And even when there is no operation, it seems that mistakes are sometimes made regarding what gender the child is raised as.
In cases like these, I do believe that there is a legitimate place for a kind of transgendering. In such cases, this has nothing to do with accepting that there is a difference between physical sex and gender identity. It is simply about correcting a mistake that has already been made.
You hold extreme and deeply offensive views on sexuality and gender identity.
Firstly, you seem to be implying that most people don’t hold views on sexuality and gender identity that many others find extreme and deeply offensive. But that is completely wrong. Everyone holds views on these issues that many others find extreme and very offensive.
For example, take the view that so-called “gay marriage” is a good thing, something that you agree with. It seems to me that most of the world’s population would think that gay marriage is a bad idea. And there must be at least hundreds of millions of people, maybe billions, who find it extreme and deeply offensive.
Even if we think just about my own country, the United Kingdom, I would guess that about 30 per cent of people are against gay marriage. And maybe around 10 per cent would be deeply offended by it. Even if that figure is not accurate, there must be millions of people in the UK who find your views on gay marriage to be extreme and deeply offensive.
So you are completely wrong to think that most people don’t hold views on sexuality and gender that many others find extreme and offensive. And that is true whether we think of the world as a whole or just of the UK. You and many others find my views extreme and offensive, and I and many others find your views extreme and offensive. We are all in the same boat in this respect.
Secondly, it is never my goal to be offensive to people. I get no pleasure from causing offence. However, my big concern is not to offend God, and if that means offending people, then that is what I will do.
This should be your concern too. As things stand, your attitudes to sexuality and gender conflict with God’s created order for human beings. So what you say is deeply offensive to God. You urgently need to alter your views.
It is a fundamental human right for people to have gay relationships or change their gender identity if they want to. You should accept that.
No one has a human right to do anything morally wrong.
At its core, the worldview of mainstream Western society is completely mistaken. In this worldview people are typically seen as standing in the place of ultimate authority with rights to do whatever they want, as long as they don’t cause direct harm to anyone else. In this worldview God is essentially nowhere to be seen.
In reality, God should fill our worldview. Human beings are under his authority with huge obligations to him. We are designed and duty-bound to fit in with his created order. It is not an exaggeration to say that the mainstream Western worldview completely misunderstands what human beings actually are.
No one, then, has a human right to do anything that conflicts with God’s created order. And homosexual practice and transgendering both conflict with this.
Whether people should be given legal rights to do immoral things is a much more complex issue, and will depend on the circumstances. But no one has a human right to do anything morally wrong.
You are so intolerant of gay and transgender people.
The first problem with this accusation is that those who use this label to blame people like me tend to use the words “tolerant,” “intolerant” etc. in a strange way.
Usually in the English language, when we speak about tolerating someone, what we mean is that we put up with that person although we dislike what they do or stand for.
However, those who accuse Christians like me of being intolerant of people in the LGBT movement are not usually suggesting that we don’t put up with these people. Instead, they are really blaming us simply for disliking their values in the first place. If someone dislikes the values of people in the LGBT movement, even if that person puts up with what this movement tries to do, he or she will be accused of intolerance.
When we are accused of being “intolerant,” then, we are really being accused of (wrongly) disliking the values of the LGBT movement.
In response to this accusation, firstly, it is surely true that all human beings dislike the values of many other human beings. And it is just as true that every human being will hold values that many others dislike. So we are all in the same category in this respect. And if we insist on using the word “intolerant” (in an unusual way) to refer to this situation, then we are all intolerant in some ways, both those who support the LGBT movement and those who are against it.
Secondly, it may be true that I dislike and object to more things than most people, but that is because I am acknowledging the rule of almighty God. And for this I make no apology. When someone does something or lives in a way that dishonours God, it is absolutely right to dislike and object to it. I wish that people generally did a lot more of this.
You are wrong not to respect the views of people in the LGBT movement.
Firstly, if you are suggesting that everyone should respect the views of everyone else on matters of sexuality and gender, it should be obvious that people in the LGBT movement typically have no respect at all for what I believe on these issues.
Secondly, I make no apology for not respecting the views of people in this movement. When people support something that is against the will of God, they are supporting something evil. And we should never respect what is evil.
However, I do believe that we should make a clear distinction here between a person and the views that the person holds. We should always respect a person, no matter how bad they are, and I do try to do this. But respecting a person in no way has to mean respecting their views.
I have no time for uncaring, right-wing people like you.
I am not right wing, and I share your concern that people on the right are often quite uncaring. My political views are pretty centrist.
Homosexual practice and transgendering are extremely important moral issues that have to do with insulting God. Essentially these are not issues of the left or right at all.
I hope and pray that readers of this article will have found what I have said helpful.
If you are a Christian who is under fire on LGBT issues, know that you are not alone. There are many other brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in this way too.
Don’t be embarrassed or hesitant to stand up for Christian truth. Have courage, even if many people are against you. Remember, one person with God is a majority.
And when you are hated, show love in return (Luke 6:27-29). The Lord will be with you.