Whoever headlined this video “7 Bible Quotes In Support Of Same Sex Relationships, By Arielle Scarcella And Matthew Vines” ought to be just a little bit ashamed. Maybe it was the editors at HuffPo, not Arielle or Matthew (I don’t know). Not a single one of the supposed quotes is actually what it is purported to be, and if the gay movement is ever going to change minds and convince religionists then throwing out sensational but misleading content up online is not the smartest thing to do.
Don’t believe me? Check out the video and judge for yourself. Plainly there are no verses which say “Gay marriage? A-Okay!”, just notions that if you buy into them all give you a few reasons to take the Bible’s anti-gay passages with more of a grain of salt. For instance, you have probably heard that the Bible’s story of Sodom and Gomorrah probably wasn’t really about condemning gay sex. That’s true. But the notion that the story actually supports gay rights or same-sex marriage is bizarre.
The title “7 Bible-based Reasons Why Same Sex Relationships Aren’t the Sin Described by Contemporary Christians” would have been a better choice. Some people really benefit from this sort of discussion, though I have to admit that I haven’t been personally all that interested in this topic in over 20 years. Even in my spiritual autobiography Soulfully Gay I do not discuss the topic of what the Bible says about homosexuality in more than a sentence or two. And I am (a self-identified Integral) Christian.
Why is this? In a nutshell, once you accept the premise of spiritual evolution — that humankind’s spiritual and religious expressions evolve over time and Spirit is the source and telos of our collective evolution — then the notion that the Bible got some things wrong or said some things that are not acceptable to us today is perfectly fine in a sense. It would be more than amazing if a 2,000 or 3,000 year-old book mirrored our current understanding of topics such as slavery, women’s rights, democracy, or gay rights — in fact it would be IMPOSSIBLE. No book from antiquity in ANY culture has ever mirrored our modern world’s current views of social ethics or personal ethics because those views simply had not yet evolved in the collective consciousness.
I take it for granted that the Bible is a source of great wisdom and as an act of faith I accept that it is unique and estimable revelation of God, but I do not hold it to an impossible standard. Therefore I don’t need to strain to read patently anti-gay or homophobic Bible passages as “really” secretly pro-gay and homosexual-loving stories in disguise. That is not necessary to believe at all, and attempts by some well-intentioned gay writers to force a neat modern perspective into a premodern mold have never been fully persuasive in my view. In fact they’re a bit offensive.
At best, arguments such as Vines’s can help people to see that the Bible is actually silent about contemporary questions of sexual ethics because our notions of sexual orientation and identity have arisen in a different historical context. It’s important to understand that, but silence does not equal approval or support. If people wrote books explaining that the Bible really didn’t condone slavery, people would balk. The Bible condoned slavery. Accept that fact and evolve your faith if you find it disturbing.
Whatever you choose to believe about whether the Bible condemns homosexuality or not, accept the notion that human consciousness evolves and you soon lose your attachment to “proving” that you are right about the Bible and other people are wrong. You can accept that the Bible contains error according to our contemporary views because all books of antiquity have error when you attempt to hold them up to modern standards. Either Spirit is alive in the world and guiding us into fuller truth or it isn’t. That is the key choice of faith, not proving that this is so or that is so according to texts in one of dozens of ancient holy scriptures and classical masterpieces.
As a Christian who comes to his faith from an Integral and Evolutionary approach, I choose to believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding humankind into a greater and fuller and deeper Love for all beings and understanding of gays as having equal dignity. And my spirituality is not limited to Christian understandings, so I believe that Spirit is evolving within all religions and secular/scientific philosophies as well. What do you believe?