Someone posted a comment on another article of my blog correcting my many paths to God idea.
I’ve dealt with enough one sided conversations to know when there’s an agenda but it was this sentiment: God loves LGBT people, so that’s not an issue. He doesn’t love their sin…
I’m tired of hearing this argument parading as a godly principle when it’s nothing more than bigotry. When it’s posted on my site where I’m spreading love and tolerance, I’m compelled to respond. (See below for the comment and response.)
Rob: Greetings, Bonnie There’s a lot to like here. My wife and I used a lot of this philosophy and many of the same practices in our family. As the father of three adult children (26, 23 & 21), I can attest to the wisdom of much of it. What I don’t agree with is the “many paths to God” approach here and elsewhere (e.g. the I Am a Believer post). What is your response to the claim of Jesus, “I Am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me”? While there are many paths to Jesus, He clearly claims to be the only path to God.
Rob, I once shared these sentiments and beliefs. I remember telling a gay friend in high school once: God loves the sinner, not the sin.
So as I open this discussion and address your questions, I’ll keep it real with full disclosure. The wounds we inflict as we stubbornly cling to these callous, divisive beliefs…there’s blood on my hands too. I can only try to do my part to help clean up the mess now.
I’m going to operate under the assumption (and benefit of the doubt) that you’ve contacted me out of concern for the eternal salvation of my soul.
Let me be hypothetical with you for a moment. Feeling the concern you feel, imagine how it might be if you interacted with someone outside the Christian faith, also believing quite assuredly that you were destined for eternal damnation and convinced you were wrong.
The Mormon. The Jehovah’s Witness. The Muslim. To name a few…
My question is: With all these religions also including eternal damnation: Whose going to hell? Someone I guess. A lot of somebodies even.
From where I’m standing it all just seems redundant and ridiculous. It seems like a lot of arrogant people running around, pointing the finger, and for what? To be right at the end of the day?
Perhaps, underneath all these religions with people yelling: No me! I’m right! You’re going to hell! They are all just motivated by the same thing: fear. They are people afraid of being wrong, afraid of the unknown, afraid of death and definitely afraid of hell and God’s judgment.
Love and fear are polar opposites. Every time we make a decision, especially life changing ones, we choose what will motivate us, love or fear.
Yet in Christianity, a god of love and fear is worshipped. Wait…What?
Instead of a world where all are invited to know God and love, there is a condition and that condition is hell. It’s a gruesome, archaic mentality. Whatever dressing is laid over top, it doesn’t change the existence of it or the looming threat of it. It forces believers to fear god. The cost of this fear perverts what healthy love is intended to be. Authentic questions, honest searching, and true convictions are surrendered…because well, hell.
Rob: (And God loves LGBT people, so that’s not an issue. He doesn’t love their sin or the sin any of us commit against God, others or ourselves. I’d be glad to have that discussion with you.)
I’ve had this discussion, many times, with people of the same thinking and indoctrination.
You cannot love someone while rejecting him or her. Rejecting an integral part of what makes them who they are is wrong. No justification. It’s tragic and causes irreparable damage. Having some kind of open-shut, biblical, dismissive attitude about it is incredibly ignorant. At some point it could end up being someone close to you, a loved one that gets seriously hurt by your callous manner.
The fact that you espouse this truth is exactly why Christianity has the capacity to be so damaging, dysfunctional, and broken. But it doesn’t have to be.
Society is teetering. Bigotry parading as some kind of thinly veiled love, acceptance, or even grace is only worsening things. And that saddens me.
Don’t be confused and misled. Teens are committing suicide and it’s not because they don’t have enough Jesus in their life. Its happening behind church walls as much as anywhere.
They need pure, unconditional acceptance. They deserve to be celebrated and loved for adding color and diversity to our world. Anything less is a reflection of the poor state of our close-minded brain washed, inability to evolve.
We really are so broken. We have to learn to love ourselves. How can we love or accept ourselves if we are being taught to judge ourselves as sinners and judge others in the same way?
We are not here to perform and be perfect. The more we teach this, the more it backfires.
We are here to embrace our flawed humanity, embark on a journey, treasure the experience, and be humbled by it all. We don’t need to feel threatened by our sins because “sins” are simply flaws and “flaws” are simply learning moments.
If we remove the pass or fail mentality we can stop putting on airs, trying to impress each other, worrying about whom is right all the time, and check our ego at the door. We can finally, truly connect and learn from each other. We can let go and just be in the moment.
No one has all the answers.
My greatest freedom, my sweetest moment of salvation was speaking aloud: I don’t know. I found God in that moment…in the letting go.
That was love for me. Not an alter call. I was accepted because I was accepting.
I hope for many Christians still living in this one-way mindset, they find acceptance. I hope for them in the same way they hope for me. I think all the time: the saved can still be saved.
But often times, Christians aren’t focused on themselves. The perfect example is you coming on my blog, focused on me, and the LGBT community, and the error of our ways.
I wish there would be less spreading of this message of self hate because it starts with words like sinner and worthless and wicked and shameful.
If you tell a gay person: God loves you but the gay part of you is not acceptable, they are already rejected. No Jesus-on-steroids-voodoo-wands or whatever Kumbaya-miracle-prayer is going to change that.
We weren’t meant to fix or change other people. So how about pure, old fashioned, check-the-bigotry-at-the-door, acceptance?
Rob: Would you reconsider the words of Christ there and the teaching of the NT that there “is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved”? The word “saved” there isn’t some fundamentalist notion of having some dramatic point-in-time moment during an altar call. It’s an ongoing process of becoming fully alive in God — in a sense, becoming fully human with Jesus as our model. Jesus as the One Way has been the teaching of the Christian church since its beginning.
I have heard these words a thousand times and they are benignly repetitive to me. I think you needed to spend more time on my blog before breeching a discussion with me.
Rob: Christianity is not inclusive. It divides itself from all other claimed paths to God. Is the NT an accurate account of the life of Jesus, or isn’t it? If it is, then the “many paths” argument can’t be true.
Yes. It is divisive. It seems to me like you have all the right answers. You missed something: I’m not here to argue or prove I am right according to anything. I’m questioning and learning. I’m simply walking my own personal journey.
Rob: Perhaps you’re rejecting a fundamentalist culture in which you were raised (I obviously don’t know). If that’s the case, go for it. Christianity is best lived by thinking people who are open to discussing ideas and other points of view, not demanding an unthinking obedience to a set of cultural norms not necessarily based in Scripture.
The initial sentiment I agree with: thinking people open to discussing ideas and other points of view. I do not believe scripture is inerrant. But alas, we will have to agree to disagree on that.
Rob: Regardless, one can either have Christianity against all others or have the others, but not Jesus Christ. There really is no “all of the above” where Jesus Christ and Christianity are concerned.
Or…people can do whatever they want, believe whatever they want, blur the line, scribble over it, climb outside the box, step on it, and then paint LGBT rainbows on it.
My darling Rob, you can cling to your rules like Moses with his stone tablets, but we will still be human, messy, definitely gay, and always free. ~ Bonnie
To see Rob’s original comment: