Homosexuality and religion / Christianity - an oxymoron ?
July 26, 2005: The Sydney Moring Herald reported that of 25,000 people surveyed on whether Homosexuality was immoral, those who did not have a religion was the least homophobic with only 19 per cent saying homosexuality was immoral. Those with a religion were the most homophobic , with 66% of Baptists and Evangelical Christians, and 31% of Anglicans, Catholics, and Uniting Church believing this to be so. Overall, 35 per cent of respondents were intolerant of homosexuality. Therefore, 65 per cent of the respondents or the majority were tolerant of Homosexuality. The level of homophobia in Singapore is far worst. In a telephone poll undertaken by a local university, 68.8 percent of Singaporeans has a negative attitude towards homosexuals as contrasted to only 35% of the Sydneysiders.
The results shows that the level of our approach to religion was a pointer to people's acceptance of homosexuality. The Baptists and Evangelical Christians which are the most fervent and radical forms of Christianity are more than 3 times more likely to condemn gays when compared to those who have no religion and more than twice when compared to Catholics and Anglicans which in general have a less fundamentalist approach to religion.
When we look further into other religions, we find that in those countries where the majority are religious and they take their religion very seriously and fervently, the condemnation against Gays are almost absolute. For example, figures from Nigeria which have a very strong fundamentalist Christian and Muslim population have a 95% rejection of homosexuality. Whereas in countries such as Germany even though most identify themselves with a religion but are not fervently involved, we have a strong 83% acceptance of homosexuality.
In Singapore, the mega Christian churches which are mostly Evangelical Charismatic in nature have long proclaimed that their form of Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with Jesus Christ. However, their condemnation of homosexuality shows that they are no different that any religion especially once that have become fervent , and fundamentalist and is totally absolute in its beliefs. If Christianity is as they claim a relationship with Jesus, where then do they get their ill feeling against Gays from? from Jesus? Jesus never did condemned homosexuality, he did say a lot against religion and the ill treatment of the outcasts in our midst, but nothing specifically on homosexuality although they must have well existed during Jesus ministry. It is undeniable that authentic christianity is about relationship with Jesus Christ, but when we become religious, we stray away from this relationship and become entangled in the god within, our own morality and self righteousness when we take it upon ourselves to call homosexuality as sin because we feel so much more holy than them. Our Christianity is no more authentic but becomes a reflection of religion, the worship of the god within us.
The key antagonist against gays is religion. Why is this so? What is the foundation of religion that motivates it to be so? To answer this question, we need to go back to the beginning time before there was any religion.
(Gen 2:9 NKJV) And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
In Gen 2:9, in the garden of Eden, there were a multitude of trees which were actually the source of life bearing food for Adam and Eve and the animals. There were two 'ultimate' trees, the ultimate source of power and provision. They were the "tree of life" and the "tree of good and evil". These two trees are mutually exclusive and God forbid Adam from eating from the tree of good and evil. But men of course disobeyed and the rest is history ....
What is the tree of the knowledge good and evil? Why would men 'die' when we eat it?
The knowledge of good and evil gives food and revives the conscience within men. It is a conscience to know what is good and what is evil. By this fruit, men becomes aware through their conscience that they are sinners. It is the demand of our conscience that we pay and suffer for our sins. Because man's heart are naturally evil (Mat 15:19), the only sufficient payment is death. Hence, by the tree of good and knowledge which is seemingly good brings forth death. Religion is essentially men's attempt to pacify this conscience, the voice within that demands payment for our evil deeds done. In many religion, this payment is in the form of doing good deeds, praying to to a heavenly being which is supposed to have mercy and be able to pardon our sins. There are many religions,. who try to shut the voice of this conscience, living a life of seclusion abstaining from humanly yearnings. But all to no avail, because justice is demanded due to our conscience when we sin, and this justice can never be filled by an imperfect soul such as us. And as all have sin and fall short of the glory of God, we need a saviour, not only any heavenly being but one that is perfect, and one that is willing to die on our behalf in order to satisfy the demands of our conscience and you have Jesus Christ.
Religious communities are in general against gays especially the more fervent and zealous because being fervent in religion means that one becomes extraordinary zealous to be absolutely holy. To be absolutely holy, means to be totally sinless. If there are any ambiguity about what is right and wrong, then how can they be absolutely sinless. Therefore such faith groups believes in total absolutes and simple answers. In condemning Gays, they have placed themselves high above - keeping very high morals, but perhaps only in appearances . They become very proud of their religion and their morality, and begin to look down on others that they consider immoral. They take on the position of defending morality , as though defending God himself. We see the perfect picture of a religious zealot in Apostle Paul before he was converted . Whilst all the while, Saul (before he became Paul) thought that he was persecuting the immoral Christian sect (due to his zealousness for God and against sin), he was actually persecuting Jesus, God himself.
In persecuting the Gay community, the religious faith communities do not realized that they may be persecuting God himself for Jesus is a father to the outcasts and will protect them.
What is the opposite of religion? In the garden of Eden, there was another tree, the tree of life. Once men fell, the angels prevented men from returning to the garden of Eden, why? to protect the tree of life. Men once corrupted cannot enter such as not to corrupt the tree of life.
The tree of life is Jesus. At the garden of Eden, mankind was at a state of innocense. There was no conscience such that sin could be imputed upon them. They should have chosen the "tree of life" instead of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil". If they have chosen the tree of life, instead of death, they would have received eternal life for the entire mankind. They would have received the righteousness of Jesus, the righteousness of God and become a child of God. But once they ate of the tree of good and evil, there was another demand. It was not sufficient to receive Jesus anymore, there must be justice. Jesus had to die. The tree of life now became a tree of punishment and shame, at the cross of calvary where Jesus hang on the tree bearing all of men's sin. Jesus had to die. The Gay issue is a test in the end times for the Christian faith communities whether their faith is authentically christian or simply just another religion.
Gays have got quite a bad deal from religious zealots. They have been persecuted and even executed in the name of religion as happened recently in Iran and Nigeria. The Archbishop of Nigeria for example blames Gays for "giving raise to a generation of bastards".
But God has moved to protect Gays through the creation of the cities of refuge. In ancient Israel, God setup six cities of refuge that one may run if they accidentally killed a person. Likewise, Gays are not guilty of the charges brought against it but blamed. Therefore, they have to flee to the modern day cities of refuge.
(Num 35:15 NKJV) 'These six cities shall be for refuge for the children of Israel, for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills a person accidentally may flee there.
In the city of refuge, no harm nor vengeance can be bought against the person. For Gays, God protects them by creating cities of refuge around the world. You will find them in all major cities around the world, there will be a special place where gays will be safe. For example, Kings Cross in Sydney, the French Quarter in New Orleans, the Castro district in San Francisco, Chelsea in New York, Soho in London,.... each has a history and a story to tell of the Gay movement.
The city of refuge in the Old testament is a representation of Jesus who is our ultimate refuge. (Ps 9:9). The Gay places in the major cities of the world brings protection. But more than protection is needed. Gays are searching for healing and acceptance of who they are. They are reaching out for a power that can heal damages left by a Christian-dominated society that has cast them out as "abominations.". Ironically, the only power strong enough to do the job, is Christ Himself. The ultimate acceptance is when God accepts them, when Jesus accepts them.
In a church somewhere within a city of refuge in Singapore, a small Christian congregation was singing "Seek ye first the kingdom of God". The sound echoed passed the prostitute dens nearby, passed the straight patrons queuing up nearby for their R-rated movies, and soon it reaches heaven itself, to the throne room of God. As their worship like the sound of a mighty wind rosed up to an open heaven, their praises became intertwined with the worship of past generations of Christian gay men and women and their hopes that one day perhaps not in their lifetime, there will be equality and the church doors will be opened ...
Gays have been seeking God since the begining of time. They sought Jesus and knocked at the giant wooden gates of the church which in general refuses to open to them. Instead of acceptance, came lies, persecution, ridicule, and hostility all in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus was there in this church that Sunday, because they sought first the kingdom of God. They gave Jesus the benefit of doubt and sought Jesus despite being totally rejected by the Christian Church who were supposed to represent Jesus in this world of ours. They cried for they know that Jesus have heard their knocking at the gate and have heard their cries and mourning from heaven. As they seek the kingdom of God, they shall find in Christ, total acceptance, equality and love. As the gays sang with tears streaming down from their wounded hearts, Jesus was seemingly there too in their midst, also crying. For when they ill treated the Gays, they were ill treating Jesus. And Jesus wept together with His people, the outcasts whom the world rejected but whom He died for such as this.