Archive for March, 2012

Friday Fun: Beware Who You Swear…

Posted: March 30, 2012 by Brett Kunkle in Just for Fun

…He might answer!

If God is perfect, would He create? And if He’s imperfect, could He create? My response to this week’s challenge:

People who engage in homosexual behavior are normal in many ways. Like anyone else, they have friends and family, they work and play, they love and hate, and have fears and dreams. But it seems strange to admit that everything about homosexuality is normal. Indeed, it’s hard to say any class of people is normal in every way.

For example, I’m Assyrian. My people are normal in many ways, but there are also many things about us that are abnormal (or just downright weird). We have genetic differences – we are a Semitic people. Our language is extremely uncommon. We have an over-active hair hormone (much to the chagrin of female Assyrians). Our food is strange to my friends and when people see my relatives talk, they think we’re shouting at each other (which we are, but that’s how we talk). We’re not normal in every way.

The same is true of homosexuals. They are normal in many ways, but there are also things about them that are not. They just occur in different categories than those of Assyrians or other groups of people.

At the outset I want to make it clear that by saying that homosexuals are not normal in every way, I’m not saying that they are deranged or inferior. I believe that men and women who identify themselves as gay are, like other people, intrinsically valuable. As fellow human beings, they are the pinnacle of God’s creation, deserving of dignity and respect. Nothing they or anyone can say or do can diminish their value – not even in principle. And we should treat them as such.

But the question of whether homosexuality is normal hinges on what is meant by the term. If normal refers to the frequency or rate at which it occurs in the population, then homosexuality is not normal in that sense. As I’ve mentioned before, homosexuals represent approximately 1 – 3% of the population. Clearly, the number of people who have sex with the same gender are far fewer than those who do it with the opposite gender.

Perhaps the term “normal” refers to homosexual behavior. But whether you think God made humans or believe they evolved, our bodies are made to function in a heterosexual way. A basic course in anatomy and physiology reveals that male and female sex organs not only fit together, they also function together (in multiple ways). In fact, they work in concert with one another to such a degree that they can produce another human being. This is unmistakable evidence of the complementarity of male and female bodies and their ability to work together towards a common end.

Homosexuals can’t use their body parts in this (reproductive) way. Though their sexual organs are designed to function with the opposite sex, they have a proclivity to use them with the same sex. This prevents them from using those parts for that purpose. They are never able to use the full function of their sexual anatomy.

Not only that, they use some body parts in a way that violates their intended design. The recipient of male homosexual sex uses part of his anatomy in a way that mimics the female reproductive organ. This becomes a problem because it lacks certain anatomical features that make it well-suited for sexual acts. So homosexual sex eschews the intended function of human anatomy and replaces it with a behavior that violates the design of other parts. That is not normal.

And when parts are used in a way that they’re not designed, this leads to damage. It’s like riding a bicycle without tires on the rims. You might get somewhere, but you’ll damage the wheel rims and are more likely to crash. That’s because you’re using the parts of a bike in a way they’re not designed to be used.

The same is true with homosexual sex. Because body parts are being used in a manner inconsistent with their design, homosexual behavior leads to a disproportionate danger of getting a life-threatening disease. The chances of acquiring HIV are increased because of the damage that occurs to body parts that aren’t designed for sex.

Dr. Amy Lansky, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stated that men who have sex with men get AIDS at a rate of more than 50 times than that of non-gay men and women.[1] To give a comparison, the CDC warns that men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who don’t. But they’re 50 times more likely to get HIV/AIDS if they have sex with another man. This is a staggering statistic and hardly a normal health risk.

But does this higher risk result in increased infections? Unfortunately, it does. The CDC published an analysis of gay men in 21 cities and found that 1 in 5 of them had HIV. And nearly half of them were unaware of it.[2] This is just sad news.

Look, people are free to live how they want. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to behave in their bedroom. But we have to be honest about homosexuality. It’s uncommon, goes against the design of the body, and carries with it serious health risks. That’s not normal.

So should our response to homosexuality include hostility? No. Even though we’re often tempted to get angry with attempts to normalize homosexual behavior in our culture, we should resist that urge. Knowing these truths about homosexuality should not lead us to contempt, but rather to compassion. When we find out the potential harm that homosexuals face (and the many other hardships that come in their lives), it should drive us to care for them more than the culture does.


[2] “1 in 5 Men Who Have Sex with Men in 21 U.S. Cities Has HIV; Nearly Half Unaware,” Press Release by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 23, 2010, retrieved February  20, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/Newsroom/ngmHAAD2010PressRelease.html

For this week’s challenge, we have an question sent in by Tommy:

Here’s a question I found on a website about Jainism: “If God is ever perfect and complete, how could the will to create have arisen in Him? If, on the other hand, He is not perfect, He could no more create the universe than a potter could.”

We haven’t spent much time on Jainist objections, so this will be interesting! What do you think? Was God complete in Himself before creation? What prompted Him to create? And perhaps more interestingly, what prompted this question? Why would a Jainist ask this question? When you’re talking to people about their objections, it’s important to know where they’re coming from so that you can address their specific question in light of the worldview behind it. There are many ideas behind this question towards which you could move the discussion.

So let us know how you would respond to a friend who challenged you with this, and we’ll hear Brett’s answer on Thursday.

This spoken word video from Alpha and Omega Ministries explains a major difference between the teaching of the Qur’an and the central event of the Bible.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, Brett and Alan are out of town, so for the response today I’ve collected the challenge responses from the past that touch on objections brought up in the video challenge (posted again below for easy reference)…and then added a couple other videos and some articles from STR Place for good measure. Enjoy!


Challenge videos:

Then Why Is There Evil? (challenge, response)
Biblical Law Is Immoral (challenge, response)
God Is Sexist (challenge, response)
Bad Design = No Design (challenge, response)
100% Man or 100% God? (challenge, response)
Why Blood Sacrifice? (challenge, response)
The Crucifixion Is Immoral (challenge, response)
We Can’t Know Jesus Rose from the Dead (challenge, response)
Faith is gullibility (challenge, response)
The Bible Has Been Changed (challenge, response)
God Should Make Himself More Obvious (challenge, response)

Other videos:

What is the Trinity?
Were the Gospels Based on Eyewitness Accounts?

Articles:

Did God Condone Slavery?
Jesus Is the Only Cure for Our Disease
Dead or Alive?
What We Have Is What Was Written
Should God Appear to Atheists?

Why Would God Want Us to Praise Him?
More thoughts on “Then Why Is There Evil?
More thoughts on “God Is Sexist
Links to more on the relationship between Christians and the Old Testament Law

Are Homosexuals Going to Hell?

Posted: March 21, 2012 by Alan Shlemon in Do the Right Thing
Tags: ,

The answer to this question is easy. Yes, they’re going to hell. Homosexual behavior is offensive to God.

But guess what? Liars are going to hell too. So are gluttons, drunkards, and adulterers. Do you see a pattern here? Everyone is going to hell.

There’s nothing special about people who engage in same-sex intercourse. Whether you go to heaven or hell has nothing to do with the kind of sin you’ve committed. It’s about moral culpability. Guilty people deserve to be punished and innocent people go free. That’s a basic principle of justice.

The problem with this question is its incorrect assumption: homosexuality is the worst sin. Or, at least it’s really, really bad. So bad, in fact, that some people think it’s unforgivable. Violators go directly to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Of course, homosexuality is not the worst sin as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. God doesn’t have special rules that govern how to levy punishment on homosexuals.

Perhaps rephrasing the question would help: Can people with same-sex attractions (SSA) go to heaven? Yes, they can.  Even if they’ve engaged in homosexual behavior, it’s still possible to be pardoned for their actions. This is no different than people who are selfish, steal, or commit adultery. All these crimes can be forgiven. People who commit them can be pardoned from the punishment they deserve.

Even though that’s good news, believers are still berated for their moral stance: “You think homosexuality is a sin? How can you say that? You’re so mean and intolerant!” Ya, I get that…I don’t like it either. But Christians didn’t make up that rule. God did. It’s like yelling at the DMV employee for failing your driving test. He’s just telling you the rules of the road. He didn’t make them up. Blame someone else.

Besides, it’s not like God is pointing the finger just at homosexuals. God’s an equal opportunity judger. Some people who went to church last Sunday will be in hell. Some people who study the Bible will be there too. Why? Those people have also committed crimes that render them guilty. And going to church or reading the Bible doesn’t earn them a pardon.

We don’t get to make the rules for reconciliation. God does. So being a “good person” doesn’t matter. Seeking to be “sincere” is irrelevant. Trying to be “true to yourself” won’t help. It’s God’s kingdom: He’s the King and it’s His domain. He decides the terms for acquittal.

He also shows no partiality towards whom He pardons. A churchgoer has no advantage to a homosexual. Each has an equal chance at forgiveness no matter what they’ve done.

As I wrote in a previous post, God is willing to grant us “a pardon for our bad behavior….We can accept the pardon and go free or pay the penalty ourselves. It’s our choice. That means a man or woman can live a lifetime of homosexual behavior and still be acquitted.”

Although it sounds too good to be true, people who are exonerated know it’s anything but easy. The process involves an important trade: we give God a lifetime of allegiance in return for a pardon. That means we’re no longer the absolute arbiter of our life. Rather, we hand over that privilege to the judge who negotiated our freedom.

Fortunately, the judge is good and looks after us. He knows that even though we’re absolved from our crimes and freed from our punishment, justice is not complete. Our guilt has been lifted, but needs to be placed on another. So, the judge makes arrangements with a willing substitute who will bear the blame: His next of kin.

The substitute is agreeable to trade his innocence for our guilt even though a transaction like that isn’t normally allowed. In this instance, however, the substitute is able to make the trade because the judge sanctioned the deal. It’s also fair because He’s willing and He’s willing because He’s family. It’s a family affair.

Who wouldn’t take a judge up on that offer? Who wouldn’t be grateful to his next of kin for His trade? God has done everything possible to keep people out of hell. Some people just aren’t willing to accept the terms.

I’m not here to tell you who is going to hell or not. That’s not the point of this post, nor is it for me to decide. That’s God’s job.

But one thing we know, everyone is guilty, including me. There’s no special sin that damns some people to judgment while others get off easier. Therefore, everyone deserves to be punished. That includes homosexuals and heterosexuals (even metrosexuals). They might not be responsible for the same crime, but they’ll all get jail time because they’re guilty. That’s the bad news.

But everyone – even homosexuals – is given the same exact chance to avoid punishment. The same offer is made to everyone under the King’s domain, no matter what their offense. That’s why it’s called the “gospel” – it’s good news.

Because Brett and Alan are speaking on the STR cruise this week, the challenge today will be a little different from usual. Christopher wrote in to suggest we cover the video posted below, but since it brings up way too many topics for us to answer in one challenge response, I thought I’d post the video today and let you all take a shot at whichever topic you wish. Then on Thursday, I’ll post links to several of our challenge responses (and some articles) that address the various objections in this video, because fortunately, we’ve already covered a lot of them!

So I guess, think of this as a pop quiz. If you’ve been joining in our challenges for a while, you’ll be ready!

Trinity Infographic

Posted: March 19, 2012 by Amy Hall in God is Real

Remember the infographic I posted on the books of the Bible? Here’s another one from Tim Challies to help you understand the Trinity. (You can download a high-resolution version or order prints from his website.)

Special guest Sean McDowell helps answer this week’s challenge to the resurrection: