3 Truths About Homosexuality Students Need to Know

A recent Supreme Court ruling mandates all states to affirm homosexual marriage. There are number of well written responses to this ruling. In a particular piece apologist John Stonestreet called on churches and parachurches to teach and train Christians to understand the issue of homosexuality. This short treatise is not exhaustive, but offers a basic outline of some training students need in engaging the idea of homosexuality.

Please note that the Christian perspective of this issue refuses to identify people based on anything short of God's image. Because of this, I am addressing the idea of homosexuality. Homosexuality is an idea, and while I believe we should treat all people with love and respect, I also believe we should be ruthless with ideas, regardless of someone finding identity within an idea

Identity is Intrinsic

My first day of 7th grade was awkward.  I delivered newspapers with my parents at 4am to help pay for Hillcrest. Because of this financial picture of my family I didn't have the coolest anything, and as I sat in that cold blue chair in Hillcrest's Junior High building I knew it. My notebooks were bland. My jeans were skin-tight and my high tops didn't have a name brand. However, I found my identity in spite of this awkward situation. 

All people, no matter their skin color, their past, their future, or their inclinations have value. This value was determined for them because the Creator determined it (Gen. 1:27). When people don't have a concept of being made in the image of God they can lose their perspective on the value of humanity. The Christian worldview understands that God's value of mankind is worth dying for (Jhn. 3:16-17). 

Students today need to hear that all people are valuable because they are image bearers, and that their value and fundamental rights are granted by God, not their government or popular opinion. To look for rights and identity outside of God is essentially a practice in idolatry (Rom. 1:23). So, students need to understand that their identity, rights, and freedoms are given by God and found truly in God, and the value is intrinsic to being human because God bestowed his image on mankind. Therefore to find identity, and ultimately value, outside of God's order is a shallow and hollow pursuit.

Reading commentaries regarding issues surrounding homosexuality, students can walk away thinking that people who identify with homosexuality are one dimensional. That they actually are homosexual. Within a Christian perspective, this practice would say that people who gossip or slander are inherently identified as gossips or slanderers, as if that is their only claim to identity. To not call homosexuality wrong is to then call all other sins right, and finding identity in those sins is to live in opposition to beauty and ultimately God's design (1 Tim. 1:8-11). Homosexual acceptance is then a great lie cast on our children by satan, and we need to recognize the slight of hand being done to place identity on a group of people who struggle with an abnormal sexual attraction.

As the issue of homosexuality finds purpose in race, economic inequality, social status, and any other number of issues, the tactics will look like a marxist power play. Marxism seeks to remove God from the picture, because either he screwed-up or he doesn't understand the needs of mankind. Therefore, man sets out to right the order of sin by engaging in injustices to level all of mankind to see everyone as valuable, as determined by human order. In this pursuit lives are devalued as other ideas and identity structures are held in high regard. So, the battle for homosexual identity, as Americans have witnessed over the course of recent history, is debilitating to the value and rights of those who don't identify with it.

Students need affirmation that their identity is found in God. They also need to see the landscape of other ideas to regcognize their idolatrous nature and how humans are devalued in the process. As they receive this education, students need a concept that people who hold ideas that diminish God's authority should be cared for and ministered to (2 Tim. 2:23-26). A holistic Christian education does these things, revealing that a human's lack of belief in God does not negate their rights as an image bearer to receive love, compassion, and truth. We love because God first loved us (1 Jhn. 4).

Practicing Homosexuality is a bad idea

Imagine a friend was dealing with some of the symptoms listed below:

  • A significantly decreased likelihood of establishing or preserving a successful marriage
  • A five to ten-year decrease in life expectancy
  • Chronic, potentially fatal, liver disease - hepatitis
  • Inevitably fatal esophageal cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Internal bleeding
  • A much higher than usual incidence of suicide
  • A very low likelihood that its adverse effects can be eliminated unless the condition itself is eliminated
  • A reality that there is a 30 percent likelihood of the symptoms being eliminated through lengthy, often costly, and very time-consuming treatment in an unselected population of sufferers (although a very high success rate among highly motivated, carefully selected sufferers). 

In addition to the list, you realize that these symptoms are the result of a specific behavior your friend is a part of and that, in spite of the destructive consequences they are experiencing, your friend continues the behavior. There is an outright denial they have a problem, and violently resists all attempts to "help" them. Finally, you have grown to find a kind of "subculture" your friend has been a part of and finds solace in. 

The hypothetical condition listed out above is alcoholism. Clearly alcoholism is something we don't promote for ourselves, family or friends, mostly because of its consequences. 

Now imagine another friend with a similar list of problems:

  • A significantly decreased likelihood of establishing or preserving a successful marriage
  • a twenty-five to thirty-year decrease in life expectancy
  • Chronic, potentially fatal, liver disease - hepatitis
  • inevitably fatal immune disease including associated cancers
  • Frequently fatal rectal cancer
  • Multiple bowel and other infectious diseases
  • a much higher than usual incidence of suicide
  • A very low likelihood that its adverse effects can be eliminated unless the condition itself is eliminated
  • An at least 50 percent likelihood of being eliminated through lengthy, often costly, and very time-consuming treatment in an otherwise unselected population of sufferers (although a very high success rate, in some instances nearing 100 percent, among highly motivated, carefully selected individuals). 

The list above outlines what a person practicing homosexual acts can expect. It is very clear that the results of homosexual acts should be avoided. There is discussion ad nasuem of the rights of people to practice homosexuality, but students today hear little about the depression, suicide, health risks, and political agenda that lay behind the scenes. Our kids need a holistic education in this matter, because many adults are living with cognitive dissonance that we should support the rights of loved ones to choose destructive paths. <Note that this section was greatly influenced by Jeffrey Satinover's book Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth>

homosexuality is not the end, but the end of the beginning

A friend of mine struggles with homosexuality. I shouldn't say struggles, because he is finding joy in the lifestyle. I know what many are thinking, who am I to be the eeyore in his tigger-hopping world. However, based on the way the physical laws in the world, I realize that his lifestyle choices are dangerous to his health. Not only that, as a Christian who studies the Bible, I am convinced that he is living in an open affront to the way God has ordained the world and called his followers to live. So, I disagree with his lifestyle, which he knows, but at the same time I love him like a brother. He is still an image bearer, but I am pained by his lifestyle choices.

My friend has accepted a lie and is living in opposition to physcial reality and God's design. There will be consequences. Physically, he is already showing signs of deterioration. Disease is starting to set in. Spiritually, he is experiencing separation from the body of believers, which is a Biblical consequence to openly living outside of God's design (1 Corinthians 5:11-13). But, I am here, because his acceptance of homosexuality is not the end.

The issue of homosexuality is here and its lies are prevalent. The beginning of this discussion is over. Lines have been drawn. However, the discussion is far from over. What I see students need is more education. Really, we all need a more holistic understanding of homosexuality in general. We need to understand the physical consequences of the practice. 

While homosexuality is the most challenging ideology students face today, it is not the end of the conversation, it's only the end of the beginning. Students need to see that the further the country moves from God, and the further the country moves from educating students to understand God's design, the louder the cultural dissonance becomes.

Because of this, students need training in the Christian perspective, seeing that a Biblical explanation for the world is the most whole, complete, and humanizing. Students then need to be prepared to winsomely explain their beliefs. In this, they need to see that this battle over ideas, and all subsequent battles over ideas, are worth engaging because they impact humans, people made in the image of God. The path will have treacherous places that will threaten safety and comfort, but the end, the hope in the Father of mankind, is worth the struggle and worth the discussion. So mark this as a point in history. This is the end of the beginning, but it isn't the end.

Wayne StenderComment