Sunday, September 02, 2012

What that book actually says

In this video, “The Gay Debate: The Bible and Homosexuality”, Matthew Vines speaks on the theological debate regarding the Bible and the role of gay Christians in the church. He delivered the presentation at College Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, on March 8, 2012, and uploaded to YouTube a couple days later. I only found it recently, through my travels on the Internet.

Matthew began his search for answers about what Christian scriptures actually say about homosexuality, and in this presentation he outlines much of the counter argument to the rather strident apologists for fundamentalist Christianity. He does a very good, scholarly job. It may be a bit long for casual viewers, but for anyone with a keen interest in the subject, it’s well worth the time. He even provides a transcript of his presentation on his site.

To me, one of the good things about being a preacher’s kid—of a father who was a preacher’s kid—is that I have a significantly better than average understanding of what’s in the bible (I used to teach it, after all). However, that’s also a curse: I know when and how much conservatives are misusing that same bible.

As a non-theist, I would seem to have no personal stake in whether Christians better understand their own theology, but as a secular humanist and, particularly, as a person often victimised by fundamentalist preachers, I do wish more Christians took the time to learn what their theology is all about—and what it isn’t about.

Matthew Vines’ presentation helps. But I have no illusions that the people who need it most will actually watch it. But if only a few do, learn, and resolve to be better and to do better, I think that’s an important start.

And, we have to start somewhere.


Roger Owen Green said...

Man, I could have SWORN I wrote about him. And I did, in my Times Union blog, back in May. I'm surprised I didn't send you a link.

Arthur Schenck said...

You may have Roger, but if so, I've forgotten. Not that there's anything new in that!

Anonymous said...

The Bible portrays God as loving everyone, but as not approving all behaviours. In this case, he is presented as loving gays, but not accepting gay sex. For the guy in the video to pretend otherwise, may be comforting in the short term, but the long term result will be confusion and acrimony when the truth is exposed.

Google lists over a dozen critiques of the video, and though time consuming, it's better to be aware of them and gain a balanced understanding than to be duped into thinking that most Bible-followers dont know what their own Bible teaches. One of the more in-depth critiques is http://stasisonline.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/homosexual-marriage/

Arthur Schenck said...

Thank you for your comment. Because I value diversity in thought as well as reality, I've published your comment (comments on older posts are moderated).

However, I completely disagree with you. If there is a god, s/he would absolutely not disapprove of gay sex. There's nothing in the bible to suggest that the Judeo/Christian god does, either. This is a fundamental, so to speak, difference between progressive and conservative Christianity.

I can assure you that as the descendant of preachers, and especially as the victim of supposed "Christians" using their religion as a weapon of hatred against me, I have no need to gain a "balanced" view—that's what this video provides!!

You appear to hold your beliefs sincerely. I hold mine equally as sincerely, and they are opposite to yours. Freedom of religion means freedom for all religious views, as well as the freedom to have no religious views. I respect your right to hold your views just as you must accept my right to have the opposite views.

What this boils down to is simple: I believe you are wrong. You believe I am. Freedom means the right to be wrong.