Homosexuality in the Christian Church Essay
Homosexuality in the Christian Church
Homosexuality is defined as consistent fantasy, interest and arousal toward a person of the same sex. Disagreement exists about the explanation of homosexuality. On the other hand, evidence supports the fact that homosexuality has existed throughout the history of humankind and is not just a development of the 20th century. Early psychoanalytic theory concluded that homosexuality developed from conflicts derived from early developmental disturbances. Investigators more in recent times have explored neuroendocrine explanations as a cause of homosexual development. The results of these studies have been controversial.
On the other hand, a lot of experts believe that sexual orientation, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is the consequence of a multifaceted interface flanked by anatomic and hormonal influences during fetal growth. As investigators attempt to reply the question of etiology, others have worked to further define the incidence of homosexuality. Cognitive and communal expansion throughout adolescence is an intricate progression characterized by the acquisition of a sense of self-separate from family, a sexual independence, the capacity for intimacy and the ability to be autonomous. (The Christian Science Monitor)
For those young people who grow a homosexual orientation in a society based on heterosexuality, the changeover all the way through adolescence is expanded and expressed to some extent in a different way throughout the stage of acquiring a sexual uniqueness. Interviews with gay and lesbian youth specify a general pattern in which an adolescent accepts his or her own homosexuality. It is the sexual orientation toward people of the same sex. Homosexuality contrasts with heterosexuality, sexual orientation toward people of the opposite sex.
People with a sexual orientation toward members of both sexes are called bisexuals. Female homosexuals are often called lesbians. In modern years, the word gay has been applied to both homosexual men and women. Homosexuality appears in almost all societal contexts within unlike community settings, socioeconomic levels, and cultural and dutiful groups. The number of homosexuals in the inhabitants is not easy to find out, and dependable data do not subsist. Nevertheless, current estimates propose that the term homosexual may relate to 2 to 4 percent of men. Estimates for lesbians are lesser.
Not all people who slot in homosexual commotion essentially classify themselves as homosexual. (Zgourides, G. ) The move toward greater unity among Protestant denominations has continued in the 21st century; however, within denominations there is still conflict between conservatives and moderates or liberals. One for the most part divisive issue is homosexuality. Denominations debate whether to ordain practicing homosexuals and whether to bar clergy from performing same-sex marriage ceremonies. Some churches condemn all homosexual activity, while others refuse to do so.
Consequently, according to the same religious law that many of them use when religiously citing the gay and lesbian community, countless, reputable Christian leaders today, especially within African America, are in a word adulterers. However, you will not readily read of religious leaders publicly denouncing the social and spiritual validity of their fellow divorced clergy who have married more than once, like you will their `cry loud and spare not’ public cries relating to gay and lesbians desiring the equal choice and right to marry only once.
There exists no evidence that suggests Jesus ever discussed same-sex anything, publicly or privately, during his ministry. However, Christ, the bedrock of modern-day Christianity, did publicly condemn religious leaders of his age for granting bills of divorcement. However, wading through all the hype in the media these days one might just conclude the opposite. (Knutson, D. C. ) It is considered an act of unconditional grace to say that the immeasurable, unmerited grace available from God stops only at the sin of adultery. Does God’s amazing grace cover only those sins of Old Testament law that are socially comfortable by today’s standards?
Let me put it another way: Is divorce (absent of unfaithfulness) a sin? Many Christians might respond, and there is plenty of scripture to back that up. Then will God consider the bed of that remarried person defiled? Most would probably respond, No, absolutely not, because of the New Testament law of grace, and there is plenty of scripture to support this. Christian churches historically have discriminated, excluded, and persecuted homosexuals on the basis of their sexuality. The emergence of new social attitudes and modernization has contributed to the easing of such taboos.
However, the role of the church to defend minorities has led to serious conflicts between the gay community and the church’s prohibition of homosexuality. Within the Christian churches, homosexually oriented people have been excluded, marginalized and persecuted in the great majority of cases. The relatively few exceptions, which are known, are seldom taken into account. John Boswell, from whom the most important studies in this area have come, has found examples of liturgical forms for the union of same-sex partners from the churches of Asia Minor.
Nevertheless, it must be said in general that in societies, which have morally proscribed homosexual relations, treated them as taboo or legally forbidden them, the sexual ethic upheld by the churches has not represented a divergent position. (Bauserman, R. ) New reflection by the churches in this area began only under the influence of a shift in social attitudes towards sexuality. The processes of modernization and secularization were accompanied by a removal of sexuality from the realm of taboo and a new respect for the private sphere.
Furthermore, since the end of the 19th century modern sexual research has brought new insights into how the sexual identity of persons is formed. In addition, constitutional provisions guaranteeing the rule of law have made it possible for the first time for homosexual people to organize and struggle publicly for the abolition of discriminatory laws and regulations. For the most part the churches have supported the decriminalization of homosexuality only hesitantly. Nor was this new orientation primarily the consequence of new biblical insights or spiritual experiences; rather, the reconsideration was touched off by other factors.
In the first place, personal encounter with gay or lesbian people, once they no longer had to conceal themselves but could begin to speak for themselves, was certainly important. As a rule, living alongside homosexual persons on the job, in the neighborhood, within the circle of friends or relatives leads to a reconsideration of traditional social or individual prejudices. A second factor was the exposure of individuals or groups in a good number of churches and congregations to the investigations and findings of modern empirical research on sexuality.
However, this research is academically institutionalized (usually in connection with faculties of medicine) in only a few countries; and church declarations on sexual ethics draw explicitly on scientific sexological research only rarely and usually in passing. Finally, it should be noted that quite a few churches have accepted the decriminalization of homosexuality and the principle of non-discrimination against people because of sexual orientation through decisions by their competent governing bodies without however immediately reconsidering their own moral convictions and reservations on the issue.
Churches time and again have a great deal of freedom for autonomous structuring of their ordinances and especially their offices. They should work at abolishing any remaining discrimination because of individual sexual orientation in the right to hold office and accept homosexual persons as office-bearers of course, as in the case of all office-bearers, according to the measure of their suitability for the growth of the community. (Boswell, J)
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 22 September 2016
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