Eric Marcus

Confused About God & Homosexuality

Filed By Eric Marcus | September 21, 2008 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Alex Sanchez, Bible, Dear Abby, God, lesbian, soulforce

Dear Mr. Marcus,

I've read The God Box by Alex Sanchez, right? And I was confused. The Bible does say men shall not lie with another man because of the sin, but at the same time how can you accept the lord in your life if you won't even accept yourself? Does that make sense to you, because now I am confused? I just want the world to accept me.

--Lots of Hope

Dear Lots of Hope,

You ask a very good question. And, you're right that it doesn't make sense. Reading through the Bible there's a lot that makes no sense at all. But figure that it was written 2,000 years ago by people who knew far less than we do today, who believed in things we no longer believe, in a language no one speaks (or writes) and it does make some sense that it would make no sense.

I would worry more about your personal relationship with God (if you want to have one) than what's written in the Bible. And it wouldn't hurt to keep in mind what Dear Abby said to me on this subject twenty years ago when I interviewed her for my book, Making History:

You can find all kinds of contradictions in the Bible. You can find anything you want in the Bible, but you can't take it literally. If the Bible makes people behave better, fine. But if it makes people less understanding of their fellow man, then something is wrong. Your beliefs should make you better and should make you kinder, not more hateful.

I'm encouraged by how much has changed in the world since I first interviewed Dear Abby. In today's New York Times, religion columnist Sam Freedman has a piece about one family and one church that exemplifies how far things have come in recent years toward a level of acceptance that I would have thought impossible when I was a teenager.

I hope I've been of some help to you. All best, Eric

P.S. Here's information about a pamphlet that discusses what the Bible says and doesn't say about homosexuality.

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Hi Eric,

Thanks for a great link to the NYT piece. That's really awesome that the Keels were able to find an accepting Baptist congregation. And the pamphlet you linked to is really interesting, too.

I've read Mel White's book that Alex references as a "pamphlet." :) It's definitely worth the free download!

It is interesting to watch people want to literally interpret the Bible, when that's not even what was done when it was written.

Dear Lots Of Hope,

The Bible is a flawed book written by flawed men. While it does contain some inspiring content, it also contains an even greater amount of repulsive medieval superstitious nonsensical barbaric contradictory content. In other words, the Bible ought not be used as a primary or secondary or even tertiary guide in life. There are better guides out there that clearer and shorter... much shorter. For instance, try this:

Follow the Golden Rule (which predates Christianity). Have faith in people. Believe in evidence. Educate yourself about good habits. Fight against your bad habits. Try to expand your potential for meaningful rich relationships with the important people in your life. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to be a better person. Live somewhere with lots of energy and creativity. Travel. Learn about the history of your world and its people. Enjoy the simple things in life. Enjoy the sophisticated things in life. Work hard. Play hard. Save money. Don't get into debt... ever.

Keeping those few things in mind, there really is no need to turn to magical thinking or supernatural invisible god beings. Worrying about a god being and one's gayness is as absurd as worrying about a mermaid and one's left ear.

I've posted on my blog a number of times on the subject of homosexuality and the Bible (I'm a religion professor specializing predominantly in Biblical studies). One of the recent ones is

I thought that you and perhaps also your readers might find this and some of my other posts useful.