God Hates Gays…

…so claims, not only the Westboro Baptist Church member picketing a funeral (may he be sat on by a 300-pound Marine), but also the New Atheist, as an argument that Christianity is a terrible blight on the face of earth.

Though I wish it were otherwise, this seems to be the height of atheistic argument these days. The Christian today is rarely faced with any remonstration over his moral code, or an even halfway-decent explanation of the existence of the universe. Rather, conversations with these Deep, Deep Philosophers tend to revolve around extensive lists of how many people God has killed, how many wars have been started over God and, to stay with the subject, how God hates gay people.

The first problem with this display of intellectual genius is unintended by our Godless Friends, but is still worth briefly pointing out:

Atheist: There is no God.
Theist: Actually, I think-
Atheist: He hates gay people!
Theist: Wait, what?

The New Atheist

The second problem with this method of argument – or of emoting – is that the Atheist – in all his brilliance, scientific knowledge, reason and logic – devolves suddenly to the intellect of a Creationist. This wouldn’t be so bad, if he wasn’t so very devoted to making fun of Creationists. As it stands, he is, and so we are in the hilarious situation of viewing, on the one hand, a decrial of “those idiots who interpret the Bible literally and apply it directly to the modern day” and on the other hand the attack that, “Look there it is. Right there in the Bible. God wants you to kill gay people.” The atheist makes the exact argument that the WBC member might make, only while the latter says it with a smile, the atheist says it with a frown. It never seemed to me sportsmanlike, to be able to mock narrow interpretations of the Bible while narrowly interpreting the Bible.

Now, contrary to popular belief, Catholics don’t just mutter aimlessly when confronted with the Old Testament. The Old Law is not some awkward contradiction that we’ve studiously ignored for – oh, I dunno – 2000 years. There is an explanation for the seemingly harsh laws of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and though it’s not the point of this post, I’ll give it a rundown for clarity’s sake.

The Old Law was not complete. It was a punishment; a necessity. It was given to the Jews after they returned to idolatry of the Golden Calf. It was a way to bring order, survival and rudimentary justice to a tiny nation of idolatrous, unorganized, unjust, petty, weak and evil men. The old commandment, “An eye for an eye” was not nice, but it can hardly be argued that it wasn’t fair. It was rudimentary justice. It could be equally rephrased as, “Just an eye for an eye; don’t kill the guy.”

To put it simply, the ancient world understood capital punishment as an answer to sin – sin such as homosexuality, theft and murder. This becomes clearer when you realize that much of the Law was orientated towards the Jewish people simply surviving – they could not afford to regard sex as mere pleasure or recreation, less they cease to reproduce and die out. Homosexuality leads to the death of the nation; it is thereby punishable by death. This, while rightfully outrageous in our post-Christ ears, made sense to an immoral nation fighting for survival.

These same fallen idolaters would not have understood, nor followed, the command to love sinner, hate the sin. This would take some time. And – oh, happiness! – the Old Law was fulfilled, growing to perfection until Christ said, “Alright, the world is ready. The punishment is over. The law and the commandments prepared you for this new commandment: Love.” And the world has – to a large extent – agreed to it. We could not have the mercy, forgiveness, and tolerance of the modern world without the strictness of the ancient world.

But this isn’t an unfathomable idea. Young children are likewise given harsh laws and few reasons. “If you steal, you’ll get spanked.” “If you curse, I’ll wash your mouth out with soap.” Why? Because it meets children at their level. They understand cause-and-effect, not the words, “Don’t curse or you’ll hurt your friend’s feelings.” That comes later. Apply that to the scale of humanity and you get an imperfect analogy to the work of God.

There is so much more to say, but it would require a few books. I’ll see if I can write a fuller post on the topic. The interesting thing is that I make the exact same argument with both Creationists and Atheists: it angers them both.

But this is all besides the point. The point is that the atheist argument does not even deserve this answer, because it is essentially saying that “The Author of Morality doesn’t agree with my morality.” It’s inherently contradictory. Think about it. To say that God is evil is to judge Him by a standard of morality. Where does this standard of morality come from? If our morality is simply a naturally selected, evolutionary by-product – as your average atheist will claim – then it makes no more sense to judge a supernatural being with that morality then it would be to condemn Praying Mantes for eating their mates, or a monkey for rape. If morality comes from society, then you cannot condemn some one outside of that society for immorality. If, however, morality comes from outside of us, from God, then charging him with immorality admits his existence, which admits his supremacy, which makes judging him completely ridiculous, and requires the atheist to admit the truth of theism to even cry out the contradiction that, “The giver of morality is immoral!” This argument – while wonderfully emotionally charged – is irrational, and can be ignored as such.

But we don’t ignore it. Even as the irrational judgments of the Judge fly, we never say, “He arbitrarily changed the moral code”. No, he fathered the world to the place it is now. Arguing that the Old Law should be put into place now is like washing out an adult’s mouth with soap. Arguing that because the Law strikes us as unnecessarily harsh now it was never necessarily harsh is like arresting parents for ever washing out their children’s mouths at all.

God loves our gay brothers and sisters. He dies for them. He weeps over their sins as well as my own. I thank Him for, beginning from the foundation of the Law to it’s fulfillment in Christ, calling us to that same love. I thank Christianity for transforming the culture of the world to the point where it is now acceptable to love the sinner and hate the sin.  I am glad we can look back on the Old Testament and be shocked. I am glad that we can scarcely understand the ways of our ancestors, so changed are we by the law of Christ; by the law of Love.

So my atheist friends, please, for your own sake – as well as for the general level of decency and tact within the Great God Debate – stop with the battle cry, “God hates gays.”

  • Anonymous

    Awesome, I can definitely see some Mere Christianity in your morality argument.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01895914612865428337 Cléo

    Thanks for giving my chaotic mind some rest with solid logic, truth and humor. Greetings from Belgium.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09942928659520676271 JoAnna

    I can't stand the God Hates Shrimp Fallacy, and it seems like an atheist will bring it up every single time. *sigh* Fun fact: if you go to the WBC website (which I don't recommend), they have an FAQ about their beliefs. The answer to the question, "Doesn't Jesus say to love your neighbor?" is essentially, "In the Bible it says 'Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated…" Therefore, since God can hate, so can I." *headdesk*

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16201061179479380167 Paige Kellerman

    Such a fantastic post! Really enjoying the blog. Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03661493523805404878 M.

    Hey Marc you should probably change your coffee paypal button. I mean, I assume coffee is a different price at college :P

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02871625814389904112 Sophia’s Favorite

    One recalls Belloc talking about the simpleminded Darwiniacs, who could only ever argue against the "Bible Christian"; when, in a debate against H. G. Wells, Belloc pointed out that Catholics have never believed in a literal apple nor a literal garden, Wells thought he was dodging the question.Another fun argument to make, when idiot atheists make this arguement, is, "Dude, you're an anti-Semite." After all, it's not Christians who get their morals from the Law and the Prophets.

  • Anonymous

    My brother loves this blog, but I don't follow it. He seems to think that since we are at the same university, we should meet…I think he secretly just wants your autograph….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06077615459336446057 Michael

    I would hate to be identified by one simple act I did. I'm hetero but I don't go around flaunting it. God loves me the way I am and wants me to get better. Love is unselfish, its the cross. Death to this life of lust, selfishness and pleasure, only to live for the truth of intrinsic value and resurrection. I'm beloved son of God. Try and take that away! You can't! Only I can.

    • Donalbain

      Of course you go around flaunting it. You go out and hold hands with your girlfriends. You might even kiss them in public. You talk about them to your friends. You would introduce her to strangers as your girlfriend. When you are asked if you are seeing anyone you would say, without much embarrassment, “Yes, I have a wonderful girlfriend”. When you write Christmas or birthday cards, you might sign them from both of you. If you work in an office, you might have picture of the two of you on your desk. One day you might hold a big expensive ceremony where you pronounce to the world that not only are you heterosexual, but you will totally only have sex with this one example of the opposite gender for the rest of your life.

      All the things that people consider “flaunting” in a homosexual person are things that straight people take for granted every single day of their lives.

      • http://www.facebook.com/kickintheface Jacob Timothy Michael Hughes

        Heterosexuals don’t have pardes down the street to mark that we’re proud to be straight.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02871625814389904112 Sophia’s Favorite

    Yes, but to self-identify as "gay" is, by and large, to embrace the existential crisis that comes of identifying oneself by a sex act.Personally I deny the existence of "sexual orientation". Human instinct is a dumb monkey that will try to mate with anything that resembles an orifice, and dendrophilia isn't an "orientation" either.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15825109896111176650 Giuseppe Ambrose

    300 pound Marine. Are you saying Marines are fat?

  • Anonymous

    The 'average atheist' doesn't believe in supernatural beings. They're smarter than that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02871625814389904112 Sophia’s Favorite

    @Most recent anonymous: The average atheist in the English-speaking word doesn't actually know what the word "God" means when said by a Christian, nor the intellectual pedigree of his conception of morals. There's a reason Nietzsche named them "shallow-skulls" (englische Flachköpfe)."Brights" are a movement named on the same principle as Democratic People's Republics.And maybe people would take your claims of intellectual superiority more seriously if you could figure out how to sign a name in a combox.

  • Paradoxnode

    God cannot be judged as unjust or immoral because God is not seen to exist. What can be judged as immoral and unjust, is the code found in the Bible, Old and New Testaments alike. As an Atheist, I do not judge God. What I judge is the human delusion of God’s existence, and the claims to moral authority that proceed from that delusion. I will, however, concede this much: God does not hate gays. Christians hate gays. Christian theology is an attack on homosexuality. Indeed Christian theology condemns human nature at several points. It’s interesting to note that homosexual behavior is found in several hundred species. Homophobia, however, is only found in one.

    • Donalbain

      A character in a fictional story can be judged to be moral or immoral.

  • Marc Barnes

    It’s interesting to note that rape and the eating of one’s spouse after copulation is found in several hundred species. Rejection of such ‘natural tendencies’, however, is only found in one.

    If you want to take the high ground, don’t look to the apes.

  • Scott Hebert

    Sophia: Nice name.

    BTW, this argument is more or less the argument Lewis advances in The Problem of Pain (and a bit of Miracles).

    Marc: Excellent article. Is there any way I can discuss something with you privately?

  • Donalbain

    You totally defeated that straw-atheist! Well done!

    • Marc Barnes

      lol

  • Jake

    Im a 17 year old Catholic Homosexual male.

    No matter how hard life is for me right now being a catholic homosexual, I ask God for forgiveness, strength, his love, his mercy, his help to overcome and realize that God will always love me no matter what or who I am.

    God died for ME and i should give my love and all to him for what he has done for me.

    After researching for many years on Homosexuality and Christianity/Catholicisim I have realized that today God put me in this world to strive to be with him no matter how much crap and problems i face with my homosexuality. I DID NOT CHOOSE to be what i am to day cus why would i choose a sexual orientation that will get judged and looked upon on. After realizing that God doesnt hate me but the sin made me realize that I can accept myself for who I am. And after I accepted myself for who i am My faith with Jesus has gone way up and felt his strong love. I wish people would realize that there are a few or even thousands of Catholic Homosexuals like me that do believe in God and that people should not judge us for what we orientate but love and respect us as a brother or a sister.

    Please pray for others like us in this world. Its hard dealing with this situation in our messed up society. I just want my voice to be heard and i want people to understand and acknowledge that there are people like us that LOVE GOD even if we are gay.

    John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

    • Peter Uhel

      Respect for sharing with us. I also know a Catholic homosexual male, he struggles, and I’m sad to tell you that he’s practicing. I’m praying for both of you. AMDG.

    • Indeed

      Jake,

      I pray for you guys regularly: The cross of same-sex attraction is one of the heavier ones — but perhaps He allows that cross only to those to whom He also gives the grace for saintliness? It is a heavier burden you have, my friend, than the burden of my own sexual temptations (though they’re plenty troublesome). For of course what society ought to do is to show love and dignity for all us sinners, while discouraging the sin. Well, society stopped discouraging any sexual sins a long time ago, for all of us who wrestle with purity. But for folks with same-sex attraction, it also failed to love them and acknowledge their dignity! Growl.

      May God bless you and me both with the strength to live chastely, and all the rest of us in this warped culture, too. Sexual sin, whether it’s porn or fornication or contraception or any other stupid anti-love or anti-life or anti-family thing, produces spiritual blindness. But there is one who gives sight to the blind, praise God.

      May he enlighten us all.

  • Cruel

    Fresenius ensures the renal scam isn’t going anywhere anytime soon ($5k/wk/pt from general fund).
    Chevron/Rockafeller’s efforts to repress alternate technologies/fuel sources, petrolium power plants in the 20th century has guarenteed petrolium won’t be phased out.
    The gods extensive use of this tactic occurred in this Situation as well:::The proprietors’ financial interests and the career paths of their offspring ensures the gods are free to enforce their positioning to the end despite destroying my childhood to get here.
    The only way Planet Earth will achieve sustainability is if we “take out the trash” and the gods allow the most disfavored among us to be terminated by eliminating reincarnation for those individuals. The bouy is sinking, social decay is becoming ruinous and unless it begins to rise to the surface the gods will get their way and life will end on Planet Earth.

  • Cruel

    Although they may argue, Hawaiians are the first Americans. Long before the Pilgrims, these Polynesians left their motherland for this new place, thereby condemning them as the first rejects kicked out.
    They made a big mistake bringing their pigs, because this is a big negative in their diet. Too much fish, too much pork.
    This is one of the reasons the Japanese got hammered. A minor reason, 3.11 never woudl have occurred without Korean Comfort Women, Rape of Nankind, historical examples of monsterous behavior punished twice with nuclear crisis, etc., but still a valid point with merit:::The Cove.

  • James

    I don’t know that the atheist argument is quite so simple as you describe. The condemnation seems to be not of the idea of God, but of the religion itself, going along the lines of “I know this to be moral and this to be immoral, but your concept of God does not synchronize with my concept of morality. Ergo, your concept of God is flawed.

    • James

      That said, I do agree with the overall message of the post. This blog is quickly becoming one of my favorite, unhealthy addictions. Thank you bad catholic. Thank you for being my cocaine.

  • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

    Not only that, but since we don’t have the full details and awareness of all situations and circumstances back then, it’s the height of arrogance to assume we fully understand what was just or unjust back then.

    As shown in this heartbreaking tale from Theodore Dalrymple, what some might call harsh or cruel… well I’ll let him say it:

    They have made a world in which the only freedom is self-indulgence, a world from which—most terrible of all—prison can sometimes be a liberation.

  • 4yourconsideration

    Love the christian, hate the christianity.

  • neratzi

    God hates hypocrities as well.


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