If Gay Christians Go To Hell, So Are The Ones Who Don’t Recycle

Last week, I wrote a couple of pieces on Gay Christians which has generated a lot of discussion across the web (one of them has been shared 177,000 times, which is crazy).

One of the most common responses to the idea of accepting gay Christians, is that some folks feel this is a no-room-for-discussion, black and white issue that is clearly covered in scripture. For these folks, the case is clear: gay Christians who have not repented are going to hell. The position on this end of the spectrum is that the verses don’t need to undergo an exegetical process beyond the predominant historical position.  These six verses, so the argument goes, simply mean what they appear to mean in the plain English. The case is closed for discussion– gay Christians go to hell.

Fine. But there are two sides to that same coin– because if gay Christians are automatically going to hell, so are Christians who don’t recycle plastic.

Don’t believe me? It’s a black and white issue covered in scripture. To try to convince me otherwise would be a replay of serpent in the garden– “hath God really said??” (an accusation often lobbed at me).

You see, in the book of Revelation (the last book of the Bible) it does describe God’s coming judgement– it even talks about his wrath. Just take a look at how God’s future wrath pouring is described in chapter 11:

“The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small– and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18)

It’s right there in black and white. If you accept the inspiration and authority of scripture, one must affirm that there is coming a time where God will be giving out judgements and rewards. At the coming judgement, the Bible says in a straightforward way that God is going to destroy unrepentant gay Christians people who did not properly care for the environment.

That means my friends who don’t recycle plastic are going to end up in the same boat they think all of my gay friends will automatically be in (if God judges them by their own level of judging others). Why? Because unrecycled plastic, among so many other things, is destroying the earth.

Many plastic items are borderline evil: they’re products designed to be used once and then thrown away, but are made out of a material designed to last forever. Crazy, isn’t it? We use a product that is basically indestructible for single use, throw-away situations. It is truly an odd logic.

What’s more tragic is where plastic often ends up: the ocean. The problem of plastic in the ocean has gotten so bad, that we now officially have an area called the Pacific Garbage Patch, which is an approximate 5000 square km area of the ocean that is saturated with plastic. Scientist had warned in the 1980′s that with the trend of plastic ending up in the ocean, such a “garbage patch” would occur in an area where opposing currents trap the plastic.

The key problem, as discussed by the Harvard Gazette, is the fact that plastic breaks down, but doesn’t degrade:

“Plastic can float for centuries. It doesn’t biodegrade into component materials, but can be broken down mechanically into tiny bits of plastic. It can act to magnify chemical pollution in the seas, since it attracts some types of pollutants, which are passed on to creatures that ingest it. One estimate is that there’s more plastic floating in the oceans today than plankton, the tiny drifting plants and animals that form the base of the ocean’s food web.”

What we’re starting to see as a result of this breaking down of plastic without degrading, is not so much what you would imagine a “garbage patch” to look like, but would better be described as turning the ocean into a plastic soup.

Yup, we’re turning parts of the ocean into a plastic, toxic soup.

Not to mention all the other things we do to destroy the earth… carbon emissions, destroying the rain forest, over harvesting animal species, pollution,… the list goes on.

Once again, what do the holy, infallible scriptures have to say about people who destroy the environment?

“The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small– and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” (Rev 11:18)

The fact that God would be so angry at people who live in a way that is destructive to the environment, makes sense in light of Genesis. In what we often refer to as the “original mandate” we see that God’s original plan (job/role) for humanity was to be a caretaker of creation (the environment). The opposite of God’s plan, would be for humanity to become a force that is destructive towards the environment.

Which, is exactly what we’ve become in so many ways.

So, want to draw hard lines on the issue of sexuality and say that, no matter what, all the people who are X, Y, or Z are out, and that there’s no room for God to judge the individual heart?

Fine.

But, you also need to do the same thing with people who don’t recycle.

It’s what we call being consistent.

But here’s what I think (the readers digest version of Repenting of Religion by Greg Boyd): God is the only being in existence who fully knows each individual, human heart. Even when someone sins, it is only God who knows the reasons why they sinned or even still do sin (and what level of culpability they are to own). I think it is perfectly valid to debate and explore the meaning and application of various biblical texts and it is perfectly valid to help people apply biblical truth when you are speaking from the inside of their sacred story. What is wrong, however, is to declare that you factually know a certain individual is without question, going to hell. That is something known but to God.

But like I said– if you’re going to make such declarations based on a person’s sexuality alone, then to be consistent, one must make the same level of judgement based upon an individual’s recycling habits. Personally, I am uncomfortable cosigning someone to hell based on external appearance of either issue.

///

If you want to explore the Pacific Garbage Patch more, check out this documentary from Vice (they make the best mini-documentaries on the web)

About Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey, is an Anabaptist author, speaker, and blogger. He is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Theology & Missiology), is currently a 3rd year Doctor of Missiology student (a subset of practical theology) at Fuller Seminary, and is a member of the Phi Alpha Chi Honors Society. His first book, Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, is available now at your local bookstore. He is also a contributor for Time, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians, Evangelicals for Social Action, Mennonite World Review, has been a guest on Huffington Post Live, and is one of the CANA Initiators. Ben is also a syndicated author for MennoNerds, a collective of Mennonite and Anabaptist writers. Ben is also co-host of That God Show with Matthew Paul Turner. Ben lives in Auburn, Maine with his wife Tracy and his daughter Johanna.

You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X