A sane Christian must admit that no one actually, in an objective sense, knows if there’s a hell, or knows how God feels about homosexuality. We can pretend that we know about either or both of those. We can certainly guess about them. But we cannot know about them. The Bible is open to an infinite number of perfectly legitimate interpretations. That’s one of the its great miracles: in so many ways, and about so many things, the Bible insists that ultimately we must arrive at our own understandings and conclusions.
If the Bible were perfectly clear on where God stands on the issues of hell and LGBT people, the question of homosexuality wouldn’t today be dividing Christendom in two, and no Christians would take seriously the idea that nothing in the New Testament is meant to indicate that hell is a real and literal place. But it is. And they do.
And here we are.
The bottom line is that each Christian has to decide for him or herself whether there’s a hell, and whether God is or isn’t okay with people being and living gay.
When God comes to earth, and walks and talks as a man, you can be sure that, right off the bat, you’re into a whole bunch of stuff you will never, ever fathom. But as confoundingly complex as the Bible is, the one thing within it that comes across with extreme clarity is that Jesus’ primary, fundamental mission and purpose was one of love. The one thing in the Bible that’s crystal clear is that Jesus came to help us grasp the fullness and magnitude of God’s love for us.
This is my take on Jesus, anyway: first and foremost he meant to communicate the infinite degree to which each of us, individually, is loved by God.
Once I accept that as true, I know exactly what to make of the “controversial” questions of gay people and hell. If you begin with the conviction that (as John tells us), God is love, and you take seriously Jesus declaring that the most important of all laws is that we love our neighbors, then the debate over whether God does or doesn’t send all non-Christians to hell, or whether God is okay with LGBT people, dissolves. Because thinking and talking about hell and/or God’s condemnation of gays moves you beyond what you know to be true about Jesus Christ, and into a world forever grounded in speculation.
I’m a slow-witted person. I don’t like to think too much. I prefer to go with what I know, and, where possible, to shed the rest.
The idea of a God who would condemn all non-Christians and gay people to hell forever is logically, diametrically opposed to the idea of a God who loves mankind. It would mean that God is not obeying the very law about which he himself, as Jesus, declared none greater.
That just doesn’t make sense. So I reject it.
I start with the love of Jesus; I let everything else fall away.
Good-bye the idea that “gay Christian” is an oxymoron.