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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is God unfair to homosexuals?

    I often hear the lament of homosexuals in regard to Christians views (which are actually Biblical views) that they cannot help how God has made them.  In doing so they have placed the blame at God's feet for their "life-style" rather than on themselves.   But is that valid argument?

   First let's look at the 6th commandment:  Thou shalt not commit adultery.

   In Jesus day, the Jews (of which he was one) were trying to validate their own righteousness by systematically going thru the law and trying to keep all of the commandments themselves.  When it came to the 6th commandment, they felt they had that one in "the bag" as all they thought it meant was you just had to keep certain male body parts away from other female body parts and you were fine.  But Jesus breaks up their little charade by saying:

   "You have heard it said, 'Do not commit adultery', but I say to you if a man looks upon a woman with lust in his heart he is already guilty of committing adultery with her in his heart.   If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. For it is better to enter heaven with one eye than to enter hell with two"

   Let's parse this section a little.

   First of all, imagine the Jewish pharisees standing around him when he said this. Their mouths must have dropped when they heard this.  Really?  It's not enough to stay "physically pure" I must stay "mentally pure" as well?    This must have felt like a smack across the face.

    Second, notice how Jesus says "man looks upon a woman with lust in his heart".   He doesn't say "a person looks up another person".   It's strictly man to woman and not the other way around.  Jesus knows that MEN have a much harder time adhering to this commandment than woman do.  He knows its in our DNA to chase every female who presents herself to us.   I would say in fact men have 100 times more trouble holding to this commandment than woman do.  (also note how Jesus' puts the problem on MEN and not WOMEN as Islam does.  He does not call for woman to cover themselves from head to toe to keep men from lusting ... instead he calls out the men).   

    Third, Jesus follows it up with some of the most incredible advice ever given by saying we should "gouge our eyes" if they offend us.   Now here I think Jesus is actually killing 2 birds with one stone.  First of all he is making a point to those who want to EARN their place in heaven by showing to what extreme they will have to go to in order to make that happen.   He knows how he made us and how incredibly difficult of a task it will be.   Next he is saying to us that he knows we are fighting out own bodies.  His illustration of eyes, feet and hands "offending us" makes them out to have a life and will of their own.  Consider it like an involuntary "reflex action" in which the body does not need the brain to tell it to take your hand away from the burner... it does it all by itself (or at least only up to the spinal cord and back). How many of us men also feel like we are not in control of our own actions.   We see a pretty woman walking down the street and INSTANTLY our eyes turn and we must look at her.   How many men do we see shown on the evening news who seem to have no control over themselves sexually?   For example, we recently had 3 teachers (in the past year) in our high school found guilty of having sexual relationships with girls under their care.  Even my son said, "What are they thinking!  Is it really worth throwing away a career and all the money you spent in college to get that job?"   Obviously other needs took a higher priority in their lives and they are paying the price for it now.

    So let me ask you this?   Is it fair God made us men they way we are?   Why didn't he make woman this way too?   Why do THEY get a break and we don't?   ( Oh I know movies and TV like to make you THINK that woman are as lustful as men are but in reality that only happens in very very rare cases.)

    Once when Jesus was teaching about divorce he said,
"You have heard it said 'A man may give his wife a letter of divorce if she does something that displeases him' but I say to you, except for marital unfaithfulness (adultery) it is wrong to divorce.   To this Peter (who was married) said, "This is difficult command.  It is better for man to not marry".    
 Jesus doesn't cut us any slack but instead points us to how things ought to be rather than how we would like them to be.   One time I was talking to my son (who's 22) about marriage and told him about a couple in which the wife became paralyzed from the neck down and was no longer able to have a normal sexual relationship with her husband.   I told him that even though this is not what the husband bargained for when he said "I do" he remained with her and loved her regardless of the fact that he would never have sex again.   My son was aghast and said " I don't think I could do that!"   But you must ask yourself: "Is God being unfair to the married man?"   Should he not have the right to have sex?  Shouldn't he be allowed to divorce her and find another mate in order to be happy?   Shouldn't the wife adopt the philosophy of  "If you love something set it free!" and let her husband go?  After all sex is a vital part of being human... isn't it?

    That brings me to my final point.   Our world has indoctrinated us on how vital sex is to us.  TV, books, videos filled with countless doctors, lecturers and gurus and told us we are sexual beings and it is wrong to pent-up those feelings and urges.   We instead should express ourselves sexually whenever and with whoever (as long as its consensual, the other person is older than 17 unless its the case of an older woman and a younger man then the age requirement may need to be overlooked or dropped  to 13 etc.. etc.. etc...) ,  We are told it's as needed as food and water for us to be healthy humans.  But what does Jesus say? 

    When Jesus started his ministry he fasted for 40 days (went without food) and the Bible says that at the end "he was hungry"  (starving would be a better word).   The devil tempted him to turn stones into bread and eat.  Now of course no one today would scold Jesus for taking care of his own physical needs.  But Jesus says "Is life more than bread?"   The answer to that question is of course NO.   He trusts God will provide food for him when the time is right.   He knows that while "public opinion" might be on his side to use his power (his right) to fill his stomach,  he must instead rely on God.

     We too must also ask ourselves, "Is life more than sex?"   Is it sooOOOooo important that we should abandon God's commands?   Jesus says, "If you love me, you will keep my commands".   You will put him before everything else just as he put US before himself to save us by dying for us on the cross to do all we could not do ourselves.

    So back to the original question:  Is God unfair to homosexuals?   I think in light of this you would say NO. 


   To those who say "Because Jesus never said anything directly against homosexuality and only Paul did in his letters,  must mean that Jesus was OK with it and Paul was just a bigot"  I will say this.

  1. Jesus' 3 year ministry was to the Jewish people who knew the Old Testament teachings.  Telling them that homosexuality is wrong would be like union president reminding his members it's wrong to work past 5 o'clock without getting paid overtime.   He doesn't need to say that because they already know that.   Instead he spends his time with them teaching them that they cannot work their way to heaven but must rely 100% on God's grace and love.
  2. Paul was ministering to the Gentiles (non Jews) who had no knowledge of the Old Testament and so he needed to instruct them on these matters
  3. An absence of discussion does not mean it's condoned.  For example, I have never heard my pastor say anything in his sermons about how smoking marijuana is bad.  That does not mean he is "cool with it".  He has only so much time to preach and cannot cover every topic under the sun. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Out of Order

   Ever go to a vending machine when you are hungry and have no time to go out and get a bite to
eat.  You put your money into the machine, punch your selection and ... NOTHING!  A big fat nothing comes out of the machine.  It's frustrating.  You bang on it.  You shake it back and forth and still...NOTHING.   Even more frustrating is when you find out that someone else earlier in the day tried it and got nothing as well.  You may even yell at them and say "Why didn't you put an 'Out of Order' sign on it to warn others?"  That machine is utterly worthless.   It's not hurting anyone (not emitting deadly radiation or catching fire) but it's not helping anyone either.

   A common argument for anything these days seems to be....

   "I am not hurting anyone when I am doing ________!"

   While that is true, replace "urt" with "elp" and you get

   "I am not helping anyone when I am doing ________!"

   This argument is especially used by those who want drugs to be legalized.   Their belief seems to be that they are an island with a population of ONE and they should be able to do on that island whatever they want.  The libertarian in me wants to say "Go ahead", but there is more to this problem than just "I am not hurting anyone" we need to discuss.  Namely, you are of no help to anyone else either.

   This is often the most over-looked reason for not doing drugs.   While, yes, you are not theoretically hurting anyone when you are in your apartment zonked out of your mind, you are also, like that worthless vending machine, of no use to anyone else around you.   Maybe you should slap an "Out of Order" sign on your forehead to alert possible friends and family that you are of no use to them. That way when they come to you because...

  • Their car is broken down and they need a ride
  • Their girl-friend of 3 years has broken up with them for another guy and they feel like killing themselves
  • They have been diagnosed with cancer or some other disease.
  • Their father or mother has just passed away and they feel lost.
  • They just got their 3rd rejection notice from their college list
  • They just lost their job and they are overdrawn at the bank.
  • The list goes on and on...
   They will know you are of no use and worthless to them as a friend or family member.  It will tell them that they should just move on to get their help from someone who will be 100% available to them rather than waste their time on you.    Furthermore, just like you pass by that vending machine that has cost you so much in lost dollars because it's not worth the risk, you also will see friends pass you by as well because you are not worth the risk either.

Don't rush the experiment

   We have heard one of the great benefits in our country is that we have 50 laboratories of freedom to experiment, unlike other "national" countries where a one-size-fits-all solution is forced on all of its inhabitants at the same time.  Take for example, Colorado's experiment with the legalization of marijuana.  They can test the waters and see what happens.  Will it bring down their state or will it do nothing at all?  We will have to wait and see.   But many don't want to wait.   They see Colorado's choice to legalize as reason to push that same legalization here in California.  But would you rush to try a new cancer drug that has only been tried in a half-dozen mice or so?  Of course not.  You would wait until further studies are done on mice, monkeys and a small population of people before trying it out on a whole populous.  That's the rational thing to do.   But whoever said lawmakers were rational?   Rather than wait they are already pushing us to legalize as well.

   What could go wrong?

   A lot.

Medical differences between Marijuana and Alcohol.

  Despite recent opinion statements made by Obama (supposedly the smartest man in the world) that marijuana is no worse than alcohol.  Marijuana is much worse than alcohol.  People often get caught up in the short-term effects of marijuana with what is done by drinking alcohol.   But this is only the tip of the iceberg.  First of all, alcohol and marijuana cause their "high" in 2 different ways.  Alcohol reduces the oxygen level in the blood stream and the brain is very sensitive to oxygen levels (in fact brain cells are the first to die when oxygen levels become too low).   Kids who cannot obtain alcohol sometimes try playing a dangerous game called "The Choking Game" in which one person chokes another for a period of time to cut off blood to the brain to cause an alcohol-like high (sometimes to a disastrous end).  Marijuana on the other hand gives its high a different way.  It does so by its main ingredient: THC which inhibits neuron transmission in various parts of the brain by binding to neuron receptors.  This interferes with short term memory and cognitive (decision making) functions which are important functions for growing adults under the age of 25 (the brain continues to grow up to that age well beyond the legal age of 18 in Colorado). Secondly, alcohol is removed from the body by the liver and 24 hours after you have consumed it, it is completely gone and once removed your are back to your old self.  Marijuana on the other hand does not get removed so quickly as THC binds itself to fat cells and remains in the body for 1-2 weeks after it is ingested. (a simple urine test can detect its presence for two weeks) 

   Question: where is that largest concentration of fat cells in the body?

   Answer: The brain.

   Fat acts as an insulator for the electrical connections in the brains neurons similar to rubber or plastic sheathing on copper wires.  THC has been shown to be released from these "fat reserves" during times of stress.  This is not something you want in your body when you are taking an exam or working on a crucial project deadline at work.

 Beyond the medical issues:

   In conversations I have had with my kids, I have told them the problem with ANY kind of drug (including alcohol) is that it makes you unavailable to being there for others.   You might as well slap a sticker to your forehead saying "Out of Order" while you are drunk or high because that is basically what you are.  Of course many will say "So what? It's my life!"  but that is not entirely true.  We all have friends and family who rely on us.   We have no idea what may come our way where we might be called upon to help.   A broken down car.   A car accident.  A sudden illness.   A fire.  A broken relationship.  A mental breakdown.   A feeling of hopelessness and suicide.   Anything.   But because you were stoned or drunk, you were not there for the other person.  You are utterly useless.  

    Here also is another difference between alcohol and marijuana. Alcohol can be consumed for other reasons other than intoxication.  For example,  it will often take me over a couple of hours to drink an entire beer (maybe an entire football game) and I enjoy every sip of my Sam Adam's.  People even  O'Doul's alcohol free beer just because they like the flavor and want nothing more.  Would a person EVER want to smoke a THC-Free marijuana joint(if there ever was one)??   Probably not.  Because there is no enjoyment in marijuana apart from the high it gives you (the aroma is actually quite nauseating).