May 5, 2015

The Bible and Homosexuality III: Cultural Paradigm Shift & Religio Illicita

What we are now seeing is a culture and many churches that are accepting homosexuality and other sexual immoralities as alternative lifestyles. The sexually anomalous transgenderism has even come into the foreground courtesy of former Olympic Decathlete Bruce Jenner and his much publicized gender confusion (self-admitted confusion). These very same behaviors are described as a sexual sin in Scripture when viewed through a conservative interpretive lens. This conservative or traditional point of view has put Bible believing Christians at odds with a majority of the modern culture. This includes those that have a liberal theological perspective that is decidedly pro-homosexual or prone to other types of liberal presuppositions. This of course has earned Christians (conservative) not only the ire of activist and militant homosexuals but also the ire those that approve of that lifestyle. Christians are increasingly viewed as intolerant, hateful or are considered anti-homosexual “haters” for not accepting this fast-growing cultural norm.

Due to the environment that is growing increasingly hostile to obedient Christians, it is conceivable that Christians may begin to enter a phase of persecution for the belief because their anti-sin viewpoint is often viewed as anti-homosexual. Christian bakeries being fined for not baking a cake for a gay couple is just the beginning. People that wish to live a moral upright and biblical life are going to come under mounting pressure to conform to a homosexual schema. A schema or plan that is driven by a litigious and politicized atmosphere as we see now in the United States Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges and have already seen in the Canadian court system’s Lund v. Boissoin

We also see it in incidents of gay marriage being placed on voting ballots in in as many as 31 states, most recently four states: Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington. This is followed by the fact that it has been legalized in six states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont; and the District of Columbia as of November 2012 (Baylon).

If Christians do not conform to this shifting cultural paradigm they will eventually be pushed to the margins of society just as the early Christians were for their “radical” views in relation to the cultural norms of their day. This pro-homosexual view in the culture that surrounded the early church is no better exemplified than through quote(s) of some of the early Church fathers. Athenagoras who was a 2nd century apologist mentioned the vast difference in morals between the Christians and their accusers in his A Plea for the Christians. He state in defense against the culture that they had set up a market for fornication and established infamous resorts for the young for every kind of vile pleasure and…

“They do not abstain even from males, males with males committing shocking abominations, outraging all the noblest and comeliest bodies in all sorts of ways” ~Athenagoras (c.175, E), 2.143. (Bercot 347)

Tertullian never being one for mincing of words was more direct and to the point…

[In contrast to the surrounding culture] The Christian man confines himself to the female sex ~ Tertullian (c.197, W) 3.51. (Bercot 347)

It has often been the case that what is accepted by the culture is not accepted or approved of in the Bible. So what we end up getting is controversy and conflict over ideologies. One ideology is worldly and usually ignorant of Christian viewpoints. The other is biblical viewpoint that understands the world but for reasons of obedience to God, refuses to conform to the culture even upon risk of persecution. We see a pro-homosexual view that is deemed acceptable and even encouraged and reinforced by gay marriage being placed on ballots nationwide in American culture. Any view opposed to this cultural trend comes under the criticism of not only people that are pro-homosexual but now are even coming under the gaze of those that have power to influence the lex terrae or the laws of the land in westernized nations (Craine).

Based on aforementioned observations, it seems that true Christianity founded in proper biblical exegesis that views homosexuality as sin has fallen out of favor in the culture at-large. In a cultural manner Christianity may be starting to be viewed as a modern form of religio illicita as opposed to religio licita. It is commonly understood that the United States has no official State sponsored religion and its Constitution even forbids the US Government form making any law, “respecting an establishment of religion” (US Constitution-First Amendment).

The first amendment also prevents government from stopping a Christian from stating their views against the sin of homosexuality. Conversely, this does not prevent a culture within a nation from alienating and marginalizing a religion it deems as “backwards” or out of step with what is currently culturally acceptable. In this way I believe Christianity is de facto (in reality) becoming religio illicta (an illegitimate religion) in the eyes of the culture that often times has more power over people than the government because the culture affects those in government. This is not a false Christian persecution complex folks. This is happening right before our eyes. The culture sways the whims of the courts.

So I suppose that when biblical beliefs or The Bible is outlawed, then only Christians will be outlaws.

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