Isn’t the Christian View of Sexuality Dangerous and Harmful?
by Sam Allberry
One of the most common and significant charges leveled against the traditional Christian understanding of sexuality and marriage is that it is damaging. Denying someone’s sexuality is seen as denying who that person really is. It’s telling people to repress something central to their identity and ability to flourish. This is harmful to anyone, but especially to teenagers coming to terms with their sexuality while still at a young age. Christians, it is claimed, are to blame for gay teenagers killing themselves.
This accusation has been made perhaps most forcefully by Dan Savage:
The dehumanizing bigotry set forth from the lips of faithful Christians give your straight children a license to verbally abuse, humiliate, and condemn the gay children they encounter at school. They fill your gay children with suicidal despair. And you have the nerve to ask me to be more careful with my words.1
Many Christians are beginning to conclude the traditional understanding must be wrong if it’s having this sort of effect on people. Surely, they reason, this kind of self-loathing and despair cannot be the fruit of God’s truth.
The first thing to say in response is that there have certainly been instances of young persons feeling driven to despair and even suicide in recent years—and attributing much of it to real or perceived pressure from Christian disapproval of homosexuality. This is a real situation. Many young persons are hurting profoundly on this issue. Who can deny how unspeakably tragic it is for anyone to feel such despair over sexuality?
Of all people, we Christians should feel the most grief at this problem, since we know the supreme value God places on all human life. We should care more than anyone when we hear of young persons in such torment.
Valiant Contradiction, Gentle Restoration
We must also recognize that some have been abusive in their behavior and language toward gay people, thinking that in doing so they were somehow valiantly advancing the cause of Christ. Though such behavior might come from self-professed Christians, it is itself not Christian in any way. It comes not by adhering to the message and example of Jesus, but by contradicting it….
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