The Same Self-Deception

Dave Gibson, Religion editor for Politics Daily, reported the other day that conservative Christians might shift from combating gay marriage to fighting a foe that is more common—divorce among Christian straights.   I think he’s on to something.  Sins of the backyard variety are especially embarrassing.  

There’s a list of behaviors the New Testament brands as sin that not only have been ignored by Christians today, but are treated as typical, and in some cases normal.  Ever heard of Matthew 5:32, the prohibition related to divorce except on the grounds of adultery?  Ever read Hebrews 13:4  that deals with fornication—sex outside of wedlock?  How about looking at a woman to lust in Matthew 5:28, a standard that nails the entire pornographic industry and its consumers?  And yet these have all been minimized, for no other apparent reason than that they’re popular.  Leaders in the church have been divorced and remarried and some not on biblical grounds.  Virginity until marriage is as scarce in some church circles as Wooly Mammoths.  And pornography is epidemic, especially among young males.  Preach on these passages and see how long you last.  Everybody seems to have a way out—special circumstances to the point that the verses in question really don’t apply to anybody.   But taken at face value, they are challenging.   They say that we’ve sinned or that we’re currently sinning.  Now what will we do?  Rather than confess our sins like in 1 John 1:9, here’s how we often deal with the whole uncomfortable mess–go back to the verses themselves and try to explain them differently than a direct fair reading would have us understand them.  Put a stretch interpretation on them.  Spend ten minutes parsing Greek words and giving historical context that make the verses say the opposite of what they say.  But if you’re pulling those monkeyshines, then you’re not explaining the Bible, you’re explaining it away. Gay apologists try to do the same things when they re-read the Bible’s prohibitions of homosexuality.  It seems that we’re all involved in the same self-deception.  What Shakespeare said is probably true: “Few love to hear the sins they love to act.”  Personally, I’m tempted to prefer hearing the ones that others act, too.  Those dirty rotten scoundrels.  They deserve the wrath of God.

And as for me?  Well, you see, I’ve got a special situation…

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