In case you haven’t heard, the Supreme Court voted to redefine marriage to remove the focus on creating and raising children in stable relationships. Now marriage is just for any two or more people who have feelings for each other, and when the feelings go, so does the marriage. The commitment is gone, the child-centered focus is gone. It’s just about the needs of selfish adults.
So, remember that when you are processing today’s decision on gay marriage – not every person who calls herself a Christian actually is what she claims to be. For many of them, religion is just a custom, like the clothes they wear, or the food they eat. They don’t really believe a word of the Bible, and just want to dance and sing in church for the sake of their own happiness. There is nothing cognitive going on in some churches. No understanding, no authenticity.
You can read Justice Scalia’s dissent to the decision here.
How should Christians respond?
This post by Lenny Esposito at Come Reason made me laugh. He writes about how Christians should respond to same-sex marriage, since the Supreme Court is about to rule on it, and is guaranteed to rule against natural marriage.
Lenny has arguments against same-sex marriage that are made on the basis of logic and evidence. But not everyone is happy with his approach.
I did receive a few responses from people who wrote something to the effect of “All we need is the Gospel. Share the Word with them.” I’ve run into such thinking before, with those who question the necessity of rigorous training in logic and apologetics. They think such things are “of men.” They admonish me and other believers to simply let loose the “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17) to fight our battles.
I think such talk is sincere but misguided. First of all, we live in a post-Christian culture. The Bible is not taken to be the final answer on issues such as same-sex marriage. That’s why if I quote the Bible to a person who supports homosexual unions, it really doesn’t sway them at all. In fact, many times it solidifies their stance since they see themselves as more modern and progressive than some 2,000 year-old book.
Anyone who has been paying attention to the changes of belief about this issue can quickly see my point. We’ve been offering Biblical admonition against homosexuality and same-sex marriage for over 30 years. Which way did the culture shift? Which way did the Church shift? According to a newly released Pew study, over 60% of Catholic and mainline Protestants support same-sex marriage.1 Even among Evangelicals, the support for same-sex marriage has DOUBLED in the last ten years.2 All this even though the scriptural admonitions against homosexuality are clear and have been discussed repeatedly, especially in churches.
In the words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” I can answer that: it isn’t.
I’m actually not sure that any churches have talked about the Bible says about any issue in the real world. Mine certainly never does, and the pastors are all quite proud of preaching the gospel every week and never talking about current events, law or policy. It’s just Bible, Bible, Bible all the time, and never a word about how it is supported by evidence, or how it applies to real world issues. No wonder churched Christians get the idea that Christianity is just about their emotional state, and not about reality.
More from Lenny:
While I do believe that the Christians who think quoting scripture is the proper way to face these questions are sincere, they are trying to make scripture into something that it is not. They think scriptures are some kind of secret weapon that cannot be resisted. They see it as a sort of mystical summons of the Holy Spirit who will magically change those with whom they’re engaging; a few phrases that one only needs to voice in order to change people’s hearts and minds.
But “the Word” is not a magical incantation and it’s wrong to think of it that way. Such is an unbiblical view of scripture itself. Yes, the Holy Spirit is the one who transforms lives. It is he would is responsible for our understanding our sinfulness and our need for Christ. But that doesn’t mean the Spirit will reshape every unregenerate idea, even among believers. That’s why Paul didn’t quote scripture to the Athenians in Acts 17 when he witnessed to them. Instead, he used popular poets and thinkers they were familiar with to make his point. When Paul was held prisoner in Jerusalem, he didn’t quote scripture to his captors, but appealed to Roman law (Acts 22:25) in order to escape flogging.
I thought it was worth quoting what Lenny said. I think he is more familiar with the normal church background where people rely on feelings and nudges and intuitions, and are hyper-spiritual about everything.
So what do you think? Is he right about this?
He didn’t provide a case against same-sex marriage in his post, so I’ll just link to my case against same-sex marriage, and summarize the main points below:
- Celebrating same-sex unions is bad for children
- Celebrating same-sex unions is bad for public health
- Celebrating same-sex unions is bad for business and religious liberty
And of course there have been more recent studies since I wrote that which are relevant, like this one that I blogged about previously. There’s much more to the case for natural marriage than my 3 points, but it’s a start.