The flowchart above has been circling the internet for a couple weeks it seems. At least I’ve seen it a few times in the last month or so.
Now, the ideas here have the capability of opening up a six-pack of can-O-worms, and I
would like to focus on one single issue with this chart instead of the whole idea of gay marriage and how Christians should feel and vote. That is material for another, much longer post.
The big problem with this chart is not that it advocates gay marriage, not that it disparages Christians who disagree, and not that it is a weak argument. (The weakness is in how it addresses its audience; it will only motivate those who already agree with it.)
The big problem is the bad, in one instance very bad, hermeneutics. It’s an interesting chart because it is directed almost entirely at Christians: it focuses on the idea of homosexuality as sin and uses almost entirely Biblical evidence to say that it is not. As such, however, it is obvious that the creator is either an uneducated Christian or not a Christian at all. Because the principles of Biblical interpretation applied in it are atrocious. I read this chart as an indictment of Christian education as much as anything. Each argument relies upon a bad hermeneutic.
First: the logical fallacies. The fact that the OT and Paul in the NT forbid things that most Christians do not consider forbidden anymore (e.g. eating shellfish and women with uncovered heads) does not give us free license to disregard any other commandments that they might give. The references to shellfish and head coverings are red herrings and false analogies. They might have something to do with the issue at hand, but the logical connection is not made explicit. It needs a lot more discussion and explication to delineate what exactly Christians must adhere to and disregard as far as Biblical commands go.
Second: the terrible hermeneutics. First the naïve claim that the Bible defines marriage as “one-man-many-women, one man many wives and concubines” etc. This is an old problem for which any good book on Biblical interpretation will identify the flaw: what is described in the Bible is not what is prescribed in the Bible. Just because these things happened and are documented in the story of the Bible does not mean that they are definitive or commanded behaviors. The heroes of the faith have many wives and concubines or commit rape—that means that they are broken human beings, like all of us, not that we should do the same. Second, the “original language” argument. Ugh. Aside from needing some sort of citation. . . The main passage in the NT that condemn homosexuality (the beginning of Romans) is not dependent upon the definition of a single word. The minor references later (usually included in lists of sins) have footnotes in my Bible that explain the nature of the original word. A natural reading of the text seems incontrovertible, in my humble opinion.
Conclusion: The issue of Homosexuality and how we should treat it as a society and as a religion is a complex, important topic that needs to be fully understood, analyzed, and prayerfully considered by the Evangelical community. I believe this is happening currently. This chart, however, does great violence to the debate by 1) sacrificing intellectual and hermeneutical honesty in order to rationalize an appealing belief. 2) insulting those who are struggling for an understanding on the other side of the issue.
Remember, I am not here trying to set up how Christians should treat homosexuals, vote about gay marriage, or view homosexuality in general, other than to say that we should not run roughshod over the Bible in order to arrive at an appealing conclusion. I think the conclusion of the chart is fairly close to how Christians should actually view and treat Homosexuals and Homosexuality in general. But the Reasons are all wrong. Christians change their behavior in response to revelation; not the other way around.