Nobody likes to be called a ‘hater’. Hate is such a loaded word. The dictionary defines it as ‘intense dislike’, ‘extreme aversion’ or ‘hostility’ towards someone or something. It’s the antithesis of Christianity’s core value – love. However, if you stand behind the traditional Biblical stance that homosexual behaviour is a sin, than expressing that view could land you on the wrong side of the law as a perpetrator of ‘Hate Speech’ in Canada. The precedent was set early this year in a ground-breaking case in Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. William Whatcott) that calls into question our Constitutional right to ‘Freedom of Expression’. The Supreme Court ruled the distribution of anti-homosexual pamphlets was a violation of the hate speech provisions of the Human Rights Code.
The emotionally-charged issue is stirring heated debate in living rooms and church meetings across the world. Can you be a Christian and a homosexual? Is it really a sin? Christians are now increasingly being required to defend their stance on homosexuality as a pro-gay movement sweeps the globe, led by Hollywood’s elite and powerful world leaders like US President Obama.
World renowned apologist, Dr Williams Lane Craig, is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of the traditional Christian faith on the planet. Leading Atheist Richard Dawkins still refuses to debate the author of over 30 books. Dr. Craig headlined the latest Apologetics Canada Conference and has been answering critics and Christians at Universities across Canada. He granted Andrew Morrison an exclusive interview on the issue to Canadian Christianity:
Dr. Craig, the pro-gay movement is currently saturating social media and political forums throughout the world – how much of a threat does this pose to Christianity?
Political correctness just reigns in this debate. The media and Hollywood are bent on putting a very happy face on this lifestyle and do not really give us a glimpse into this sub culture and how dark and twisted and truly destructive it is. It doesn’t take but a little bit of reading to begin to familiarize yourself with the very shocking facts about the pathological and emotional damage that this lifestyle involves. The cultural attitudes towards homosexual activity have undergone a sea change in recent years so that now someone that holds to a biblical view that homosexual behaviour is immoral is regarded as bigoted, narrow minded and really a wicked person – that is a huge change. It is just another challenge. It’s extremely significant and unfortunately it seems like the church is on the losing end of this battle.
How damaging is this for the unity of the Church and its relationship with secular society?
It could fracture the church because there are certain elements in Christianity that want to accommodate themselves to homosexual practice. But those that who are more biblically faithful will say that sexual intimacy is to be reserved for the secure bonds of heterosexual marriage. It may well be the case that just as our culture’s attitude to pre-marital sex and co-habitation have completely changed from say the 1950’s, so our culture’s attitude towards homosexual behaviour may also change and become widely accepted. In both cases faithful Christians have to say that the culture is simply wrong and this represents a moral decline in Western culture and that a Biblical ethic for sexuality will reserve sexual intimacy for monogamous heterosexual married relationship.
Let’s cut to the chase, can you be a homosexual and a Christian?
Certainly you can, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. What you shouldn’t be is a confessing Christian and a practicing homosexual. What the Bible condemns is not a homosexual orientation – that’s largely out of your control from what homosexuals tells us. Many of them would love to have a heterosexual orientation and they just find themselves with this orientation. So what the Bible proscribes is homosexual activity and that is proscribed regardless of whether it is carried out by a heterosexual or homosexual person. It’s not your orientation that matters, it’s your behaviour. So a heterosexual person who engaged in homosexual acts is doing something just as wrong as a person with a homosexual orientation who engages in homosexual acts. Biblical Christianity reserves sexual expression for the bonds of monogamous heterosexual marriage and any activity outside of that regardless of that is proscribed. So a person can be a homosexual and be a faithful, practicing Christian just as a person can be an alcoholic and be a faithful, practicing Christian. I hope that just as an alcoholic can get up in one of our meetings and say I am an alcoholic but by God’s grace and the strength of Christ I am dry, I am not drinking, so someone could say I am a homosexual but by God’s grace and the power of the power of the Holy Spirit I’m living a life that is sexually pure and clean before God.
Pro-homosexual advocates would argue that this is denying certain people the right to a loving, monogamous relationship?
In one sense, I think that’s all irrelevant. The question here is about where right and wrong come from. If there is no God then I don’t think there is any absolute right and wrong, anything can be engaged in. But if there is a God, then He determines what is right and wrong. So if we believe in God we cannot ignore what God thinks about the matter. What does God think about this? God has made his will very clear on this. You are not to engage sexual activity of any sort outside of the bonds of heterosexual marriage. These other factors are irrelevant to the moral rightness or wrongness of this issue.
You have been quoted comparing the physical consequences of homosexual behaviour to that of someone who mainstreams heroin. Can you explain those remarks?
Yes, wholly apart from Biblical revelation, I think that you can give arguments that homosexual behavior is morally wrong based upon general moral principles that are almost universally accepted. For example, I think it would be widely accepted that is morally wrong to engage in self-destructive behaviour and that’s why it would be morally wrong for you to start mainlining heroin or become a chain smoker. You are destroying a human person who is intrinsically valuable so self-destructive behaviour is morally wrong. It is very easy to show that a homosexual lifestyle is one of the most destructive and dangerous lifestyles that a person could possibly adopt and that’s why I say it is as dangerous as becoming a heroin addict or chain smoker. Recent studies show homosexuals have a much greater risk of suffering from psychiatric problems than heterosexuals. We see higher rates of suicide, depression, bulimia, antisocial personality disorder, substance abuse and a shorter life expectancy than those in heterosexual relationships. So people who think that this a lifestyle can that be blissfully engaged in without thought to the consequences are fantasising – that’s a dream.
What advice would you give to Christians trying to deal with this issue in a loving and humble manner?
Making this difference between orientation and activity is really critical because what that means is that you can love and accept this person regardless of his orientation what you think is wrong is the person’s behaviour. In that sense, you see that heterosexual single people who engage in premarital sexual intercourse are doing something just as wrong as homosexuals and yet I don’t think that people would think that I have some sort of hatred or prejudice against single people, that would be absurd. So I think that distinction can go a long way to showing that you accept the other person as a person but you think that the behaviour that he’s engaged in is not right.