reconciling my beliefs with religion

(source: slate.com)

This is going to be one monster of a post, but in light of recent events, I felt the need to get my thoughts in order and articulate all the conflict that’s going on inside my head.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Many were overjoyed at the ruling; on social media, members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike added a rainbow-tinted hue to their profile pictures and made use of the #LoveWins hashtag. Even companies got in on the celebration and added rainbow colors to their logos.

And yet in the midst of all this celebration, some people, primarily conservative Christians, weren’t in a joyous mood. Some of these people are acquaintances of mine — people that I haven’t known for long but have gotten along with really well.

Before I get into my personal opinions on same-sex relationships and marriage, let’s back up a little.

Around this past April, a chance meeting in an on-campus dining hall led to me getting involved in a student fellowship at my university. Up until this point, and even now, I suppose, religion has never been a huge priority in my life. Although my parents were both raised Christian to some degree, I had a largely secular upbringing. My visits to church were few and far between. I didn’t really have a label as to how I felt regarding religion, but after some thought, I started to identify as agnostic. Is there a God? Who knows? I thought. I guess I’ll find out when I die. Basically, I’ve been on the fence when it comes to whether God exists.

Anyways, over the past few months, I’ve been meeting one-on-one with a student mentor and I’ve essentially been taking a crash course in the basics of Christianity — God’s relationship with man, Jesus’ sacrifice, the resurrection and what it entails, etc. I like what I’ve learned so far and I’m curious to know more; to dig deeper into God’s teachings and also to dig deeper into the legitimacy of the Bible. I tend to approach things from a scientific, factual point of view, so any proof from outside sources that backs up the events of the Bible is of interest to me. Although in the past I’ve been somewhat of a skeptic, I’ve been doing my best to keep an open mind and really educate myself before making a decision regarding my faith.

I’ve met a lot of great people through this fellowship. They are kind, warm-hearted people who have welcomed me with open arms, and that’s something I’ve been really touched by. However, one of the people I’ve grown closest to over the past few months recently posted a link to this article on Facebook regarding how Christians should react to the same-sex marriage ruling. For many reasons, it rubbed me the wrong way. Learning about Christianity has been an enriching experience so far, but reading this and realizing that this is what at least some of my peers in the fellowship believe has made me question whether I should continue on this path, and whether I could ever truly consider myself a Christian.

Let’s get to the point: I support gay marriage. I can’t find it in me to condemn the union of two consenting adults who are in love. Now, like I said, I’m just beginning to learn about Christianity and my knowledge of the Bible is limited, but from what I understand the Bible defines marriage as between a man and a woman and clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. There’s really not a lot of room for interpretation. But as someone who doesn’t feel right about that, how do I even proceed?

I’ve seen some people, my friends included, use the “love the sinner, condemn the sin” approach. Okay, that’s probably one of the least hateful approaches you could take, which is nice, I guess, but here’s the thing: I don’t see homosexuality as a sin. I don’t believe being gay is a choice. I don’t think people can control how they feel or who they love. I’ve heard numerous stories about people who were so ashamed of how they felt, who tried for years to go against their feelings and hide behind a mask. That certainly doesn’t sound like they chose to be gay. Why choose to be gay if it results in that much pain and suffering? No, this is just who they are. I can’t see how that could possibly be a choice.

As I’ve begun to explore Christianity, one thing I’ve learned is this: to accept or partake in sin is to go directly against God Himself. You can’t love God but accept sin at the same time. While I am not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am supportive of those who are. If homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible, and I have no problem with homosexuality, where does that leave me?

I’ve learned that a large part of Christianity is accepting that you are a sinner and humbling yourself before God. But isn’t there a contradiction here? If we’re all sinners, then how could people judge homosexuality so harshly? How could their sins be any better?

And that’s going under the belief that homosexuality is a sin, which again, does not sit well with me. Here’s something that’s been bugging me: if I don’t see homosexuality as immoral or sinful, doesn’t that mean I’m going against God? If I disagree with the Bible (and therefore God) on what constitutes sin, could I ever be a Christian? 


Same-sex marriage is something that I don’t like to discuss at length with conservative friends and family because it’s such a dicey topic. There are so many ways to interpret what the Bible says and how it applies to us in modern times. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Huffington Post that I found interesting:

And finally, there is Leviticus. Chapter 18 describes men lying with men as an “abomination” and chapter 20 says that they should be put to death. There is a lot less ambiguity here than in the other four mentions of the issue in my 2,355 page Bible. […]

But what do we make of the other rules? “You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you put on a garment made of two different materials” (Lev. 19:19). Leviticus prohibits the lawns in front of our houses and our polyester clothes. It forbids making your daughter a prostitute. It also bans haircuts, beard-trimming and tattoos (Lev. 19:26, 29). […]

What does Leviticus mean for us today? How do we know which commandments we should guard with our lives and which ones make little sense in our context?

And here and here are two other articles I found that have a similar tone, but are more concrete in their assertion that homosexuality is a sin.

So here’s a question for those of you who are secure in your Christian faith: is there a way to support members of the LGBTQ+ community and same-sex marriage without contradicting your faith? 

I realize this is a really difficult question to answer, and I welcome different perspectives on this issue. Again, I’m only just beginning to learn about Christianity so I also welcome any explanations on anything I may have misunderstood.

Thanks for reading,

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2 thoughts on “reconciling my beliefs with religion

  1. nataliepw says:

    Hi Alexa,
    I have asked myself some of the same questions you’re asking here. I had a somewhat secular upbringing, also, so my knowledge of the Bible is not extensive. However, I am a huge supporter of same-sex marriage. The bottom line, for me, is this: it is not our place to judge anyone. In the end, it is God’s decision how we lived our lives. And far be it from me to deny anyone the chance to find peace and love in this crazy world.

    Like

    • Alexa says:

      Thank you for responding! That’s essentially how I view things — in the end, only God can judge us. But same-sex marriage is such a divisive issue that I hesitate to bring it up, particularly with my more conservative friends, even though I have very strong opinions about it. The last thing I want to do is alienate anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

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