In an article for Ray Comfort‘s Living Waters ministry, Allen Atzbi addresses a letter from a teenage boy who is concerned that he may be attracted to other boys.
Claiming that “God is not silent about homosexuality” (many scholars beg to differ), Atzbi offers a large helping of unhelpful “advice” in response.
Ninety percent of gay men surveyed by The Advocate (a gay magazine) claimed to have been born gay. And it’s true — homosexuals are born that way. We are all born with a sinful nature. We all naturally lean toward sin. The Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”… According to the Bible, homosexuality is just one sin among many that people gravitate toward.
Some struggle with lying, gossip, jealousy, stealing, adultery, lust, or fornication, and others struggle with homosexuality. Just because a guy struggles with same-sex attraction doesn’t mean God made him gay, any more than a guy struggling with anger means God made him a murderer. You have a choice about what you do with every temptation. You may not choose homosexual desires, but you do choose what you do with them.
How can Atzbi claim some people are born gay before immediately equating it to a deliberate choice, such as gossip and lying? Ignoring, for the moment, the ridiculousness of equating sexual orientation to murder, it should be obvious to anyone not trying to be deliberately obtuse that homosexuality is innate to a person’s identity in a way that the other sins mentioned are not.
This is the problem with seeing the world in black and white. There’s no room for nuance. Every “sin” is considering equally awful in God’s eyes. And Atzbi, like so many Christians, chooses which sins to highlight.
In the next paragraphs, Atzbi again states that no one chooses to be gay (which, though correct, still contradicts what he said above), but that people can choose to act on those feelings. He then makes a comparison to the biblical story of King David lusting after Bathsheba, a woman he saw bathing on her rooftop. That story, which describes a situation of sketchy consent at best, is somehow likened to gay people choosing whether or not to lust after members of their own sex. “It’s a choice,” Atzbi repeats… even though David likely raping Bathsheba is in no way comparable to an adult consenting to sex with another adult.
A survey by LifeWay Research asked adults, “Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?” A mere 37% of respondents considered it sinful… America has lost sight of what is right and what is wrong because it’s lost sight of God and His Word. There are no gray areas with our Creator; He calls homosexuality sin. And because it is a sin, we have a choice. More importantly, there is hope. We are not helpless victims.
Plenty of scholars have made convincing arguments that the Bible doesn’t say a word about sexual orientation, but rather same-sex behavior in the context of lust, pagan worship, and rape. The concept of committed same-sex partnerships was not commonplace when those words were written, but the fact that the Bible never mentions those doesn’t necessarily imply disapproval.
Atzbi also reiterates the tired (and false) notion of Sodom and Gomorrah being destroyed for homosexuality — even though the story in question is about rape and lack of hospitality. He then quotes Jesus describing marriage as a bond between a man and a woman, not between two men or two women — which makes sense, given that the Bible is a product of its time. Yet he doesn’t mention another thing Jesus said about “judging a tree by its fruit.”
The “fruit” of anti-gay rhetoric is toxic; it leads to families abandoning their gay children, homelessness, bullying, suicide, and murder.
And if that wasn’t enough, Atzbi closes his piece by plugging Comfort’s film Audacity, which is problematic enough to warrant its own post.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Michael for the link)