Hell and depravity

Here is a gay manhttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Francisco_de_Goya_y_Lucientes_-_The_Yard_of_a_Madhouse_-_WGA10018.jpg who believes gay sex is sinful. He has “turned to Christ”, but does not believe that will alter his desires.

He has selectively read the Bible, and found the complete depravity of humanity. We all deserve Hell, he thinks, but he has accepted Jesus as his saviour and lord so hopes he will escape it. His Christian journey now is to grow in faith struggling with his temptations, which will always recur- not just same sex attraction, but all kinds of vileness.

I believe that is false. With a few, diseased exceptions, human beings are born loving, social beings. We all do our best under difficult circumstances. This is observable. And, given that only a tiny number are Christian in Matt Moore’s sense, how is it that anyone creates beautiful things, or acts well? It is not even the sole Biblical view: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”, “Your works are wonderful, and I know it well”, “God saw what God had made, and behold it was very good” are just three quotes which spring immediately to mind. Also, imagining that human beings are so entirely perverted is to give far too much power to the Devil. We are Christians, not Zoroastrians.

So, his belief that his homosexuality is sinful perverts all his Christianity. He is in Hell now: he sees himself in continual temptation to wrong, with no power of his own to counteract it. He needs to exert eternal control, and his control will never be enough.

Similarly, a heterosexual Christian who believes homosexual behaviour is sinful is caught in the same trap. He has no reason to believe himself any better than the gay man. He too is born Wrong, all his aims and drives are against God’s will, and he must resist doggedly. He can only rely on God’s forgiveness, and never on any good in himself.

The belief that homosexuality is wrong is not just a trivial error. It vitiates Christianity, turning it from a view of human beings with God which gives life and health to a view of us which makes all of life a miserable struggle, with endless grovelling to idols. Thank God it is dying away.

The Saudi border authority has a new service. Women are not allowed to travel outside the country without the permission of their male “guardian”, and now when one does, the border authority sends a text message to that guardian. Initially the guardian had to opt in- the woman had no choice in the matter- but now it is automatic.

Infantilisation of women is not good religion. Unfortunately it shows how extremist religion tends, whether Salafist or the nuttier extremes of Evangelicalism: it is impossible to be Pure, and the fuckwits get the idea that greater extremism is more “pure”. So Complementarianism ends with women unable to work. I must be a better Christian than I was before, they think, because I take it More Seriously. It is but a short step from there to denying the Christianity of others.

5 thoughts on “Hell and depravity

  1. Clare,
    As I read the first few paragraphs of your post, I found myself thinking: “Matt Moore is already in Hell.” Then you said it explicitly. I think Heaven and Hell are what we experience here on Earth through our choices and circumstances (and maybe how we choose to accept or change those circumstances?). And I am just so grateful to have been born in a country where women are valued and have (for the most part) the same freedoms as men. I simply can’t imagine what it would be like to live in Saudi Arabia…
    Cathy

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    • I wanted to look at the “My Guardian knows what’s best for me” website, but of course it is in Arabic. Here is an account from inside.

      I was in Hell until 1999, and now I am in Heaven. I see my movement into Heaven as a healing and maturing process, led by God, which has to involve increasing self-acceptance.

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  2. I’ve always been taught we are born in sin; sinful. Never once had it occurred to me that those verses tell me otherwise. Your writing is beautiful, Clare…stops me dead in my tracks to see life and God from a more realistic, and beautiful view.

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    • It is a choice. Like I posted today, the Original Sin- Depravity- Redemption by faith with the need to fight all my impulses view can be read into the Bible, and more beautiful views of self can also be read in- you choose between them. I must go back to the Bible, for more of the Creation is Good type verses.

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