How do we view homosexuality in light of a Christian sexual ethic? Perhaps this will come as a surprise, but homosexuality is not the focal point of the Christian sexual ethic. Rather, same-sex behavior is one of many sexual acts that fall outside of the context of a life-union between a man and a woman, including pre-marital and extra-marital sex, pornography, and so on. Christianity begins with a broader sexual ethic that affirms the good of physical creation and the good of our inherent sexuality. This essay engages the intersection of religious and sexual identities and the much-debated topic of Christianity and homosexuality.
A Christian Perspective on Sexual Identity by Mark A. Yarhouse Several years ago I was talking with a colleague about our mutual interest in teaching in Christian higher education. She shared with me that she enjoyed being a more liberal voice in a conservative environment. She could push students beyond their place of comfort to reflect on difficult topics. I understood what she was saying, but as I thought about it further, I realized that most people like to be able to do that; most instructors like to challenge their students, and our culture supports challenging norms and sources of tradition. Some would argue that our entire education system is challenging traditional assumptions and structures in ways that call many beliefs and values into question. Perhaps the greater challenge lies in identifying truths that are sustained over time, regardless of a changing sociocultural landscape. Of course, some topics necessitate a balancing act in which an accurate understanding of what is […]
Why is sex so fascinating? That’s one question. But why pay any attention to what Christians believe about sex? That’s quite another. And yet the very fascination of sex points to a religious dimension. Sex and religion have always been hard to separate—from the gods and goddesses of the religions of the Ancient Near East onwards. This thought-provoking essay explores why sex is so fascinating, what God says about sex, and how Christians can respond to sex in our culture today.
Introduction Why Is Sex So Fascinating? God and Sex Why is sex so fascinating? That’s one question. But why pay any attention to what Christians believe about sex? That’s quite another. And yet the very fascination of sex is a pointer to a religious dimension. Every time a lover “worships” his beloved, every time a woman says it will be “hell” to live without her man, whenever someone says to a lover, “take me to heaven,” or describes a woman as a “goddess,” they use religious language. Ian McEwan’s haunting novel Atonement is better known because of the movie. In the novel, when the lovers Robbie and Cecilia first begin to make love, both in the modern sense of sexual union and in the older sense of a declaration by word (“I love you”), McEwan comments that Robbie “had no religious belief, but it was impossible not to think of an invisible presence or witness in the room, and that […]