Christianity, especially in its fundamentalist expressions, teaches that every human is a sinner in need of redemption. Sin is the problem and Jesus is the solution. From Adam and Eve forward, we humans have faced the consequences of sin. Every problem the human race faces can be reduced to our sin against God. Calvinists, Arminians, Mormons, and Catholics, all agree that the stain of sin has ruined the human race and only the blood of Jesus can wash that stain away.
When asked if some sins are worse than other sins, Christians will likely say no. Sin is sin, in God’s eye, they say, but are they really being honest when they say this? Take David Lane, a political activist and founder of the American Renewal Project. In a Charisma interview, Lane stated:
“Sin is sin, whether it is homosexuality, adultery or stealing candy bars at the local 7-Eleven. God gave us the recipe in 2 Chronicles 7:14. We as Christians must understand that. He will forgive us and heal our land, but only if we humble ourselves, pray and turn back to Him. I wholeheartedly believe in prayer, and that’s what it’s going to take. Our only hope is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
According to Lane, “homosexuality, adultery or stealing candy bars at the local 7-Eleven” are all the same in God’s eye. Really? If that is so, why haven’t I heard of any Christian outrage over adultery or stealing candy bars? I checked out the American Renewal Project website, looking for action alerts, feature articles, or campaigns against the sin of stealing candy bars. I found none.
The truth is this: Evangelicals, Mormons, and conservative Catholics, have raised the sin of homosexuality to a sin above all others. In their minds, it is the sin above all sins, the one sin that will destroy the United States and bring the judgment of God. These prophets of God, who seem to be profiting nicely off of America’s sin problem, need to stop with the “sin is sin” schtick. No one is buying it.
Look at the message of the above graphic. When’s the last time you’ve seen a graphic, read an Evangelical news article, or heard a sermon that said: Stealing a Candy Bar is a Perversion! Repent or Burn, You Choose! I suspect your answer is never or not since Sister Judith’s Sunday school class in 1968.
I spent fifty years in the Christian church. As a child and youth, I never heard one sermon about the sin of homosexuality. Not one. In fact, it was well into the 1980s before I started hearing sermons about fags, queers, and sodomites. Why all the sermons and outrage now? Simple. LGBTQ people, as a class, want the same civil protections and rights that heterosexuals have. They want equal protection under the law. They want to be treated fairly and justly. Most of all, they want to love whom they want, without the government or anyone else telling them they can’t.
And it is these demands that have Evangelicals, Mormons, and conservative Catholics upset. Why can’t the homos stay in the closet, they screech. Everything was fine, before THOSE PEOPLE wanted the same rights as everyone else, says the local Baptist preacher, forgetting that his ancestors made similar statements when opposing equal rights for Blacks. Fearing the gay horde, they express their outrage couched in Bible verses and pronouncements from God, but in doing so they unwittingly expose the homophobia and bigotry that lies just under the surface of much of American conservative and fundamentalist Christianity. The problem isn’t sin; it’s homophobia and bigotry. It’s preachers who are afraid to find out how many of their church members are actually gay or bat from both sides of the plate. It’s evangelists and conference speakers who are afraid that their supporters will find out that they have a man in every city. As scandal after scandal has reminded us (see Black Collar Crime Series), those who roar the loudest against a particular sin are often doing that which they condemn.
The next time some lying Evangelical like David Lane tells you “sin is sin, whether it is homosexuality, adultery or stealing candy bars at the local 7-Eleven,” ask them for proof of their claim. From my seat in the atheist pew, all I see is wild eye homophobia and bigotry, and lots of candy bar thieves.
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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Excuse me, Bruce. Need to correct you on something: Mormonism shouldn’t be listed with the rest, as they are branches of Christianity & Mormonism is a cult!
Everyone knows THAT one! WTFF??!!
I miss your humor, Steve. 🙂
Homosexuality is really the perfect sin to preach about, as the majority of a congregation won’t be guilty of it. This gives them the luxury of siting in judgement content that they are perfect (an opportunity to polish one’s halo.). There is also a certain amount of natural repulsion to the opposite of one’s sexual orientation. I suppose there are preachers who do preach about the things everybody does, but at an innate level everyone’s sin is nobody’s sin.
As a Christian, I would have protested that nobody was suggesting the government should endorse stealing candy bars. Your broader point about the purported generality of sin is still made, of course.
Expanding on Troy’s comment:
Gluttony is a sin. But we don’t hear many thundering denunciations from the pulpit of eating too much or obesity. The reason is clear — many in the congregation are fat, and such remarks would hit too close to home, impacting the revenue stream
Sin is sin could be strangely comforting yet also disconcerting at the same time. On the one hand, it puts everyone on a level playing field making you feel that your sin is never too big or great… (unless it was the unpardonable sin which every church seems to have a different version of), on the other hand, it does the same in making small sins really big. It just doesn’t make any sense…
There can be grace for the most horrible people, say serial killers, and your little cookie stealing sin is somehow exactly the same? It comes down to the whole one ink drop in the water bottle idea, I suppose…
I thought for a while that I had done the unpardonable sin: in our version it was believing that God had been sent by the devil/was evil somehow. And so when I’d read the gospel where the Pharisees say that Jesus was sent by Beelzebub, I imagined myself really believing that (just like them) and agonized about not being saved for ages, repenting over and over again. Later, I heard about other versions of it, including but not limited to: being gay, sex before marriage, rejecting God/Jesus as savior after having been a Christian (this also included going back to Judaism if you were a Jew after you had accepted Jesus as your savior) or suicide. All very diverse things…
You’d think something so important would be more clear?
I love this! I think you will enjoy this link as well. https://thenib.com/are-you-against-gay-marriage-because-the-bible-f67c2d12231c
I absolutely agree, sin is sin. All sins are equal. I mean, if you’re going to offend an imaginary friend, all offenses are equal, right? As in, meaningless.
As a secular humanist of sorts, I find that things are wrong, not because they offend someone’s imaginary friend, but because they actually hurt someone.
Stealing a candy bar hurts maybe a small-business shopkeeper, who’s probably just getting by as it is.
Adultery–specifically, having an intimate relationship outside one you pledged to be monogamous to–hurts the person you made that pledge to. I don’t really care if they’re your spouse or not, if THEY aren’t up for polyamory, YOU are in the wrong.
An adult you having a consensual relationship with someone, neither of you practicing adultery, doesn’t hurt anyone. There are people who might be offended–for example, family who won’t keep their noses out of your business and think that they should be able to script your life for you–but you aren’t partnering with someone of the same sex, or who is trans, or you are not being trans, AT THEM. Boundaries, people.
Let’s all try not to hurt people. Imaginary friends be damned, it’s hard enough when you simply acknowledge that the only meaningful targets are other people. We all let our tongues get ahead of our best intentions and need to periodically apologize, without involving imaginary non-combatants.
Christianity is so besotted with homosexuality that some believers equate it with ‘the gospel’ itself. When it’s suggested that preachers might, just for a minute or two, stop condemning gay people, they often respond by screaming they’re being prevented from preaching the gospel.
Husband and I would sometimes say, when I was fundy like him, that we might well be very surprised on judgement day what sins god would bring up, what his hierarchy of sins was. We too said sexual sin seemed the big one, far outweighing any others..What about the fact that we’re constantly trying to keep our weight down when millions of people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight. There’s enough food in the world, but the affluent west takes more than its fair share. Or the wonderful x-tian employer in our village who was voted onto his church committees cos of his wealth and generous tithing. He treated his employees badly, cut corners on the edge of legality and indulged in some pretty dodgy business practices etc. And what would god say to us two, the pastor and wife who told a white lie when we pretended not to be at home when an annoying parishoner knocked on the door. I was fully prepared to be shocked at that throne by what sins I was held accountable for, They’d probably not be at all what I expected.
I’m reminded of the cartoon showing a priest, a rabbi, and an imam coming to stand before God…who turns out to be Horus or Bastet or somebody in the ancient Egyptian pantheon, and all of them are thinking, “Uh-oh” or some variant. But visual hyperbole aside, it’s really addressing the same issue. What are the most serious sins? Catholics have categories of the things, to help sort it all out, but within the most serious category, how are they ranked? Will being a practicing homosexual get you the same time in Purgatory as a murderer? (Purgatory being a temporary place of torture invented by the Catholic Church. So, you do terrible things but you’re sorry, your soul is obviously stained but God will purge you and eventually let you into Heaven. But you have to tell God you’re sorry through the sacrament of Confession, and make restitution, which for centuries was a real moneymaker for the church. No restitution=trip to Hell. They did finally get embarrassed enough to clean up that particular grift, maybe during the Renaissance?, but it went on for a long time.)
Today I am in a very angry mood, and this post centers on the cause of my irritation.
Christian’s are great people. They believe Family is important. It is essential that parents are given power to raise kids as they see fit. Government needs to stop imposing their views and families and children. Government must stop trying to indoctrinate children. Families need to be free to live as they desire. We need to have religion taught in schools to keep this country Christian. Laws should not be used to tell anyone how to live or believe. Christian’s see all people as equal.
Yet these same loving Christian’s use their puppets in government to force their views, through legislation, onto people and families that “do not live properly” and live “perverted “ lives. They willingly and joyfully take away the rights of families to raise their children as they see fit, as is shown by the hate-mongering governor of Texas, who would have families destroyed simply for raising a trans child as they see fit. These arrogant asshats are now targeting vulnerable children, because confronting someone like me results in a double fuck you and a string of invectives the stings their Christian facade.
Christian’s today have a moral and ethical fortitude Hannibal Lecter, with morality that changes with the need of the moment. Families are important if they agree with Christians and unimportant if they do not. People deserve freedom to live as they desire as long as it fits a Christian narrative, and if it doesn’t, then take freedom away. Christian’s believe that they should be free to teach their particular Christian dogma anywhere, but do not believe in the freedom to teach about racism, misogyny, gender issues, or equal rights for anyone who is not proper Christian.
The truth is that the morality and ethics of Christian’s is nonexistent, and they only use their god to enforce and support their power over everyone else so everyone can pretend to believe in the same way that christians ,pretend to believe.
Many Christian’s are hateful, abusive, manipulative, controlling bigots who will go to any length to impose their narrow minded, moronic views on anyone who does not bow to their belief. I would love to coexist, but the hate of Christianity will not allow this to happen. I would happily go through life and never give christians another thought, but that cannot happen until I am left to live my life as a non binary person, and others are left to live their lives as they desire.
I will agree with one thing, if all sins are equal, then the majority of christians are abomination just like me.
Sin. I find it interesting that not all sects of religions can agree on what sins are. Jews and Muslims think eating pork is a sin; Christians are fine with it. Jainism teaches that one shouldn’t eat meat or eggs (living creatures or potential creatures) but most other religions are fine with it. Some sects of Mormons or Muslims are OK with a man having multiple wives – most religions are against that. A lot of IFBers, Amish, Mennonite, etc, think women wearing pants are committing sin – a lot of other Christian sects don’t care. Fundamentalist Islam and Judaism believe a woman not wearing head covering is committing sin – most other sects don’t care. My Episcopalian friend stated that his sect views sin as anything that keeps one from communing with God, or from being the best version of oneself – and that evangelicals see sin as behavior to be punished. I thought that was interesting. It’s all bull crap to me. Be kind to other people and don’t be a d!ck – the Gospel according to ObstacleChick.
The Fundamentalists are , and have been, on a crusade against same-sex marriage. Their venom is especially directed towards these people (about 3% of the population). They consider these people to be extremely wicked.
The Jesus of the Gospel according to Luke commands them to be compassionate even as their heavenly father is compassionate, for he is kind to the wicked. No, they prefer all their clobber verses to attack same-sex oriented persons to vent their hatred on these humans rather than what Jesus is alleged to have said.
These Fundamentalists say, buggar Jesus, i want a bible that enables me to hate. And of course, they can find plenty of ammunition in their barbaric and bloodthirsty book, written by ignorant savages.