If we are going to think biblically about homosexuality, then we must give careful thought to what the Bible actually says about it. (Duh!) This may seem like an obvious statement, but it is not as easy to do as you might think.
For example, most side-B Christians would say that homosexuality is sinful. But what does that mean? Homosexuality is a complex issue, with many different aspects requiring discussion. So which aspects of it are sinful? And does something being sinful make it the same as sinning? Confused? I know, right?
First, it is important to note that when the Bible condemns homosexuality, it is always referring to the physical act of homosexual sex. Take for example 1 Corinthians 6:9. It says that those "who practice homosexuality" will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. This is not talking about experiencing an attraction to the same sex.
In fact, the next thing to note is that the Bible never explicitly addresses same-sex attraction (SSA). Not once. All of the Biblical condemnations of homosexuality refer to something more than a simple attraction. Some take this to mean that the ancient world had no concept of a homosexual orientation. (By homosexual orientation, I simply mean a person's sexual feelings are exclusively "oriented" toward the same (homo) sex.) However, I do not think that this is the case. Rather, it simply means that for some reason the Bible is silent on these types of attractions. This does not mean that the Bible has nothing to speak to the topic of SSA, but that we must take biblical principles and apply them to the issue. But that is for a different time.
What I want to point out is that the Bible does not explicitly condemn experiencing SSA. This has huge implications, the biggest being that the church must take a nuanced view of the topic of homosexuality. There are hundreds of emotions, thoughts, and actions that all fall under the broad category of homosexuality. Are they all sin? As Christians, we have to deal fairly with ALL of the issues within the issue if we are going to speak intelligibly to those struggling with attractions they didn't ask for. Simply saying that homosexuality is wrong is not good enough!
Next post, I will talk about how I see the Bible applying to SSA specifically. Stay tuned!