While modern religions provide comfort through prayer the primary purpose is to offer a path to the afterlife. Follow the rules and your relatively brief time on earth is augmented with heaven, paradise with 72 virgins, whatever. If you don’t follow the rules, you end up in Hell or some other undesirable place for an eternity of suffering. It is this notion of immortality that creates devout adherents. The fear of Hell keeps the faithful in line. Add to this the idea that if one pisses off God then the whole community might suffer from his wrath in the form of a natural disaster and it becomes important to keep others in line as well.
This is the context in which we must evaluate the offerings of Al Mohler. He is not editing “the rules” with Sexual Orientation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is worth noting that, when it comes to Baptists, Mohler is the HMIC.
Mohler explains his recent change which is really no change at all:
I had previously denied the existence of sexual orientation. I, along with many other evangelicals, did so because we did not want to accept the sexual identity structure that so often goes with sexual orientation. I still reject that notion of sexual identity. But I repented of denying the existence of sexual orientation because denying it was deeply confusing to people struggling with same-sex attraction.
If Mohler truly accepts the existence of sexual orientation then, in his world, he has to accept the idea that God makes people gay. He’s not there and he is never going to get there. People should not have to be “struggling with same-sex attraction.” It is this prick, and his ilk, who create the struggle with superstition. They make the lives of gay children and some gay adults miserable.
Mohler then explains the need for the sexual orientation construct:
The concept of sexual orientation is not only helpful, it is in some sense essential. Even those who argue against its existence have to describe and affirm something tantamount to it. There is a pattern of sexual interest and attraction that is discovered in early adolescence. It is not something that is, in itself, freely chosen. That does not mean that the individual is not completely responsible before God for how that orientation is then handled.
Mohler devotes nearly 3,000 words of BS1 to basically say, grudgingly, that there exists, for convenience, this idea of sexual orientation but that doesn’t mean that “the rules” change.
Eventually Mohler gets to the fear-of-God stuff:
The normalization of homosexuality simply cannot be accepted by anyone committed to biblical Christianity. The new secular orthodoxy demands that Christians abandon the clear teachings of Scripture, and Christians must understand that the sinfulness of all homosexual behaviors is not only a matter of biblical authority, but also of the Gospel.
If one has gay sex then they are going to Hell. Christians have a duty to be intolerant of gay people. According to Mohler, this is all part of “the rules.” Marriage equality would mean the acceptance of gay sex. This twisted version of humanity provides a means of expressing love through hate. It’s really quite sinister when you think it through. It’s also very clever when you are trying to keep people in line and keep the dollars flowing.
The Southern Baptist Convention has somewhat abandoned the concept of reorientation therapy. To that extent they have simply changed from demanding change to demanding celibacy. Thanks Al!
1 2,808 words comprised of an introduction and a re-post of a 2012 pre-election treatise.