How to explain to an unconvinced Christian that homosexuality isn’t sinful. [flowchart]

Via Waylon Lewis
on Aug 9, 2012
get elephant's newsletter


A Flowchart to Open a Mind.

For a more eloquent, entertaining take on the same subject: “Bible forbids Homosexuality?”

For more: “Do you believe the Bible is literally true?”

Via Imgur via Reddit, where there’s a fair amount of criticism of the above flowchart’s references.



gay school book children homosexuality


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


32 Responses to “How to explain to an unconvinced Christian that homosexuality isn’t sinful. [flowchart]”

  1. Paige says:

    You are being unfair in the "The New Testament Says So" section. If you are going to dissect Paul's words and the original meaning of the root word or Greek, you have to do the same for the context of his comments on women. Paul said women should be silent and not teach because of the times. All of Paul's letter were written to specifics areas, and ( I'm assuming you are referencing 1 Corinthians 14:34) was written to Corinth because some women had taken it upon themselves to teach others even though they had no education or proper training.
    Furthermore, in the Corinthian culture, women were not allowed to confront men in public. Some women took their freedom in Christ and began questioning men during public worship which caused a division in the church. The purpose of Paul's words was to promote unity in the church, not to degrade women. We can't fault him for trying to hold women to
    the standards of the times, then we would have to also lower what any other good man and mentor said till at least the early 1900s because they also did not try to raise the standard for gender equality.
    My primary point is this: if you are going to put verses in the Bible into context (which I fully support) in order to support your argument, please do the same to the verses that you try and use against Christians.
    Now I am a Christian, and I love the gay community and support the idea that they should have some sort of civil union that would allot them the same medical, economic, and political benefits that same-sex married couples have. I have no reason to hate them (and I would have no biblical backing to do so), but I am annoyed that whenever the morality of homosexuality is questioned, people start hurling insults against Christianity. As far as I've seen, Christianity is not the only religion to disagree with homosexuality, so it bothers me that people only attack Christians (or at least that is the only religion I've seen attacked).
    Again, if you are going to use the Bible and take some verses into context, I suggest taking all verses, whether they agree or disagree with your argument, into context in order to give your argument more validity.

  2. Mike Jones says:

    Faulty logic.
    1. Should we still live by OT laws? >Don't steal, don't kill. Just because you don't like part of the Old Testament you throw the whole thing out the door.
    2. Because the bible defines marriage.> You listed 5 examples – I don't see a man and another man on the list.
    3. Paul spoke against it. > That's right he did. And if you choose "Yes" to live by those values (which are a part of the New Testament) then "Have fun living a sexist life?" Paul wasn't a Sexist. The Bible teaches wives to submit to their husbands.
    Since you disregarded this as a cultural practice, and one that is very common around the world still to this day, you throw out Paul's values again because you don't like them.

    The arguments on this whole flow chart are just plain silly and I doubt you spent more than 5 minutes on this.
    If you don't want to be a Christian then don't be.

  3. SQR says:

    The Bible and the US Constitution are both subject to a wide variety of interpretations, and you see it every day in the news- There are about as many versions of "a well regulated militia" as there are people discussing guns in this country.
    Scripture contains numerous examples of conflicting thoughts, and (obviously) numerous examples of conflicting interpretation- people advocate burning copies of the Koran in the name of Christianity while others abhor that behavior in the name of Christianity. I suspect folks who use the Bible to condemn homosexuality would find some other means if the Good Book wasn't available. That said, I took this piece as harmless humor, and, as a Christian, I enjoyed it- if you can't poke fun at your own beliefs (or point out the outmoded dysfunctional stuff) well, I mean, damn….

  4. SQR says:

    Yeah I see your point, I mean, we do have to stand up for what we believe in. Sorry, my whole life I've struggled with marked intellectual shortcomings.

  5. SQR says:

    This comment is someone else using the name "SQR"

  6. SQR says:

    Once again, not the "SQR" who made the original comment…. you sound like a junior high school troll- shouldn't you be in school on a weekday?

  7. yoga bear says:

    it is 2012, do your thing and respect others is the rule-yoga bear out-peace and much love

  8. Ryan says:

    Things, people, culture, and everything else in the world changes- reguarless of what the bible says or doesn’t say. This simple truth is infinitely more important than anything in the bible. If the bible were to absolutely undoubtedly say homosexuality was wrong- so what?

  9. please says:

    This isn’t meant for anyone other than the base and merely perpetuates coercive thinking and attitudes.

    Finally the allusion and the false sense of security offered by joining “civilized” is disappointing and inherently problematic. It dilutes the conversation.

  10. Marco says:

    Hello everybody, this is Marco from Italy.
    Thanks to Waylon for this post.
    I'm homosexual. But first I'm a person, I'm live, I share my life with all the world.
    I tried to change myself, I tried to understand why I'm homo, I tried to understand homofobia, I tried to understand why I'm wrong. I try to feel my pain.
    After years (I'm 36), now I can say this: I don't care about any moral authority. I live. I'm alive. I feel. If you believe in God you can't believe that he create me wrong. And if tomorrow someone will argues that red hair people are against nature?
    Imagine your life accompanied by these questions: are my red air wrong? are my red air against nature? may be i should consult a psychologist to talk about my hair? why I'm red? I must change my hair color so people stop teasing me? I must wear hat for all my life to hide my hair?
    Yes, because be homo is like be red: it's natural. The nature is more sapient than us. And there is no problem until you can try to change nature. And would be no problem until you start to ask why I'm red.
    The problem of holocaust was Jews? Or Nazis?

  11. JeffS68 says:

    Part of the old testament?! you mean all of the old testament! Writings directly from an All knowing All powerful creator huh? Teaches the earth is flat, that the moon is a source of light, Cure leprosy with birds blood etc.. It teaches Incest, Rape is ok unless you dont marry the girl then you will be fined, Cannibalism, Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, How to keep slaves, Kill all the men and the women that have laid with a man… the virgins you can keep for yourselves, If your bride is not a virgin on wedding day you are instructed to take her to her fathers doorstep and stone her to death, Fire Breathing Dragons (16 times), UNICORNS, Satyr's, Griffins. I could do this all day and not run out of horrible and crazy mythological stories from these books. This is not a moral book in any sense of the word… Jesus demands in Mathew 5:18 " I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished" Like most, you have absolutely no idea what is in your bible! .. Also, ALL men of that period were sexist!!
    The Bible: It all applies or none of it applies! Try educating yourself about the authors of the bible, the times they were living in and why and who the books were written about!

  12. ans says:

    loved this article.

    Can you post something like-

    How to convince 20+ family members and the whole set of super conservative society that its right to let a person live according to her wishes without poking nose in every damn thing she does!

  13. amyschacht says:

    Really, logic is useless on this debate, and I say this as a Presbyterian minister for the last 20+ years who has run into tons of what I see as "mis-interpretations" of Scripture. This is not about rational argument. This is about what is happening at a much, much deeper, more visceral, more "amygdala" level, and this cannot be reached by logic or words. Although I certainly appreciate your effort! Minds are not changed because we see the flaws in our logic. Minds are changed as our hearts are touched. More information doesn't help. More people coming out, more "unconvinced Christians" meeting and interacting with and caring for and eventually loving people who are different from them is what works. Sometimes this makes me sad. But then I realize, it's how Jesus himself worked to transform folk: Through relationship. Good luck…….and thank you.

  14. Jason says:

    It's a little hypocritical of the creator of the diagram to condemn those for rejecting of others by being flippant and kind of a dick. If Acceptance is the message, then practice what you preach. (People who tell others to "Grow up," usually need to "grow up" themselves, LOL.) Karma is a mirror. 🙂

  15. Heather says:

    Um the bible, lowercase, is fiction……the fact you have to say you love the gay community is so up tight as to be ridiculous. Get with the program; it's the 21st century. Spend more time helping and getting to know your neighboring "communities" and put the archaic teachings away. They served their purpose in a more ignorant (lacking knowledge) time.

  16. Dri says:

    The one man one woman marriage section is wrong, yes the bible talks about how there was one man many wives, concubines, rapists etc. and so on,but that is because it is stating the facts of how things were, it does not mean that the bible approves of it. Im a Christian and i love my close gay friends that i have but i dont agree that it is right. The answers on this chart are all retarded, sorry, not sorry.

  17. John Chen says:

    Hypocritical Heather? Quite so… Calling someone else beliefs ignorant or archaic while the belief of homosexuality has been around since the … I dunno, the beginning of time supposedly.

    I hope when human sacrifices come back into fashion that I can say the same thing to you. "Get with the program"

  18. msbunky says:

    Here's how I see it: If God is perfect, then He is incapable of making mistakes. People don't "become" gay…they are born the way they are born. Therefore, if God doesn't make mistakes, homosexuals are not mistakes either and should then be able to live their lives exactly like everyone else does.

    Jesus was all about loving your neighbour – stepping up to help the poor, the sick, the mistreated, etc. It doesn't have to be complicated, people. If a situation doesn't agree with you personally, then step back and move on. You don't have to like homosexuals, but you don't have a right to treat them like pariahs either.

  19. Raina says:

    You are asking me to be understanding, accepting, and respectful. And I will do my best to do so. However, I ask this same of you. This chart is offensive and disrespectful.

  20. the fact that Waylon even has to write and post on this subject is enough to annoy anyone with even a remotely acceptable level of discerning mental abilities…

    but the responses? "furthermore"…"with all due respect"…"grow up"…"um…yeah…". i'm waiting for someone to post a picture of themselves holding up the middle finger with a sign that says, "I don't like you, you're stupid."

    wait, i know…let me go browse through the 555 aphorisms of the brahma sutras and see if shankara had an interesting take on love and lovemaking and sin, then i'll post about it and tell Waylon he's wrong because he isn't interpreting shankara correctly, and someone can send the mean picture directly to me…yay!

  21. Kaeper says:

    I am a Christian, but I absolutely disagree with the idea that wives need to submit to their husbands. I'm sorry, sir, but that is indeed sexist! Those in a marriage must submit to each other and put their partnership's (as in, the two of them as a unit) needs above their individual needs. In a true, successful marriage it should not be only the women submitting to the men. Balance and compromise are necessary, as is the importance for each partner to have their own voice (rather than be submissive…I mean, seriously, just the idea of the man dominating over his submissive wife makes me cringe). Times have changed and we have been able to take the bible's teachings and apply them to present day society without taking them literally. It's about time you do the same.

  22. Kaeper says:

    While I agree with most of what you are saying, I do disagree with the idea that either all of it applies or none of it applies. You said so yourself, that we need to educate ourselves about the authors, the times they were living in, and why and who the books were written about. It is possible to strip down to some core themes and messages in the bible and appropriately apply them to modern day. The real problem is that too many people take the bible literally and use the literal meaning to justify their sexist and discriminatory ways. The bible was not written by Jesus himself, but by ordinary men. There is no possible way that they could have foreseen the future and be all knowing of advances in culture and science.

  23. Sarah says:

    How about "marriage between a man and a woman is the logical foundational basis of society and displacing it will result in bookoo societal ills, compounding the problems the divorce epidemic has already wrought?"

  24. Drew says:

    Why does this situation always come down to an argument of Christians VS Homosexuals? Also, why speak for "the collective group" on either side of this debate. Not everyone from the same group has the same ideals and wants the same outcomes, just because they are Gay or Christian (based on my experience). The advice I give myself is this… live my life the best I know how, and enjoy other people who share my viewpoint, which usually lends itself to harmony. Christians and Homosexuals have been murdered and martyred throughout history. From that stand point, it's proven that both sides are hated by some sort of group, and probably always will be. From that standpoint, these two groups have more in common than we like to think. At the end of the day, it's ok to disagree. It doesn't make anyone right or wrong, it makes us human.

  25. Jessica Cabello says:

    Ummmmmm, ok. So the purpose of sex isn't for pleasure. Yes, it is pleasureable, but sex was designed for pro-creating. Two men, cannot pro-create. End of discussion.

  26. Joseph says:

    Civilized society huh? Where it's okay to kill babies by the millions and that's acceptable but when someone murders a pregnant woman, often it's ruled a double homicide? Yeah, I think I'll stick with what the Bible REALLY says thank you.

  27. LOLABee says:

    welp. theere ya go.

  28. inkkedlunae says:

    So you see Paul's wanting women to be silent (to obey and not question anything, not think or decide for themselves for anything in order to stay in the religion) as a logical, sensible way to fight against keeping the growth of Christianity? sounds very controlling.

  29. Aaliyah says:

    I have posted the Wikipedia as well as the Websters definition for Homosexuality below. Jesus said not to be sexually immoral and homosexuals definitely fall into this category as even the definition below explains that what it means to be homosexual is almost entirely dependent on the sexual aspect not Love but only sexual attraction

    Homosexuality (from Ancient Greek ὁμός, meaning "same", and Latin sexus, meaning "sex") is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As an orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectionate, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex. "It also refers to an individual's sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them."[1][2]
    1ho·mo·sex·u·al adjective ˌhō-mə-ˈsek-sh(ə-)wəl, -ˈsek-shəl
    : sexually attracted to people of the same sex

    : based on or showing a sexual attraction to people of the same sex

    Full Definition of HOMOSEXUAL

    : of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex
    : of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex
    — ho·mo·sex·u·al·ly adverb

  30. Str8_Guy says:

    If sex is only supposed to be designed for procreation, then shouldn't there be about 25 trillion people on the planet right now? Let's hope your part of the discussion is over, because you are obviously a person with absolutist ideals that only adhere to your own narrow beliefs. Gay people are made that way. There's genetic research to prove it. No one chooses it freely, like, "Oh gee, I think I'll be gay now because that seems like an easy life." They just want to be happy, accepted, and get married like other people who have fallen in love. Not to mention, we're being forced to have health insurance in this country, so it's not real fair to gay couples who can't get married if only one employer offers reasonable priced coverage out of the two. They just want to be equal. How's your right to vote treating you, Jessica? You've only had that for 94 years; because of the same belief system you ardently cling to that lumped women into a lesser-than thou group like this. Maybe we should be allowed to beat our wives with the ol' "rule of thumb" sticks again? No, that wouldn't be right, but that's the same basis of thought you use to support your side of this debate.

  31. Mark says:

    And you honestly believe that the "definition" of homosexuality was written by a homosexual person. No, it was very likely written by a white, middle-aged, upper class, heterosexual male basing it off of biased psychological research when homosexuality was still considered a pathological disorder.

  32. Natalie says:

    I'm sorry. I don't think a Buddhist is the appropriate person to be giving "accurate" instruction to a Christian. Also, you seem to be forgetting Romans 1:21-27.