Christianity: Head-to-Head With the Realities of Life in the 21st Century



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Christianity and the 21st Century

Christianity: Head-to-Head With the Realities of Life in the 21st Century

There is little denying the fact that secular society and religious principles do not always see eye-to-eye on many issues today. The following will introduce you to three issues that present themselves in today’s modern society and the Christian responses to these realities. As you examine the issues, ask yourself the certain questions. Why does a faith-based examination of issues present two, and often several more, ways of looking at one issue?



Issue 1 - Homosexuality and Same Sex Unions

For some Christians, homosexuality and same-sex unions are very different issues of debate. Some argue that homosexuality is a sin and as such, any expression must not be encouraged. Others argue that homosexual actions and couples should and must be welcomed, but that the term marriage should not used. “Unions” would be a way to compromise this position, keeping the term marriage “holy.” Others still have no issues with homosexuality or homosexual relationships.

What does the Bible say about homosexuality specifically? Here are two examples from Leviticus.

You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.

Lev. 18:22

If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.

Lev. 22:13


Christian Arguments Against Homosexuality


  1. The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin.

  2. Christians do not condemn homosexuals, but rather it is the act that should be condemned. From this perspective, we see the argument, “Do not hate the actor, hate the action.”

  3. God designed the male and female bodies for each other. It is apparent from the design itself that man should be with woman, and woman with man. Any other relationship would be unnatural and clearly against God’s will.

Christian Arguments Supporting Homosexual Unions

  1. Supporting homosexuality and same-sex unions is important because homosexuality is at its core a civil liberties issue. Christianity as a whole requires that the state support freedom of thought, belief, and expression. These freedoms are essential to demonstrate belief in God.

  2. Jesus says nothing about condemning homosexuality. Thus, many Christians argue that since Jesus’ teachings do not discuss homosexuality, it was not an issue for Him.

  3. The reality of re-interpreting Christian scripture exists today as in past centuries. As such, Christians may look to the Bible to discover new truths about many things including homosexuality.

Did You Know?

The United Church of Christ became the largest Christian denomination in the United States to openly bless gay marriage in 2005. Citing the consideration that religions must change with the times, the United Church of Christ called on its 1.5 million members to back its decision, but left individual churches to decide for themselves. Quakers have celebrated same-sex unions for almost 20 years.

Canada’s position on this debate became clear in July, 2005, when it became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages nationwide with the approval of the Civil Marriage Act. Today, it is believed that there are approximately 15,000 same-sex couples in Canada.

Issue 2 - Cloning




Cloning is defined as the process of making a genetically identical copy of a living thing.

The first cloned adult mammal Dolly the Sheep, occurred in 1996. Dolly died at the age of six by euthanization considered necessary due to a progressive lung disease. Many scientists agree that she died very young.



Christian Arguments Against Cloning

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God


He created them; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1: 27

Using this Bible quote as a basis, some Christians argue that cloning is science’s way of trying to “play God.” As stated in the Bible, God creates people, not artificial science.
Creating a child is supposed to come from an act of love between people, which is a gift to us from God. This is why our bodies are designed the way they are.

Because cloning is an artificial process, the clone would create a soul-less person incapable of understanding God’s work.



Christian Arguments in Support of Cloning

If God is all-powerful, then He provides us the ability to create and develop the technology that led to develop cloning. If this is true, then He has ultimately allowed this to happen and blesses our ability to do so.

An essential concept within Christianity is to help others. Cloning is believed by many scientists to hold clues on how to treat multiple diseases and illnesses. If they are right, cloning allows us to carry on God’s work effectively.

A clone is really no different from a “twin,” as both are derived from a single fertilized ovum. Since God gave us the ability to produce twins through our own mechanisms, cloning is an extension of this natural process. Thus, a clone could not be soul-less.



Issue 3 - Capital Punishment

The history of capital punishment is certainly long and heavily debated. What we do know for certain about the routine use of capital punishment in many ancient empires and that it continues to be used today in several countries throughout the world, including some American states. There certainly are positions of debate on this issue that are unique to Christianity.



Christian Arguments for Capital Punishment

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.

Genesis 9: 26

Capital punishment formed part of Christian tradition for centuries. A modern example would be the law in Vatican City in the middle of the 20th century that prescribed death for anyone who tried to assassinate the Pope. As such, there is no need to change this perspective.

Capital Punishment is a just punishment for severe crimes on earth. The offender still has the opportunity to find and welcome God and enjoy the rewards of heaven.

As such, the ultimate reward of life in heaven after death is still available for those willing to repent and find Christ.



Christian Arguments Against Capital Punishment

The Bible is inconsistent in regards to its teachings on capital punishment. The obvious example is the commandment, “Thou shall not kill.”

A central tenet of Christianity is forgiveness. The death penalty is an example of the ultimate punishment. Thus, there seems to be a contradiction in approaches when forgiveness and capital punishment go head to head.

God creates life and takes it away when He chooses. As such, we should not assume responsibility for His divine plan. Capital punishment puts divine power in human hands.



Assignment

  1. Divide yourself into 3 groups of three to four students each. Select one of the issues above and determine as a group if you support the issue or disagree with the issue. Be prepared to share your decision with the class. You must have at least three reasons to support your decision.



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