Saturday, May 30, 2009

Are You a Statistic?

I've been thinking about the blanket assumption that Christians who identify homosexuality as a sin are bigots. While there are definitely fringe elements (i.e. Fred Phelps) and an over-emphasis in politics (will gay-marriage really bring about the end of Western Civilization?), the appropriate Christian response to homosexuality should be the same as for any other sin. Bigotry implies hate, but we're told by Jesus to love others including sinners.

So how does homosexuality stack up number-wise? (I'm a number cruncher by trade, so bear with me)
  • Homosexuals account for only 2% of the population according to the US Census Bureau, though polls indicate that number rises to the order of 10% when the respondents can be anonymous.
  • According to a recent Barna survey, only 40% of American adults believe Jesus lived a sinless life, meaning 60% are in sin by denying the deity of Christ.
  • Recent data shows the number of Americans identifying as Christians has dropped from 85% to 76% over the last decade.
  • It's generally accepted that 10% of the population are alcoholics while according to the CDC 20% smoke
  • A survey by the Kaiser Foundation shows that roughly 45% of teenagers have engaged in some form of sexual activity. Teenagers account for 8% of the total population, so that gives us 4%.
  • In 2001, the Federal Reserve reported that 44% of people do not pay off their credit cards monthly.
  • And last year 53% of the voting population voted for Barack Obama. (Just kidding!)
So well more than 100% of the population is engaged in some sort of sin, accounting for likely crossover. And this list covers a broad range, ranging from arguable sins depending on personal convictions (smoking, credit card debt, homosexuality), sins that can be argued isn't the fault of the person (alcoholism, homosexuality), and sins that are subjective to doctrine (Christ's divinity, only Christians are saved).

So is it worth expending such a fuss over a such a small percentage of the whole? Given the above adds up to over 100%, doesn't that just confirm that "all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God." (Romans 3:23) So if believing that homosexuality is sin and that equals hate, then doesn't that mean we 'hate' everyone?

There are a few things we can take away from this. One we, as Christians, should treat all sins and sinners equally because of the above passage. Two, homosexuals should recognize that they are a very small target relative to the Christian desire that "all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) Finally, we should be sobered by these statistics and reminded that "not everyone who says to me (Jesus), 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

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