A New Sin?

Major News and Bible-Revision Flash:

Recently, Reverend/Pastor/Church Leader Joel Osteen determined that homosexuality is a sin. For coverage of this pronouncement, go to this link related to the recent interview with Piers Morgan, during which he announced his major decision.  You can also simply type "Osteen sin homosexuality" into the search engine of your choice and come up with many links on the topic, from large national publications/organizations to small news outlets.

During Mr. Osteen's interview with Piers Morgan, he said, “Yes I have always believed, Piers, that scripture shows that it's a sin, but I am not one of those out there to bash homosexuals, and tell them that they are terrible people and all that, I mean there are other sins in the Bible."

There are 7 Deadly Sins. According to the Bible, they are wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

Let's think critically. Can Mr. Osteen call someone (a homosexual) a sinner and in the same breath say that he isn't bashing homosexuals? Really?  

Thinking critically, it's exactly the same as saying that people who are envious are sinners, but that he isn't bashing them. Or that people who are greedy are sinners, but that he isn't bashing them. Or that slothful people are sinners, but that he isn't bashing them. (You can go through the standard list of 7 sins and apply the logic.)

It's important to think about the fact that sins are states of being, things that a person is, not something that a person does: One is sinful, one is wrathful, one is greedy, one is prideful, one is lustful, or envious or gluttonous. Behaving angrily or greedily, doing something out of pride, doing lustful things, thinking envious thoughts, saying something out of envy, or eating far too much food are sinful actions, things that are done.

I bring this up because being homosexual is the same as being heterosexual – both are states of being. And apparently being homosexual, according to Mr. Osteen, is equal to or comparable to being lustful, or being gluttonous, or being envious, etc.  Really?

His pronouncement is also the same as saying that people who are blue-eyed, but not those who are brown-eyed, are sinners. Or that people who are right-handed,  but not left-handed, are sinners. Really? Really, Mr. Osteen?

Returning to his judgment, calling someone a sinner is an act of criticism. Mr. Osteen is "bashing" homosexuals  by adding being homosexual to the list of sins. 

Let's move on to the core of Mr. Osteen's decision, his statement, which he repeated several times during the Morgan interview, that scripture shows homosexuality is a sin. How does scripture show it's a sin? It's not on the list of seven sins. So, I am perplexed, truly perplexed, by Mr. Osteen's assertion. The  only way that scripture could show that homosexuality were a sin would be if it were on the list of sins. So, in order for Mr. Osteen's assertion to be true, someone (him?) must add homosexuality to the list that includes gluttony, envy, etc. 

Now, Mr. Osteen is not the first person to want to add homosexuality to the list of sins. I am citing him as an example. There are people all across history and media who have said that homosexuality is a sin. 

By adding homosexuality to the list of sins, he isn't saying homosexuality is a choice, which makes sense, since no heterosexual has ever described the moment when he chose to be heterosexual. Ditto for any homosexual. Did any brown-haired person ever say he or she decided to be brown-haired? No. Did any right-handed person ever say that he or she remembered the moment he/she decided or chose to be right-handed? No.

In terms of updating the sin list, does Mr. Osteen mean that the list of official sins can be edited and amended by anyone, depending on his or her views or a need to criticize or bash selected people? This is the conclusion I come to given Osteen's pronouncement. Apparently he believes he has the authority to amend the list of sins. The problem with this is that it completely contradicts the whole "the Bible — as written and edited by the people who created the version I subscribe to — tells me what is true and I must live according to it" position.  I am not sure if he accords the ability to amend the list of sins to others,  or if he holds it entirely to himself.

The Bible is a very popular collection of writings from long ago, and many people insist that they live according to what it says — even though they don't include and do not live by the prohibitions that it contains against wearing mixed-fiber clothing, eating pork, or its solid backing and support of stoning as the appropriate punishment for a long list of crimes, to pick a couple of examples of ways people pick and choose among the do's and don'ts written by the Bible's authors.

Given his assertion, does this mean that Mr. Osteen's name should be added as "co-author" to the book of the Bible that contains the list of sins? If he's deciding what is or is not a sin, then yes, he should be added to all editions of the Bible as a co-author. (Imagine the task that Bible publishers have ahead of them, with this being one more thing to add to their next editions.)

Does Joel believe that homosexuality is truly the same as or synonymous to any of the official, seven sins? Given his pronouncement, we can reasonably ask, Is homosexuality (loving people of the same gender) the same as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony? No, according to his assertion, he's not saying homosexuality is the same as any of the seven official sins. He's adding homosexuality to the list.

According to Mr. Osteen, now, there are eight deadly sins, not seven.




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