How do Christianity and the Bible relate to homosexuality?
Well, in order to answer that we first need to understand some principles about God, the universe and ourselves as humans. If we don't grasp these issues, the answer won't really make sense.
Imagine you wanted to help someone in a very remote rainforest location and you decided to give them a laptop. You hand it over and they look delighted. You go away and return a few days later. You say to them, 'How did you get on with the gift?' And they reply, 'Oh, it's been so wonderful - we've really enjoyed making use of it.' So you say, 'What have you done with it?' They reply, 'We pulled off those letters and we turned them into necklaces! We've been wearing some and selling others to our neighbours. We all really love them.' So you say 'You haven't realised the incredible potential that my gift has! Let's repair it and I will show you what it can do.'
Now humans are a bit like that laptop. We are complicated but incredible beings. And one major factor about us is that we are made up of three parts - body, soul and spirit.
We know that our bodies have great potential, and we can get great pleasure from them - through eating good food, for example.
Secondly we have souls. They are our core character. It is through our souls that we create and enjoy art, music and literature, that we enjoy having fun together with other people. Our souls are also amazing.
However, the most incredible part of us is our spirits, and it is through our spirits that we relate to God. This is the absolute pinnacle of who we are. It is a real precision instrument.
But in order to relate to God, we have to be 'in tune' with Him. In order to connect with Him we have to line ourselves up with who He is - like the circuits in a computer need to be correct in order for it to work. This means we have to go along with what He knows is right.
God in his very nature is always perfectly right and good. He cannot make a mistake. It's not that he decides arbitrarily what is good or bad: His perfect nature intrinsically determines whether something is right or wrong, just like a plumbline determines whether a wall is straight. It is in the very nature of that plumbline that it is correct and determines whether a wall is built correctly.
So when we get out of line with the laws of the universe, and therefore out of line with God, we start to go wrong and we call it sin. Sin is a word that comes from archery, meaning to fail to hit the mark, to fail to be accurate.
Now if we were just body and soul with no spirit, it wouldn't matter what we did. But because we have a spirit that can connect with God, doing the wrong thing ruins that greatest faculty that we have.
God has told us very clearly in the Bible the truth of what is correct about sexual relationships. He says that a man can marry a woman and that sex is only permissible within that context. Whatever our feelings are, if a man get's into a sexual relationship with another man, or a woman with another woman, according to the Bible that is out of line with the nature of God and the correct laws of the universe.
This does not mean that God or Christians hate homosexuals. It does, however, mean that homosexuality is wrong. And God says that because He is loving, He wants us to stop doing the thing that is wrong because it damages us and other people. That is true love. Any kind of sexual behaviour outside of a heterosexual marriage is wrong.
Some people argue that the Bible is unclear on this subject. It is, however, completely clear unless words have no meaning at all. Here are some clear statements.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
In other words, the Bible says you cannot continue in these things and be a Christian. No-one is forced to become a Christian but if they do, it includes a rejection of what God says in the Bible is wrong.
But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and worldly, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, homosexuals, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (1 Timothy 1:8-11)
You shall not sleep with a male as one sleeps with a female; it is an abomination. (Leviticus 18:22)
Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. (Romans 1:24-27)
It must be remembered that homosexuality was an accepted thing in the Greek and Roman societies where many of the Christians were living in Bible times, just as it is in the western world today. The Bible's teaching did not change just because society had permitted something that God says is wrong.
What about transgender issues?
The Bible clearly says that God created male and female (Matthew 19:4), and therefore we should stick with our birth genders. Sometimes in life we can feel confused mentally and emotionally and try to look for a solution. However, one of the main ways of helping someone who has emotional or mental difficulties is to embrace truth and certainty. Something as fundamental as our birth gender is a truth that helps bring stability if we accept it.
Imagine a complex machine that isn't working properly. If you were not an expert, you could look at the wiring and ask 'I wonder if the machine will work better if we move this wire and reconnect it over here'. An expert would look on and say, 'You're only making matters worse. You need to consult the wiring manual.'
God is the expert on how human beings can be repaired when they are broken and the Bible is the manual we have. Assigning someone a different gender will only make matters worse, and may do irreversible harm with drugs and surgery. God says that by turning from sin and getting a new life through faith in Jesus Christ we can have our deep problems solved.