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Lennon Cameron wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm a 18 year old male who attends the Christ church in New Zealand.

I'm not religious, but just inn case there is a heaven and hell, I want to know if God will send me to hell for being gay.

I suppose I agree with almost all the Christian beliefs, except the gay part. I am gay and I'm happy to admit it. I feel that God wants me to be this way and would be fine with this when the time comes.

I don't attend church because I believe God (and I use this term in a loose sense) would rather me be happy and do what I feel is right. I'd rather have a good time at a party and spend my Sunday recovering from it, than sitting in a church.

I spend most of my time helping people. I'm a telephone councilor who works with disabled people. I feel like after a long week of helping others, the weekend can't be spent on anyone but me because it's pretty much the only "me time" I get.

  • So would God send me to hell for being gay and not going to church even though I agree with most Christian values and I spend most of my time helping others?

Lennon

  { Would God send me to hell for being gay and not going to church? }

Eric replied:

First of all, Lennon, God loves you and wants you to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

We all are born with a need to be saved. We are born into a condition of separation from God that prevents us from having eternal life. The process of salvation involves coming to know the truth, including our sins, then repenting of our sins, being baptized, and then loving Christ above all in return. Loving Christ in return includes obeying his commandments and those laid down by his Bride, the Church. It also means remaining in communion with Him, that is to say, uniting ourselves to him by receiving Holy Communion in church and maintaining a relationship with His Church.

Having same-sex attraction in and of itself does not send you to Hell. Acting on it, however, is morally wrong, and for those who have established a saving relationship with God, if it is done knowing it is wrong and deliberately, freely, and willfully; it will cut them off from eternal life.
It's an abuse of the sexual faculty that damages our beings. God knows what's best for us, so he's revealed to us that this behavior is wrong. We'd do well to heed his warnings — he is the creator of the Universe and knows what he's talking about.

What you "feel" is not so important as what God has objectively revealed. You could "feel" that it is OK to not report income on your tax return but it wouldn't make it OK. You could "feel" that it is OK to drive at high speeds but when you have an accident it will prove you wrong. A pedophile or sociopath may not "feel" that what he is doing is wrong, but it is. The truth is not based on feelings. Whether homosexual acts are wrong or not is based on divine revelation — the Holy Scriptures interpreted in the context of Holy Tradition.

You said:

"I believe (and I use this term in a loose sense) God would rather me be happy".

  • On what do you base this?
  • By this do you mean, that God wants you to get what you want; that He wants you to satisfy your own pleasures?
  • What kind of God is that, really?
  • Do you think that God the Father wanted Christ "to be happy" by sending him to die on the Cross for our salvation?
  • Do you think that when you were a baby and you were crying and fussy that God wanted your parents to be happy than to sacrifice their happiness to take care of you?
  • Are you glad that heroes didn't do what made them happy, but what was right?

The time for happiness is the life to come. In this life, we need to fight selfishness and pride, which are the enemy of salvation. I guarantee you if you pursue solely what makes you "happy", you will not be saved. That is nothing but selfishness.

"He who seeks his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will save it." (Luke 17:33)

Seek what makes GOD happy which, in the end, will make you happy.

Same-sex attraction is admittedly a very difficult issue, especially in this age. It's very hard to be chaste in our sex-drenched culture. All the more heroic an act it is.

Eric

Paul replied:

Dear Lennon,

To be a little technical here, the Church does not condemn anyone for "being" anything. Our being is created by God and is good. Nor does she fault people for "feeling" sinful things, if they are not deliberately entertained. Feelings are sometimes not of our own choosing. What pertains to our eternal salvation is what we choose to do: what we decide and how we act. Sin, like charity, is in the will and is borne out by our chosen acts.


What I find interesting is that two essential things that keep us in God's grace, you have rejected. The first is a respect for God by attending Sunday Mass, as Christ and His Church tells us is a minimum for maintaining our relationship with God, and a respect for self and others, regarding human sexuality. In the olden days it was said that if a person was faithful to attending Mass and to chastity their foundation for he whole of Christian life was set. Without these two building blocks it's impossible to please God. There's a lot of wisdom to this.

I would suggest this: You are using language of the world when you use the word gay or homosexual as a noun to label one's self or someone else. The word homosexual in the word of God through Church teaching is an adjective describing acts. It could also describe feelings, but human persons by their nature and design by God are sexual creatures ordered to the opposite sex for the purpose of union and procreation. Any deviancy from this when it comes to feelings or attractions is due to sin, original sin, and possibility sin added to that perpetrated on a person from early childhood. Because original sin makes us all born with imperfections and disorders of some degree unique to ourselves, that does not give us any right to act upon them. Someone who might be born with a propensity to alcoholism, for example, should never freely succumb to getting drunk; or bipolarism should try not give into the impulses of self destruction. In this sense, the self needs to be disciplined according to what is properly ordered according to our nature as humans, which is the true and the good. Homosexual acts are unnatural, abusive to self, and to others and should never be freely acted upon regardless of any feelings or attractions that pull an individual in this direction.

Is living according to God's will and against the disordered desires of the flesh easy? By our own natural power it's virtually impossible; but with God's help it is both possible and commanded. With faith and a willingness to obey God rather than self, God's grace can enable proper self-denial and consequent self-fulfillment. His grace and our resolute cooperation is the winning combination of conquering our unruly flesh with all of its disordered desires; and being faithful to God is the only way to true peace.

If you are not faithful to attending Mass each week and going to Confession whenever you fall, you can not even begin the battle against sin and evil. I would suggest to anyone that a commitment to Mass attendance, chastity, and Confession, as needed, are absolutely necessary for spiritual health; and rearranging one's heart and life to attain this lifestyle is job number one.

Please feel free to come back with any follow-ups.

Paul

Eric followed-up:

Let me make a bit of a clarification on my answer about the pursuit of happiness.

The desire for happiness is desire we were created with. All human beings desire to be happy and there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it drives us to heaven, the ultimate in happiness, so
I don't want to give the impression that desiring happiness is bad.

Pursuing happiness in this life is not necessarily wrong, either. However, due to the fall of Adam, we have a natural tendency to pursue happiness the wrong way. Our desires are disordered and we often end up harming ourselves in our pursuit of happiness in this life.

What I am specifically addressing however is the erroneous idea that the morality of an action — whether it is right or wrong — can be determined by how happy it makes us. If something makes us happy, we judge it good; if it makes us unhappy, it is bad. It shouldn't take too much thinking to realize that this is a failure as a philosophy, as many times acts that lead us to sadness are the most morally virtuous actions.

Then there is the confusion between pleasure and happiness. I sense you're trying to define homosexual acts as good because they bring pleasure but pleasurable acts can ultimately lead to unhappiness. Sex addiction or adulterous relationships, for example.

The point is, the moral value of an action is based neither on the pleasure nor the happiness it produces, but on divine revelation (or natural law).

Eric

Mary Ann replied:

Lennon —

God does not send anyone to hell. People choose hell, by choosing their own will over God's.
God's will is made known in the natural law — what human beings have seen as moral according to human nature — and in Revelation (where he reiterated natural law in the 10 commandments,
so that we would be assured of His will). Natural law is God's plan in creation.

If you want to go to be with God, then you should follow His plan. Homosexual actions are inherently against nature: unhealthy, unfertile, impermanent. They are not the life giving union of persons that God planned.

You are a man, not a "gay." You should ask yourself why you have same-sex attraction. It is not sin, but it has real causes, and deep ones. I would hate to see you caught in the loneliness and destructiveness of the gay lifestyle so young. All you need to do now is stop guessing and ask God,

"What do you want me to do, Lord?"

He will lead you and guide you, because He loves you...as a Father, as a Brother, as a Friend, even as the Spouse of your soul.

Mary Ann

Lennon replied:

Hi, guys —

I see your points, but I don't see why my sexual orientation would be a problem. I've been in a committed homosexual relationship for 2 years and we are both very happy with each other and who we are. One of you asked:

Why I think God wouldn't mind if I don't go to Mass each week and why I think he wants me to just be happy?

I think that God would rather me live my life to the full, enjoying every moment as it comes.
I freely do what I want, when I want, but within reason. If it impacts on another person's life then I'm not going to do that action. I spend 50 hours a week helping others and by the time I get home I'm ready just to lay on my couch with my partner and a cup of tea. When the weekend comes
I take that time for myself to let loose. I can't put everyone else before me without taking care of myself first. So that's why I feel God wants me to be happy and live as I live. He has given me this great job, and great life and I feel he wants me to spend my weekends the way I spend them.
In addition, I did not choose to be gay; it was the way I was born. An alcoholic was not born a alcoholic, therefore he is able to make the decision to stop. Homosexuality was described by someone as "a gift from God". I don't understand how its a gift, because everywhere I go I get judged for being gay. I would not change my life for anything. I'm happy with what and who I am.

  • When my judgment comes, I would clearly choose heaven over hell, but would I be let in, after a devotion to helping others my whole life?
  • Would I be sent to hell for my sexuality and not attending Mass?

I accept God into my heart each day. When I'm waiting at the bus stop I have a wee chat with Him. When I lie in bed I chat with Him. My bind with God is there, my love for Him is there and He knows that. I think in today's world people's lives are pretty non-stop. I think God can see that and as long as you always chat with him and let him know what's going on, he will would be fine with that. Maybe my God is a little different than everyone else's God. In my mind, God just wants you to chat when you can, let him know how life is and, most of all, he just wants to know he is with you where ever you are.

  • Isn't this what God is meant to be?

Sometimes I just want to escape from my life, travel to another country and start fresh, have a brand new life with just me and God, but its just not possible.

Lennon

Paul replied:

Lennon,

None of us are going to judge you, but you have an obligation to judge yourself, and not according to your rules, but according to Christ's teachings through His body the Church.

In a nutshell, it seems you're rationalizing this by listing the good things you do. If Mother Teresa, with all of her wonderful charitable work, decided freely and knowingly to blow off Mass for no good reason or freely engage in unchaste activity — and not repent — she would not attain salvation. We cannot make our own rules, but must live according to the dictates of Christ. If you don't understand why homosexual acts violate our human nature and are degrading to us you should trust God and His Word. Homosexual acts are called an abomination in the Old Testament and depraved in the New.

You are not "gay" or a homosexual, you are a human being. A person. One that God loves infinitely. I suggest you rid yourself of unnecessary and demeaning labels that pigeonhole you as being less than you really are. When it comes to our salvation, God's love for us is a given; the only question is how do we respond to that love?

  • Do we decide to follow our disordered desires or do we try our best (with God's grace) to do His will?

If no one else has suggested this yet, check out www.couragerc.org

Paul

Mary Ann replied:

"If you love me, keep my commandments."

Mary Ann

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