Term Paper: John Mcneill's Book

Pages: 4 (1447 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] .. there is no healthy way to reverse or change sexual orientation once it is established." As such, McNeill notes that the rejection of a homosexual orientation would be the rejection of God's plan for an individual.

One of the main arguments that support this central thesis is that both tradition and scripture support relationships between people of the same sex. McNeill notes that Mary, the Mother of God had a relationship with the gay and lesbian community. Further, he notes that a careful reading of the Bible, in the context of its original meaning when it was written, reveals that homosexuality was accepted and condoned by God.

The chief ethical implications of the book's theology are rooted firmly in McNeill's understanding of God as a God of love. As such, McNeill's understanding of God as a God of love leads him to deal with a number of important questions. McNeill tries to understand age old problems like how to best love God, understand death and suffering, overcome fear, guilt and anger, and how to best serve God from this perspective.

Ethically, McNeill's book argues that all human relationships based on love are morally good, including homosexual relationships. Further, he argues that love between homosexuals is part of a deeper sharing of a divine love that comes from God. In addition, it follows that hostility toward homosexuals (or anyone else, for that matter) clearly defies the wishes of a God who is based on love and understanding. McNeill quotes John, who wrote, "Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love (1 Jn. 4:8)."

McNeill's thesis has important implications for human behavior. Clearly, his arguments that a gay identity is compatible with the Christian faith imply that homosexual relationships should be accepted both within the Christian community and the larger secular community. In McNeill's analysis, the Christian church should be accepting of homosexual relationships and homosexuals themselves within the church. This has important implications for the acceptance of gays and lesbians as priests, as well.

There are several problems with McNeill's thesis and the ethical implications that come from his thesis. McNeill's thesis is built on an implicit understanding of the Bible from a historical or critical perspective. Using this perspective, McNeill explores what the message of the Bible was at the time that it was originally written, and interprets what this meaning has for the modern reader. This approach can allow McNeill to "gloss over" Bible passages that clearly oppose homosexuality by simply dismissing them as literal translations that fail to convey the more subtle meanings that are less anti-homosexual.

Using this method of interpreting the Bible, McNeill can easily dismiss portions of the Bible; particularly within the old testament that clearly describe the Christian God as a god of fear and retribution. In dismissing this view of God, McNeill then bases his thesis on the interpretation of God as a God of love, rather than a "pathological" God of fear.

McNeill's understanding of a God of love automatically places anyone who is against homosexuality in the church as a person who bases their faith on a pathological relationship with God. In effect, McNeill sees anyone who objects to homosexuality as living in fear of God, rather than living in a loving relationship with God. At the very least, this may be an extreme oversimplification of the beliefs of many who oppose homosexuality in the church.

Despite these potential problems with McNeill's thesis, his proposal to involve the homosexual community in the church is an appealing consideration. As McNeill notes, modern psychology clearly suggests that homosexuality is a fixed component of human nature. Further, it does seem odd to exclude individuals from the church based on an innate biological and psychological characteristic such as sexuality. Today, it would be unacceptable to exclude people of Asian or African ancestry from the church, as these are seen to be biological characteristics determined by God. As such, if homosexuality is a biological characteristic that is determined by God, it should be equally unacceptable to exclude homosexuals from the church. As such, McNeill's proposal that homosexuals should be fully included in the church should become public policy.

Works Cited

McNeill, John. 1996. Taking a Chance on God: Liberating Theology for Gays, Lesbians, and Their Lovers, Families,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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