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Overstreet

McKellan on homosexuality & the Bible

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Wow.

http://www.mckellen.com/epost/lotr/l031015.htm

LIKE GOLLUM TO THE RING?

Q:

You (and the entire cast and crew) have done an incredible job in adapting for the screen one of our most treasured pieces of literature. A piece of literature that is second in readership only to the Bible. It's actually about the Bible that I wish to speak. I've noticed a few posts in the E-Posts of late by people that fancy themselves Christians, and it is to those posts that I wish to respond. I found the bit about you defacing Leviticus to be rather amusing. I must admit, there have been times I wanted to pull out a few pages myself. At least you're reading it. You must read at least a little to find the pages you want to rip out. Apparently these "Christians" aren't reading. Or, at least, they're not understanding what they read.

Here is an interesting exercise: each time you find yourself in the position to "edit" a copy of the Bible, read a bit of it, instead. Leviticus does condemn homosexuality, but with enough reading you will find that the Bible condemns every aspect of human behavior. To paraphrase, we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is not one righteous person among us. Not one. We all justly deserve eternal condemnation. Furthermore, you will find that God purposely created us as imperfect creatures. He bound us over to disobedience, so that he might show us mercy. The Mercy that He gave us freely by holding His own Son, Jesus Christ, to account for the sins of the entire world. And so we are all set free from sin. But as Gollum to the One Ring, we are ever drawn back to our old master.

Is homosexuality a sin? According to the Word of God, yes. Should you be judged for this? No. Not by me, nor by any Christian. To paraphrase another source (and make things abundantly clear for Tolkien fans), we shouldn't be too eager to deal out judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.

So, Sir Ian, your homosexuality should not concern us Christians. What should truly alarm us is your agnosticism. Should we judge you even for that? By no means! What we should do is extend to you the message of the Gospel, a message of tenderness, love and mercy, not of judgment. And that is why I pray you take me up on this little exercise.

A:

What a convincing proselytiser you are. I enjoyed following your elegant argument though it misses the crucial point. There is nothing in the Bible condemning the colour of a person's hair or, I daresay, skin. Certainly there is nothing condemning sex between married couples per se. Morality is concerned with intent and effect not the act itself. But in Leviticus an exception is made for one form of love-making between some men (and indeed some straight couples) regardless of its intent or effect. Leviticus puts it incontrovertibly in 18.22.

You do not address the dreadful respectability that Leviticus gives to homophobia.

I am not agnostic.

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Some questions:

Apart from some "poor theology" (and there are worse things that poor theology), what do you think about the approach the questioner takes?

Does s/he well represent the message of Christ?

Does s/he well represent your beliefs, or that of the average Christian?

I think there are some real strengths in the questioner's...um, question. To what extent can the different strengths in such a proposition make up for logical fallacies, theological blunders, or other undesirables?

In the context of such an online forum, how appropriate or useful is the question?

And to steer this back to film, I'm rather impressed with McKellan after reading through more of his kind, careful responses to the questions posted. I dare say the man has some wisdom. And as much as an actor's "real" life shouldn't enter into the movie-watching experience, I have to wonder, come December, if I won't find McKellan's Gandalf even more noble, caring, and wise...


So you ladies and you gentlemen, pull your bloomers on...

-Joe Henry

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AlanW wrote:

: He isn't agnostic, he's an atheist . . .

Got a source for that? I have never heard McKellen talk about his beliefs.

But FWIW, I think it would be absolutely pointless to talk about the traditional Christian belief that homosexuality is contrary to God's creative intent with someone who doesn't even accept that there is a God with creative intent behind the world in the first place.

And I don't think an actor's agnosticism, or even atheism, should "alarm" us.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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AlanW wrote:

: I didn't say or suggest any of these things . . .

I know, in the second and third paragraphs I was responding to the guy on McKellen's web site.

Thanks for the quotes!

: I can now die a happy man, Lord, having outsourced Peter Chattaway.

I would smile, but in your rapture, you quoted American Beauty. This I do not abide. smile.gif


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I am especially disturbed by the juxtaposition of the Lester quote and that particular emoticon, which I have always found disturbing in its own right and which acquires even more emphatically undesirable overtones when associated with Lester.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Q&A with Ian McKellen

Details: Is it true that when you stay at hotels you tear out the Bible page that condemns homosexuality?

Ian McKellen: I do, absolutely. I'm not proudly defacing the book, but it's a choice between removing that page and throwing away the whole Bible. And I'm not really the first: I got delivered a package of 40 of those pages—Leviticus 18:22—that had been torn out by a married couple I know. They put them on a bit of string so that I could hang it up in the bathroom.

Details: So did you?

Ian McKellen: It is in the bathroom, yes, but it's too much of a curiosity to actually put to use.

Details, October 2009


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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