Christianity is a counter-intuitive religion. So much about the Christian faith flies in the face of human nature: to be great, you must become a servant; to be strong, you must defer to others; love, not power, is the greatest of virtues; to destroy your enemies, make them your friends—and to help them, pray for them.
There is no wonder why war-mongers like Adolf Hitler said that Christianity was a flabby, weak religion, or why nihilists like Friedrich Nietzsche said that love made people timid when they should want to be supermen. Christianity simply brings out the good in people and seeks to do the same for others.
A recent tweet from a Muslim apologist provides a stark contrast between his faith and that of Christians worldwide. Daniel Haqiqatjou is a radical Muslim preacher who touched off a firestorm on Twitter when he tweeted, “Oh man, I missed the International Day Against Homophobia. The best way to celebrate such a beautiful, momentous, important day is the Muslim way: Recreational Base Jumping!” His tweet, dripping with sarcasm, refers to the practice of throwing convicted homosexuals off of buildings as a method of execution in some Muslim areas. He seems to have underscored his point by following up with a second tweet that read, “Nothing shows solidarity for LGBT like extreme sports!” The practice of executing homosexuals by throwing them from the tops of buildings is well-known, thanks to ISIS.
Christianity, however, is quite different. Although homosexuality is a sin in Christianity (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-11), as in Islam, the two have radically different ways of approaching those participating in same-sex relationships. In Islam, where religion and the state go hand-in-hand, execution often results when homosexuals are found out. Right now, members of the LGBTQ community of Afghanistan are terrified of what will happen to them now that the country is controlled by the Taliban. However, Christianity neither has, needs, nor desires control of the arm of the law. And it treats homosexuals very differently. The Bible doesn’t view homosexuality as any less offensive than Islam does, so what’s the difference?
In a word, grace.
Grace is a concept sorely lacking in Islam, but it is fundamental to Christianity. Homosexuality is a serious sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:10), but it is something of which a person can repent. Paul indicates as much when writing to the Corinthians. He identifies it as something that cuts a person off from the kingdom of God, whether one is an active or passive partner (translations sometimes obscure the fact that there are two terms used in 1 Corinthians 6:9; check the footnotes of your translation for an explanation). But he also says, “And such were some of you” (v.11). That is, some of the Corinthians had been caught up in this very sin. And yet he continues, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
For those struggling with same-sex relationships, Christ calls out to them with grace and mercy. The same is true for any other sin. (Let’s be honest here: we often treat homosexuality as if it leaves an indelible stain on someone’s soul but are quick to gloss over the other sins that we all commit).
The Bible clearly says that God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) and does not want anyone to perish (Ezekiel 18:32; 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9). Christianity wants sinners to repent so we can fill heaven to the brim. Islam cannot say the same. And it certainly isn’t a laughing matter.