Being vs. Doing

Posted on April 16, 2012

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“I can’t for the life of me imagine that God would say, ‘I will punish you because you are black; you should have been white. I will punish you because you are a woman; you should have been a man. I punish you because you are homosexual; you ought to have been heterosexual. I can’t, I can’t for the life of me believe that that is how God sees things.”
― Desmund Tutu
 
This is a quote I found on Facebook (in the form of yet another “image quote“) and so I looked it up.  Turns out that Desmund Tutu did say these words.  (This has become a concern of mine, because there’s a lot of misquotations on the ‘net.)  And here’s the thing: I completely agree.  Assuming that sexuality is a purely genetic trait, it’s ridiculous to think that we could place a moral judgment on it as a state of Being.
 
As a state of Being.  Please note the capital “B.”
 
You see, I don’t believe that God would punish a black many for being black.  I think He might punish a man for being a drunk and abusive husband.  God won’t punish a woman for being a woman; He’d punish her for selling her body.  And God certainly won’t punish a gay man for being a gay man.  But he just might punish him for having sex with other men.  Just as He’d punish someone for having sex outside of marriage, or cursing God’s name, any other act that is sinful.
 
That’s the key point I’m trying to make: there’s a difference between the thought and the act.  There’s a difference between Being and Doing.  Being is a state of existence.  I’m a man.  My Being is defined, in part, by my gender; it’s part of my nature.  Doing is a conscious choice.  If I act in a way that follows my nature, but is not in line with God’s commands, then I have sinned and I should be punished for it.  If I sleep with as many women as I can, and claim, “Hey, that’s what I am.  That’s how God made me.  You shouldn’t judge me because I give in to my base desires,” then I’ve still sinned.  My excuses don’t matter, especially not to God.
 
Please note that all I’m talking about here is whether or not a particular course of action is morally appropriate according to God and the Bible.  I haven’t commented on how God goes about removing sin from our lives; I’m just saying that sin is sin, no matter how you look at it or try to justify it.
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Posted in: Philosophy, Religion