What’s the Worldview? – Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

What’s the Worldview? – Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Posted on July 12, 2013  in Blog, Homosexuality

While in a store the other day a song came over the air waves via 91.5 The Beat by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  You may have heard it.  It’s called Same Love.  For obvious reasons it caught my attention.  Here are the lyrics, which I googled as soon as I was back at my computer:
When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay,
‘Cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight.
I told my mom, tears rushing down my face
She’s like “Ben you’ve loved girls since before pre-k, trippin”
Yeah, I guess she had a point, didn’t she?
Bunch of stereotypes all in my head.
I remember doing the math like, “Yeah, I’m good at little league”
A preconceived idea of what it all meant
For those that liked the same sex
Had the characteristics
 
The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago
I don’t know
 
Chorus:
And I can’t change, Even if I tried, Even if I wanted to
And I can’t change, Even if I tried, Even if I wanted to
My love, My love, My love
She keeps me warm (x4)
 
If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
“Man, that’s gay” gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we’re saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don’t have acceptance for ’em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
 
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it
(I don’t know)
 
We press play, don’t press pause
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking ’round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
 
And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it’s all the same love
About time that we raised up
 
Love is patient
Love is kind
Love is patient
Love is kind
(not crying on Sundays)
Repeats…
According to one review, this is the “first time a male mainstream hip-hop artist has rapped positively about homosexaulity.  The artist isn’t gay, but was inspired to write the song because he has gay uncles and a gay godfather.  Billboard.com reports that following the recent rulings by U.S. Supreme Court on June 26, Same Love jumped into the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.
 
What’s the Worldview?
Why am I writing about this?  Here are several reasons…
– the message of the song is communicated so effectively that I believe it warrants a response.  I was concerned that the undiscerning Christian wouldn’t know how to think through its claims
– this is a significant issue before us as Christians and we need to know how to engage people with the gospel when homosexuality comes up in conversation.  If it hasn’t already, it will
– we need to be courageous and faithful to follow God’s Word, even if the whole world be against us, because it is the truth
– we need to start seeing everything through the lens of our biblical worldview because everything else has a worldview.  Every book, movie, newspaper article, religion, song, law, policy, philosophy, or tv show has an underlying worldview, underlying assumptions about the meaning of life, God, morality, purpose etc.
– a worldview is either consistent with a Biblical perspective or it isn’t.  There is no middle, neutral ground!  If we are not for Jesus, we are against Him.  We either submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all things, or, we don’t.
– finally, I’m writing to kick-off a new series of posts called “What’s the Worldview?”  The aim is to help you learn to discern the underlying worldview in anything that comes your way.  So, we’ll take a look at different things in our culture, dig around in them, expose the belief system behind it, and compare it to a biblical perspective.  We should be doing this all the time anyways, so hopefully it’ll be good practice.
Now, after that lengthy, initial introduction, let’s turn our attention back to Same Love.  We’ll pull out some of the underlying assumptions, examine them, then compare them with a Biblical worldview, which can be likened to looking at the world through a pair of glasses, the lenses of which are God’s truth.  Here goes!
 
Assumption #1: Sexual orientation is a predisposition that cannot be changed
According to the American Psychological Association:
There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.
The paragraph does go on to state that “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”
This idea is communicated in Same Love here:
The right wing conservatives think its a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition.
And here:
And I can’t change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to.
The implication in the song is that a person cannot control or change their sexual orientation.  Obviously there are different opinions with no consensus, as stated by the APA.  As Christians, how should we respond to this?  Well, we can agree on one thing: there is a predisposition, but it runs much deeper than sexual orientation.  Our predisposition, our inner wiring, is to either worship ourselves or something else rather than God.  We are predisposed to rebel against God.  Every single one of us, regardless of our sexual orientation, have fallen short of God’s glory and are in desperate need of re-wiring on the inside.  Our LGBTQ friends are no different from the rest of the human race in this regard.  We’re all in the same boat, all in need of the redemptive, renewing grace found in Jesus Christ.
If we believe otherwise, we make the gospel irrelevant and powerless.  If homosexual or bisexual orientation cannot be overcome by God, then there’s hope no in the gospel.  If an inner predisposition means that homosexual or bisexual orientation is not sinful, then Jesus didn’t need to die and the gospel doesn’t matter.
The refrain, “And I can’t change, Even if I tried” is accurate.  It takes a miracle of the Spirit of God for anyone to change, whether you’re someone who has same sex attraction or you’ve cheated on your wife.  We’re all enemies of God and wired to be so.  Unless God changes us there’s no hope for anyone.
 
Assumption #2: God’s love is ONLY unconditional
We see that in Same Love here:
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
And in the outro to the song:
Love is patient, Love is kind, Love is patient, Love is kind… (Let me remind you here of something else that 1 Corinthians says about love: it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth).
The argument goes something like this: God is love.  God’s love is unconditional.  It’s His job to love people as they are.  His love doesn’t make judgments or demands.
This begs two questions.  First of all, when people say God is love, what God are they talking about?  The only place we get such an idea about God being a loving God is from the Bible.  You won’t find that among the Egyptian gods, Greek gods, Roman gods, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism or any other -ism.  This is a Judeo-Christian idea.
Second of all, if we’re going to take the idea of a loving God from the Bible, we best be sure and define who God is and what His love is like based on the same source!
The problem, as noted by Don Carson in his book The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, is that defining God’s love is not as easy as we might think.  In one sense, yes, God’s love is unconditional towards all His creation and His creatures.  He sends the rain on the good and the evil, and causes the sun to shine on both, as Jesus taught.  In another sense, yes, God loves the whole world, sending His son so that whoever believes would not die but have eternal life.  But, in another sense, God’s love is directed towards specific people.  Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.  He chose the people of Israel as His covenant people.  He predestines some to salvation.  And, in yet another sense, sometimes God’s love is conditioned upon obedience.  Consider these words of Jesus: If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love (John 15:10).
As Carson writes, “In short we need all of what Scripture says on this subject, or the doctrinal and pastoral implications will prove disastrous.” (The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, 23).
We’re seing that disaster played out.  Most people consider God’s love to be sentimental, me-centered, and unconditional in ALL respects.  In Scripture we read that God is not a doting, mushy grandfather figure, His love is actually God-centered, and His love is better than unconditional, it is contra-conditional.  God loves us contrary to what we deserve.  He loves us on the condition of Jesus’ perfect obedience.  He doesn’t throw away His holiness in order to love us.  If His love was unconditional, He would.
As it turns out then, God’s love does make judgments and does make demands.  The first and most fundamental one is that we believe in the One whom He sent.  There is no other way to experience His love than through His Son.
 
Assumption #3: Disagreement over homosexuality is driven by hatred/fear
We see that in Same Love here:
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And here:
Live on and be yourself.  When I was at church they taught me something else.  If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed.  That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned.
In other words, if you don’t agree with someone and celebrate their view point, you must be a hater or a homophobe.  But whose view is the right one?  And why?  And who decides?  And if we’re supposed to accept all views equally, what about my view if it disagrees with your view?  It doesn’t add up.  There’s no room for moral disagreement on the grounds of religious conviction or conscience.  Now we’re into the realm of “the intolerance of tolerance.”  Here’s how we get around it (with some help from Gregory Koukl).  Imagine he following conversation:
Inquirer:
What do you believe about homosexuality?  Don’t tell my you’re one of those Christians who believes it’s wrong!
Christian:
First, let me ask you another question: Are you a tolerant person?
If the inquirer says that they are a tolerant person, they can’t jump down your throat for having a different view.  If they say they are intolerant, well, it’s ok for you to be “intolerant” too.  Once that issue is disarmed two people can then begin to have a genuine discussion about the issue itself.
As Christians we do have to come to the realization that it is actually unloving and fearful NOT to disclose the truth about homosexuality to our friends and neighbours.  But once we do, we must be quick to follow that with the message of the gospel and the grace, forgiveness, hope, and transformation that are in found in Jesus Christ.
 
Assumption #4: Equality for same-sex orientation is a civil rights issue
We see that in Same Love here:
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
I barely feel qualified to begin speaking about this issue, so I’ll quote a more reliable one.
Al Mohler writes (full article here):
We do not want to deny anyone his or her civil rights. To do so would not only violate the Constitution but also deny the rights that are granted, not by the government, but by the Creator. But is same-sex marriage such a right? The answer to that question must be no.
 
Discrimination on the basis of an unchangeable characteristic such as skin color would be wrong. But Christians cannot accept the argument that homosexuality is an immutable characteristic. While recognizing the complexity of issues related to sexual orientation, we cannot define a behavior as an intrinsic characteristic. On that basis, why not grant theft or other sinful behavior the same civil rights protection?
Next in line are those advocating such things as polygamy and consenting relationships between adults and children.  There’s also case right now of a professor in the States legitimately questioning why he is being charged with incest over a consensual relationship with his daughter.  Where does it end?  The civil rights angle has a dangerous trajectory.
 
Assumption #5: All religions are the same
We see that in Same Love here:
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
A casual examination of any of the major world religions would reveal this assumption to be a faulty one. Polytheism (man gods), Pantheism (all is god and god is all), and Monotheism (there is only one God) are at odds with one another.  One verse of the Bible settles such a notion: Jesus said to him [Thomas], “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).”  Much more could be said but that’s sufficient for now.
 
On the surface  ideas and assertions communicated in and through the song might sound good and persuasive. That is why we are required to think, to discern, and to evaluate absolutely everything in light of a Christian worldview.  Hopefully this has provoked your mind in one way or another.  I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, or questions if you have any: sean@hespelerbaptist.ca
Next up in “What’s the Worldview?”: the cartoon version of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat.  
Photo Credit: thissongissick.com

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