Is Christianity a religion of hate? What should Christians do when people ask, “How can you believe in a religion that commands you to kill homosexuals; that commands you to kill your son if he disrespects you? That’s insane!”

This is where I suggest a Christian should start to answer these questions:

First, you could talk about how the laws for the Jews in the Old Testament had three uses:

The Jews were to obey ceremonial laws, laws that centered around temple worship and special days. Most of these disappeared when the temple was destroyed, although Jews still participate in special days, such as Passover. Christians are not obligated to do so. Christians do not have to travel to Jerusalem once a year, for example, nor must they cleanse their homes of leavened bread at the time of Passover.

Second are the civil laws, which pertain to Israel being a theocracy, of which God was the ruler. Israel was the only such nation whose God was king in human history, and those days have passed.

Third are the moral laws. These are still in force, although it’s not quite that simple. Christians still believe they should keep the Bible’s moral laws; however, Scripture—and reality—informs us that we are unable to do so. Therefore, Jesus was punished for our sinful inability to keep the Lord’s moral commands. Christians believe that their sins are forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus—God in the flesh—on the cross. Their shame, their guilt—their punishment—all wiped away. They become people who now want to obey, not because of law, but because of love. Still, we still fail at this and should be humbly willing to admit it, repent, and ask for forgiveness.

However, the questioner may reply, “Well, is killing homosexuals or disrespectful sons part of the moral law?”

Partly. However, the execution of individuals is a function of civil law. Christians do not possess the governmental authority to go around killing people. We should be honest here and admit that there was a time when Christianity did. I don’t know where you would go with this, but I would talk about the deleterious effects of power and money in the Church and how the accumulation of them is in such contrast to Jesus and His teaching.

However, both commands about homosexuality and parental disrespect remain as moral laws. Paul wrote, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘ Honor your father and mother’ (this is the first commandment with a promise), ‘that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land’” (Ephesians 6:1–3)1

Concerning homosexuality, he wrote, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. 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” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).

The questioner may then ask, “Well, since they’re still moral laws, if you did have the power, would you kill them?”

Absolutely not. Nor would we kill the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, greedy people, drunks, revilers, or swindlers.

Here is the beautiful truth about Christianity: The love of God conquers all. His love conquers sin—all sins, including homosexuality, adultery, murder, theft, child molestation—all of them.

Love conquers hate. Love conquers judgmentalism.

And love conquers death.

That’s right. God’s love, exhibited through Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection, overwhelms the greatest bane of mankind. Christians will live forever—because of God’s great love and mercy.

Christians are to exhibit this love to each other and to the world.

“Well, then, the questioner may ask, “Then why did God command Jews to kill homosexuals and disrespectful sons in the first place?”

We will discuss this question in the next post.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001) Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.