The film looks at the different views regarding homosexuality in the Christian community, as well as different interpretations of the Bible on the issue. The filmmaker interviews a variety of people in the Christian community and especially focuses on a family that raised homosexual children. The other topic is recent scientific research into the nature of homosexual attraction. Is it nurtured or by nature? This extends the film to people outside of the Christian community and includes researchers that do not necessarily align with the religion.
Overall, the film addresses a controversial issue but does so in less controversial ways. It shows that homosexuality is complex and a difficult matter for most people but especially those of the Christian faith. The slat is not necessarily against Christians but aims to consider what they believe and why they believe it. The biblical interpretation section was very interesting as it aimed to consider the source material for the Christian view on sexuality. Likewise, the interviews with the religious parents of homosexual children offered a clear presentation of the difficulties that such an issue raises for people today.
In terms of sociology, the conflict theory proves most interesting for the film. As it depicts people not in isolation but in social contexts, the stories themselves offer valuable material for sociology. However, we might take a number of perspectives on the social issues raised in the film. Surely the functional and the symbolic perspectives would glean insights from the reporting. But conflict theory highlights one of the most important aspects in the movie. For the Christians in the film often claim that the homosexual population is somehow less than valuable or of lower status than the majority of traditional marriages and relationships.
For example, one of the interviews features a pastor who claims that homosexuality is wrong. But more than this, he mentions his disdain for the homosexual population. He claims that they are not equal to other people because of their sexual orientation. This represents the conflict theory of sociology. For the theory considers social dynamics that contain one group who looks down on another group. They might view the other as less than equal because of their beliefs or their material possessions or their political affiliation. In the film, the difference lies in the sexual orientation of the people.
On the other hand, while the pastor claimed that homosexuals are not equal to those in traditional relationships, there were some in the film that expressed less conflicting views. For example, some of the parents interviewed, those with homosexual children, did not find their kids as unequal. They did not like the fact that their children were homosexuals and nor did they approve of their actions. However, they did not express a conflict theory of sociology. Otherwise, they would have claimed that their children were less than in comparison to other people who were not homosexual.
Fundamentalism and Theory
The textbook discusses fundamentalism as a concept within the religious aspects of sociology. The term refers to the strict adherence of orthodox theological beliefs. Thus, in the case of the film, fundamentalism appears in the issues of biblical interpretation. The texts that the filmmakers discuss include a number of passages that Christians use to support tradition marriage over and against same sex marriages and relationships. The idea of fundamentalism arises when these Christians demand that all people follow the rules outlined in the Bible. Thus, fundamentalism in the film seems to be the causal factor for the strict views of the anti-gay believers. They claim that people must adhere to the doctrines of theology as outlined by Christians and the Bible in particular.
Sociologically, this becomes more interesting when we consider the source of beliefs and social norms. For Christians, it appears that the Bible operates as their normative text for the ethical life. This immediately raises issues for anyone who approves of same sex relationships and attraction. For those people must defend an alternative source for ethical norms and standards. I think people, as hinted at in the film, adhere to some alternative orthodoxy, such as freedom or liberty. However, they typically fail to think through the consequences of such a view and do not consider the logical consistency or even provide an adequate definition for the term.
Another term that the textbook provides is theory. This refers to a system of ideas that intends to explain something. It relates directly to fundamentalism. The theory concept though does not focus on the strict adherence to theological doctrines. Rather, it focuses on the systematic nature of the ideas. So a set of orthodox doctrines constitutes a theory. However, a theory does not necessarily entail fundamentalism. In the film, the idea of theory in the Christian community relates to their approach to treating people who are homosexual. The fundamental aspect claims that the gay community should have strict adherence to doctrine. From a theory stand point, the Christian community holds a certain set of ideas that somehow apply the biblical data to the real world.
In short, the film, “For the Bible Tells Me So,” looks at the issue of homosexuality within and without of the Christian community. It particularly focuses on the biblical text and the conflicting aspects of gay relationships from a social perspective. The concepts of conflict theory, fundamentalism, and theory all illuminate the sociological dynamics of the film and the communities therein.