Board index LGBT: Gays, Lesbians, Bisexual, Transgender, and Homosexuality

Let's talk about it. The Bible says some stuff, and our culture says a lot.
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born homosexual

Postby RLunde » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:58 pm

I'm so tired of people saying they were born gay. They try to fight it, but then they feel like committing suicide. How do I respond to this?
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Re: born homosexual

Postby jimwalton » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:03 pm

Hey. Glad to answer.

The jury is still out on whether people are born gay, learn it, or choose it. Many studies have been done, and they are contradictory to each other. Despite what many gays say, research has not settled the matter.

Back in the 90s, Bailey and Pillard published sophisticated studies on genes and homosexuality, reporting very high estimates of genetic influence. Newsweek had a cover story on the project. Follow-up studies refuted the findings; Newsweek didn't publish that. Bailey later published that genetic influence on homosexual development may be dramatically less than earlier studies suggested. Other research has failed to produce estimates of genetic influence as strong as Bailey and Pillard. Twins were studied, and only 3 pairs of identical male twins were both homosexual out of a total of 27 male identical twin pairs where at least one twin was homosexual. For fraternal male twins it was 0 out of 16. The results are the same when they study lesbians.

So the studies go both ways. We just don't know. Nobody does right now. The only thing that can be said with certainty right now is that researchers are uncertain about genetic influence when it comes to homosexuality. More work needs to be done.

What's tragic, though, is that gays and lesbians feel so pulled and conflicted, rejected and guilty, convinced yet in doubt, that they feel like committing suicide. We need to come alongside of people and do whatever we can to help them feel loved, and to find peace rather than kill themselves. That's always a horrible and unacceptable choice.

As to the research on whether gays can change and become straight, that's an area of disagreement as well. There are some who give testimony to the ability and success of change, while others tried and reverted. Meanwhile, however, those who tried sometimes now feel extra guilty and even more like failures and rejects, unable to live comfortably in either world. There is a Christian organization called "Exodus" that claims to help people escape from being gay, and they have met with mixed results. (Follow-up studies show that a substantial minority showed significant and successful change from homosexual behavior, but a majority did not.) The American Psychological Association warns that conversion therapy is poorly documented and potentially harmful. More works needs to be done, and much is still unknown.

I have more to say, though. Many gays use the "I was born this way" to say it's OK that they're gay, and we should say it's OK too, as if nothing more need be said. We need to realize, though, that "homosexuals have no choice," if it's even true, is a defense of the homosexual, not of his/her conduct. It may be necessary to oppose actions even if they're not voluntary. We do it all the time. for example, someone who habitually overeats may say they have little control or choice about their eating patterns, but that doesn't mean we have to accept that overeating is a good thing. We still have compassion for the overeater, but we don't endorse his conduct.

Whether or not homosexuals choose their sexual orientation is a tremendously important question, but if they are born that way doesn't invalidate someone else's objections against it. Whether or not homosexuals choose homosexuality is entirely unrelated to the question of whether society ought to regard it (the practice) as an equally valid way of life.

If the Bible's arguments against homosexuality are valid, then even if we agree that homosexuals have no choice, we still have to conclude that nature or early nurture has foisted upon some individuals a tragic burden. But how to deal with a personal burden is a very different question than whether Christianity and Western civilization should drop their heterosexual marital ideal. Sympathy is one thing; the denial of our value system is quite another.

Are people born gay? There is clearly no one answer that accounts for all homosexuals. It can be said that some were started on that path in early childhood, and that most homosexuals, having had sex with both sexes, have chosen homosexuality along with or in preference to heterosexuality. It's an established fact that the vast majority of gay men (around 92%) have had intercourse with women. It's true that wherever homosexuality has been encouraged (in ancient Greece, for instance), far more people have engaged in it. Many lesbians argue passionately that lesbianism is a choice to be made, not a biological inevitability.

One could argue that homosexuality is biologically determined, but that society, if it suppresses it enough, causes most homosexuals to suppress their homosexuality. If that is true—if society can successfully repress homosexual inclinations—it can lead to either of two conclusions: that society should do it for its own sake, or that society should not do it for the individual's sake. Once again we come back to the question of values.

Homosexuality may be inborn, but it is certainly psychologically ingrained, at a very early age in some cases. Historically speaking, they appear to be a minority. Otherwise, in many cases, homosexuality seems established in a person, and people gravitate from heterosexual experiences to homosexual ones. It seems more likely that by and large, it is a society, not the individual, that chooses whether homosexuality will be widely practiced. A society's values, much more than individual tendencies, determine the extent of homosexuality in that society.

Thus we can have great sympathy for the exclusively homosexual individual (orientation) while strongly opposing social acceptance of homosexuality (behavior). In this way we retain both our hearts and our values.

Hope this helps.
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Re: born homosexual

Postby RLunde » Fri Nov 16, 2012 2:37 pm

Hmmmm, I'm not too sure of your answer. Basically it sounds like, for now, it is what it is. Does the Bible specifically say that being gay is wrong and a sin? God still loves them, but that doesn't mean they are going to heaven. Society thinks whatever you do is OK with no consequences. Thanks.
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Re: born homosexual

Postby jimwalton » Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:15 pm

Yeah, I'm not going to make anything of it other than what is. The studies come to different conclusions.

According to the Bible, being gay is not a sin, but acting on it sexually (homosexual behavior) is. That's much like anything else. You may be a liar, but the point is not to lie (Eph. 4.25). You may be a thief, but stop stealing things (Eph. 4.28). So being gay isn't a sin, but having gay sex is.

Now, the Bible does say, in 1 Cor. 6.9-11, that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God. Paul is talking about lifestyles—regular behavior patterns that are habits of the way someone thinks and the way they act. He’s not talking about lapses, but routines that create a barrier between people and God. So what is he saying about homosexuality? That those who claim to belong to Christ need to avoid the practice of same-sex physical connection for orgasm. He is not speaking of inclinations, but only of behavior. We all have sinful urges; the point is to not act on them, whatever they are. A homosexual offender—one who acts on their inclinations in sodomy or lesbianism—is excluded from the kingdom of God, just as is a heterosexual offender—one who has sex with someone to whom they are not married.

I know society thinks that whatever you do is OK with no consequences. It's a huge deception. People like to think they're pretty good, compared to others. That's just justifying your behavior so you can sleep at night. A better approach is to actually find true peace in Jesus, stop the sin, and let Jesus justify you.
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