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Charles T's picture

Charles T

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Homosexuality and Science

I am realtively new here, and do not want to post if this topic already exists somewhere else.  I tired to find it but could not.  I could see allusions to it all over the place, but not specifically on the topic I have in mind.  I also had no idea what forum to actually put it under.  I chose Religion and Faith, cause it seems closest to philosophy and science, which is probably where this should go.

Its like this - Many of you seem to believe that people are born genetically gay and therefore it is acceptable, or that "science has proved people are born that way," therefore it must be morally right.  I want to examine this view.

Has science really proven that people are born gay?

If we accept that people are born gay, does this mean it is morally acceptable?

How do other genetic predisposition possiblities affect this issue, think alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illnesses, and more recently violent behaviour and pedophilia are gaining acceptance as having genetic predispositions?

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trishcuit's picture

trishcuit

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In the case of things like pedophilia, it doesn't make ACTING on it right.  We all have our cross to bear, some heavier than others. Some are predisposed to certain cancers and other illnesses (you mentioned mental illnesses for example.) We live in a fallen world.  Some (but not all) rely alot upon the 'nature vs. nurture' debate. Let us not also forget 'the rain falls on the just and the unjust.' or, bad things can happen to good people too, like being born with certain genetic predispositions. Alcoholism is hereditary but knowing that puts a person in a postition to hopefully prevent it from manifesting itself. 

Please note that I am not going to TOUCH the  topic of wether acting upon homosexual desires is right or wrong. I will leave that to the flame warriors.

nighthawk's picture

nighthawk

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Charles T wrote:

Its like this - Many of you seem to believe that people are born genetically gay and therefore it is acceptable, or that "science has proved people are born that way," therefore it must be morally right.  I want to examine this view.

Has science really proven that people are born gay?

Science has found lots of information about human and animal sexual orientation.  The reasons are not exhaustively described.  They seem to center on genetic factors and possibly hormone and chemical conditions in utero.  Your use of the word "proven" is misguided, but that's a different subject.

In any case, what do you think the other possibilities are?

Charles T wrote:

If we accept that people are born gay, does this mean it is morally acceptable?

How do other genetic predisposition possiblities affect this issue, think alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illnesses, and more recently violent behaviour and pedophilia are gaining acceptance as having genetic predispositions?

No, there is nothing morally wrong with being sexually attracted to (or acting on this attraction with) other consenting adults.  This can be argued, but it seems to be entirely self-evident to me.

Genetic predisposition has nothing to do with the morality of homosexuality.  Even if homosexuality was determined to be a conscious choice, how would this affect its morality?  Can you provide an argument that demonstrates that homosexuality, regardless of its determinants, is morally wrong?

Mate's picture

Mate

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There seems to be enough evidence to convince both the psychological associations as well as the medical community that sexual orientation is a given.

 

I, personally, have no problem with gay folks or their practices.  What goes on between consenting adults behind closed doors is none of my or anyone else's business.  I do not believe homosexuality is a sin.

 

United Church theologian, Douglas J. Hall, has this to say about sin.

 

"No word in the Christian vocabulary is so badly understood both in the world and in the churches as the word sin.  Christians have allowed this profound biblical conception whi ch refers to broen relationship, to be reducd to sins--moral misdemeanors and guilty 'thoughts, words, and deeds,' especially of the sexual variety, that could be listed and confessed and absolved.  Anyone who wants to trace the decline of Christianity in the West would do well to study the history of reductionism associated with this little word.  There has been no more effective way of erasing the profundity of this term, which refers to a quality of relationship, that to quantify it.  The result is a petty moralism that no longer speaks to the great and abiding conflicts of human persons in their complext intermingling."  p 105, "The Cross in Our Context", Douglas John Hall.

 

Shalom

Mate

Kappa's picture

Kappa

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<soap box>

Science as a discipline can never PROVE anything. The scientific method works on the principle of falsifiability of hypotheses. Logically, you can never prove that something is a certain way (i.e., all crows are black) even if you observe it to be true one million times. If I EVER observe ANY crow who is NOT black, my statment that all crows are black is proven to be false. 

What we gather in science is evidence based on probability. After I have observed something one million times, I can say, with a certain degree of accuracy, that all crows are black, but what I really mean scientifically is that I have failed to gather any evidence that can disprove the statement that all crows are black.

<\soap box>

 

How does this relate to your question? Well, most scientists agree now that the nature versus nurture question is the wrong one, because you never have an organism that is ONLY a genome. Every organism develops in an environment: for humans this environment is first in utero after conception, and then in what we are pleased to call the world after delivery. The myriad of influences on a fetus and infant are uncountable.

 

Coming from this position, I would say that any science that says people are born or not born homosexual is inaccurate. Sexual preferences emerge in adulthood, but are almost certainly influenced by many other things before hand. People DO choose whether or not to act on their sexual preferences, which they probably perceive, but may or may not choose to act upon.

 

Whether or not someone acts upon sexual preferences ALWAYS has as much to do with a physiological attraction to someone as it has to do with their morality, and their socialization in a particular culture. I've posted in another thread (I think) that I wouldn't want to act on an attraction to someone if that person was married or cleary in a committed relationship with another person. Others would choose differently: that's their perogative.

 

The issue of pedophilia is frequently and unjustly compared to homosexuality. Homosexual partners are ordinarily both consenting adults who are both looking for a relationship where there is trust and intimacy. If all of those elements are NOT part of a homosexual relationship, then someone is raping someone else, and clearly I think that's also wrong. Pedophilia involves abuse of trust, exploitation and long-lasting harm to a child.

 

(maybe I stayed up on my soap box there)

nighthawk's picture

nighthawk

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It's also worth mentioning that human sexuality is not a dichotomy between homo- and heterosexuality.  It is a spectrum - a line rather than two discrete points.

Arminius's picture

Arminius

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Genetic predisposition is an explanation, not an excuse, for social irresponsibility.

 

I'm not saying that homosexuality is socially irresponsible. On the contrary, in an age were exploding human populations impoverish our quality of life or threaten our survival as a species, homosexuality might actually be more socially responsible than heterosexuality.

Charles T's picture

Charles T

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I definately agree that homosexuality and pedophilia are different in their regard to abuse.  To say that they are the same is aweful, although I know it is done.  A pedophile engages in a sex act that damages every aspect of that person for the rest of their lives, but this is an argument used by non religious people in the political arena, as well, which is why I included it.  It is not just people who think of homosexuality as a sin that question the morality of it.  I underlined the word prove because that is the way people are wording it in lots of threads around here, that science has proved they are born that way and that it is thus okay.

I question this logic because it is not applied to other genetic predispositions, why?  why not?  This is not to say that there can be other ways to say that it is an acceptable behaviour to live out, nighthawk has claimed that to him it is self-evident truth.  This is interesting to me to, I don't meet many people who hold self-evident truths nowadays except for hard core fundamentalists.

Charles T's picture

Charles T

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Just had a thought - I think that emotion is probably a larger component to this whole thing than anything, not sure how to expound that, maybe it will trigger something in someone else though.

mosaic62's picture

mosaic62

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Nighthwak says:

 

Genetic predisposition has nothing to do with the morality of homosexuality.  Even if homosexuality was determined to be a conscious choice, how would this affect its morality?  Can you provide an argument that demonstrates that homosexuality, regardless of its determinants, is morally wrong?

 

 

Agreed.

 

Charles,

 

Whatever they do or whoever they become, why morality/sin can be the issue unless they harm you? What is morality/sin? By whose standard is morality/sin supposed to be defined? 

 

 

killer_rabbit79's picture

killer_rabbit79

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I don't know about the evidence for the current theories for how homosexuality works. I would seriously doubt that it's genetic though, because if it was then it would be hereditary. It would probably also be an unfavourable trait because by Darwinian standards, a favourable trait is one that increases an organism's ability to survive to adulthood and mate, but if the animal does not want to mate, then it is not a trait that will be passed onto offspring. So for these reasons I would think it's safe to assume that it's not genetic.

 

One of my friends told me that the most accepted theory right now has to do with prenatal development. He said that the fetus' position in the womb is one of the suggested factors. I could also see hormones as being factors, although I can't really say for sure.

 

There is also the possibility that it has to do with postnatal development; most likely early childhood development. This would mean that homosexuality is not something that one is born with, but it is also not a choice, because it occurs because of environmental factors that are beyond the person's control. I have heard a statistic on TV before (forget where) that says that for men, the more older brothers one has, the higher the chance of that person being homosexual, unless the person also has a sister. If this is true then homosexuality could be developmental.

 

No matter which of these is actually true though, I think it's safe to say that sexual orientation is not a choice, and therefore cannot be considered a sin. Also, there are an extensive amount of observations of homosexual behaviour happening by many different species of animals, which shows that it is not unnatural.

sighsnootles's picture

sighsnootles

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Charles T wrote:

I question this logic because it is not applied to other genetic predispositions, why?  why not? 

 

acting on my heterosexual genetic predisposition is not questioned only when i act with another consenting adult.  if i act on it with another who is not consenting, it is called 'rape', and not acceptable.   if i act on it with someone who is under the age of consent, whether they are agreeable or not, it is called pedophilia, and is not acceptable either.

mosaic62's picture

mosaic62

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killer_rabbit79 wrote:

I don't know about the evidence for the current theories for how homosexuality works. I would seriously doubt that it's genetic though, because if it was then it would be hereditary. It would probably also be an unfavourable trait because by Darwinian standards, a favourable trait is one that increases an organism's ability to survive to adulthood and mate, but if the animal does not want to mate, then it is not a trait that will be passed onto offspring. So for these reasons I would think it's safe to assume that it's not genetic.

 

One of my friends told me that the most accepted theory right now has to do with prenatal development. He said that the fetus' position in the womb is one of the suggested factors. I could also see hormones as being factors, although I can't really say for sure.

 

There is also the possibility that it has to do with postnatal development; most likely early childhood development. This would mean that homosexuality is not something that one is born with, but it is also not a choice, because it occurs because of environmental factors that are beyond the person's control. I have heard a statistic on TV before (forget where) that says that for men, the more older brothers one has, the higher the chance of that person being homosexual, unless the person also has a sister. If this is true then homosexuality could be developmental.

 

No matter which of these is actually true though, I think it's safe to say that sexual orientation is not a choice, and therefore cannot be considered a sin. Also, there are an extensive amount of observations of homosexual behaviour happening by many different species of animals, which shows that it is not unnatural.

 

a brilliant thought.

nighthawk's picture

nighthawk

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Charles T wrote:

.  This is interesting to me to, I don't meet many people who hold self-evident truths nowadays except for hard core fundamentalists.

Well, obviously I'm a hard-core fundy then (*eyeroll*).

Since I wasn't clear enough, I'll try to explain.  I'm not saying the concept that acting on sexual attraction when it is between consenting adults (regardless of sexual orientation and gender) is morally good (or at the very least, not morally wrong) has been writ into the fabric of the universe, or that it was received through divine revelation, or that it is an axiom we can build moral philosophy on.  I was simply hoping that reasonable, intelligent people could grasp this concept as true without having to go through an entire thesis of why it is true before applying it to your questions.

Can you get to the point of this thread?

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mjd

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Hi Charles T, The subject of homosexuality is quite an abrasive one.  People do not want to hear the Truth in this matter.  Why?  It’s probably got to do with not like being told how one should or shouldn’t live their life.  So, whatever their choice, there is consequences.  We must remember that God gave us laws and statutes to live by.  These laws and statutes were not made to be burdensome, but were made to be the guard-rails in life to keep us on proper paths.  I think when people entertain a thought long enough, that in all probability, sooner or later they will act on it.  Whether people like it or not there is a right and wrong to all things. 

Leviticus 18:22,23,29 KJV…Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is [an] abomination.  Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith:  neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down therto:  it is confusion.  For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people.

John 10:10 KJV… The thief (satan) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:  I (Jesus) am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  Satan steals the truth from you, then runs to God and accuses you, and if this is not enough he sets out to destroy you with this lie.

Comment:  God’s Word, which is Truth, tells it like it is.  God created mankind and in the creating he gave man freedom of choice.  But also, God gave us laws and statutes (the guard-rails in life) to follow --- to know right from wrong --- and if for any reason you decide to step over the line --- you will face the consequences.

Leviticus18:26 KJV…Ye shall there fore keep my statues and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you.

                       +  Revelation 20:12 KJV…And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened : and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

                       +  Daniel 7:9,10 KJV…I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool:  his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.  A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him:  thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him:  the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

Comment:  So, if the consequences are not faced in this life it will be faced when the books are opened and judgment is given.

 

I have people in my family who have taken on this life-style.  I love them dearly.  I don’t sit and point my finger at them (because when I do, there are three fingers pointing back at me).  If they were to ask me what I think (which they have) I point out the Truth in the Bible (then if they do not heed God’s truth the ashes are not on my head).  We all will come before God’s judgment seat --- and all, whether righteous or wicked --- we will proclaim that his judgments are true and just.  Amen.  MJD 

 

nighthawk's picture

nighthawk

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mjd wrote:

Whether people like it or not there is a right and wrong to all things. 

Indeed.  Like using a single verse to inflict harm on a specific group of people.  Like using literal interpretation and faith to avoid thinking about an issue; to avoid dialogue, critical thought, any semblance of understanding an issue as complex as human sexuality.

 

You claim God views homosexuality as an abomination.  Why?  Can you give any reasons why the attraction between two people is wrong simply based on their gender?

sighsnootles's picture

sighsnootles

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using leviticus to condemn homosexuals is ridiculous... mosaic law of leviticus also forbids getting your hair cut, wearing mixed fibre clothing, and talking to women while they are menstruating.  by the law, if you are guilty of one transgression, you are guilty of them all.

 

we don't fobid people who get their hair cut to get married, so how can you say it is forbidden based on the levitical text???

somegirl's picture

somegirl

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mjd, God gave us the ten commandments and Jesus and neither even mentions homosexual behavior, everything else is people.

jlin's picture

jlin

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My advice about sexuality issues is to grow up and get real.  The stories in the bible are various and no one tells us not to be pedophiles.  In fact, most people in the bible were pedophiles and still,we have figured out that is totally screwed up whereas things like eating clean pork and forming marital relationships with the same gender --  not so much effed up.

 

So, there ya go,  If you want to be biblically accurate, marry a 14 year old cousin.

seeler's picture

seeler

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mjd - going through the Bible and picking a verse or two here and there to support your point of view and ignoring the overview and those parts that don't support you, is called 'Cherry picking'.

Mate's picture

Mate

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According to Lev.  it is also an abomination to eat shellfish.  We are also supposed to stone recalcitrant children..

 

Using the Bible to "proof text" is a complete misuse of the sacred scriptures.

 

Shalom

Mate

revjohn's picture

revjohn

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Hi Mate,

 

Mate wrote:

We are also supposed to stone recalcitrant children..\

 

I'm hoping to get mine to mow the lawn first that way I can kill, ummmmm discipline, two birds with one stone.

 

Grace and peace to you.

John

Freundly-Giant's picture

Freundly-Giant

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I'm gay. I WAS born that way. If testimony isn't enough, I don't know what is.

Mate's picture

Mate

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Freundly

 

I am in agreement with you.  There is some indication that genetics plays some role even if only a minor one.

 

It also strikes me that if sexual orientation is not a choice but a given than that is how we were created by God.

 

Shalom

Mate

spockis53's picture

spockis53

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Homosexuality has a genetic component (and is found across species) and has a selective advantage in denser populations.

 

Science doesn't "prove" this or anything. It can only state that the available evidence suggests the probability that this is closer to the truth.

 

LL&P

Spock

Kappa's picture

Kappa

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Thanks all for jumping on Leviticus before I got here. Especially sighsnootles & jlin.

 

Having read the above, I think we need to agree what "born that way" means. Killer_rabbit made some good points. Your genome is not your phenotype (physical characteristics/behaviour) by a long shot. A lot of exposure to various positions in utero, maternal hormones and nutrients (or toxins) etc. turn many genes on or off, or effect the activity of particular genes over the course of an organism's life. Or so goes the current theories: creating these models belongs to an entire new field of natural science, so I'll leave the epigeneticists to provide the details (anyone on here an epigeneticist? Anyone?).

 

I don't care what events in the chain of development lead some people to become attracted to primarily members of their own sex: I still think there is no CHOICE involved in this initial attraction. So I would say, for the sake of expediency, that people who self-identify as homosexuals have been "born that way", whatever that means. It is their natural way of being, if you like, regardless of the biochemistry underlying it that we have yet to discover.

 

Like others on WC, I believe the continuum of sexual preferences between homo- and heterosexuality is much more diverse than our traditional bipolar dichotomies lead us to suggest. It also might make it difficult for scientists to elucidate any clear biological markers of homo versus heterosexuality. My personal feeling is that a lot of unique life events intervene between birth and puberty to influence sexual expression. There is a whole whack of cultural values and social norms piled on top of whatever happens to be going on physiologically. There may be something that can be reliably shown to be different between homosexuals and heterosexuals that scientific investigation can discover, but personally, I doubt it.

 

To get on to the second part of the question, if something is someone's natural way of being (i.e., are they born that way), it doesn't make it moral. Case in point: psychopaths. Probably a lot of adverse early life experience plus a genetic predisposition going on for many of these folks who have no remorse or conscience and who, as a group, can't resist the opportunity to exploit people and cause a great deal of harm. I'm not up on what makes psychopaths the way they are: I do know that once they are convicted of crimes it is pretty useless to try to rehabilitate them to try to behave with a sense of human decency. The best you can hope for (sometimes, and slim chance) is to appeal to their self-interest that by doing this sort of crime again they will end up back in jail and that sucks. But then, there's also evidence that they are SIGNIFICANTLY less likely to learn from punishment than are typical people. Just because psychopaths were "born this way", they don't get carte blanche. They cause harm: we arrest them. Same with pedophiles.

Mate's picture

Mate

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I do remember seeing recently that they have discovered that the brains of homosexuals have developed and look more like the female brain.  I do not remember the reverse but for this it is unimportant.  There are physical differences if that research holds up.

 

Shalom

Mate

Charles T's picture

Charles T

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I think it would do people well if I gave my motives for starting this thread.  I am not trying to roast gays in hell or something.  If it is a sin it is just as forgiveable as any other, regardless of how long you do it or anything.  I am honestly wondering about these things.  I would assume that because there appear to be so many gay people on this site that some of you have gone through this sort of questioning before.  I am not crying out convert me, but seriously try to convince me of it.

I really like some of the things said about Levitical law.  This reminds me of head coverings in some churches, they make women wear them eventhough that exact same sentence would then indicate that men wear hats.  Just try wearing a hat in one of those churches.  Yes, there are many levitical laws that are no longer followed today, so is there good reason to hold on to this one too?  There are some good reasons to hold on to others.  Ususally they say that culutrally it made sense, example pork and shellfish can kill without proper hygiene and such.  Were there similar things for homosexuality that would no longer apply in our time and culture?  I am honesty thinking through this stuff.  Most of the pro-gay theology I have read, which is not much, is very poorly done so this doesn't help.  Sort of like how about 95% of creation science is done my non-scientists, it is like they got a 6 year old to do it.

I don't have a problem with sin being genetic, because I believe that all of creation is corrupted, including our genes.  Look at babies being born with all sorts of defects, or Kappa mentioned psychopaths.  I have two close relatives who actually are psychopaths, thankfully they are sort of functioning ones and haven't done anything illegal, but just trying to be in any sort of relationship is difficult.  We have to have strong boundaries between our kids and one of them because he seeing nothing wrong with hurting small children while playing, or torrmenting to tears, this causes him great joy.  If you ever told him his behaviour was sinful or even hurtful he would not believe you, to him it is just fun.

Sorry, got interrupted for a bit and I have no idea where I was going with this anymore.  Just please people, especially homosexual ones, I am not trying to condemn you or point out that your life is sin, this topic is for my own understanding and growth.  I really want to hear some good defenses beside the sort of, "well, it feels right to me and the person I am with." this is a defense people in a co-dependant relationship would give too.  I am hoping for more, maybe there isn't.  I still have to check out those links Mate posted.

Mate's picture

Mate

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Charles T

 

One of those links leads to theologian Walter Wink.

 

Another thing to look at is the book "The Sins of the Scriptures" by John Spong.  He has much to say about homosexuality.

 

Douglas John Hall, and United Church Theologian has some things to say in his book "The Cross in Our Context".

 

I too have been looking into this for the past several years just because it has become a hot topic within the Anglican Communion.  It seems to me that it may have been Hall that questioned why on earth we began to identify or define human beings by their sexuality.  

 

"Instead, ready-made answers have been paraded ad nauseam--answers that are no answers at all but only preexistent prejudices masquerading as biblical or traditiona Christian belief and counsel"  p 203, "The Cross in Our Context", Douglas John Hall.

 

Shalom

Mate

dogorious's picture

dogorious

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I don't feel I am educated enough to answer the questions presented here, I Thank Mate for his input and that I have to say although MJD is entitled to her beliefs/point of view she scares me.

What I do want to say to Charles T is that although our physical mean can certainly be scientifically studied and broken down to infinite details that carry from one said species to another of the same, our intangible portion probably will never be. Otherwise, each and everyone of us wouldn't be unique. What gives one the ability to be a talented singer and another to be a carpenter. As pointed out same sex preferences don't only occur in humans, or what about a species that is a combination of both and can self reproduce. Keep in mind these text that are suppose to be "guard-rails" were written by man based on their interpretation of what is or suppose to be.  Your answer could be as simple as  male/female sexual orientation is to keep the species alive, while other sexual orientaion's exist to level out the playing field as to not over populate. Before man kind became a major contributor to the extinction of alot of species there were natural forces that curb their growth.

So Charles T what are you really trying to ask? What bit of specific information are you really looking for? I'm more curious as to why this is so important for you to figure out. I could be reading more into what you've written here but, I don't think your answer is out there but more within you.

Don't get me wrong your questions are valid, it's just your association to alcoholism, drug addiction. Other species that favour same sex relations cannot be studied for such things as they haven't engineered them. Now granted you have a point when it comes to mental illness and violent behaviour (in the wild I think we call that survival of the fittest, or food chain, dominance, etc.), I don't think species of the wild worry about pedophilia, I've seen cats mate with their offspring, whatever the calling was.  These behaviours are something we as humans are concerned about because they affect us all and our way of life. Sexual orientation hetersexual or homosexual has the same effect. So to question one and not the other, only comes from religious believes or what we has humans have put out there as a Social Norm/Morality issues. If your hetersexual, what inert feelings allow you to find a female attractive/desirable, truth being a gay male/female may have the same feelings about other males. What about bisexuality - where one is intrigued equaly by either sex?

Which leads to ask you, why do you need to be convinced? What's going on inside of you that makes you feel so strongly about this subject matter. You've so far lumped additionals and other ailments such as codependancy, to a custom in a church (hats vs. no hats), to relatives, and birth defects (yikes, this to happens in other species). See where I am going, if your really interested compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, be more specific with your thought process and the answer could be before you.

The best line you've written was "Were there similar things for homosexuality that would no longer apply in our time and culture?".  Think about what you've just said here. This doesn't relate to a scientific exploration but of the logical disposition of mankind at a point in time.

Thank you everyone for your comments, view points and beliefs; and for sharing them. We are fortunate that we can have such discussions.

Kappa's picture

Kappa

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Indeed we are fortunate that we can have such discussions.

 

I think I understand where Charles T is coming from, although I don't know for sure, not being him. The problem with these threads and the internet in general is sometimes a lack of contextual cues to give an idea of a person's intent. I think we are all expecting people on here to be polarized on one or the other side of the homosexual issue, even though I expect that the vast majority of people on here are not.

 

For example, someone at one point said that she/he really accepts homosexual relationships but still has a lot more trouble with two men (or two women) kissing at a bus stop and no uncomfortable feelings in the presence of a man and woman engaging in the exact same behaviour. I think this comes down to conditioning: regardless of how we have been brought up, most of us have the general idea by the time we hit puberty that romantic/sexual relationships between adults are between men and women because we have so few examples of it occuring between members of the same gender (unless we have members of our immediate family in acknowledged gay/lesbian relationships).

 

I think probably a lot of us are more uncomfortable with homosexuality than we like to admit, in the interests of being open-minded and fair. I know that for years I accepted "homosexuality" as a valid preference for others that should be allowed expression, while at the same time finding it totally inconceivable that one of my friends or myself might ever be attracted to a member of the same sex "like that." I'm glad to say that I have come a long way since then.

 

So I expect Charles T is trying simply to explore where he stands on this issue by trying to find out the types of opinions that others have on this issue.

 

To speak to the issue that dogorious brought up about how other animals do things that we (as humans) condemn, I think it is important to take emotional context and ability to self-reflect into consideration. As humans, we have the ability to build societies and reflect on how the rules of our society hurt/harm the individuals within it. Humans, as a group, have empathy for the suffering of others (excluding some outliers, i.e., psychopaths). That means that animal analogues to incest and infanticide are not okay for us. Yes, both of these behaviours are found in higher mammals, but I don't think they have the same implications for other animal groups, given that these groups don't SEEM to have the enduring emotional attachments and self-reflective abilities that humans do. I am not speaking to whether or not animals HAVE emotions: I think they clearly do have many responses that seem to indicate emotion, but you can't really identify emotions in animals the way you do humans: they don't talk about their feelings. There is also evidence that other animals have no sense of themselves IN TIME, as though life is unfolding in front of them and a product of events in their pasts.

SG's picture

SG

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CharlesT,

 

Try reading "Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition" by Rabbi Steven Greenberg. It is a Koret Jewish book award winner.

 

Even when one sees homosexuality as wrong and uses the Bible to hold up that belief, if one is being fair, one must also wrestle with other verses or stories. Proof texting with other verses means one must do so with all, not cherry pick. Take the Creation stories... God created and all that God created was pronounced good, that can be seen to include the snake. The first time God sees something that is not good, do you know when that is? When God decides it is not good for the human to be alone.

 

So, being alone is not good and all is created by God. I am not saying my homosexuality is inate or that I was born this way. I do not know why or how I am gay.

 

I simply know that it is all I have ever known.  I got crushes on other little girls, always played the dad when we played house and dreamed of The Facts of Life girls... others felt drawn to the opposite sex people and I to the same sex.

 

Now, what do I do?

 

Do I date someone I do not like that way? Do I sleep with someone I do not love that way? Do I marry someone who does not complete me? Do I deny someone a wife who will love them that way? Do I raise children in a home where the adults do not love each other as much as is possible or in all the ways that are possible between a man and a woman and teach them this is what they too should seek?

 

Some can. Some do. I did not find it would please me, please the other people or please God.

 

I could not do it. I did not. I have never even dated a male. A great male friend in high school once kissed me in a car, he was the boy all the girls chased. His reason was to turn to me and say "you are toooo gay, why don't you admit it".

 

I tried being alone. It is a sad and lonely life if you are not the monk type.

 

Was I born with somethign in my DNA? I don't know. Was I raised any different than my siblings? No.

 

I do not know why or how. I only know that I am and always have been as long as I can recall.

 

I cannot find a verse that speaks to me and tells me to be alone and miserable and this is how God wants it to be.

 

So, that is where I am.

 

Where are others? Well, they too are where they find themselves or where they wish to be.

 

Levitical Holiness Code only ever applied to Jews in Israel. To apply it to Gentiles is wrong, presently and historically. We do not apply any other Levitical Holiness Code to Gentiles, not today and not in antiquity.

 

It also only speaks of a certain way of having male homosexual sex. Is wrong always wrong or is some aspect of wrong what makes it wrong? To apply it to all of  homosexuality based on the sexuality, and do so fairly, means that heterosexuality may too be wrong because before Leviticus 18 mentions men laying with men it mentions 16 things that are homosexual in nature or about sex with some opposite sex  people. Does that mean heterosexual is wrong, or is it spelling out some things outside the law?  Let's look at it this way, could one not say that since menses happens and not all blood can be cleaned from the uterus, even in a ritual bath, that male sex with a female because of menses has potential to be always wrong? For me, we cannot. I do not think we can say all homosexual sex is wrong, because some types may be.  

 

In Leviticus 20, again the one comment about man lying with man is among about a dozen addressing heterosexual sex.

 

It is not that heterosexual sex is "wrong", it is ways that homosexual sex can be wrong and why.

 

There are about six verses that I get clobbered with as a gay person.

 

What is said is not merely a man lying with a man, but a man lying with a man "as one lies with a woman".

 

What might that mean?

 

It is about some way of having sex, not about sexuality or about love. It also does not even spell out whether it is anal penetration or fellatio.

 

So, then if one looks at what sex represents or what way sex is happening  instead of the merely the sexuality, could it be about bottom=submissive= female? Could it be that where men had all the power that giving that power over to another was seen as wrong? Men did not give power over to women, not even women they were intimate with. Would being intimate with another man compromise power?

 

What might have been seen as wrong may be what is often seen as wrong now. One plays the woman, one is not a man...yada yada yada...

 

In ancient times, a man did not relinquish any power or status to a woman who was his property by having sex with her. Women were at the bottom end of the power and status ladder. Would a man be relinquishing power or status by having sex with another equal, a male?

 

Could there be something about not being submissive?

 

Lesbians are not even mentioned. Today, you still have those who question "is lesbian sex, really sex or is it just foreplay?" ... there is definite sex status bestowed to homosexual male sex and with lesbians we still sometimes cling to the idea that it is just messing around or it cannot be sex.... so, penetration still plays a part in how we rationalize sex. Don't you think it was that way among ancients?

 

When working on the law, would two females having sex have really counted as infidelity when both women were owned by men and women were not in nor would they ever be in a position to own themselves let alone another? Lesbians were lost in a predominantly heterosexual  male dominated society.

 

I only know that my life would have made myself miserable or others miserable had I tried to live it another way.

 

So, I live it honestly.

 

I love someone and they love me. We create a home filled with love and respect.

 

It is the best I can do.

 

Peace,

StevieG

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Faerenach

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killer_rabbit79 wrote:
I don't know about the evidence for the current theories for how homosexuality works. I would seriously doubt that it's genetic though, because if it was then it would be hereditary. It would probably also be an unfavourable trait because by Darwinian standards, a favourable trait is one that increases an organism's ability to survive to adulthood and mate, but if the animal does not want to mate, then it is not a trait that will be passed onto offspring. So for these reasons I would think it's safe to assume that it's not genetic.

You discount the possibility that homosexual relationships are useful in the social complexity of a large community.  Have you ever studied the Bonobo chimps?  They use homosexual (as well as heterosexual) relations in a social way - peacemaking, etc.  Granted, it's not common in other species, but it has been around with humans long enough to observe that it isn't new behaviour.

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killer_rabbit79

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Kappa and Faerenach,

 

Good points about Darwinian advantages to homosexuality. About the bonobo chimps though, if any of them were completely homosexual then they would have a Darwinian disadvantage because they would not reproduce. Producing viable offspring is the only way to pass on one's genes, so they would have to also be willing to mate. That has lead me to believe that it can't be purely genetic at least.

 

This does make me think about the Spartans though. Ancient Greeks in general were very accepting of homosexuality but the Spartans took it to the next level by basically making it a social necessity amongst one's fellow soldiers. They used to have orgies with the other men in their phalanx, which strengthened their relationships with each other and made them more inclined to protect each other, which was a very important aspect of phalanx combat.

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Faerenach

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Ah, the Spartans.  Love 'em.

 

Interestingly enough, while the Spartans fully engaged in homosexual activities for the social benefits, they disdained the Athenian approach to it, which was for love and pleasure... they saw them as soft.

 

You make a good point about the Bonobos - obviously they would have to continue mating!  But sexuality within them is fluid; it isn't one or the other, it is simply an expression of intimacy and community.  Like we mentioned before with the Greeks, humans have in the past treated it as such.  But humans have also seen it in the way that you've suggested it - completely useless, as it is a waste of reproductive potential.  I wrote a paper in Uni about the Ideology of Fertility and studied how homosexuality was treated in a handful of early civilizations.  Did you know that it was sentenced with death in the Valley of Mexico (Aztec) culture?

 

Perhaps we should decide which would make the social complexity of our civilization stronger - are we more worried about reproduction or about social interaction?

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Goodskeptic

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Charles T wrote:

I think it would do people well if I gave my motives for starting this thread.  I am not trying to roast gays in hell or something.  If it is a sin it is just as forgiveable as any other, regardless of how long you do it or anything.  I am honestly wondering about these things. 

I highly doubt whether or not you're truly "wondering" - however, you never addressed some earlier questions on "morality". If a homosexual were homosexual by choice alone - would that, in your opinion make it immoral and why? 

 

Further, to KillerRabbit and maybe Spock - is it not possible that pair-bonding (heterosexual) aspects of the genome are relatively new? I mean, sexual reproduction can and still occurs whether someone is homosexual or not - it is simply the pair-bonding between two members of the opposite sex that doesn't happen in a homosexual relationship. Apparently humans are among a very very short list of mammals that engage in this "pair bonding" heterosexual coupling tradition. Yes a male and female are required to procreate - but procreation, from a biological perspective, certainly doesn't equal heterosexual behaviour. It's entirely possibile that we were all once homosexual in preference - but that women developed the need for mates that could defend and assist them... and started selectively choosing who to mate with... no? 

 

I have no idea - just playing devil's advocate with an alternative perspective.

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sighsnootles

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well then, how about this...

 

homosexuality is present in the human genome, passed through the generations via heterosexual pairings, and serves as a population check... by making a small percentage of the population homosexual, it goes a ways to ensure that the species doesn't overpopulate.

 

makes sense to me.

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Faerenach

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sighsnootles - That was certainly one of the possibilities I wondered about when writing my paper.  It also creates smaller, intimate ways in which a community and culture can become more complex and diverse on a social level.  Which is key to any civilization getting larger.

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spockis53

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killer_rabbit79 wrote:

Kappa and Faerenach,

 

Good points about Darwinian advantages to homosexuality. About the bonobo chimps though, if any of them were completely homosexual then they would have a Darwinian disadvantage because they would not reproduce. Producing viable offspring is the only way to pass on one's genes, so they would have to also be willing to mate. That has lead me to believe that it can't be purely genetic at least.

 

Producing offspring is *not* the only way to pass on 'your' genes.

 

Genetically associated relatives will also pass on 'your' genes. The theory goes that homosexuality enhances the survivability of near-related mating pairs (through non competition for mates) in higher density populations.

 

Homosexual genes therefore are passed on through their more successful siblings and cousins.

 

LL&P

Spock

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JRT

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Some research has indicated that homosexuality is somehow linked to the biochemistry of the hypothalmus gland in the brain. At any rate homesexuality is not just limited to humans --- it has been identified in about 150 species of higher mammals. I was waiting in a vets office once and picked up a professional journal. One article pointed out that about 10% of the rams in sheep herds in the UK are homosexual.

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Freundly-Giant

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...me and science get along. It's so confusing; there's some facts that you can rely on, and others that are being constantly revised and proven wrong. I find that in such a constantly growing world, scientific facts will tell you very little about what you want to know. I rely on my heart to search for answers, and I'm not always correct, but I'm sure I find a lot more truth than someone who has no faith beyond what is proven.

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mjd

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Hi Nighthawk,  Like I said this is an abrasive subject.  There is nothing wrong with two people being attracted to one another (I have lots of good buddies --- I hang out with them --- but at the end of the day they go home to their wives and I go home to mine).  But God says that man should not lay with man as he does a woman and vice versa, then He goes a little further and says that mankind should not lay with a beast sexually either (how do you feel about this?).  If you have an argument take this up with God I didn't write the scriptures.  There is more than one scripture in God's Holy Word about how we are to live and what is and is not an acceptable way to live.  Start reading Leviticus 11.  It is quite clear.  God says that we may know what truth is.  He is truth and his word is truth.  God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.  The evidence of those cities along the Dead Sea are a witness as to how God views this subject and is there for us all to see.  He destroyed it with fire and brimstone.  Sodom and Gomorrah are the only two places found on this earth that have evidence of brimstone ( a sulphuric like substance, in the form of little balls, that burn when lit with a match).  These places are not just a fairytale you know --- they exist and are a witness to us, so that we are without excuse!  Human sexuality does not have to be complex, there are guard-rails that guide us in this subject.  It only becomes complex when we walk out side of these guard-rails.  Last but not least --- I did not use literal interpretation and faith to avoid thinking about this issue --- it's common sense and I have given it a lot of thought.   Can two men, of their own doing create a child (just this statement should illuminate the truth)?  No, only a man and woman were given this gift.  Given time though, science will pervert this because they want to be the gods of this world.  They have done a pretty good job so far because a good majority of the world believe they evolved from a animal so use this as an excuse to do whatever tickles their fancy. 

Romans 1:24,25 KJV...Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever.   Amen,  MJD

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Why wasn't Canada murdered with fire & brimstone when we passed the gay marriage law then? Or the Netherlands? I take this as evidence that God isn't reacting to human interactions now as he did at the time of Sodom.

 

And Sodom and Gomorrah is very difficult to understand from my reading, so correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't a big part of God's disapproval the gang-rape? I'm still opposed to gang-rape of the homosexual AND heterosexual type.

 

I pity you mjd if all you get out of your sexuality and sexual encounters is potential reproduction. Most people experience a lot more emotional connection and intimacy. Why shouldn't this be shared with someone you truly love and are attracted to, rather than simply in the service of creating offspring? I doubt God sees us as tools for propogating the species. We are made in the image of God and I've always thought that the most important part of that image in humans is our ability and expression of Love.

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Goodskeptic

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Mjd - you cherry pick your "scriputres" to suit your purpose and therefore are completely and utterly intellectually bankrupt. 

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SG

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mjd,

You said: " But God says that man should not lay with man as he does a woman and vice versa"...

Where are you finding the vice versa part? There is no part of the Bible that says woman should not lay with woman as one does with man. As much as some love to use clobber verses, they don's usually directly find them relating to homosexual female sex or lesbians. The closest they come is Romans 1 and it is a vague reference at best.

 

 If you are going to use the Bible as defense, then know it well. Leviticus 11 is about clean and unclean food. It is what you can have for dinner not who you can do after buying them dinner.

 

BTW, as a Christian I think Jesus might trump some who followed Jesus or some who claim to. For me, Jesus trumps Paul or the pope or anyone else. What did Jesus say was the sin of Sodom and Gemorrah? The Gospel of Matthew has in chapter 10, Jesus talking about his disciples being greeted and not about homosexual sex.  In Luke 10, he again speaks of Sodom, but nothing about homosexual sex it seems again about welcoming. Could it be,  in essence, Jesus saying that the sin of Sodom and Gemorrah was inhospitality?

 

Ezekiel which is seen by many Christians as to prophecy Christ, says what the sin of Sodom was quite clearly. Read Ezekiel 16

 

Leviticus contains instruction after instruction or admonishement or admonishment or rule after rule regarding heterosexual sex. Like Lyn Lavner says the Bible contains 632 admonishments to heterosexuals and six for homosexuals.

 

You said " There is more than one scripture in God's Holy Word about how we are to live and what is and is not an acceptable way to live.  Start reading Leviticus 11.  It is quite clear."

 

Do you eat only kosher foods, complying with kashrut and keep the Jewish dietary laws? No fat? No blood? No shellfish... no tuina casserole or lasagna where meat and milk are mixed? Would you smash your pots if a lizard touched them? Do you take mikvah? Practice purity laws? Not blend fabrics? No cotton polyetser blends? Observe Rosh Hoshanah, Yom Kippur, and the festival of Booths? You want to stone magicians? If you are or ever are divorced, never be remarried? Ever accidently see a male relative naked, even by accident? Then you need exiled. Want priests with acne banned from the pulpit? Those are all part of Leviticus too.

 

You said, "I did not use literal interpretation and faith to avoid thinking about this issue --- it's common sense and I have given it a lot of thought.   Can two men, of their own doing create a child (just this statement should illuminate the truth)? "

 

What of those men and women who cannot create children, is this a statement on the godliness of their relationship?

 Romans 1 is about idolaters given up to lust and impurity. You might also read that in both verse 24 and 26 "God gave them over". It sounds more like a punishment for idolatry than about a sexuality. In fact, it speaks of women with men turning and men with women turning ... so they would be straight folks having gay sex?

Oh it is also about evil, greed, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slanderer, God-haters, the insolent, arrogant and boastful... those who disobey their parents and the senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless... funny we make it just about the homosexuals.

The idolaters are filled with every kind evil, from murder to gossip. The crime is idolatry, not homosexuality.

 

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mjd

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Hi Stevie---Well here is scripture that says woman should not lay with woman as a man...Romans 1:26,27,28...For this cause God gave them up into vile affections:  for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly and receiving in themselves that recompenseof their error which was meet,  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do thos things which are not convenient.

Sorry about the Leviticus 11 quote --- so I was tired---what can I say.  Go to Leviticus 19.  Hey, Stevie--- for me it is late---I would like to answer more of your post but I'm really tired.  Take care and again thanks for your input.  ciao, MJD

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RevMatt

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mjd wrote:

But God says that man should not lay with man as he does a woman and vice versa, then He goes a little further and says that mankind should not lay with a beast sexually either (how do you feel about this?). 

 

No, God does not.  That is a lie.  You are a liar, and you are hateful.  Comparing homosexuality to bestiality shows you to be completely devoid of intellectual ability, and it is promoting hatred.  Your comments are not welcome here, and any further repeats of this comparison will be reported as hate speech.  It is established precedent of this website that such hatred is not welcome.

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IBelieve

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Freundly-Giant wrote:

I'm gay. I WAS born that way. If testimony isn't enough, I don't know what is.

 

I have seen God and talked with Him. If testimony isn't enough, I don't know what is.

 

 

Be Blessed,

IB

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cate

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I do not believe the issue of homosexuality being morally acceptable has any connection to whether it is genetic or not.

 

It's morally acceptable because there is nothing morally wrong with it.

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IBelieve

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StevieG wrote:

 I only know that my life would have made myself miserable or others miserable had I tried to live it another way.

 So, I live it honestly.

 

I'm not trying to be flip about this or judgmental, by any means, but are you truly happy with this decision?

 

Be Blessed,

IB

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