Three more emails we received on homosexuality
This is a continuation of a previous essay
Homosexual behavior is a "detestable sin."
Incoming E-mail: The Bible says "Do not practice homosexuality; it is a detestable sin." That seems as clear as a bell to me.
Response: Conservative Christians -- those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, need to make a fundamental decision: is the it the original text in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek that is inerrant, or is it a particular English translation inerrant?
You appear to be quoting Leviticus 18:22 as it appears in the New Living Translation of the Bible. You are correct; there is little ambiguity here. The passage does not condemn a person because they have a homosexual orientation. However, it clearly says that all same-gender sexual behavior is wrong, whether it is done by a homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual, and whether it is done by two women, or two men.
But consider the following thoughts:
Is homosexuality OK just because it is genetic?
Incoming E-mail: Many in our society seem to think that homosexuality should be accepted because it is genetic. Yet most of the same psychologists, physicians, and other researchers who promote that view also say that pedophiles and alcoholics are born that way. If a behavior is genetically determined, is it automatically acceptable?
Response: There is a method by which researchers can try to determine whether a certain trait is determined by genetics or by the environment. They study identical twins -- people with essentially identical DNA -- who were separated at birth and raised apart. Such studies show that left-handedness, right handedness, skin color, the potential for alcohol addiction, eye color, blood type, the potential for a homosexuality orientation and many other traits and physical factors are all either directly caused by genes, or are set up by genes and later may triggered by factors in the environment. Genes may also be involved in pedophilia.
Just because something is determined genetically does not mean that it is automatically moral or immoral. However, knowing the cause does help us understand more about its nature.
It is important to differentiate between desires and actions. Unfortunately, words like homosexuality, heterosexuality, alcoholism, and pedophilia are often used to refer to both feelings and behaviors. In the original use of the word "pedophilia," it meant feelings of sexual attraction by an adult towards a pre-pubertal child. This may well be genetically determined. But whether to act on those feelings and sexually molest a child is a decision made by the adult. A person may have inherited the potential to have an uncontrolled desire for alcohol. But if they are aware that they might have inherited this from a parent, they can decide to avoid the problem by never taking their first drink of an alcoholic beverage. If a person has inherited the trait of being sexually attracted to members of the opposite gender -- i.e. if they have a heterosexual orientation -- then they can decide whether to remain celibate for life or seek to become sexually active. So too, if a person has a homosexual orientation, they can decide whether or not to act upon it. Genes may result in a desire to engage in a certain behavior, but the desire does not necessarily need to be acted upon.
Some people base the morality of an action on humanistic concerns: whether the behavior harms people, or not. To such individuals, pedophilia, as a desire without any resultant action, is not immoral because it is unchosen. However, they view abusive pedophilia actions involving sexual molestation as immoral because it has the strong potential to very seriously harm a child for the rest of her/his life. Similarly, they would feel that a homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual orientation is morally neutral, because feelings generated by the orientation are beyond the control of the individual. They might believe that homosexual, bisexual, and/or heterosexual behavior may be moral or immoral, depending upon the specifics of the action and the relationship between the parties, including the safety of the specific practice, the degree of commitment within the relationship, whether coercion is involved, the age of the individuals, etc.
Other people base the morality of an action on a religiously-derived moral code. Often this code is found in a holy book, like the Bible. If the behavior is one of the prohibited actions, then it is automatically immoral; otherwise it may be morally neutral or good. Unfortunately, persons from various wings of various religions have conflicting views about what their holy book says about specific behaviors:
So, it appears that we have to agree to disagree. However, the main conflicts at this time are not whether same-sex behavior is immoral or not. It is whether lesbians, gays and bisexuals should have the same rights and protections as do heterosexuals in this society, including the right to marry and adopt children.
A general criticism of our position on homosexuality:
Incoming E-mail: It's really sad that you twist the very words of "God" to suit your own purpose, and in that I mean promoting the homosexual life style and trying to justify it in any form much less Greek, which by the way you're clearly not a professor of the ancient Greek language! The bible states clearly to HOMOSEXUALITY and yes it does mean men with men and the same with women, it's not rocket science, It is a sin! No different than any other sin, and if you do t turn from your sinful nature you WILL NOT enter the kingdom of heaven.
May you see the truth as it really is and not be deceived by Satan- In Jesus name!
Response: It is not our intent to promote "the homosexual life style".
First of all, there is no "homosexual lifestyle" just as there is no "heterosexual lifestyle". Rather there are homosexual and heterosexual lifestyleS: celibacy, promiscuity, dating, developing a committed relationship, living together, marrying, etc.
Our essays at hom_polls.htm show how the opinions of the average American are changing in favor of marriage equality for persons of all sexual orientations. In the late 20th century, support for inter-racial marriage increased a little over 1 percentage point a year until finally in the early 1990s, most American adults supported the right of inter-racial couples to marry. Support for same-sex marriage (SSM) appears to be increasing at a slightly faster rate, and recently took a major leap forward -- largely do to an increase in support by adult males. Overall, there is a small but growing majority of the population in favor of SSM.
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