Top 7 claims for why homosexuality is “unnatural” refuted

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Anti-LGBT groups routinely claim that homosexuality is “unnatural.” Let’s look at the seven most common arguments offered in support of that claim, shall we?

1. Only humans engage in same-sex relationships, so it must be unnatural.
False. Over 1000 species have been shown to engage in same-sex mating and pair-bonding.

2. Reproduction is the purpose of sex; same-sex intercourse cannot produce offspring; ergo, homosexuality is unnatural.
Based on an incorrect assumption. While reproduction is one function of sexual intercourse, it is far from the only one. Many animal species, including humans, engage in non-reproductive sexual behaviour. Among humans, the benefits of regular sexual intercourse are myriad. Various studies have found that it: improves one’s ability to deal with stress; lowers blood pressure; boosts antibody production; burns calories; reduces the chance of a heart attack; improves self-esteem; deepens intimacy; builds trust; makes one more generous; raises pain tolerance; reduces the risk of prostate cancer; reduces incontinence; improves sleep; stabilizes the menstrual cycle; improves bone and muscle health; keeps one’s skin looking more youthful; promotes longevity; improves tissue repair; reduces cholesterol; reduces depression; increases creativity; improves flexibility; relieves nasal congestion; heightens the sense of smell and taste; slows tooth decay; protects against osteoporosis; protects against Alzheimer’s; helps prevent endometriosis; alleviates arthritis pain; lessens cramps; reduces the risk of breast cancer; increases confidence; reduces risk of stroke; and boosts energy.

Also, no one accuses straight couples who can’t reproduce—elderly or infertile couples, for instance—of being sinful when they marry and have sex. If it is sinful to have non-reproductive sex, then the ire of anti-gay groups should be directed at these people as well. But it’s isn’t, because reproduction is not really the concern of such groups. Gay people having sex is.

3. Homosexuality is an evolutionary dead-end, and would therefore not occur naturally.
False. First, a lot of genetic conditions are evolutionary dead-ends, as they cause either death in childhood or infertility. But no one denies the existence of such conditions. Natural selection does not mean that a reproductively negative trait will be eliminated in the gene pool, but only that it will not typically be selected—and so will remain relatively uncommon.

Second, while a trait may have negative reproductive outcomes for an individual, it may have some advantage in other individuals carrying the same trait. For instance, it’s theorized that carrying one allele for sickle-cell anemia may significantly increase one’s resistance to malaria. Likewise, while a gay male may not reproduce, it’s been noted that his female relatives are often more reproductively successful, so it’s theorized that one gene that may contribute to homosexuality when carried by a man also contributes to reproductive success when carried by a woman.

Third, evolutionarily speaking, immediate reproductive success (i.e. having many children) is less important than long-term reproductive success (i.e. having many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and so on). In social animal species, having some non-reproductive adults who can provide extra food, security, assist with child rearing, and even act as parents to children who have been orphaned will make the group as a whole more successful in the long-term.

4. Since there is no proof of a gay gene, people are not born that way.
Disingenuous. This intentionally ignores that very few inherited conditions are the result of a single gene, that there are obviously epigenetic* factors at play in the development of a person’s sexuality, and that intrauterine hormones have also been shown to affect sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual expression. Autism is also not associated with a single gene, but we’d hardly claim that it is not biological, or that children choose to be autistic.

5. Homosexuality is caused by childhood abuse, parental neglect or emotional distance, and other factors of upbringing, not biological factors.
False. Numerous scientific studies have proven this is simply not true. There is absolutely no reason to blame parents for their child’s sexual orientation. Indeed, there is no reason to “blame” anyone.

6. Sexual orientation can be changed by ex-gay therapy, so it’s not a permanent state.
False. People have been trying for at least 150 years to find techniques to change sexual orientation. While sometimes, if rarely, such technique result in changes of behavior, none result in a change of orientation. Even people who have benefited from the ex-gay movement admit it does not change orientation. As Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International (the once preeminent but now defunct ex-gay therapy program), put it in 2012, “The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation … .”

7. If everyone were gay, the human species would die out.
That’s true. And … ? Seriously. If everyone had any number of inherited conditions the human species would die out. Are we going to judge everyone with those conditions as being sinful and/or unnatural? We have over 7 billion humans on this planet. It’s okay if a few members of the species are incapable of or disinterested in pairing up with a member of the opposite sex to produce babies. That’s also ignoring the fact that we have artificial insemination readily available.

 

* Epigenetics refers to how genes are expressed—whether the gene in a particular cell is turned on or turned off—rather than the genes themselves. Such gene expression can be inherited from one’s parents, and can also differ from one’s parents due to environmental factors.


Lynette Cowper is a Christian who is active in her church’s worship and drama ministries. As a parent of two children, one on the LGBTQIA spectrum and one on the autism spectrum, she has a deep passion toward justice for those society too often sees as outsiders. Lynette blogs at A Rindle of Words.

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  • Bob Black

    This list assumes that Fundamentalist/Conservative/Evangelical Christians are, in any way, concerned with science or facts. The people who are against LGBT rights and acceptance have made up their minds. I have given up trying to convince them They will die believing what they believe and be replaced by people who believe differently.

    • lrfcowper

      Well, given that these are “scientific” arguments made by anti-gay groups, they need a scientific response, if for no other reason than so folks who might be tempted to give them credence know better.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      It doesn’t actually assume anything at all. It just makes its points.

    • Susana Jiménez

      I get your point, I’m surrounded by these people, Christians/Catholics, and they don’t care about scientific facts or facts at all. They just say “NO because I say so”, like a mamma bear. They say they’re right because of the bible or whatever they believe in and that’s it, end of discussion, be quiet, go to your room.

      BUT: I’m Catholic and I choose what to believe. Maybe we can be a new generation of beliefs, we’ll just have to wait for them (close-minded believers) to drop dead.

    • Alexis

      Another anti-religious loony not thinking about the fact that not all Christians are the same.

      I come from a long line of educators who just so happened to be Christian. My Catholic grandfather graduated with a PhD in Biochemistry. Say again how non-atheists are uneducated. I can easily go on about how all atheists are self-righteous jerks who don’t know any better about actual Christians who are educated and do believe in science.

      Science never disproved God. Science never disproved Muhammad, Huitzilopotchli, Ra, Ixchel, Odin, etc., etc. Science sets out to prove, not disprove. Just like this article makes an example of. It’s all evidence to prove, not disprove. This is why people like Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye are all just lunatics when compared to Stephen Hawking, Alain Asapect, Allen Bard, and Kary Mullis. These “celebrity scientists” are nothing more than a joke and so are atheists who make assumptions about everybody else.

      • Tim

        What are you on about? Bob was very clearly talking about a certain subset of Christianity. I’m not sure why you’re taking offense at something not even remotely directed at you.

      • rondonaghe

        Bob was talking specifically about “Fundamentalist/Conservative/Evangelical” Christians. I would add that Unitarian Universalists are the exact opposite of the Evangelicals and have done much to include LGBT people. They’re a deep-thinking group, usually refugees from other religions. You’ll not have a better experience than attending a UU church—and no, I’m not a UU, but I’ve spent time in their churches. Great bunch.

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    Good list of arguments and good responses!

  • Leslie Marbach

    Great list, Lynette! I’m confused why people continue to use some of these arguments.

    • rondonaghe

      I highly suspect that people still continue to use some of these arguments because they want to discriminate against gay people and still appear reasonable. If you’re not born that way, it matches what their bible tells them is unnatural. If they accept that people are born gay, then they haven’t much wiggle room; hence, they would reveal their hatred.

  • iByron

    It’s funny how often argument #3 is made by people who don’t believe in evolution.

    • Alexis

      Not true.
      My belief in God doesn’t mean I don’t believe in evolution. In fact I’ve known many, many, many people who believe in both.
      It’s those who make these vast assumptions about one group’s belief system who end up looking like fools.
      I’m a science believing, Big Bang believing, evolution believing Unitarian Universalist who is sick of atheists pulling words out of their rear ends just to make some dumb comment on the internet. Not all Christians are crazy or uneducated and not all atheists are accepting. Think twice about it.

      • lrfcowper

        I can’t speak for Byron, but I took his comment to be regarding anti-LGBT people who use the evolution argument even though they also reject (much) evolutionary theory, and not a comment on all Christians. While there are large swaths of Christians for which this isn’t true, many fall into two camps– 1) Biblical literalists who reject evolution and are anti-LGBT and 2) Biblical contextualists who accept evolution and are pro-LGBT equality. Byron is speaking of his experience with the first group, not the second group nor the larger set of all Christians.

        • iByron

          Yes. That’s exactly what I meant.

          Thank you.

      • iByron

        No one said anything remotely related to what you just wrote.

        You’re making “vast assumptions.”

        The advice to “think twice” is noteworthy, however. More people should follow it to be sure.

  • CroneEver

    Of course, the real terror for the anti-LGBT crowd is that, if people really are born gay (which I believe), then that means that God either (1) meant for some people to be gay or (2) made a mistake…. Horror! No! Does not compute! Must reject! Now!

    • lrfcowper

      It’s sort of a circular logic– God rejects gay people, therefore God didn’t create gay people. Then you have to deny all the scientific evidence that people are born gay.

  • Simosito

    Let me just point out (as a BSc student) that the anaemia example is not exactly pertinent, as that involves one (of two) alleles, whereas the gay gene hypothesis (with which I’m not familiar) would involve a whole gene that acts differently on male/females.
    Just from the top of my head (so don’t quote me on that) I’d say a more relevant example would be nipples in man.

    But thank you for this article.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Don’t men tend to have nipples?

      • James Walker

        Simosito’s suggesting that male nipples would make a better parallel with the genetic factors of homosexuality than the sickle cell example, because there are multiple genes and other factors involved in their development.

      • Simosito

        Exactly. I meant men have nappies because the gene(s) are necessary for females, whilst they’re of little use un males.

        Edit: as James Walker saud

        • lrfcowper

          On the other hand, female nipples are more of a survival necessity, not a slight survival advantage as the “female relatives of gay men tend to have more children” research suggests.

          • Simosito

            Yes, of course, I was merely pointing out something that was more similar as a mechanism than an example of heterozygous advantage.

          • lrfcowper

            Right. The example wasn’t selected to be a similar genetic mechanism so much as having a similar effect on survival of your genetic line– two things that are apparently “evolutionary dead ends” in one person that increases the chances of survival of the line in a related person.

          • Simosito

            Yeah, I know, I hope I didn’t sound too much of a know-all :)

          • lrfcowper

            Not a problem.

  • R Vogel

    Actually given our penchant for destroying everything we come in contact with, the human race will likely wipe itself out whether we are reproducing or not. If fact reproducing may hasten the end. Do you prefer a bang or a whimper?

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Yikes. Pessimistic much?

      • R Vogel

        On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone will drop to zero. -Tyler Durden

        :)

        • Psycho Gecko

          Just because every past human is dead doesn’t mean human civilization has died off, though.

          I just think it’s more likely that a bunch of people spreading hate and claiming that other humans are unnatural things not worthy of human rights is more likely to lead to us dying off than our eventual destruction either when the sun dies out, or our galaxy collides with the next one over, or when we reach the heat death of the universe.

          We were more likely than not to kill ourselves off in the Cold War, but luckily we had people who didn’t think that was inevitable to help us out of it, including a few Russians at malfunctioning radar stations who didn’t want to be the ones to kill off the other half of humanity.

          • R Vogel

            The quote was just a joke meant to highlight the silliness of the original claim. The destruction of the human race, bound as we currently are and likely will continue to be on this planet could just as easily be accomplished by over-breeding as it could from under-breeding. I could make a compelling argument that a rise in the number of homosexuals in the population might actually increase our species life expectancy by leveling off the population growth, not to mention the increase in general fabulousness as a happy secondary result, 😉 Anywhoo, I agree with your premise that spreading of hate and other-shaming is a far quicker path to destruction, both physical and spiritual.

            My preferred response would be, “…and if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass when he jumps, so what?” But I have been reading some disturbing things about resource depletion recently that put me in a more dark frame of mind….

          • Psycho Gecko

            Ah, yes. Well, if you enjoy scary videos along those lines, I remember this was a recent illustrative analogy along those lines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8x98KFcMJeo

            I prefer stuff like Daywalt Horror or MarbleHornets, but to each his own in that regard.

  • kojak

    i find it mind boggling that we even go to the extent of using science to try and justify same sex practices. what man has as his sexual organs is an established fact in as far as their usage is concerned and the same applies for the woman. anything beyond this is a matter of choice. you may want to call it orientation and give it a chance for an argument but it does not change the fact that the design of male and female sexual organs points to specific usage. before you continue with all these brilliant arguments take a look at what you are defending!!! don’t even bring in issues of Christianity and atheism etc just take a look again! now you even want to change notes in text books just to suit your line of thinking etc you can fool some people sometimes, but you cannot fool all the people all the time!

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      And your point is???

      • Snooterpoot

        I think that kojak’s point is that s/he needs to justify his/her antipathy toward people who are homosexual, so s/he trots out his/her discomfort with the thought of same-sex intimacy.

        I find it quite amusing that homophobes seem to be unable to keep their voyeuristic minds out of the bedrooms of strangers. In my opinion, it’s also rather perverse.

    • Psycho Gecko

      Yes, it’s been established that men can have sex with each other using their sexual organs, and women can have sex with each other using their sexual organs, too. No need to pull out tools and start attaching anything.

  • Becky05

    My only quibble here is number 2, because the side effects of regular sex are not the same as the purpose of sex. You’ve missed a chance to point out that reproduction is not the only purpose of sex in humans — the other major purpose (as in many animals) is pair bonding. This contributes to the stability of society as well as the good of the individuals. This purpose is still functioning in all couples, regardless of reproductive ability or gender.

    • lrfcowper

      I don’t think we can decide for everyone what is a side effect of sex and what its purpose is. I don’t think of deepening intimacy and building trust as being side effects, but the main purpose, but I know others who don’t regard intimacy or trust as important.

  • samwise

    Whilst I understand and support the necessity to do anything to soften people’s heart towards the issue of homosexuality I’m not sure articles like this achieve much. I mean on point 1 alone there is estimated to be roughly 8.7 million different animal species on the planet. By any rational and reasonable application of scientific statistics to propose that 1000 species engaging in same sex interaction as evidence of ‘normal’ or ‘norm’ behavior in a statistical sense is ludicrous and simply highlights how totally not normal it is in the animal kingdom. It does not work to try to rationalize with what people feel is wrong when their frame of reference is the insurmountably dominant experience of sexuality and attraction in both humans and animals as heterosexual. This is a real issue that articles like this try to argue away, but you can’t argue away peoples experience of the world – just the same that you can’t argue away same sex attracted peoples experience of the world. Personally I think it is far more intellectually and emotionally honest to acknowledge that same attraction is not ‘normal’ in a statistical and experiential sense and that it is different from what many people experience but that it is ok and learning to accept that others are different from you (and that different or not ‘normal’ does not need to equate to wrong or sinful) is Christlike and loving and graceful. But to simply try to argue away peoples experience with a range of mostly tenuous arguments is counterproductive and will only increase peoples resistance to the acceptance that you want.

    • lrfcowper

      “Natural,” “normal,” and “the statistical norm” are three different things. My son is on the autism spectrum. His social behaviour is not “normal” nor is it the “norm” but his neurology is completely natural.

      Additionally, while there are 8.7 million animal species, many of these are lower-order species who do not pair-bond at all or have different sexual configurations than humans (I mean, by sheer numbers, what is sexually “normal” in the animal kingdom is probably to have a society of sexless drones who do most of the community work, a few males who mostly guard the females, and even fewer females who do nothing but pop thousands of babies out every year). Once you start looking at higher-order species, you find same-sex pair-bonding all over the place, and we keep finding more and more every year.

      Lastly, this is one article in an overarching oeuvre of articles on the topic, and addresses one area of resistance to LGBT equality. To address the full topic requires tens of thousands of words– well beyond the scope of one blog post. “You should have written something else about LGBT people,” is a pretty ludicrous complaint given the scope of posts here.

      • Alex Schamenek

        You know I’ve asked for evidence of so-called “same-sex pair-bonding” before and all anyone was ever able to produce was same sex sexual behavior or same sex best friends. Do you have any proof of a single case of actual same sex PAIR BONDING that isn’t just anthropomorphized sexual behavior?

        • James Walker

          well, gee, if you can just call two animals “best friends” whenever we show you a pair who’ve bonded, that must destroy the argument altogether.

          now back to reality land where we don’t know anything about what goes on inside animal’s heads…

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Two male penguins who had bonded, and exhibited all the behavior of a mated pair. There were no females and the two penguins were to be seperated in hopes they would be able to bond to a female. They were not sure it would work. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2011/11/gay-penguins-to-be-separated-at-toronto-zoo/

  • http://www.whoaisnotme.net/anakinmcfly Anakin McFly

    Plus, if one person in a gay couple is transgender, reproduction is a definite possibility.

    • Snooterpoot

      People who are homosexual are not barren. We can, and often do, procreate. I have known gay men and lesbians who have had sex for the sole purpose of procreation. That doesn’t change their sexual orientation, it just (hopefully) makes them parents.

      The urge to reproduce is not absent from people who are homosexual. It’s just a little more difficult to get pregnant, just as it is difficult for some people who are heterosexual.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I know several people who have had kids in prior relationships, and then there are couples who choose to adopt

        • Snooterpoot

          There are no unwanted children in a same-sex marriage.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            so true

  • Sven2547

    Many of the people who use these fallacious “it’s not natural” arguments support a priesthood that is voluntarily celibate. The irony is not lost on me.

  • Alex Schamenek

    You start out with a blatant lie. 1000 species might engage in same sex SEXUAL behavior, but they do not engage in same sex pair bonding. If some same sex couples are pair bonded (which I doubt happens at all, but don’t care enough to argue the point) the number of species that have these sorts of relationships is not anywhere close to 1000. I’ll bet that a majority of that 1000 species don’t even heterosexually pair bond. Bonobos for example.

    In truth, every single one of these 7 is overwhelmingly problematic.

    Number 2 is missing the point.
    Number 3 is guessing.
    Number 4 is disingenuous. (Putting words in our mouth. Genetics is not the entirety of the “innate” debate.)
    Number 5 is also disingenuous (putting words in our mouths to win an argument to make it seem as if we have lost that argument) and false too. (We know for a fact that some people have “adapted” to childhood trauma by adopting homosexuality. IOW: I’d be willing to concede that it’s possible for homosexuality to be innate in some individuals if you are willing to concede that it’s not innate in 100% of all self-identifying homosexuals.)
    Number 6 is another blatant lie. Dr. Nicholas Cummings, one of the most respected psychologists in the world, especially regarding homosexuality, a former president of the APA who actually affirms homosexuality himself, has gone on legal record saying that unwanted same sex attraction can in some cases be treated.

    The only one I’ll concede on is number 7, but the dismissal of this argument is missing the point about why people bring it up in the first place.

    • James Walker

      the difficulty with your claim about #5 is that human sexuality has been found to exist on a spectrum where the peak of the bell curve falls somewhere between “heterosexual orientation” and “bisexual orientation”. but self-identification with any position on that spectrum involves the interplay between the person and their environment. so, a person who already falls within range of “bisexual” may, due to some traumatic incident or due to not understanding their own sexual response, self-identify as “homosexual” for a while until they naturally gravitate back toward “bisexual” or even “heterosexual” after they’ve learned more about themselves.

      • Alex Schamenek

        That’s not true at all. It’s yet another guess by pseudo-scientists who stack the deck in their studies to support their preconceived beliefs. They want there to be a bell curve so they manufacture one.

        My favorite other example of this pseudo-science is the idea of fluidity. 20 years ago we conservatives said homosexuality was something that could change. Homosexuals maintained that their sexuality was unchangeable. Then it was revealed that we were correct because thousands of homosexuals, without interference from religion or pressure from friends/family, became heterosexual. But rather than concede the argument, which would have undermined the entire foundation of homosexual “theology”, the idea of fluidity was invented. How convenient.

        • James Walker

          are you a psychologist who has studied human sexuality? have you ever been sexually attracted to someone of the same gender? are you “tempted” on a regular basis when you see sexual imagery involving people of the same gender as you?

          if not, then YOU KNOW NOTHING about what you’re discussing. you’re just parroting talking points from the FRC and the AFA. I have no respect for parrots.

          • Alex Schamenek

            I am not parroting anything. I’ve been studying this issue for over 10 years. You will be hard pressed to find anyone who is more informed about this subject than me. I have no need to parrot anyone.

          • James Walker

            so, please explain how you have been studying the subject and what is the basis on which you’re challenging point #5 specifically. if you cite studies or research papers, I’ll gladly go read them (or the abstracts, depending on what I can access online). you’ll find that I’m also not uninformed since I’ve been studying myself (a gay man, somewhere around a 4 on the Kinsey scale) for over 30 years and have been a Christian longer than that.

          • Alex Schamenek

            I have a library of bookmarks at my disposal, many of which are studies.

            Regarding #5 specifically, my main point was that what the author said was not the only argument we use. And generally speaking it’s only the immature people who use that argument. I certainly don’t rely on it. I don’t need to because the burden of proof is not on my side. I’m not the one advocating change.

            Anyway, there are hundreds of testimonials given by people who experienced childhood trauma and once they learned to deal with that trauma through psychotherapy or by other means their same sex attraction waned.

          • James Walker

            I (and, I’m sure, the author of the blog post) understand your point that #5 is not a comprehensive list of “causes” given by “conservatives” arguing against sexual identity being inborn. it wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive list. it was meant to be sufficiently broad that it would cover the majority of the “it’s not inborn” argument.

            your comment about the “hundreds of testimonials” doesn’t make the abuse or trauma “causative” for the same-sex attraction in those cases, merely a mitigating factor in how the person self-identified for a period of time in their lives.

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/ Dan Wilkinson

            http://www.lgbtscience.org/ is a great resource …

          • Alex Schamenek

            LOL. I’ve been there before. It seems as if they post everything they can find about the scientific study of homosexuality (so long as it affirms homosexuality) irregardless of its scientific validity. For example they still have references to Dean Hamer (who faced charges of research impropriety and lost his job due to his “gay gene” study) as well as references to Simon Levay, whose brain study was soundly annihilated in peer review.

            Take everything with a grain of salt.

          • James Walker

            I don’t see anything on the internet to suggest that Levay was discredited, but rather that certain over-interpretations of his results have been discredited (and Levay agrees that his research is only indicative of some biological mechanism, not proof in and of itself). Hamer’s study is problematic but I don’t see anything showing that the charge of “research impropriety” ever had any teeth.

          • Alex Schamenek

            Simon Levay was studying the brains of cadavers hoping to find a difference in size in one portion of the brain. He didn’t know which of his subjects were homosexual and which were heterosexual. Also many died by a disease that affects the region of the brain he was studying. Those are just two things I remember from the refutation I found some time ago.

          • James Walker

            he was specifically looking for a difference in the size of the hypothalamus which would possibly indicate a difference in exposure to testosterone during fetal development. his research demonstrated a statistically measurable biological difference between men who identified as having same-sex attraction vs. men who identified as not having same-sex attraction (with the obvious caveats that some of them would have identified falsely and that they were dead so could no longer be questioned about their orientation).

            Levay’s research has been confirmed in at least one other study. his conclusions are not nearly so far reaching as some have claimed them to be. the size of the hypothalamus is not, in and of itself, an indicator of homosexual orientation and Levay never claimed it was.

          • Alex Schamenek

            “his research demonstrated a statistically measurable biological difference between men who identified as having same-sex attraction vs. men who identified as not having same-sex attraction”

            Except that he didn’t know who identified as having same sex attraction. Also his sample size was miniscule.

            If Levay was not intending to prove the size of the hypothalamus is an indicator of homosexual orientation, then why study it? Especially immediately after he said (at the loss of his lover to AIDS) that he would prove that homosexuality is biological or he would quit science.

            It’s interesting that you note that a study has confirmed Levay when I know of a study that did not confirm him.

          • James Walker

            I was unable to find any study that did not confirm Levay’s findings. William Byne’s study published in 2001 Hormones and Behavior corroborated Levay, although Bynes et al found a smaller dimorphism between their heterosexual and homosexual male subjects than did Levay, they did find a dimorphism in INAH-3. they mention the same cautionary notes that Levay does, that it’s impossible to determine if INAH-3 size determines sexual orientation/gender orientation or if its size is itself caused by the orientation/gender of the subject.

          • Alex Schamenek

            “it wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive list. it was meant to be sufficiently broad that it would cover the majority of the “it’s not inborn” argument”

            I don’t think that’s true at all. It’s not broad at all. It’s very specific. And yet it is meant to cover the majority of the “it’s not inborn” argument. It’s a gross oversimplification with the specific intention of putting the “it’s not inborn” debate to rest.

            “your comment about the “hundreds of testimonials” doesn’t make the abuse or trauma “causative” for the same-sex attraction in those cases”

            It can.

            Do you honestly think that 100% (every single last individual of the 200 million people who identify themselves as homosexual in the world) was born that way? Not a single person got that wsy after birth?

          • James Walker

            setting aside the debate over whether #5 is a “good point” or a “bad point”..

            I think that 100% of the people on earth who identify as “homosexual” have had same-sex attraction to some degree since they were first capable of having sexual attraction. you’ll recognize and understand the caveats contained in my statement because I don’t accept the idea that human sexuality is a binary (strictly one way or the other) deal.

          • Alex Schamenek

            Ah. Of course. I should have guessed already since you mentioned the Kinsey scale earlier. You believe sexual orientation is a spectrum.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Of course sexual orientation is a spectrum. There are people who are aesexual, meaning the never have one iota of sexual attraction to anyone, where are people who prefer monogamy, some who never feel the need to “settle” people who are only attracted to their own gender, some who are attracted to both, some who are attracted to the opposite and a myriad of variations of that theme. Sexuality in humans, as in other species, is as diverse as how hair grows (or not) on our heads.

          • Alex Schamenek

            I don’t take issue with the idea of a spectrum. I take issue with the idea that the spectrum is determined before birth and that learned experiences during one’s lifetime won’t have an effect.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I agree, the spectrum is unlikely to be determined at birth. I think it is developed much earlier.

          • Alex Schamenek

            Funny. I edited the comment to more accurately reflect the point I meant.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            A “testimonial” is merely anectdotal evidence, and not exactly solid proof of anything. Reparitive therapy is full of those so called “testimonials” and every one of them is suspect in regards to honesty.

          • Alex Schamenek

            Sure. Sure. You aren’t wrong.

            Except… nearly the entire science that affirms homosexuality is completely dependent on testimonials. In fact you’ll see that a great many of these studies are dependent upon surveys and questionnaires.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            twin studies…a long proven study that shows behaviour and genetic trends. You have heard of it? Then the exploding field of genetics, and how much they play a part in our make-up in ways we didn’t know as little as 15 years ago.

          • Alex Schamenek

            Of course! I forgot about twin studies. Yes, they can be quite useful. But in this case they are excellent examples that contradict a biological cause for homosexuality. None of the studies back each other up. Their results are all over the place. And none of them show a high degree of concordance. Baldness for example is genetic, and yet the incidences that both twins will be bald is not 100%. But it’s still over 90%. Homosexuality is at best 50% and some studies report much lower rates.

            BTW, twin studies often take the form of questionnaires or surveys.

            As for genetics, there is a recent genetics study that has not been published yet. But it is connected with Dean Hamer, who I mentioned faced charges of research impropriety. It’s also referencing (or perhaps defending) his discredited study. So I will read that paper with a lot of skepticism. Then there is EPI-genetics, which so far exists only as an untested mathematical model.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            That’s’ a rather arrogant claim.

          • Alex Schamenek

            It’s not arrogance if it’s true. 😉

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            If it was…I doubt the need to boast would be on the table, because you’d not be spending time trolling internet forums being too busy, writing scientific papers, teaching in classes, assessing peer reviews.

          • Alex Schamenek

            I meant here. In the mires of the internet, you aren’t likely to find someone as informed. There are of course people who are more informed than me, but you probably won’t come across them here. They are too busy.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            As informed as you………………………………………
            …………………………………………………………………
            ………………………………………………………………..
            ………………………………………………………………..
            Sorry, I had to stop the flow of tears that were blocking my view of the keyboard. Hysterical laughter will do that.

          • Snooterpoot

            Your argument boils down to a claim that you know us better than we know ourselves, and that is most certainly arrogant.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Poor thing is just using the “I know more than you do” stance, best demonstrated when you say that phrase in sing song. Its fun for about ten minutes.

          • lrfcowper

            I’ve been studying this issue for over 30 years, starting in a small conservative Christian college., long before I knew (or knew I knew) anyone who was gay.

            I don’t, however, have the to hubris claim to be more informed on this subject than actual scientists educated in their fields who have studied hundreds and thousands of subjects and published properly peer-reviewed research on the topic.

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            seems like a good time to bring up this website:

            http://www.lgbtscience.org/

          • James Walker

            Dan beat you to it, John. =) unless you tossing it in at this point was meant to be ironic..

          • http://patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/ Dan Wilkinson

            That’s sooo John…always just a bit behind. 😉

            Actually, I don’t even see my link in this long meandering thread of confusion….

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Alex, would you be willing, as you are engaging here, to change your tone to a conversational and less aggressive one?

          • Alex Schamenek

            Do you think you are perhaps interpreting my disagreement with aggression? Specifically which parts of my replies raised your red flag, alerting you to any aggression on my part?

            The word pseudo-science might have judgmental overtones, but I’m unaware of any alternative word that conveys the fact that what these scientists practice is really terrible science. If you can provide one I’ll certainly consider it.

            With all due respect, pointing out facts in a straightforward manner is not aggressive.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Your “facts” is the issue, and that you prefer to dismiss anything that counters your views as pseudo-science, even if the evidence that counters your views is strong, peer reviewed, vastly studied and credible.

          • Alex Schamenek

            I’m afraid I have to call you out on that one. I only referenced pseudo-science once and it was not in response to anything any commenter gave. I used it as an example.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            From what I’ve read of your comments, that is what you think of the wealth of science that disagrees with your claims. Call out all you wish. I stand by my statement.

          • Alex Schamenek

            I think you are interpreting scientISTS as science. Certain scientists affirm homosexuality, but their science is lacking.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I know what I mean. I know the difference between science and scientists, besides the addition of a suffix. Your dismissing the science that scientists have spent a great deal of time studying, theorizing, experimenting, doesn’t mean that the science isn’t valid, just that you have decided to dismiss it. You disagree. End point.

          • Raymond Watchman

            Allegro, I wouldn’t bother yourself trying to reason with these buffoons. They use exactly the same tactics (against science) when trying to justify their ridiculous obsession with “creationism” in one or other of its various guises.
            As for you, Alex, two of the finest Christians I have ever known both happen to be men who are gay. Judging from the tenor of your comments, you couldn’t even begin to hold a candle to either of them.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            yeah, After that comment, I logged off my computer, turned off the lights, locked my office door and went home, where I failed to give Mr. Know Everything another thought.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Your first statement sets the tone: “You start out with a blatant lie.”

            Calling people liars, especially as your opening statement, is aggressive and not conversational.

          • Alex Schamenek

            Ok. Other than that one…

            😉

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Re: “You start out with a blatant lie. 1000 species might engage in same sex SEXUAL behavior, but they do not engage in same sex pair bonding. If some same sex couples are pair bonded (which I doubt happens at all, but don’t care enough to argue the point) the number of species that have these sorts of relationships is not anywhere close to 1000. I’ll bet that a majority of that 1000 species don’t even heterosexually pair bond. Bonobos for example.”

      Let’s talk about the word “and” in point number 1: “Over 1000 species have been shown to engage in same-sex mating and pair-bonding.”

      Perhaps the use of and/or would have been appropriate here, but it seems to be splitting hairs. It seems that a reasonable person would read this and understand that “Over 1000 species have been shown to engage in same-sex mating and pair bonding,” means that some have engaged in sexual behavior, some have engaged in pair-bonding and some have engaged in both.

      • Alex Schamenek

        It’s not splitting hairs at all. The language implies that same sex pair-bonding (as opposed to same sex sexual behavior) is very very common. That makes the wording misleading. It might be unintentional, but it’s still a lie. The usage of the word “mating” as opposed to “sexual behavior” is proof that the author was trying to promote pair bonding as opposed to sexual behavior.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Unintentional cannot equal a lie (an intentional false statement), a rather strong charge.

          • Alex Schamenek

            Of course it can. Spreading rumors is an example of unintentionally telling a lie. You might believe your neighbor is cheating on his wife because his wife told you the lie that he’s cheating on her. You might think you are telling the truth when you gossip but the words are still a lie.

            Same thing here. People regurgitate words they hear from the media. The media regurgitates news it hears from news sources. And many of those news sources are lying.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            It is disingenuous to call this either a lie (an intentional false statement) or spreading rumors and the author was not “regurgitating” words she heard from the media.

            Again, I’m going to ask that you moderate your tone to a less aggressive, conversational one.

          • Alex Schamenek

            I didn’t say the author was spreading rumors. I said spreading rumors is an example of unintentionally spreading a lie.

            Please read more carefully next time.

            I’ll concede that the author MAY not have neen “regurgitating” words from the media, but the author was not the original source of the information. The author did not personally study 1000 species. Anyway, the fact is that the words are still a lie, even if the current speaker isn’t aware of the fact that it’s a lie.

            But since we are talking about the specific language used by this author, I stand by my contention that the language is at least deceptive. The words “mating” is more easily interpreted with pair-bonding than sexual behavior, especially when it is used in the same sentence with the phrase “pair-bonding” and any hint of sexual behavior is missing.

            I think you misinterpreted my language. I am not being aggressive at all. Perhaps it’s just because of the example I gave? Ok, how about instead of adultery I use an example from my own life.

            One of my best friends loves to spread the rumor that I’m Canadian. I was born in Texas so obviously this is a lie. Someone else might say “yeah Alex is a Canadian.” They might not know it, but they are spreading lies. Unintentional lie.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            re: “Anyway, the fact is that the words are still a lie, even if the current speaker isn’t aware of the fact that it’s a lie.”

            You seem to be missing the very real possibility of the fault being with the reader in their misunderstanding of the words that were used here in this instance.

            I have no interest in debating with you the possibility of the existence of “unintentional lies.” Any reasonable person understands the difference between a lie (an intentional false statement) and an unintentional false statement by various means. One is on purpose and others are not, an important difference.

            Argumentative = agressive.

          • Alex Schamenek

            It is the dudy of any author to ensure his or her words are as clear and understandable as possible. Since this author intentionally avoided “sexual behavior” and chose to use the word “mating” instead, I really have to stand behind what I said.

            Animals might engage in same sex sexual behavior, but any evidence of same sex pair-bonding is pretty unclear. And yet, in the articlr we have mention of pair bonding along with mating, which sounds a lot like pair bonding. And no word about casual sexual behavior, as expressed for example in the bonobo population. So the author was either not as informed about the facts as she thinks, or she is being intentionally misleading.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Dude, a reasonable person understands that “mating” is simply a nice way of saying “have sex”, “engage in sexual intercourse” without intentionally reading into it more than is there.

          • Alex Schamenek

            If one is talking about sex, yes, mating can mean sex. But when one is talking about forming relationships, then the word mating means pair-bonding.

            BTW, since you’re getting on my case about being aggressive, I feel compelled to point out that your usage of the wird “dude” in this context can be interpreted as aggressive, as if implying I’m not smart.

            Also, you seem to be implying that I’m not a reasonable person. Any author should try to maintain objectivity, lest he open himself up to accusations of bias. So the author should be open to receiving criticism, especially from someone on the opposite side. My reading of the article is reasonable. It is one interpretation and the author should be interested in as many views as possible, not just the progressive position. Otherwise what’s the purpose of writing the article? If the author is trying to be convincing, then the language should be as objective and non-leading as possible.

    • lrfcowper

      “Number 5 is also disingenuous (putting words in our mouths to win an argument to make it seem as if we have lost that argument)”

      No, in fact, this argument is made all the time.

      “No people, there is no gay gene, there is no chemical imbalance , this problem of homosexuality is a [sic] IN YOUR FACE DEMONIC ATTACK!” — Tears of Joy Ministries

      “In sum there is no gay gene. Gay theology can neither biblically nor scientifically claim the existence of a gene for homosexual behavior.”– Stand for God

      “There is no gay gene and GLBTQ’s are not “born that way”. This message is purely propaganda for political purposes to allow activists to succeed in gaining full recognition, acceptance and rights for homosexual and other deviant behaviour.” — Christian Doctrine

      “Traits that someone is born with are natural and is not considered sin. Traits such as: skin color, gender, height etc. The left tries to group homosexuality into that group of inborn traits. If they are successful in doing so, there is no justification in condemning homosexual behavior because frankly it would be an inborn trait which cannot be considered sin since all sin is caused by a choice, a decision to rebel against the law of God. But in reality, there is no such evidence supporting that homosexuality is an inborn trait. … Experts can easily point out the genes that cause our skin color, gender, and height. But for some reason they just can’t find a gene that makes someone a homosexual. … The fact of the matter is that Homosexuality is a lifestyle someone chooses to commit themselves to.” — Christian Conqueror

      “When we’re talking about gay marriage, we’re not talking about an immutable characteristic, like the color of your skin. OK? The human genome map was completed in 2003. There is no gay gene.” — MN State Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

      “They’ve mapped the human genome. There’s no gay gene!” — National Organization for Marriage

      “The evidence is there, there is no proof of the gay gene, the gay genome has been studied, they found no gay gene or genes.” — Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH)

      “First, let me just say that despite what you may have heard elsewhere, you do not have a ‘homosexual gene,’ nor were you born this way with no hope of freedom.” — Setting Captives Free

      “You are not born gay. You are recruited.” — Vision America

      “All men are created equal, but nobody, nobody, nobody is born gay.” Bryan Fischer, American Family Association

      “At the conclusion of the Human Genome Project, there was scientific proof that there is no homosexual gene.” — The Handbook of Christian Family Marriage

      • Alex Schamenek

        I didn’t say that people don’t make the argument. I said it’s not the only argument people make.

        • lrfcowper

          Which would be why there are 7 points and not one in this article and why it’s titled “top” and not “only”.

          • Alex Schamenek

            Fallacy

            I said:

            “It’s very specific. And yet it is meant to cover the majority of the “it’s not inborn” argument. It’s a gross oversimplification with the specific intention of putting the “it’s not inborn” debate to rest.”

          • lrfcowper

            After digging through this winding thread, I found where you said this to James Walker. The simple fact is, most anti-gay groups *do* stop at “There is no gay gene, therefore, it’s not inborn.” Those that don’t stop there fall back on what essentially amounts to “bad parenting makes gay kids” claim as their follow-up. That is, in fact, the majority of claims. That there are a few anti-gay groups who go further and pull data out of context to reach conclusions the researchers themselves did not reach and that are not supported by the data does not change the facts. The majority of anti-gay groups disingenuously rely on the majority of the population’s poor grasp of inheritance mechanisms via science classes that rarely touch on more than basic high school Mendelian genetics. And they continue with the same lies even after they’ve been called out on them. I’m frankly mystified by how you can allegedly spend ten years researching their spurious claims and still believe them. I’m forced to conclude that you are, in some way’ personally

          • lrfcowper

            Gah, my tablet isn’t letting me edit…

            I’m forced to conclude that you are, in some way, personally invested in sexual orientation not being innate. I don’t know why that is and will not speculate.

          • Alex Schamenek

            Why are you forced to think I have a personal stake in this? You can’t imagine someone standing up for what he feels is right?

          • mindy

            Welllll, you said below that you don’t care enough to argue (about one of her points being correct), and yet you’ve continued to argue. And argue, and argue . . . THAT is probably why she is forced to think you have a personal stake in this, Alex. I would guess it may be no more than that you use the “unnatural” argument in your own personal quest to rid the world of the growing acceptance of homosexuality. How aggravating to have your favorite fall-back position turned inside out! I get it. But nothing you have said in any of your comments does even one iota – nary a smidgen – of negating the points in this article. It merely leave you, dear Alex, looking stubborn and angry and unable to engage in any debate that might open your heart to a new and better reality. Sad for you. Kinda boring for the rest of us.

            Altho’ it did give Ms. Cowper the opportunity to clarify and reiterate salient points, so for that, thanks!

          • Alex Schamenek

            So persistence is why I’m being accused of having a personal stake in this.

            Let me get this straight.  Anyone who doesn’t roll over and let you win is automatically disqualified, just because he won’t let you win.

            Wow.  Look.  If a response to a comment of mine invites a response,  then I wouldn’t be doing my duty if I ignore it.  Your reasoning is flawed.

            Enough of this strawman.  I don’t care if you think I have some personal stake in this argument.  You are wrong but it doesn’t even matter.  My arguments are still valid.

            I don’t actually use the unnatural argument.  I don’t need to.  There are plenty of natural/biological/genetic/innate behaviors/tendencies that we as a society do not permit.  The evidence of harm is more damning.  Yes, I talk about it, but it’s absolutely not my “favorite fall-back position”. 

            I do find it funny that you think the “unnatural argument” (more accurately called the acquired argument) was “turned inside out.” Please show me anything anyone has given in this comment stream that shows that homosexuality is innate. All anyone said was “nu uh.”

            Just because you don’t like what I wrote doesn’t mean I didn’t negate the points in the article. It’s interesting that you think I should approach this debate with the ultimate goal of changing my own beliefs…

            “unable to engage in any debate that might open your heart to a new and bett er reali ty”

            …That speaks volumes about your own closed-mindedness.

            Let me remind you… clarifying myself when people misread my argument is not stubbornness, nor angry.

          • mindy

            Harm? Harm to whom? That is simply laughable. Far more LGBT people have been harmed by Christianists like you than have ever harmed other human beings.

            So, Alex, dear, you just keep hollering. You are wrong – science says you are wrong and the God of love says you are wrong. Be as “persistent” as you want (read: obstinate and bull-headed), but that doesn’t change a thing. You use big words – what is my strawman here, exactly? – and think that makes you look like you know what you’re talking about, but, bless your heart, you don’t. Keep trying – someone has to make that last gasp . . . .

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Me thinks someone protests too Much

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Again, Alex. This is not friendly nor conversational. The goal here is to have a pleasant conversation not try to “win” a “debate” or “score points.” OK?

  • Pac Bob

    Also, there are not a male and female in every species. In fact, only animals
    of phyla higher up the “evolutionary ladder” such as cordata, mollusca,
    crustacea, and so on have developed different genders. Most of the
    “simpler” animals (sponges, worms, slugs, etc.) are hermaphroditic. Even
    then, there are species that consist of only one
    gender
    such as the New Mexico Whiptail Lizard. Look up
    parthenogenesis for more information on the issue.
    Also, these more “advanced” animal species that consist of more and more complex social and reproductive behaviors, such as internal fertilization, group hierarchy, live birth, taking care of the young until they mature, etc. are also the animal species that are more likely to have members which exhibit homosexual behaviors (such as dogs, dolphins, elephants, horses, just to name four).

  • Psycho Gecko

    First of all, really glad to see someone understand the difference between “genetic” and “born that way.” Lots of people don’t get that. That stuff makes a huge difference, including whether or not a person is born male or female. All it takes is some hormones not coming into play at the right time and all of a sudden a genetically male individual is born and develops entirely as a girl. Works for some genetic females as well. But that’s just one example.

    As it stands, we’re still working on understanding gender and sexuality, because a lot of people made all these assumptions about it for a long time. They thought that sex was something women couldn’t do. They assumed that only certain behaviors were natural behaviors. They assumed people were more inclined to monogamy.
    So, because they assumed, they didn’t do much studying. Now we have to pick up the slack, all the while dealing with people who still want to keep on assuming.

    Despite what someone down below says, 1. is not a blatant lie. 2. is not missing the point, especially as it’s a common argument used by politicians against gay marriage.

    3. is not a matter of guessing. After all, birds have been observed staying with the nest, never taking a mate, to help their parents raise their siblings. It’s a dead-end if every bird did it and would seem to be counter to how evolution works, but it turns out it helps to spread that bird’s genes by helping its siblings successfully grow up and reproduce.

    4. Is something I’ve actually heard from someone in one of the less progressive parts of this site, so your debunking is justified.

    5. Also not beside the point. Pat Robertson and others spout stuff like this all the time. They like to claim that for someone to hold a view that they assume is wrong, the person must have been broken in some way when they were a child. That’s at least partly projection, too, considering how often children are targeted by Christians for indoctrination.

    6. Even Exodus International had to admit this one. Really, the most you
    can do is try and force people to change their behaviors. Their
    attractions don’t change, though. You can mindscrew a gay guy into
    thinking he’s straight, marrying a woman, and making babies, but
    nothing’s going to make him sexually attracted to women. It just so
    happens that, much like rape, the body will respond to stimuli no matter
    what the person actually wants.

    7. This is a lot like number 3, but there is a difference between an individual passing on its genes and the species as a whole continuing. This one in particular reminded me of sickle cell. Sure, if everyone had it, the species would die out, but as a heterozygous trait, it gives humans resistance to malaria that those without it don’t have. Ah, opponents to gay marriage sure love their slippery slope, don’t they?

    In the end, many people make the point that whether or not something is natural has nothing to do with whether or not we should or shouldn’t do it. I much prefer the quote from the Discworld books on this, where someone accuses people of doing something that isn’t natural and Lord Vetinari responds “Well said. I assume you eat your meat raw and sleep up a tree?”

    What’s natural for humans to not drink milk (lactose tolerance being a more recent mutation to our species). What’s natural is for humans to be omnivorous scavengers running around breaking open bones left behind from more capable creatures killing other animals.

    Tools are unnatural. Clothing is unnatural. Coffee is unnatural. Every practice we use in medicine is unnatural. Going to the moon was unnatural. Using C-sections to keep women and their babies from dying in childbirth is unnatural. Typing on a keyboard and having our thoughts heard around the world is unnatural. A body rising from the dead after three days is unnatural. Cutting off foreskins is unnatural. Abstaining from any food or drink is unnatural.

    But still, this is a good list of answers for dealing with those who think that homosexuality should be wrong because they are ignorant enough to think it is unnatural.

  • Michael Edwards

    Excellent article, John. And as one who has personally experienced same-sex attraction from my childhood, I agree with it. Alex below may think he is a super expert, but I didn’t care for his tone.

  • Philokalia12 .

    The only reason why homosexuality is against God’s desire for us as human beings is that He said it is something that He wants us to avoid. That said, it is not inconceivable to believe that following Jesus, the Christ, does include denying even what we call our sexual identity. Yes, celibacy is definitely underrated in our sex-obsessed culture. Jesus never said it would be easy, convenient or fun to follow Him. He said it would be hard work and a sacrifice of all that we believe to be of value. All that to pursue the “pearl of great value,” indeed!

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Jesus said not a single word about celibacy, he’s utterly silent on Homosexuality as well. Being a follower of Jesus has nothing to do with our sexual organs, whom we have sexual relations with or whom we choose as a life partner. Denying our sexual identity is denying all of who and what God made us to be.

      Being celibate doesn’t’ make anyone closer to God, or a better practitioner of any faith, and insisting that someone, other than yourself, be celibate to make you more comfortable, with your parameters of righteous living, is callous and prideful.

      • Philokalia12 .

        Correct, nothing to do with sexual organs but everything to do with obedience to God. I beg to differ, the Scriptures are very clear and so is the teaching of the church for the last couple thousand years. We will have to agree to disagree.

        • James Walker

          obedience to God

          in the New Testament, where obedience is mentioned (1 John is usually where the relevant passage is cited), it means obedience to the Law that Jesus gave us. it does NOT mean the entire Law of the Jewish Torah (minus, of course, the dietary restrictions which the Council at Jerusalem overruled). so obedience in this context does not include the proscription against two men lying together in the lyings of a woman (whatever that exactly means, which is lost to history)

          the Scriptures are very clear

          you’ll find that many of the people here disagree with your assessment that the Scriptures are clear on the topic of homosexuality. There are exactly two mentions of some kind of homosexual behavior in the Old Testament but we aren’t sure the exact nature of the behavior being proscribed in Leviticus. There are exactly three mentions in the New Testament that are usually taken to mean homosexual behavior but when we examine the Greek and the context they become anything but clear.

          that’s a grand total of 5 (not at all clear) references out of the thousands of passages in the Bible. please, make your case for how you are compelled to speak out against the “sin” of homosexuality while so many Christians remain silent about greed, envy, bearing of false witness, lack of charity, etc.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Actually the church has fairly silent on the matter until a few decades ago. That is when the so called moral majority reared its ugly head.

          Scripture is much less clear on the matter than caring for the poor and widows and refugees which is much discussed. Yet a few debatable verses taken out of context is deemed more important.

          Sorry dude
          I don’t buy a word of what you say

        • KrisCynical

          If you’re going to harp on homosexual activity with that much focus, apply that to ALL things that are listed in the same way in scripture. None of you ever do, ESPECIALLY the sins that YOU happen to commit on a regular basis just like everyone does because of imperfect human nature. You’d think the main point of the Bible is “DON’T BE GAY” with the way so many evangelicals obsess about it.

          Right now all I’m seeing is yet another Christian showing an unhealthy concern for the private sex lives of OTHER PEOPLE — homosexual people to be precise — rather than sticking to your own adherence to your personal interpretation of what “obedience to God” consists of. Homosexual activity makes you uncomfortable, so you justify your judgment of the private sex lives of homosexual people by obsessively focusing on the few brief mentions of homosexual activity found in scripture — NONE of which are from Christ’s mouth — instead of just owning your discomfort and discriminatory judgment for yourself. It’s easier to hide behind God’s apron for unattractive things like that, after all.

          Being sure to tell those gay people how wrong they are for not living their personal lives according to YOUR standards and YOUR interpretation of what “obedience to God” means won’t bring THEM any closer to God than it will you. Just focus on your own obedience instead of chiding others for theirs. Your endeavors will be far more fruitful.

          • Philokalia12 .

            Kris…thanks for your comment. Actually, I do apply it equally and consider my own disobedience as egregious as any other. Also, let’s drop the YOU, ok? I truly believe that we are in this together and that a sincere dialogue and possibly understanding is impossible without beginning and ending with US. The gospel tells me that God cares deeply about restoring US to how He created us because it is good. I am the first to admit that I need a lot of restoration. So, indeed, He cares for what we do on either side of the private or not so private bedroom door…..you name the room or door and He cares about what goes on in it or on the other side of it. So, if anyone is being “nebby” (as they say in western Pennsylvania), it’s God.
            I love to be in His room, and it’s a big room. It’s big enough for all of US. He has standards for all of us…..standards that are not easy for any of us to live up to. Yet, He promises to help US in a loving and kind way to pursue Him irrespective of our individual brokenness. My response to this post was much less about pointing to the speck in other’s eyes and more about a comment that the log is not permanent and that Jesus indeed is in the business everyday of restoring sight to US.
            I am sorry that I offended you. I am coming to believe that social media just does not do a good job of bringing us together as US and that it is far too easy for both of us to villainize each other through it.
            Blessings….

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            If this hypothetical room is big enough for all of us, then why do so many made feel unwelcome? Not by God. as s/he long ago flung the barn doors wide open so anyone could enter that room, and come and go as they wished. Those being made to feel unwelcome are feeling that because of other people in the room, who have decided to be gatekeepers of that barn door, and decide for themselves who and who isn’t worthy to be in God’s room.

            So instead of pointing out specks in other people’s eyes, we should simply worry about our own vision impairment, and get out of the way of the door to God’s room.

          • Philokalia12 .

            Actually, we all feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed when we are in the presence of God (let me say it, indeed God has a gender but tradition calls Him Him and I am ok with tradition…it does not freak me out.) It is awkward to be as broken as we are and face the Almighty and yet to be loved by Him with such passion. That is a wonderful thing. Clearly, we disagree as to what God expects of us as we follow Him. Like I said in a previous post, the Scriptures are clear. In our current society and in the western church we have drifted and have developed this problem with sin and scripture (my perspective on how I understand God and the Scriptures). Those who share this view are considered outcasts and bigots by an increasing majority in our society. So was Jesus…..in His society. It is what it is, my friend. We disagree. I am not a bigot and I am well educated and have my doubts about all sorts of things. Ultimately, for me, following Jesus trumps everything….gender, sexual identity or mis-identity, consumerism, materialism, etc. etc. If you are truly tolerant than it behoves you to respectfully disagree and allow me to believe how I believe. A recent blog submission by Ellen Dollar entitled something like “I don’t get to choose who sits at God’s table” says it well. And, you know what, Ellen and I disagree on this issue but she we sit at the same table….God’s table.
            Blessings to you.

    • James Walker

      God also said He wants us to avoid wearing clothing of mixed fabric and planting more than one kind of seed in the same field. Those rules were not directly overturned by any of the New Testament authors (the food rules were, but not the ones about farming or clothing) yet I don’t see anyone decrying modern inter-crop farming methods or modern blended textiles in the same way that they do homosexuality. If “obedience” is your watchword, why aren’t you putting your money where your mouth is?

      • Philokalia12 .

        Your Biblical hermeneutic is interesting.

  • JoAnn Forsberg

    As is have stated many times….

    First thing in the morning is when I am in a deep place with Christ. Sweet, kind, peaceful place.

    This is what our conversations an awareness was about this morning.

    People some times look at a person who states: God speaks to their soul as being weird.

    Yet, what is not explain is:

    He speaks from the foundational years upon years of Bible study, meditation, prayers, pondering…

    It is an quicken in the mind and heart.

    Of wow… Now I see…

    Never underestimate the power found in pondering/chewing on a Bible verse.

    Long term or short term.

    Truth is there… But some times it has been buried under the sands of time and human interpretation.

    Not the Biblical words… Just the interpretation. God never said: humanities interpretation will not change.

    Over time Progressive Revelation has proven that man has gotten it wrong many times.

    A Christian Quaker belief follower who is a Grandmother with the truth… God accepts ALL! Mankind interpreted wrong.

  • Jill

    Excellent article, Lynette. As ever. Bookmarked for future use.