Question:

I must respectfully take issue with the manner in which you answer various questions on your web site in an attempt to refute the assertion that homosexuals do not choose to be homosexuals.  You repeatedly cite the lack of any evidence of a genetic predisposition to homosexuality as proof that homosexuals do, in fact, choose their sexual orientation.  This is a logical leap and a classic straw man argument.  No one who is well informed, regardless of their position on homosexuality, argues that there is evidence of a genetic predisposition to homosexuality.  It simply does not exist.  But that does not mean that other factors, whether environmental, or simply some aspect of the human brain that we simply do not yet understand, do not cause a person to be homosexual without any "choice" on their part.  There are other potential ways a person can be homosexual absent choice other than that their genetic code determines it.  Multiple recognized psychological disorders have no identified genetic marker.  Yet I don't think anyone would argue with a straight face that those suffering from them choose to do so.

Irrespective of whether you believe the Bible condemns homosexual relations (and I do), I just don't see how anyone can argue seriously that homosexuals "chose" their sexual orientation.  To those who make this argument, I always ask, could you "choose" to be homosexual and start being sexually attracted to the same sex instead of the opposite sex?  Could you say, "from now on, even though I've been a heterosexual man who is very much attracted to women and finds the thought of sex with another man repulsive, from now on I choose to be very much attracted to other men and simply no longer be sexually attracted to women?"


Answer:

From your note I derive:

  • An agreement that there doesn't exist evidence of a genetic predisposition to homosexuality.
  • A willingness to classify homosexuality as a psychological disorder, or at least to compare it to such.
  • An agreement that the Bible condemns homosexual relations.

I find it strange position to be in, but I have to agree with the American Psychological Association that homosexuality is not a disorder of the mind.

"Karen Hooker executed the first psychological test done to test for biological determinism in 1957, on a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.  The study was meant to explore the relationship between homosexuality and psychological development and illness.  Hooker studied both homosexuals and heterosexuals.  Both groups were matched for age, intelligence quotient (IQ) and education level, and were then subjected to three psychological tests.  These three tests, the Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and the Make-A-Picture-Story Test (MAPS), were then analyzed by psychologists, and the results were tabulated.  The results of Hooker's experiment yielded no significant differences in answers on any of the three tests.  Because both groups' answers scored very similarly, she concluded a zero correlation between social determinism of sexuality. As a result of Hooker's finding, the APA removed homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Disorders in 1973.  In 1975 it then released a public statement that homosexuality was not a mental disorder" [Ryan D. Johnson, "Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture," AllPsych Journal, April 30, 2003].

Where the APA failed is to take further steps to declare that it wasn't immoral (they don't have the ability to judge morality) and that it isn't a choice, yet adequate evidence exists to show people making such choices.

That is really where you and I disagree. You say that it cannot be a choice because people don't choose to suffer. I've always found this line of argument interesting because at the root of the argument is the claim that those who practice homosexuality are miserable. And the question is that no one chooses to be miserable. But that isn't true. I know a man who curses out neighbors when grass from their mowers lands in his yard. If a child's ball lands in his yard, he takes it. He greased his fence to keep kids from entering his yard to get their balls. He lives a miserable, lonely life but that is because he chooses not to connect with people. I know of people who remain in an abusive relationship even though they are miserable. I've offered to help some young teens get out of abusive family situations, but they choose to remain. Experience tells me that people will select poor situations because other motivators are seen as more important.

Ironically, you argue with Christians that suffering is not something a person would choose. "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter" (I Peter 4:16). Christians often take the harder road because we see there is something more important than acceptance by worldly people. We rather live righteously and suffer for it than jeopardize our relationship with God.

That a choice exists is seen in the Scriptures: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11). Among the sins listed were two categories of homosexuality (active and passive participants); yet, the Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that this was the former state of some of the Christians in Corinth. They had changed. While you deny that such is possible, God states that it does happen.

Of course, there are groups, such as Exodus International, which also claim to help people change. The empirical evidence does exist. I've known people who left their marriage and children to take up homosexuality. I know of people who have left homosexuality to take up either bachelorhood or marriage. People alter their course in life in both directions. The fact that there are people who openly claim to be bisexual gives evidence that sexual attraction is not necessarily locked on one gender.

By the way, I don't accept the claim that homosexuality is when a person finds one gender or another sexually attractive. Fornication is an act that is a sin -- it is having sex outside of marriage. It isn't about whether someone finds a person of the opposite gender attractive. There are people who are sexually attracted to slim people, others to people of more ample proportions. There are even people who find certain objects or smells sexually attractive. Sexual attraction has nothing to do with a Christian's position. (And here I distinguish attraction from lustful wanting of something that is morally wrong.) It is the act of people of the same gender having sex with each other that is a sin. "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due" (Romans 1:26-27).

Hence, I do not argue that because there isn't a genetic basis to homosexuality that there must be a choice. Instead, I argue that the claim of a genetic basis doesn't prove there is no choice because there is no genetic basis. I argue that there is a choice because people have and do change -- and I have God's word on it.

Your citation to Scripture seems to assume that because the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality, therefore God could not possibly condemn anyone who had no choice but to behave in the manner they do.  I will not get into a Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate with you, but you seem to not even entertain the possibility that according to the Bible homosexuals are condemned from the moment they are born ("Why does God still blame us?  Paul's answer:  Who are you, oh, man.....).  I take no position here, I'm just pointing out that your argument on this point is quite incomplete.  Personally I believe that your position on this point has more to do with refusal to accept the unpalatable possibility that the Bible says God condemns certain people from birth, than it has to do with a complete synthesis of Scripture on these issues.  

I personally believe that those "delivered" from homosexuality through so-called homosexuality "deliverance" ministries are almost completely, if not completely, motivated by cultural pressures to be straight.  It is very clear that homosexuals are quite capable of posing as heterosexuals and many do so for years because of the cultural stigma of being gay.  So there is no reason whatsoever to conclude that any homosexual who is "delivered" through one of these ministries truly no longer is gay.  By the way, here's an interesting observation:  If homosexuality is just a "choice", then why do they need one of these ministries?  Why can't they just "choose" to be straight (again, since of course they chose to switch sides in the first place, right?).

I find the paragraph of your message devoted to explaining that you "don't accept the claim that homosexuality is when a person finds one gender or another sexually attractive" nothing short of bizarre.  Frankly I don't understand what you are saying or what your point is here.  Initially, if homosexuality is not sexual attraction to the same sex, then what is it, pray tell?

I'm sorry, but you present a position as counter to what I said. Therefore, I will address it as your argument, since you made it. By your argument you are stating that all homosexuals are automatically condemned from birth. Since you argue that they have no choice in the matter, you are saying that God arbitrarily picks some to be lost. However, this position is contrary to biblical teaching. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). See Predetermined Destiny for details why pre-condemnation or pre-salvation is contrary to God's teaching in the Bible. Your argument also ignores the earlier cited I Corinthians 6:9-11 that shows that among the Corinthians were former homosexuals who had changed. You claim this isn't possible. God says otherwise.

It is hard to believe that you would actually "support" homosexuality by stating they have no choice but to wind up in hell. I find it reprehensible since God wants sinners to repent -- not stay in their sins. Have you lost sight of the love of God? "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:3). But perhaps this is your agenda: to make Christians appear condemning by promoting a false concept of Christianity.

In regards to your question about choice, you state the answer but remain blind to it. Homosexuality is no different than any other sin. One can choose to sin and one can choose to stop sinning. Groups like Exodus International and National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality exist to encourage people that it is possible to stop sinning. In a round about way, you admit that homosexuals can stop sinning. Where you and I disagree is that you wish to brand them for life to say they remain homosexuals. I see them as former sinners. They are no longer homosexuals when they stop practicing homosexuality.

Therein is the big lie that you are perpetuating. Homosexuality is having sex with members of the same gender. It is an action. It is not a comment on what a person sees as attractive. An adulterer stops sinning when he stops committing adultery. His sexual attraction might not change, but his determination to do what is right does change. When an adulterer stops committing adultery and repents of his sin, he is no longer an adulterer. In exactly the same way when a homosexual stops having homosexual sex and repents of his sin, he is no longer a homosexual.

But even sexual attraction is changeable.

"On the NARTH website is an interview with Dr. Nicholas Cummings, a past president of the American Psychological Association.  Over the course of his career, he personally worked with over 2,000 individuals with same-sex attraction; his staff worked with another 16,000.  Most of those patients were dissatisfied with lifestyle issues such as the transience of relationships, guilt feelings about promiscuity, fear of disease, and the desire to have a traditional family. Very few patients entered therapy with the goal of reorienting, but many ended up wanting to change, with 2,400 patients doing so successfully" [Marcia Segelstein, "Can same-sex attraction be changed?" OneNewsNow].

You do not play by the rules of reasoned dialogue. Your assertions are so far off what I said that it is not worth my time to even engage with you further. I said nothing which a reasonable person could interpret as my "supporting" homosexuality. Neither did I argue that homosexuals are condemned from birth. In fact the only affirmative argument I made was that homosexuality is not a choice. I am a Christian who also knows how to reason and think logically, and wrestle with the difficult questions and admit that there is not always a clear answer.

You are what I call a redneck Christian - one who instead of engaging in well-reasoned dialogue with those with opposing viewpoints, just starts waving his Bible around and spouting proof-text, cherry-picked Scripture.

The evidence from the Bible speaks for itself, as does your lack of being able to back your points with Scripture. See: The Need for Book, Chapter, and Verse. Whether this is reasone dialogue will be termed by the later readers of this exchange.