Sexual Orientation (part 2)

Ok, let me jump right in. The question in the last blog was about where sexual orientation comes from. Are people born with an orientation, or is it something that is a product of socialization/environment/learned behavior? This is an important question in today’s political and social climate, but it is one that is extremely difficult to answer. Right now the emotions surrounding this topic are so strong that I don’t believe any valid research has been done. I believe most people come to the topic with their minds already made up and then use research to prove they are right. Everyone knows that is not a good way to do scientific research. As a result, for every study that says “people are born gay” you can find two studies that says they are not; and for every study that says “people are not born gay” you can find two studies that says they are. In the future, maybe the question can be answered definitively. But right now, it is a difficult question. In reality, it really doesn’t matter if sexual orientation is biological or not.

But I find it interesting that any time in my classes when this subject comes up people automatically jump to the homosexual orientation. No one ever suggests that people are born asexual or bisexual or heterosexual. No one ever suggests that asexual activity or bisexual activity or heterosexual activity is a learned behavior and/or a product of our environment. I don’t think people realize how important it is to include asexual and bisexual orientation in the conversation; and I think many people assume they were born heterosexual but homosexuality is a learned behavior, without realizing the contradiction in that statement. In other words, I think either all sexual orientations are biological, or no sexual orientations are biological. I don’t think you can pick and choose which ones are biological and which ones are sociological.

I still haven’t given you my answer, and don’t jump to conclusions about where you think I am headed. For now, what do you think about what I just said, and what implications does it have for Christianity?

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13 thoughts on “Sexual Orientation (part 2)

  1. Great question. We as humans, made by God, always have a choice in everything we do. I believe all of us have vices that we tend to favor over others. i.e alcohol, drugs, women, homosexuality etc…. We can choose to abuse alcohol or whatever our vice may be. We can choose not to use or abuse also. We all have the opportunity to choose Good over Evil I guess is what I am saying…..

    • Hey Perry,

      Yes, we do have choices. God has given us a free will, and regardless of what we are born with or without, we do not, as believers, have the right to live any way we please. Good insights. Thanks.

  2. This was on part two.
    I have a question in regards to you last question.
    you mentioned 4 orientations but everyday they come up with new orientations and even those vary and have special names so how many orientations can we expect to believe we are born with?
    I mean this could go on and on as people come up with new ways to have sex.
    I believe we are created and born to desire the opposite sex. Our parts fit, we are created to have children together as husband and wife.
    God made Eve for Adam.
    Should that even be debatable for christians?
    Of coarse we love and love and try to be Christ- like and it can all become so hard and so confusing but I know personally God wants be to stand on His word and trust Him and at the same time love.
    So you tell us, what implications does this have for Christians? Im not sure Im smart enough to answer:)
    BTW, It would be so easy for me to want to believe my loved one was born the way he is but then I’d have to believe a lie for the sake of my emotions.
    When you think about it, its crazy to even try to believe a holy God would create us for our sexual orientations at all and that he would vary it so and cause this much confusion.
    We know who creates confusion and distortes what God meant for good.
    I do on the other hand know people who have been born with hormonal mix ups and it caused issues and we know sometimes things can go wrong in the development of a baby. The one person I know that this happened to choose to live a celibit life and was a Christian. She was my grandmothers age and long gone now.
    I don’t think you are referring to this kind of thing though.
    I’d also like to add that is bothers me that because as a Christian I stand on God’s Word, some people see me as a hater and closed minded.
    Because we recognize sin as sin (including our own) and choose to serve a Holy God we are attacked but thats a whole other subject but you can see why people cave.
    We want to love as Christ loves but also stand for truth.
    It becomes a challange to deliver both.

    • Rhonda,

      Great post! I only know of 4 recognized sexual orientations. I assume by other orientations you are referring to things like pedophilia or bestiality, but I would not consider those type of things orientations. (I could be wrong.) I think it should also be stated that all of these labels/orientations are relatively new. The behavior isn’t new, but identifying them as orientations is new (within the last 100 years or so).

      I think where I am coming from is a result of years of talking about these issues with college students coming from various backgrounds. I know what I was taught and believe as a Christian. But there are other Christians who see things differently from me, and then there are a host of other people who are completely secular in the worldview. To those people, the moment you bring up any type of “religious” belief, they shut down and shut you out. So, I think what I am trying to do is build a bridge so I can converse with the secular world. Eventually my Christian worldview will be obvious, but if I lead with that, they will not listen. So, how can we as believers come at this issue from another perspective (without compromising) so that we can get an audience. Does that make sense?

      Thanks for participating.

  3. Why is it that we are looking for one determinant for SexO? Is there any reason to think that it might not be a mix of genetic, social conditions, family relations, etc.? For example, someone might chose to abuse alcohol or drugs based on a mix, i.e. father/uncle/grandfather were all alcoholic, friends at school bing drink, society says it’s okay, so he/she feels inclined to drink as well. Studies can support/debunk any of the individual determinant theroies but fail to recognize a potentially more complicated or plural causal determination.

    • Hey Tim,

      The sciences seem to be leaning toward sexual orientation being a combination of biology/sociology, with a nod going more toward biology. I am must no so sure that is the best way to approach the topic with people who have a different worldview from ours. That’s what I am working through.

      The other day in one of my classes, a student made an interesting comment. The student is gay and said that he believed that sexual orientation is biological but he hopes they never prove it is biological. I asked why, and he said he feared that if they did find the “gay gene” that parents would abort abort babies who have that gene. This guy is not a stereotypical gay man, and based on some other things he has said in class, I believe he would consider himself to be a Christian.

      Good to hear from you.

  4. Your statement: ” In other words, I think either all sexual orientations are biological, or no sexual orientations are biological. I don’t think you can pick and choose which ones are biological and which ones are sociological.” sounds very practical, logical, and PC, and it may be.
    The problem is that it is not Biblical. There is lots of Biblical evidence that God not only created heterosexuality as the only type of condoned sex, but He commanded it. Heterosexual sex (like all of God’s creation) can be abused and sinful, but it is a gift from God and He has a purpose for it. Other orientations are not condoned, but condemned. Celibacy is allowed by God, but that is not asexuality. If God created sex that way, does it not stand to reason it is biological, since our biological makeup is also our created makeup?
    There are many reasons people may develop confused, distorted, and sinful sexual orientations (backgrounds, social setting, trauma, etc.) just as they may develop other sinful lifestyles (alcoholism, drug addiction, uncontrolled anger, to name a few). Some may do these things consciously and some subconsciously. Regardless, they are sin, and Christ died for it, and the Holy Spirit can help people turn from it.
    Does God love homosexuals? Absolutely! Should Christians love them? Absolutely! Does God accept their lifestyle as righteous? No. Should others? No. Should Christians judge them? No. Should we enable them and call sin righteousness? No. Christ loved the adultress and commanded her to “go and sin no more”.
    Like many other things in our world, we have “done what is right in out own eyes”, and traded the “truth of God for a lie.”
    Our acceptance of sinful sexual lifestyle, or any other sin, does not make it less than a sin. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

    • Hey Rick,

      Thanks so much for your reply.

      I agree with everything you said. You have summarized the conservative Christian approach to this topic very nicely. And looking back over what I wrote, I may have overstated the either / or position about orientation being either sociological or biological. Sometimes that happens when you “think out load.” Thanks for bringing that to my attention. “As Iron sharpens Iron,” right?

      Let me back up and explain my situation, and what I am attempting to do. I teach at a secular college, and I daily interact with students from all over the world and from all different backgrounds. In most ever class, I have at least one homosexual. On the very first day of classes each semester, I tell all my students that I am a minister. So, when we get to topics like sexual orientation, I know they are interested in what I am going to say. As a result, I have tried to approach this subject from a different angle than most conservative Christians, without compromising what I believe the Bible teaches. At the same time, I try to build a bridge so there can be mutual respect and dialogue. My purpose is not to win an argument, but to win an audience. Can I find common ground to begin the discussion, listen to their opinion, and then share my worldview in a way that they will listen and understand, even if they though don’t agree.

      With that said, consider this.

      What you describe as “biblical” (and I assume what you mean by that is everyone is born heterosexual) is God’s ideal. But since the Original Sin in Genesis 3, this world is no longer ideal; and while God does not change (and His standards do not change), His creation has been cursed, and has changed, and that includes us, and could possibly include our biology. We are born into sin and everything around us has been corrupted by sin. Please understand, this does not excuse anyone’s behavior, but it is something that needs to be considered for this issue. So, is there a place of common ground we can start with, with those who are not believers, and from there work our way to the biblical perspective of things, but do so in a way that allows people to listen to us instead of turning us off. In reality, in my situation, if I started with a bold proclamation of “thus saith the Lord,” I would lose my audience and my ability to influence.

      I don’t know if any of that makes sense. But I do think you and I are in agreement with the big picture. Hopefully, in a future blog, I can explain myself a little better. But again, I am thinking out loud and I appreciate your insights. Reading responses like yours helps me stay grounded in my faith. My desire is to be biblically consistent, not politically correct. Sorry for the long response.

  5. Kevin,
    That makes me sad for your student. I know my loved one has made similar comments and some even sadder.
    Of all the missions I have thought of , I never dreamed my purpose or mission would be to understand this more and reach out but it has.
    I know God isnt ready for me to get out there and speak yet but I feel it might happen someday.
    If you havent read that book, I think it would really help you in knowing how to get that audience.
    When I began reading this book, I knew pastors should read it as well.
    Some of it is way over my head but I think you would really understand it well.
    Seriously, I think you’d be impressed.
    I hope you continue to seek ways to reach out.
    It’s so needed!!
    Take care and Thanks!

    • Rhonda,

      I will put that book on my reading list. And yes, issues like inter-sexual people, transsexuals, and transgendered are different from sexual orientation.

  6. Oh yeah, about the orientation thought, maybe technically there are four groups but in reading definations, they add many more like transgender verses transsexual. There are so many variations but maybe thats different than orientation but you get my point.
    And yes, I did think of the other ones you mentioned too.
    Just wanted to answer your question. Thanks

  7. I like what divepix said. Amen!
    Totally agree!
    I also totally relate to you wanting to make the subject approachable and not loose their attention immediatly.
    So do I.
    I think treating all people with respect and love opens that door and often gives us the opportunity to share our beliefs but when we are given the opp to actually share the Truth, we have to trust God and do it and sometimes we will loose the audience but sometimes we wont because we know the Holy Spirit is at work.
    Even the ones that arent ready to listen will remember we shared Christ and we loved them and someday they may call back wanting to know more.
    I will NOT argue and debate with an individual but I will be true to God’s Word.
    Im convicted to my own changes and growth first and believing God will make a way for what seems impossible for my loved one and many others!!
    Hey, if you read that book, let me know what you think.

  8. Pingback: President Obama and Same-Sex Marriage | Floods of Justice

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