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A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality
  • Causes of Homosexuality

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A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality

Sue Bohlin

  1. Causes of Homosexuality

    There is no such thing as a "typical homosexual." There is no one reason why someone becomes homosexual. But there are some factors that appear to contribute to this sexual orientation.

    1. Biological

      1. Simon LeVay

        Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist at the Salk Institute, sought to find a possible physiological cause by studying the brains of forty-one people: nineteen homosexual men, sixteen heterosexual men, and six heterosexual women. He discovered that a region of the hypothalamus, thought to be involved in sexual activity, is smaller in homosexual men than in heterosexual men. Previous research indicated that a portion of the hypothalamus was twice as large in men than it is in women; LeVay's results showed that this region was the same size in homosexual men as it is in women.{1}

        LeVay's research does not mean that a biological component to homosexuality is determinative, like having brown eyes or being left-handed. Though the average size of this hypothalamic region was smaller in homosexual men, there was a considerable range in the size of this hypothalamic region. In a few homosexual men, this region was the same size as that of a heterosexual, and in a few heterosexuals this region was as small as that of a homosexual. If this physiological factor determined sexual orientation like the Y chromosome determines gender, these overlapping results would be difficult to explain.

        This was an extremely small study and needs to be repeated. However, there is a chicken-and-the-egg aspect to this question: does brain structure determine sexual orientation, or can sexual orientation affect brain structure? There is evidence that the brain's neural networks reconfigure themselves in response to certain experiences. In one NIH study of people who read Braille after becoming blind, the area of the brain controlling the reading finger grew larger.

      2. Bailey-Pillard

        A study on homosexuality in twins (Bailey-Pillard) revealed that if one identical twin is gay, the other twin is three times more likely to be gay than in fraternal twins.{2} But some say this confirms the obvious: twins are apt to have the same sort of shaping influences. In order to have a meaningful study, you would have to look at twins raised apart. The correlation is 0% for identical twins raised apart. Others ask, What about the identical twins where only one is gay? If sexual orientation is genetic, how do you explain the twins with such divergent orientations?

        Might there be a genetic predisposition to homosexuality? This is certainly possible. Many gays express an awareness of being "different" from a very early age. But a predisposition is not the same as determination. Some people inherit a predisposition for depression, alcoholism, and violence, yet do not indulge in these behaviors. Environment and/or choice are still critical.

    2. Psychological

      1. Heterosexuals

        Romans 1 graphically describes the downward spiral of degenerate people choosing to embrace increasingly perverse sin. Some heterosexuals do freely choose homosexuality as a sexual expression, like the actor James Dean who claimed, "I'm not going to go through life with one arm tied behind my back!"

        Homosexuality is rampant in prisons, even among heterosexuals. When no heterosexual relationships are available, people will sometimes take intimacy from the only available source.

      2. Lesbians

        1. Some women are naturally heterosexual but have chosen lesbianism as a feminist statement. They believe it is the only politically correct sexual choice for a feminist to make.

        2. Some lesbian relationships are best described as "emotional dependency," a state in which someone feels totally reliant on another for safety and functioning. The healthy emotional intimacy many women enjoy can become unhealthy emotional dependency when either person in the relationship has not grown up, moving from childish dependence to adult independence. There is an element of obsession in this kind of too-close relationship.

        3. However, even among lesbians who were at one point married or at least heterosexually oriented, it is very difficult to find one who has not suffered some kind of abuse. This pattern appears in the history of most lesbians.

          1. Physical abuse

            When it comes from a woman, the traumatized girl grows up longing for the womanly love and protection she needed but didn't get. When it comes from a man, a girl may decide that men are tyrants and should be avoided.

          2. Sexual abuse

            Men are seen as exploitive, brutish, and dangerous. The association of the male body with the childhood trauma may make the thought of sex with men repulsive or frightening.

          3. Emotional abuse

            If a child's parents reject her gender, her sexual identity is confused. If they abandon her, either physically or emotionally, her self-concept (which includes sexuality) is deeply wounded.

      3. Homosexual men

        1. There is a pattern of family relationships that appears so often in the homosexual's family of origin that it is now considered a stereotype: a domineering mother and a passive or absent (either physically or emotionally) father.

        2. Early sexual experience, whether painful or pleasurable, is sexual abuse. Either way, it traumatizes a child's psyche. Many gays report sexual abuse at an early age, often from another homosexual.

        3. There are certain emotional needs that God has planted in all of us, regardless of gender. However, a history of the following emotional needs going unmet occurs more often in homosexual men than in women:

          1. Need for gender identity

            What does it mean to be a male? Boys with gender identity problems do not feel masculine. "Effeminate" behavior isn't femininity, but a lack of confidence in one's ability to fulfill the masculine role. (This is often caused by a lack of bonding with the same-sex parent--I am unacceptable to my father; therefore I am unacceptable to all males.)

          2. Need for a healthy role model

            How does an emotionally healthy man act and think? We learn what masculinity and femininity mean by watching how they are modeled in the lives of those close to us.

          3. Need for same-sex bonding

            Nurturer (e.g., parent)
            Mentor (e.g., teacher, coach, discipler)
            Comrades (e.g., same sex peers)

            Often, bonding with other males doesn't happen. A boy may bond with the women in his life, or with no one at all. It is essential to bond with our own gender before we can move on to relationships with the opposite sex.

            Two of the most basic human needs are safety and intimacy. Homosexuality represents legitimate emotional needs that have not been met. When the sexual drive and the desire for sexual expression is added to this needy condition, homosexuality may result.

            According to Joe Dallas, who professionally counsels many people struggling with homosexual feelings, homosexuality's origin is not a sexual problem but a relational one. It started in an unhealthy relationship, and may be resolved through healthy relationships.

    3. Spiritual

      1. Homosexuality is a manifestation of the sin nature that all people share.

        At the fall of man (Gen. 3), God's perfect creation was spoiled, and sin spoiled and warped us--physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and sexually.

        In those who choose to develop homosexual desires (for example, heterosexuals who want to expand their sexual choices), we see the effect of the sin nature as people choose sexual immorality and perversion over God's call to holiness. In those who never chose a homosexual orientation, we see the effects of others' sin inflicted on emotionally needy children.

      2. God's plan is heterosexuality: one man-one woman, as seen in Genesis 2. Anything else is an attempt to find sexual and emotional expression in ways God never intended, and in fact condemns (Lev. 20:13).

      3. The consequences of sexual sin are so serious that Paul puts that kind of sin in a separate category (1 Cor. 6:13--20).

        One of the consequences of homosexual activity is its addictive nature. Those caught in it find it extremely difficult to extricate themselves from the lifestyle.

      4. Two extremes that are seen in the church

        1. Proponents of homosexuality as a viable lifestyle attempt to explain away the biblical condemnation of homosexual sin.

          One gay minister wrote, "Homosexuality is a holy gift of human loving."

          1. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13

            It is argued that continuing to uphold the prohibition against sexual acts between men is anachronistic, since so much else of the book of Leviticus is no longer observed, such as the dietary restrictions. However, the civil and religious laws we no longer keep were fulfilled in the coming of Christ; but the moral laws, such as the Ten Commandments, are reaffirmed in the New Testament. Prohibitions against homosexual practices are reiterated several times in the Epistles.

          2. Genesis 19:4--11

            The Sodom story is dismissed as a profound display of inhospitality in the form of attempted homosexual rape. Other passages that refer to Sodom and Gomorrah (Ezek. 16:49; Isa. 1:9--17; 3:9--15; Jer. 23:14) describe their sins as arrogance, adultery, lies, insincere religious practices, political corruption, oppression of the poor, and neglect of the fatherless and widows. Homosexuality is not mentioned. The great sin of Sodom, so the argument goes, was callous inhospitality. However, although all those sins did indeed indict Sodom and Gomorrah, Jude 7 clearly includes the sexual immorality and perversion that the Genesis account emphasizes.

          3. Romans 1:26--32

            Paul viewed homosexual acts as unnatural. But today's "scientific" knowledge teaches us that what is unnatural is for the gay man or lesbian to defy his/her own "nature" by turning away from homosexuality. Furthermore (the argument goes), this passage addresses the person who turns from natural heterosexual relations to unnatural homosexual relations--not the homosexual, who does not choose to be homosexual just to defy God. Additionally, many argue that Paul's writings are no longer relevant, since he appeared to condone slavery and other socially unacceptable practices, such as restrictions on women in the churches.

            This question comes down to whether Paul's writings were merely the musings of a mere mortal who lived a terribly long time ago or the inspired word of God. Regardless of whether we agree with the teachings, Peter calls Paul's writings "Scripture," and God's standards are the only ones that count.

          4. First Corinthians 6:9--10 and 1 Timothy 1:10

            Some argue that the word homosexuals (also translated "perverts") in these passages shouldn't be translated as such, since scholars don't know what the words mean (supposedly, they have something to do with prostitution). However, the Greek word arsenokoites clearly means those who go to bed with males (from arsen [male], and koite [a couch]; going to bed with someone).

        2. The other extreme claims that homosexuality is one of the "unforgivable sins."

          There is very little, if any, freedom for people struggling with homosexual sin to find compassion in the church.

          We must remember that there is no hierarchy of sin: it is all equally repulsive to God. He hates it. And we must remember that every one of us is a sinner; Christians are just as undeserving of salvation as anyone else.

          It is helpful to put homosexuality in the same category as other sexual sins. They all originate in the sin nature, fueled by temptation, moving to lust, and then to action.

          We must also extend the good news of Christ's forgiveness to all those who seek it. No sin--including homosexuality--is greater than the power of His blood.

©1998 Probe Ministries
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