Homosexuality: Rhetoric and Reality
This just begs the question of the morality of homosexuality. It’s name-calling, not rational argument. A phobia is an irrational fear. That moral condemnation of homosexuality is irrational must be proven. And as you might expect, I deny that calling homosexuality immoral is irrational. (See Dr. Sander J. Breiner, "HOMOPHOBIA: A Scientific Non-Political Definition" at http://www.narth.com/docs/coll-breiner.html.)
a) No scientific study has proven this. Comparing brain structures between homosexuals and heterosexuals cannot conclusively prove that homosexuality is caused by those different brain structures. The causation might be in the reverse direction, or the correlation may be coincidental. The fact that there genetically identical twins in which only one of them is a homosexual should be decisive that genes do not determine homosexuality.
b) Even if a genetic predisposition toward homosexuality were discovered, the choice to act on those urges would still reside with the individual. After all, rapists and adulterers are not relieved of responsibility for their actions merely because they, along with all humans, are genetically determined to be sexual creatures, whether heterosexual or homosexual.
c) The genetic determinism defense cannot help but justify pedophilia. If homosexuality is genetically determined rather than a morally responsible act, no ethical distinction can be made between homosexual sex among consenting adults and homosexual sex between an adult and a young child. Both would be actions beyond the power of the homosexual to control.
d) If homosexual behavior is genetically determined, why not every other crime? Everything from rape and child molestation to racist lynchings and abortion clinic bombings?
e) If the God of the Bible is the creator of the world and humans, and if He calls homosexuality a sin, homosexuality cannot be biologically determined. Moral guilt requires the ability to choose.
a) The homosexuals are really getting desperate with this argument. They are forced to defend homosexuality as biologically determined by admitting that homosexuality is an irrational, destructive lifestyle rather than on the basis scientific evidence because of the paucity of such scientific evidence. Furthermore, with this argument, they are abandoning any claims to a defense of homosexuality as a morally virtuous choice.
b) It’s the nature of sin that it is an irrational, destructive choice. Proverbs 8:36 says that “all who hate me love death.” Romans 1:21 says that when people have rejected God, “their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Does God hold people responsible for their sinful, foolish choices? Of course. Furthermore, making choices that lead to one’s persecution does absolutely nothing to prove that those choices were genetically determined. People can be persecuted for making righteous choices (cf. Hebrews 11:35-38). A person who lives in a community of racists and who is vocal in his opposition to racism will be persecuted. Yet the fact that that person is persecuted in no way proves that his choice to oppose racism has been genetically determined. There are those who defend homosexuality as a morally righteous lifestyle and are willing to be subjected to persecution because they consider the righteousness of their cause to be more important than their personal comfort. It’s a choice of priority in values.
c) Saying that homosexuality is a choice does not mean to say that all homosexuals, one day in their life, were morally neutral toward homosexuality and heterosexuality and then made a fully self-conscious decision to identify themselves as homosexual. There are many factors throughout a persons life that can nudge a person toward homosexuality, such as being unathletic, having a poor relationship with their father, being sexually molested by another man, and others. These factors can mold a person’s self-identity so that when the idea or opportunity homosexual sex is first presented to them, along with the lifestyle that often accompanies it, the choice seems very natural. But the same could be said of many other sins, such as racism and abuse of women. Whether you feel like homosexuality was never a choice is irrelevant. God knows you better than you do. We are all blinded and deceived by sin. Therefore if God says it is a sin, then it is a sin.
There are many perverse acts that most people never consider committing. That just means that those sins were not temptations for those people. When did you choose not to hate another race of people? When did you choose not to slaughter another race? Sometimes there is a point when such feelings are chosen, but for some people, brought up in certain moral environments, those acts seem very natural and they can never remember not having such feelings. (See 3(c))
This assumes that homosexuality is genetically determined like skin color, rather than a choice. This must be proven, and has not been. Ethics requires discriminating between good and evil. A person can incorrectly discriminate between good and evil, calling good evil or evil good. But to abandon all types of discrimination is to abandon the very possibility of ethics because it means abandoning a difference between good and evil.
The answer to this is the same as the answer to charge that opposing homosexuality is discrimination. It undermines the possibility of ethics and law. If we treated all behaviors equally, i.e. without discriminating between them, then we could have no laws at all. Suppose someone said, “The Equal Protection clause requires us to treat thieves and non-thieves the same, because to punish one group and not the other would be discrimination.” Would you accept that argument? Of course not, because it assumes that there is no moral difference between thieves and non-thieves. They should not be treated equally because there is a morally significance difference between the two types of people. To say that outlawing homosexual sex is unconstitutional and discriminatory begs the question of the morality of homosexual sex.
This view simply begs the question of atheism. God has not consented, and He’s in charge. He owns you and your bedroom, like it or not. If God says it is a crime, the fact that two humans agree to believe otherwise is irrelevant. The source of all ethical standards is God, not majority vote among His creatures.
And if God says he will bring judgment on the nation that fails to prosecute what He calls crimes, then homosexuality is hurting others. The idea that the justness of a law can be determined using the principle of “whatever doesn’t hurt others should be lawful” is too vague to be useful. It is a principle often voiced by free market libertarians, but it actually undermines free market competition. If I open an ice cream shop that draws customers away from your ice cream shop, then I have harmed you. The advocates of this principle tend to focus on the most immediate harms as the ones that can be legitimately prohibited by the state, such as physical battery and theft; and they ignore the harms that are more indirect, but they are harms nonetheless. There are many harms of homosexuality, such as broken and abandoned families, spread of disease, physical injuries from unnatural sex, and persuasion of others to join a destructive lifestyle. Whether the moral value of following one’s homosexual desires outweighs the harms depends on a concrete system of right and wrong, not a vague choice between harm and non-harm.
a) Non-judgmentalism is a self-refuting idea. If it is wrong to judge, then it is wrong to judge others for judging.
b) Ethics requires judging between good and evil. Everyone believes that some things are unethical. Therefore any one who says that we should not judge is a hypocrite.
c) Jesus commands us to judge: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24; also see Luke 17:3; 1 Timothy 5:20; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 2:15). The Bible only condemns certain ways of judging others. For example, people often quote Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge lest you be judged.” But right after that, Jesus commands us to judge our brother: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (v.5). Obviously then, Jesus is only condemning hypocritical judging, which is judging others by a standard that you do not judge yourself by. Jesus’ words, “he who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7) is often quoted to mean that only people who have never committed sin can judge others. But this would mean that all civil governments and all of their laws should be abolished, because no ruler, judge or lawmaker is totally sinless. This would contradict Jesus’ affirmation of the authority of civil rulers (Matthew 22:21; cf. Romans 13:1-6). Jesus is only referring to the particular sin of adultery. The men who knew where to catch a woman in the act of adultery must have also been adulterers. By condemning the woman, they were allowing that they too should be put to death. When all walked away, the Biblical demand of two or three witnesses could not be met (Deuteronomy 17:6). At that point Jesus had no basis for condemning her in a human court: “Neither do I condemn you.” So He sent her away, but not without declaring His judgment that her adulterous act was sinful: “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).
a) Even atheist scientists will admit that science cannot provide us with absolutes. Its conclusions are always provisional, ready to be overturned by the discovery of new facts. Therefore, science can never conclusively prove the Bible wrong.
b) Facts do not speak for themselves. All facts are interpreted facts. Therefore it is never a question of the facts versus the Bible. It is always a question of the present interpretation of facts by human scientists versus God’s interpretation of facts. Human knowledge is finite; that’s why “science” (i.e. scientists) can turn out to be wrong. God’s knowledge is infinite; that’s why it can never turn out to be wrong, even if the all the scientists say otherwise.
c) “Seeing is believing,” that is, basing all knowledge on experience, is often equated with science. But actually such a view of knowledge cannot provide a foundation for science. There are many things that are necessary for knowledge that are not material things that can be seen. Have you ever seen the laws of logic, mathematical concepts, or ethical concepts? These are not material things. They cannot be isolated in a test tube like matter can. Abstract concepts make no sense in terms of a purely materialistic universe. Such things do make sense, however, if the universe and humans were created by an absolutely rational, personal God. Also, basing all knowledge on experience cannot account for scientific laws. We have no experience of the future, therefore there is no basis for saying that the future will be anything like the past, if experience is the basis for all knowledge. But if a universal, rational God rules the universe, there is a basis for saying that nature will behave lawfully. The relationship between science and God is that science (i.e. scientists, the world they study, and their knowledge of God’s world) is dependent on the existence of God. The difference between theology and science is merely a matter of emphasis -- God (theology) or God’s material creation (science).
This assumes that homosexuality is genetically determined. Therefore, evidence of this must be given for the statement to be true. If homosexuality is sin, then God is powerful enough to overcome it through Christ’s death for our sins and the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible says clearly, “homosexuals . . . will not enter the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). But a repentant homosexual, even if he still has struggles, can be a Christian: “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
12. If the Bible is taken literally and homosexuality called a sin, then all the other Old Testament laws must be obeyed too, like the ones that condemn ritual uncleanliness and wearing clothes with mixed fibers.
Many laws in the Old Testament were annulled by the New Testament. The reason is not because Old Testament laws reflect a more primitive morality. God’s law is a reflection of God’s character, which is unchanging. God’s character is the standard of perfect justice, goodness and truth. God cannot speak anything that is not perfectly just (Psalm 119:89, 142).
The reason for the change was that certain Old Testament laws were given for the purpose of teaching the Israelites about the Messiah who was to come in the future and to prepare for that future coming. The laws concerning sacrifice and ceremonial uncleanliness were to teach the Israelites about the pure sacrifice that Christ would offer in the future by His death on the cross. The laws against eating certain animals and wearing mixed fibers were to keep the Israelites culturally separated from the other nations who practiced things that God considered extremely wicked, like idol worship and child-sacrifice. After Christ’s death and resurrection God’s people were given greater power to resist evil (Hebrews 8:8-11). Before Christ, worship of God was largely limited to the nation of Israel. After Christ, worship of God was to spread to all the nations in the world. So the purpose of these particular Old Testament laws expired after Christ’s coming (Acts 10:9-16, 34-43; Ephesians 2:11-19).
Even if all Old Testament laws were annulled after Christ, homosexuality must still be considered a sin because the New Testament also teaches that it is a sin. (But if the whole Old Testament is thrown out after Christ, then having sex with animals is no longer a sin, because that sin is only mentioned in the Old Testament, not the New.)
But not all Old Testament laws were annulled. Just because some Old Testament laws are still binding does not mean that all must be, as long as we can distinguish certain categories of Old Testament laws from others. The Bible does distinguish between the ceremonial laws and the strictly moral laws. For example, Hosea 6:6 say, “For I delight in obedience rather than sacrifice.” The strictly moral commandments define sin; the ceremonial laws teach us how we are to be restored to a right relationship with God after we have sinned. The New Testament says that the Old Testament ceremonial laws were annulled (Hebrews 7:18; 10:1). On the other hand, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that “I did not come to annul the Law or the Prophets” (Matthew 5:17). In this context, Jesus is speaking of God’s moral law in the Old Testament, not the ceremonial laws.
So how do we know that homosexuality was not a ceremonial law that has passed away under the New Covenant? First, because homosexuality is still condemned in the New Testament. Second, even if homosexuality were not specifically mentioned as a sin in the New Testament, we can see that the Old Testament does not catagorize it as a ceremonial law, for its punishment is civil (to be carried out by the State), not temporary exclusion from the Temple as with ceremonial laws (Leviticus 20:13).
a) If the Bible does not consider this distinction, then it is not morally relevant. God’s law is capable of making such fine distinction if they are necessary, as it makes a distinction between murder and manslaughter. But it never makes the act/orientation distinction claimed here.
b) The Bible does, in fact, speak of sinful “orientations” as well as acts. For example, Jesus says that even to look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:27-29). Jesus says that “out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications . . .” (Matthew 15:19).
c) The Bible explicitly condemns homosexual desire as well as homosexual acts (Romans 1:24-27).
d) If “orientation” means something other than moral character, desire, or genetic predisposition, then appeal is being made to a vague, unproven psychological entity.
This assumes that the Bible is not God’s verbal revelation. God is all-knowing and directs the course of history, so His commandments can never become outdated. As explained above, modern science and the act/orientation distinction do not provide a basis for rejecting the Biblical teaching on homosexuality.
When the Apostle Paul uses “nature” he is using it in the context of the Biblical worldview, which is founded on the doctrine of creation. Everywhere that Paul mentions the events recorded in Genesis, he assumes their literal, historical truth: 1 Cor. 11:8-9; 2 Cor. 1:3; 1 Tim. 2:13-14 (Jesus viewed Genesis the same way: Matt. 11:23-24; 19:4-5; John 8:56)
God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. “Male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27; cf. 5:2). God declared a woman to be man’s fitting help, not another man. Adam and Eve are a paradigm of the proper relationship between all humans: Matt. 19:4-5. All homosexuality is against nature; it is not genetic (see above).
Yes, homosexuality was practiced in pagan religious ceremonies in Biblical times. But the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality is unqualified. Again, the Bible is quiet capable of making such distinctions if they are needed.
“Know” is clearly used in the sexual sense, as “Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived” (Genesis 4:1), not in terms “getting to know them.” That’s why Lot offered his daughters to them instead (Genesis 19:8). And there is no textual reason to think that the townspeople anticipated resistance, so rape was not the issue. Jude 7 merely condemns them for “fornication and going after strange flesh.” The inhabitants of Sodom were not condemned for this one spurious act. Rather all the men of the city of Sodom, both young and old (Genesis 19:4), committed their homosexual acts “day to day” (2 Peter 2:6-8).
Homosexuality is condemned precisely because it is an act contrary to man’s dignity as a bearer of God’s image.
This figure comes from the flawed research of Alfred Kinsey. As much as 25% of the group he studied to determine “normal” male sexual behavior was composed of present and former prison inmates (see Dr. Judith A. Reisman and Edward W. Eichel, Kinsey, Sex and Fraud: The Indoctrination of a People, (Lafayette, LA: Huntington House, 1990), p. 9). But even if more than 10% of the population were homosexuals, that would not make it right. Truth is not determined by majority vote. “Let God be found true, though every man a liar” (Romans 3: 4).
The Bible does say that “God is love” (1 John 4:16). But this same book of the Bible defines love as obedience to God’s law: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Even if homosexual couples perform many acts for each other that the Bible defines as loving, that does not negate the Bible’s condemnation of the act of homosexual sex and the desire for such sex.
God created man perfect, but we all, whether homosexual or not, have chosen to sin against God and have fallen short of His glory. God, being absolutely holy, cannot be joined to sin. The only way for humans to have their sin removed so that they can dwell with God is through Jesus Christ, the one Mediator between God and man. Jesus paid for our sins by His perfect sacrifice on the cross. If we will surrender our lives to Him, Christ’s perfect holiness will be imputed to us (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). If you have truly become a Christian, you will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to follow His commandments. You will still sin (1 John 1:9), but your life will no longer be dominated by sin (Romans 6:14). Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). Do you love Jesus?
by Mike Warren, last revised 10/2/04
Greg L. Bahnsen, Homosexuality: A Biblical View (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1978), available at http://www.cmfnow.com/books.html
Robert A. J. Gagnon, "What the Evidence Really Says about Scripture and Homosexual Practice: Five Issues," at http://www.robgagnon.net/articles/homosexScripReallySays.doc.pdf.
Dr. Throckmorton, Professor of Psychology, at http://www.drthrockmorton.com/
Noe Gutierrez at http://www.deepbluefusion.com/
For homosexual counseling: http://www.harvestusa.org/
Judge Roy Moore's judicial opinion on homosexuality and the law: http://www.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=1731
Genesis 19 - God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality.
Judges 19:6-23 - "Wicked" homosexuals try same things as in Sodom.
Leviticus 18:22 - "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."
Leviticus 20:13 - "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them."
Deuteronomy 23:18 (also Revelation 22:15) - Homosexual prostitutes called "dogs."
Romans 1:26-27,32 - "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire for one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. . . . and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God."
1 Timothy 1:8-11 - "But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for . . . homosexuals . . . and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God."
2 Peter 2:6-8 - “. . . if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if He rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day by day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) . . .”.
Jude 7 - "Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire."