Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality and Change
While no one consciously chooses to have homosexual feelings, there is nothing that indicates they are biologically determined to be forever homosexual. We will not arrogantly say that biology has absolutely no bearing on a vulnerability to homosexuality. However, even researchers agree that while there may be biological influences, they do not obligate a person to be homosexual. Just because the stage is set doesn't require the play to be acted out.
There are subtle messages behind the thought of homosexuality being inborn. Many who hold the belief that homosexuality is biologically determined assume it is therefore both normal and moral. Let's suppose for a minute that homosexuality is indeed determined by genetics or some other biological factor. Simply because it is "natural" for the individual doesn't make it "normal." (Down's syndrome is just one example of this).
It is not sound logic to make the assumption that if someone were born gay then it is wrong for religions to prohibit homosexual behavior. Most people will not argue against religious admonitions against drunkenness or violence, yet modern science has found genetic factors in these behaviors. Why would we want to elevate this particular issue over others? Religions do not require anything more from a person dealing with homosexuality then they do for anyone else - becoming what we by nature are not.
A lot of damage has been done by Christians offering a simplistic concept of change. Many give the admonition that homosexuality is sin and that one just needs to stop it. This approach certainly lacks understanding and probably lacks compassion as well. While behavior is certainly one aspect of homosexuality, there are other facets of homosexuality that can also be changed. To simply address the behavior is like looking at the tip of the iceberg while ignoring the bulk of ice beneath the water line.
Christ came that we may have life and have it abundantly - not to live in the bondage of unwanted desires. We can act upon those feelings or not and still be in bondage to them. When the struggle to give in to these unwanted desires consumes much of our time and energy every day, where is the freedom and abundant living?
This question leads to another often damaging concept of change. The unrealistic promise of change to experiencing "normal" heterosexual lust.
By change we believe that homosexually-oriented people can:
Some people find their same-gender attractions in conflict with their moral and religious beliefs. Not willing to revise the traditional teachings about homosexuality, they interpret their proclivities in light of the scriptures. This has led some to the dreary decision to attempt to deny and/or repress their desires. After years of isolation, shame and rejection, the message of real change is a breath of life!
For others, homosexual attractions have taken control of their life. The search for that one person who will satisfy those deep inner longings never seems to end. For some that pursuit has turned very sexual. That person becomes merely a warm body who can ease the pain and longing for a night, or for a short while - and yet those inner longings are still aching to be filled. Maybe the next one will be the one ... and so the search goes on. For these, the message of change brings the hope for an end to the cycle.
For others, their life has been filled with a series of relationships, each starting with hope and excitement. Each one, however, getting caught up in jealousy, emotional dependency or unfaithfulness. The relationships end in heartbreak and disillusionment. The message of lasting change offers true fulfillment in relationships.
Yet others dealing with same-gender attractions have considered the impact their pursuit of a gay lifestyle would have on their loved ones. Finding the message of real change gives hope for their marriages and family.
No. As a matter of fact, just the opposite. Dealing with homosexuality myself, I well understand the injustice many homosexually-oriented people suffer. We at Reclamation work hard to counter homophobic attitudes -- especially among religious groups, who are perceived as the least tolerant toward homosexuals. A major part of our work is education. We try to cultivate understanding, respect and compassion for those who experience same-gendered attractions. We have been seeing many hard and prejudiced attitudes change. We believe "loving thy neighbor", and "treating others with dignity and respect" is not a compromise of Christian values.
These days most people are tripping all over themselves to avoid being perceived as 'discriminatory' or 'insensitive.' Yet many gay activists, dissatisfied with even this, have broadened the definition of "homophobia' to include those who dare to disagree with pro-gay perspective and philosophy (witness the turmoil with Dr. Laura's upcoming series with Paramount). Either you're completely pro-gay and therefore "enlightened and progressive", or they label you a backward, "bigoted homophobe". This polarization is unfortunate and untrue.
Most people -- even the tolerant, accepting and liberal, still don't view homosexuality as the moral and relational equivalent of heterosexuality -- and probably never will. But that doesn't mean they therefore hate gays. It's not the "either-or" situation gay activists suggest. Most people will not see homosexuals as a legitimate racial minority, therefore entitled to complete minority rights. Propaganda campaigns in media won't change this either.
A major issue when it comes to the Bible and homosexuality is the importance and credibility we place on the Bible itself. Many hold to the belief (as we do at Reclamation Resource Center) that the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God and as such is inerrant and unchanging. There are others who see the Bible as merely written by men and as such is not intended for today's culture or at least subject to human experience and man's understanding of issues.
There are a few specific scriptures that refer to homosexuality as sin that some modern theologians have tried to revise. An honest reading of scriptures, however, leaves the person who is searching for truth with the conclusion that the Bible does speak against homosexual behavior. Those specific passages in both the Old and New Testament refer only to the practice of homosexual behavior and not the vulnerability to homosexual temptations. The Bible NEVER condemns anyone for the temptations he or she deals with!
We won't go into detail on each specific passage verse by verse here, but there are many sources on the web that do. [Click here for one article that does]. We feel it's just as important to look at God's creational intent for our sexuality and the Bible's overall approach to any behavior that falls outside His creational intent. We need to be very careful that we don't "awfulize" the issue of homosexuality; but that we see it in the same perspective the Bible does.
The starting point to look at God's creational intent is, of course, Genesis. Some look at the Genesis account of the creation of Eve and say that God created Eve not Steve. But that paints a picture of a distant, arbitrary God. In reality, God was closely involved with Adam and understood Adam's need to be intimately connected with another to fully realize his humanity. Not just any "other" would do, however.
The only adequate counterpart was one who would be similar enough to Adam to meet him on the basis of his humanity, yet unique enough to draw him out of his aloneness and fill in the empty places of his masculine soul. Another male would have been at core a mirror image of Adam. It was when Adam first glanced at Eve that he began a journey of self-discovery of his masculine soul. God created us as sexual beings, not arbitrarily, but as an act of love.
And so God's intention for our sexuality cannot be separated from our spirituality. We either relate to each other in submission to His guidelines, or rebel from His design and live in relational chaos. In the second chapter of Genesis we find God's design for human sexuality: Sexual intimacy should only be expressed in the context of a one man and one woman lifetime commitment (i.e., marriage).
Any sexual behavior outside of those parameters miss God's intent for our sexuality and damage our souls and our relationship with Him. We need to remember, then, that the Bible puts homosexual sex is in the same category as pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex or any other sexual behavior outside of the marriage bed of one man and one woman.