A few years ago, I did a series on homosexuality. I’m going to link a few of the posts below. This week, I hope to summarize a couple of these posts and reframe them in the context of transgender issues. I have no answers, but hope to shed some light on the topic from past research.
My first exposure to someone who openly announced their homosexuality was in college. The editor of the college newspaper wrote an editorial about being gay. He was gay and compared being gay to being left-handed. Being gay was not what the majority of people were (just like being left-handed) and there was nothing he could do about it (just like being left-handed.) The editorial created a firestorm on campus because he was proposing acceptance for an openly gay club.
In the past year, Jonathan Merritt, a Baptist from Georgia, wrote an article describing an interview with the president of Southern Seminary, Dr. Al Mohler. Jonathan quoted Dr. Mohler as saying to him, “We’ve (Southern Baptists) lied about the nature of homosexuality and have practiced what can only be described as homophobia… We’ve used the choice language when it is clear that sexual orientation is a deep inner struggle and not merely a matter of choice.”
At the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, AZ in 2011, Dr. Mohler was asked about that statement in front of the convention messengers. He was asked if he actually used those words. Dr. Mohler responded that he did make those statements. He went on to say, “When I was asked that question, I believe then and now, that we are to speak the truth about homosexuality, but we are also called to minister to even militant groups of homosexuals. The reality is that we as Christian churches have not done well on this issue. If we do not admit that it is to our shame.”
Al Mohler got it right both in the interview and in his response to the question. And I applaud him for it!
Homosexuality, as I said in my last post, appears to have no singular cause. For this reason, we can’t necessarily say that a person was born gay nor can we say with certainty they they simply chose to be gay. One is considered physiological, while the other is preferential. Christians tend to believe it is a person’s choice – his or her preference.
Some people do just chose to practice homosexual behavior. However, there is no simple answer for the entire population at large.
Getting to the specifics of what causes homosexuality, though difficult, need to be understood by the larger Christian community. It is not as simple as we may want to make it sound.
I want to share some aspects of the research into the causes of homosexuality that show it’s difficulty. Continue Reading …
As Christians, we have historically treated homosexuality as a choice, something a sinful person decides to engage in. This mindset does not take into account the complexities of sin. All sin is a reflection of our brokenness that comes from the Fall in Genesis 3. But sin is not just a choice; sin also is an expression of hurt, pain, habit and/or need that arises from living in a broken world.
For instance, alcoholism is symptom of hurt, pain, or a need. So is food addiction. So is anger.
Sin has psychological, sociological, and physiological causes that result from living in a broken world.
So what causes someone to be gay?
Originally thought by the American Psychological Association (APA) to be a mental disorder, research into its causes, origins, and development have consequently led to its removal by the APA from its list of diagnoses and disorders. The current debate is whether or not homosexuality is a result of nature: a person’s environment and surroundings, or of his biology and genetics. The debate endures because both sides have the ability to create a scientific environment to support their cause.
Unfortunately, no one theory or experiment leads to a definitive answer.
The best of science struggles to even figure out what causes sexuality. Therefore, it is best to consider that sexual orientation, whether homosexual or heterosexual; gay, straight, lesbian, or bisexual, all are a cause of a complex interaction between environmental, cognitive, and anatomical factors, shaping the individual at an early age.
In my next post, I will look at some of the physiological and biological issues that lead to sexual orientation.