10.16.2004

Is homosexuality a choice?

(that's Another Linked Title, sheesh I need to find a new template)

The article linked to is one of many put out as opinions written by professors at my alma mater. Its entitled "Answering Bob Schieffer's Big Debate Question" and its author is Dr. Warren Throckmorton, who to my recollection is the director of student counseling or something to that effect. Its a fantastic piece that addresses Schieffer's question in the 3rd debate that addressed the issue of whether or not homosexuality is a choice.

I agree with Throckmorton that Bush's answer was a safer, smarter view of the facts, and also that it could have been better answered (as Throck does at the end of the column).

The question: "Is homosexuality a choice?" seems simple enough but it is cunningly complicated. The two nouns in the query require further reflection. What do we mean by homosexuality? What do we mean by choice?

By homosexuality, are we referring to feelings of attraction to the same sex? Or are we referring to a person who has adopted a gay or lesbian personal identity? Or both? Some people experience same sex attractions to varying degrees but choose not to act on them or to identify themselves as homosexual. For them, the feelings of attraction may not seem like a choice but pursuing same sex relationships and/or adopting a homosexual identity would be a conscious choice.

Choice is also a word that requires clarification. This part of the question is usually code for a related question: "Can a person change his feelings or are they such an innate part of a homosexual’s make up that any choice concerning them is impossible?" For those who have experienced change in their sexual feelings from gay to straight, often known as ex-gays, the concept of choice is especially important. In my research, many ex-gays say they did not choose to initially experience attractions to their own gender but at some point in their lives, they made a conscious choice to pursue change in not only how they perceive themselves but in their affections and attractions.


The very logical point here is that homosexuality (as we commonly understand it) refers to both the feelings that these people have for others of the same sex, and their decisions to engage in relationships of the sort. Society's definition of this word effectively considers engaging in the acts of homosexuality to be part of the term. Switzerland doesn't simply feel neutrality, it acts out its neutrality.

God allows us to face all kinds of temptations. While I've never experienced attraction to the same sex, much less a temptation to act upon it, I can certainly allow room for the possibility that certain people may, for whatever reason, deal with this attraction and temptation. I deal with temptations offered by the opposite sex on a daily basis. They're walking all over the place in this city. But I don't (by grace) act out on them. Mentally, I feel heterosexual attractions, but I do not make the choice to act on them by engaging in sexual relationships.

My point is that adultery, murder, theft, dishonesty, etc. are all choices we make. They are things we choose to do. Sexual acts (homo or hetero) are things we choose to do as well.

God ordained only one sexual act as set apart from the others, one that is not a sin, that being sex with your spouse within the context of marriage. (We herein assume that marriage is still defined as a covenantal relationship between a man and a woman).

That said, I don't believe that God would have created his children with the inability to resist the urge to sin. Kerry apparently doesn't agree with this - his response leads to the logical conclusion that a loving God for some reason forces his children to break his law. This is a stupid position. You can't really say a loving God is going to force you to do things that grieve Him. He created us with the ability to choose to hate Him, and that is what people choose to do, in whatever acts of selfish sin they choose to commit (via commission or omission).

Homosexuality (the feeling) is not a sin - its a temptation. Homosexuality (the sexual engagement) is a sin. Its the choice to act upon your temptation that is wrong, and God doesn't force us to act upon it. I choose to not act on temptations towards inappropriate heterosexual actions every day. That is, I practice abstinence every day. Because I choose to.

To act in a certain manner and then blame God for creating you with an irresistible urge is un-biblical and for that matter just plain unintelligent.

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13

2 comments:

TheCatch22 said...

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very well put!

Diogenes said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post...I saw that you were a Christian and figured this post would serve as a good litmus test for whether or not I would care to read further...it was thoughtful, and uncomprimising without the mindless dogma that accompanies many of the "discussion" of the issue (often from people I pretty much agree with). Swing by my blog sometime if you'd like...(diogeneswsu) is the name.