I Was Born This Way

“Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.” That’s right. I’m walking where angels fear to tread.

The homosexuality issue isn’t going away. Those of us in the church have to deal with it. So here goes one attempt, albeit mostly through quotations. One of the arguments often made as to why we in the church must accept homosexuality is because people are born that way. They can’t help it. But what does the Bible say? I’m not going to be citing Scripture in particular, but rather some scholars’ answers to this question:

“The Bible’s sober anthropology rejects the apparently commonsense assumption that only freely chosen acts are morally culpable. Quite the reverse: the very nature of sin is that it is not freely chosen. That is what it means to live ‘in the flesh’ in a fallen creation. We are in bondage to sin but still accountable to God’s righteous judgment of our actions. In light of this theological anthropology it cannot be maintained that a homosexual orientation is morally neutral because it is involuntary.” Richard Hayes, The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation: An Introduction to New Testament Ethics, 390.

“Our own sense of desire and delight, or of pleasure and of pain, is not self-validating. . . . If the ‘is-ness’ of personal experience and desire determines the ‘ought-ness’ of embracing these desires and acting upon them, there is no logical reason why other sexual ‘orientations’ (say, toward children, or animals, or promiscuity, or bisexuality, or multiple partners) should be stigmatized.” Later on in the argument, DeYoung deals with the fact that if we take the biblical position, people will say we are mean, bigoted, or arrogant. His response is apropos: “A rant is not an argument, and feeling hurt is not an argument. To be sure, how we make each other feel is not unimportant. But in our age of perpetual outrage, we must make clear that offendedness is not proof of the coherence or plausibility of any argument.” Kevin DeYoung, What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality, 111, 126.

Finally, in their massive tome Ethics for a Brave New World, Drs. John and Paul Feinberg deal with a variation of this question: If scientists found a “gay gene,” could Christians still maintain their position that homosexuality is sinful?” Their response:

“Would genes and biology make it impossible to resist the temptation for same-sex sexual acts? No more so than genes and biology make it impossible for heterosexuals disposed toward sexual promiscuity to refrain from that behavior and remain faithful to their spouse. . . . They may be born with genetic or biological factors that later in life will predispose them to this sexual orientation and behavior, but dispositions don’t genetically determine or mandate a particular orientation or behavior, page 383-384.

Although not addressing the question raised in this blog, I think Ravi Zacharias’s comments below are helpful. His words bring clarity to the challenges we face and shed light on how we should respond:

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