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Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Musings on a Christian Sexual Paradigm-Part I-Is a Homosexual Orientation Sinful?-Susan's comments on homosexuality are a good conversation-starter; here's her list stemming from a Dean Esmay dialog between Christians and homosexuals.
My status: a heterosexual, orthodox (small “o”) Christian. Here is what I believe on the whole homosexuality issue:
I believe that homosexual behavior (but not orientation) is sinful. There’s a lot of heterosexual behavior that is sinful, too. I don’t believe that homosexual behavior is some “special” sin that’s somehow worse than all others. I think some Christians are way too fixated on homosexuality. I think heterosexual behavior that is sinful causes much more damage to society. Examples are abortion, illegitimacy, infidelity, divorce, broken families, etc. Because of this, I think Christians should pay more attention to heterosexual sins and quit obsessing on homosexuals. I don’t necessarily think that sex should only be procreative. But, I think that Catholics make a good point when they say that separating sex from its procreative potential is not a healthy thing
There are a number of points that I'm not sure I agree with her on. I'm nowhere near an expert on the subject, but here's my $0.02. It would seem that homosexual orientation isn't healthy and is sinful in and of itself. Thinking about sinful behavior is sinful in and of itself. Heterosexual attraction can be sinful if you go beyond a basic appreciation of the attractiveness of a member of the opposite sex and start to fantasize about having sex with that person. However, that attraction itself is godly since it is helpful in developing marital relationships. If a heterosexual male is shown a picture of equally attractive guy and gal in revealing swimsuits, the guy's attention is going to go to the female. That is natural; that inclination is going to allow him to have a sexual bond with his wife and to set the wheels in motions to get married and have children. Those inclinations can lead a guy astray, if those desires are acted upon outside of marriage, they can lead to all the negative behaviors Susan lists above and more. However, if I started to start paying attention to the guy's sexual attractiveness, that can lead me into some form of homosexual thought-patterns. If acted upon, that would have a number of negative side-effects. Even if God hadn't said anything about homosexual behavior, homosexual (or bisexual) activity is counter-productive from a societal standpoint. Male homosexual activity, especially anal sex, is a public health accident looking for a place and time to happen; I haven't seen much information on the health risk of lesbian relationships. The lack of reproductive activity reduces the bond of child-rearing, which creates a milieu that is more prone to promiscuous behavior, thus creating a less stable society. Bisexuality as an option doubles the pool of people to have adulterous affairs with, further leading people away from monogamous relationships. I think some frank discussion with our kids and ourselves is an order. People are sexual beings and will naturally want to find ways to scratch those sexual itches. The Christian response should be to channel those desires into marriage or to contain those desires while being celibate. There will be some attraction to the same sex in many, if not most, people. If left unrestrained by our conscience, that general sexual desire can manifest itself in unhealthy ways. I'm thinking about the classical Greek sexual morality that accepted homosexual behavior; that worldview seemed to be best described as omnisexual, doing whatever you wanted to do to scrotch your crotch. That omnisexual streak should be recognized as both sinful and normal. That's a tough trick, to tell a young person that being attracted to their same-sex friends is wrong but not that weird. It's a part of our sin nature, just like my desire to go 85 in the 65 zone out on US-27 or the desire to pig out on mini-corn dogs at the cafeteria even though I'm [deleted] pounds overweight. Left unchecked, some people may head in a bisexual or homosexual direction. We'll need to address the issue with our youth, moving them away from same-sex sexual attractions and containing the opposite sex desires until they mature and get married. This will require giving them a sense of self-worth in the community and with God that will give them a sense of intimacy that premarital sex is a poor substitute for. We also may have to address some psychological issues that may lead them away from relationships with the opposite sex and make homosexual relations an emotionally safer option. That counseling is best done at a young age, often prior to puberty, for sexual orientation is hard to break. I'm still of the opinion that it is an acquired, rather than genetic, trait, for a "gay gene" would tend to breed itself out over time. However, if acquired at a young age and reinforced, the software might be so imbedded that even going into RegEdit may not allow you to "uninstall" it. Acknowledging that such feelings do happen and lovingly discouraging them seems to be the best way to handle it, but that requires a strong level of communication between parents and children and a willingness to talk about sexual matters; adults often don't have their sexual thoughts down and often feel embarrassed talking about it with their kids.

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