So, to the more weighty matters of the conversation, I would reiterate my own belief that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). The issue for Christians is the salvation of souls, not the success of political parties. Like many Americans, we have opinions on political matters, but opinions are like nostrils, everybody has a couple. When it comes to salvation, we don’t rely on mere opinions, but on revelation from God. Surely, many will doubt the possibility of God revealing His will to humankind, but Christians do not doubt that He has spoken perfectly in His Son. The accurate record of the revelation of Christ (the Son of God) is the Bible.
The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin and, as such, disqualifies one from salvation. This biblical statement does not mean, as the hatemongers of Westboro Baptist assert, that “God hates fags.” God’s hatred is not toward homosexuals, it is toward sinners. God’s wrath is provoked by sinful folks who ignore His truth and reject His Son. Such wrath is not reserved to those of a particular sexual persuasion. It is reserved (as Romans 1:18 says) for those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.
Interestingly, my friend is in agreement that “suppressing the truth” is at the heart of the matter (even though he understands the suppression differently than I do). If I understand him correctly, he is concerned that Christians are actually asking (or demanding) that gays suppress the truth of who they really are in order to conform to an arbitrary (or archaic) scheme of sexual morality under the duress of eternal damnation. I will admit that when the matter is painted that way, it is repugnant. First of all, none of us wants to be tricked, manipulated, or coerced on matters as personal as sexuality. Second, it seems that certain behaviors (like homosexuality) are quite natural for some.
In reply, the first thing I will say is that it is not in any way clear that Nature (or nature’s God) has hardwired homosexuality—at least not in the sense that it does not or cannot change. In 2009 at the convention of the American Psychological Association, a symposium was held on the matter of sexual orientation change. The symposium, chaired by Dr. A. Dean Byrd of the University of Utah Medical School, discussed a research project which sought to test the hypothesis that sexual orientation is not changeable. In this project, the researchers identified a subgroup population which self identified as “Truly Gay,” meaning that these were more mature persons with a 100% certainty of their sexual orientation. They self-identified as having no heterosexual inclinations at all. The researchers concluded that their hypothesis was wrong, that sexual orientation can and does change. The researchers were particularly surprised by the results within the Truly Gay subpopulation: Our most surprising single finding, and one that is replicated over several different measures, is that the Truly Gay subpopulation experienced more significant change. So, it would seem that if homosexuality is hardwired by Nature (or nature’s God), then it is at least possible for it to be unwired or re-wired.
Second, when it comes to Nature, we must remember that Natural facts are themselves interpreted things, and in humility we all should realize our interpretations could be wrong. For instance, what does one mean by saying that his homosexuality is natural for him? Most likely, he means to say that he is most comfortable practicing sexuality with a same sex partner, or he may say that he is attracted to the same sex and not attracted to the opposite sex. To frame it another way, he is probably saying his affections are strongly given to same sex attraction. Assuming this is true, must we conclude that he is therefore homosexual by nature? The case is not as simple as it seems.
What aspect of nature do we use to make this determination? Do we rely on affections alone, or does anatomy have a role to play in deciding what Nature is saying about sexuality? This question is very important because there are other aspects of nature which may be arguing against same sex attraction. Natural affections may all be directed toward homosexual practices, but are natural affections the only consideration? What about anatomy? Does natural anatomy have anything to say? If so, then isn’t it actually more natural for a man and a woman to complement each other sexually?
Nature (or nature’s God) has designed the vaginal walls to receive penetration. The walls of the vagina are relatively thick, and the cell walls overlap in such a way as to be conducive for penetration. However, the rectal wall is not designed to receive penetration; rather, it is designed to extract or expel bodily waste. Therefore, its natural design is toward expelling from the body, not receiving into the body. The cells are different from those making up the vagina, and the rectal wall is much thinner, increasing the likelihood of tearing during penetration.
Some have demonstrated that because of this, there is an increase in the spread of disease, as the tearing of the rectal lining allows fecal matter to spread into the body. A recent journal [See here] was published after a review of 1,000 recent research projects concerning homosexuality. The conclusion of the review [at least in relation to disease] was that “for gay men, beyond HIV, syphilis, genito-urinary infections and anal carcinomas were significant.” So, the question is whether this aspect of nature is to carry any weight in deciding whether homosexuality is according to nature. If it carries no weight, then why not? If it carries weight, then how much? How does one determine whether anatomy is more important than affections? Are physiological considerations able to outweigh sexual feelings?
Third, when it comes to discerning the intent of Nature (or nature’s God), no group has practiced such methodology longer or better than Roman Catholics, who, of course, understand the sexual organs to be designed for reproduction. Since homosexuality works against reproduction, it is considered by them to be against nature. Likewise, evolutionists believe that human beings survive to reproduce, thus homosexual behavior (though natural in one sense) is also anomalous.
How is one to decide what is according to nature (what is natural)? Considering that homosexuals represent only about 4% of the American population (see journal just mentioned), the numbers seem to suggest that it is natural to be heterosexual. Of course, the reply to this statement would be that though those who practice homosexuality represent a minority, they are still a minority acting naturally. Some people—but not all people—appear to be “natural” athletes. So, one can be a minority and still be acting according to nature. I understand that, but I still am suggesting that it is difficult to claim nature or design as definitive because one can appeal to nature from several different vantage points. Making arguments for a certain pattern of behavior is more complicated than it appears because the truths of nature can be misinterpreted based on our biases. To put it another way—a more biblical way—we all tend to suppress the truth in unrighteousness. This truth suppression even extends to the truths of Nature (or nature’s God).
This truth suppression is right at the heart of why God does hold people accountable for their actions against Him, even though the individuals believe they are acting according to Nature. I will explain this in more detail in the next post…