Re: Homosexuality

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Fri Aug 10 2001 - 17:20:42 EDT

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    George posed 20 questions, all of interest; not all of equal importance.

    I would assert that all need dialog. Having seriously studied these
    issues for several years, and having a position that what is sin in the
    eyes of God is necessarily not a "good," (philosophically speaking), and
    also having the position that scripture, properly interpreted, has to be
    the standard by how we judge that question, I'll comment on the 20.

    1. What does the Bible say about God's intention for creation in
    connection with human sexuality?

    I'd say that the concept of a two person different gender adult lifetime
    loving commitment is clearly the intention. At the same time, I'd have to
    affirm that God's permissive will seems to cover situations which are
    less than that. I see no scriptural warrant, for example, for a spouse to
    stay in a marriage where the other spouse is sadistically abusive. I see
    no scripture which calls a same-sex relationship which is adult, long
    term and loving, "sin."

    2. Does the Bible say anything positive about homosexual behavior (i.e.,
    expressions of genital sexuality?)

    I know of no passages which remotely support a "yes" answer. Just as I
    know of none which condemn an adult relationship which one would call a
    "loving marriage" were not the two people involved of the same sex.

    3. What were the reasons, in the context of the biblical writers, for
    the biblical condemnations of male homosexual behavior?

    What I have read (about the LEV verse) was that the taboo was related to
    the requirement for the achievement Hebrews to differentiate themselves
    from the clans outside.

    4. What were the reasons, in the context of the biblical writers, for
    the biblical condemnation of female homosexual behavior?

    The only reference to such in Romans 1. The activity there is clearly NOT
    a loving long term relationship. My recollection is that pagan temple
    worship was involved.

    5. Do some persons have a "homosexual orientation" which they have not
    voluntarily chosen?
    (To avoid undue verbiage, the way I have posed some of the following
    questions assumes the answer to this to be "yes." If not, some changes
    in the following are needed & some questions become irrelevant.)

    The word "some" may be misleading; it implies "not many." All I have read
    says that a homosexual orientation is involuntary in "most" cases.

    6. If the answer to 5. is "yes," is this orientation hereditary (which
    may mean, but is not limited to, genetic), formed by environmental
    influences, or a combination of the two?

    Again -- external sources are split on this, but I think "nature" is more
    likely the culprit than "nurture" in most cases.

    7. Is there a realistic possibility of genuine "conversion" of an adult
    person of homosexual orientation to a reasonably happy heterosexual

    There does seem to be some, very little, evidence that a few persons with
    a homosexual orientation can be changed. That evidence is very weak, as
    far as I know. It's not quite like learning to like broccoli.

    8. Repeat questions 5 and 6 for the concept of "bisexual."

    I'll skip that one. I really don't know.

    9. Questions 5 through 8 have been about the knowledge of human nature
    which can be gained scientifically. DOES THIS SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE HAVE

    I think the answer here is a clear "yes." If "science" can show that the
    condition (not the activity) is inherited, or developed by others, and is
    not, generally, a "lifestyle choice," then that has to play a part. On
    the other hand, if Jesus had just said, "Boys, hear this. ALL same sex
    sexual activity is an affront to God and should be avoided," then
    scripture would prevail. But He did not say that, as far as the record is
    concerned. Even Paul did not say that. Paul did condemn certain
    perversions, and that's fine. but he did not address the case being

    10. Does the Bible, explicitly or implicitly, recognize the concept of
    sexual orientation, as distinguished from sexual behavior?

    I have never been able to find anything of this kind. The word
    "homosexual," meaning sexual attraction tendency, is of recent invention.

    11. Do biblical condemnations of homosexual behavior apply also to
    sexual orientation?

    Since scripture does not speak to sexual orientation, and since by all
    reasonable evidences, homosexuality is an inherent, not a chosen,
    condition, then I would argue a "no" answer here.

    12. Do biblical condemnations of homosexual behavior have the same
    significance for persons of homosexual orientation that they do for
    heterosexuals or bisexuals who choose to engage in such behavior?

    In conversations with friends and acquaintances who are homosexual, I
    understand them to take those specific passages very seriously indeed.
    But I cannot speak for them, and they are not really a very
    representative subset of the homosexual population.

    13. Is homosexual orientation "contrary to nature?" Is homosexual
    behavior? In either case, why or why not?

    Observations on animals have shown that homosexual activity is not
    uncommon. One cannot say anything about their "orientation" of course. If
    the condition is inherited, it is difficult to think why it would be

    14. Are traditional heterosexual attitudes toward homosexuality
    primarily formed by religious concerns or are they primarily a matter of
    taste - i.e., gut reaction?

    My guess -- "gut" reactions.

    15. Is the possibility of committed, loving, one-to-one relationships
    between male homosexuals realistic, or is promiscuity connected in some
    basic way with male homosexual orientation?

    Case studies indicate that it is realistic.

    16. Is the possibility of committed, loving, one-to-one relationships
    between female homosexuals realistic, or is promiscuity connected in some
    basic way with female homosexual orientation?


    17. Should the civil authority give legal recognition to some sort of
    union between homosexuals? If so, should they be consider "marriages?"

    That's a tougher question. I'd be in favor of a legalized "domestic
    relationship" myself, one which took no notice of what kind of sexual
    relationship, if any, existed. For instance, two sisters could set one
    up. Or two men, neither of whom had any gay tendencies or desires, but
    simply wanted to be "more than roommates."

    18. Should the church give ecclesial recognition and blessing to some
    sort of union between homosexuals? If so, should they be consider

    I'd be in favor of that in my church; I'd not call it "marriage," I

    19. Should the church knowingly accept non-celibate homosexuals as
    members "in good standing"?

    Absolutely. Why would it not?

    20. Should the church knowingly ordain non-celibate homosexuals?

    I think it should be a local church decision. I, personally, would be in
    favor of it, all other things being equal.
    John Burgeson (Burgy)
           (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
            humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)

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