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
(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
TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN DEVELOPING A CHRISTIAN UNDERSTANDING OF
CREATION AND AN ETHIC THAT IS APPROPRIATE TO THAT UNDERSTANDING? IF SO,
TO WHAT EXTENT AND HOW?
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
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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