Re: Homosexuality (a condition) and homosexual activities

From: george murphy (
Date: Fri Aug 17 2001 - 09:43:58 EDT

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    John W Burgeson wrote:

    > Moorad said: "Homosexuality is a sin just like any other sin that we all
    > commit."
    > Homosexuality, being an unchosen tendency, CANNOT be a sin.

            Sin is both a "tendency" and an act (or failure to act), & in fact
    the 1st has a certain logical priority: "Before sin is an act, it is a
    condition" (or words to that effect) is the way R. Niehbuhr put it. That is
    the basic idea behind the doctrine of original sin, quite apart from ideas
    about how the condition originated or is transmitted.
            Moreover, original sin is actually sin, not simply a potential for
    sin. (In traditional theology even Adam & Eve before the Fall had a
    potential for sin, posse peccare.) This is one reason why the doctrine has
    always been unpopular: people prefer the moralistic view that something can
    count as sin only if they will to do or not do it. But the problem is that
    the sinful condition involves something being wrong with our wills.
            I agree that it is important to be clear about the distinction
    between homosexual orientation and homosexual activity. There is a great
    deal of evidence that most homosexuals have found themselves attracted to
    persons of the same sex much as heterosexuals are to persons of the opposite
    sex, & have not simply chosen this preference. But that in itself does not
    answer the question of the sinfulness of either orientation or activity.
           Similar things could be said about other "orientations" which are not
    in accord with God's basic intention for creation. Homosexuality is not
    uniquely sinful - it is not the original sin, the unforgivable sin, or
    anything like that. In addition, nothing I've said here answers the
    question of how the problems posed by homosexuality should be dealt with.
    Divorce is also not in accord with God's basic intention for creation, but
    virtually all Christians have agreed that in some cases divorce with the
    possibility of remarriage is the best of two less than ideal choices. (&
    this includes the RC church, though there the legal fiction of annulment has
    to be used.) In the same way, blessing of committed one-to-one homosexual
    relationships may be the most helpful way to deal with homosexuality, as I
    have argued in a parallel.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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