Re: Homosexuality (a condition) and homosexual activities

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Wed Aug 22 2001 - 15:57:53 EDT

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    I had written: "Homosexuality, being an unchosen tendency, CANNOT be a

    George Murphy wrote, in part in reply, "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."

    If you would tag "homosexuality (a condition) as a sin, then why not
    "heterosexuality (also a condition)?

    George continues: "But the problem is that the sinful condition involves
    something being wrong with our wills."

    Yes, I'll agree with that.

    George goes on: " 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."

    Once again, the above question. This is a serious point (as you well
    George continues: "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

    I understand your point, and, if I thought homosexuality (the condition)
    to be a sin, I'd agree with it. And if I considered homosexual activity
    in a monogamous context a sin, likewise. I don't of course, and that is
    what I am focusing upon.

    Subsequent to this post I'm going to send another, a "heterosexual
    questionnaire." It is, I warn in advance, a little controversial. I mean
    it only to point out the parallelisms of the two conditions and how they
    might be viewed. When I "took" this questionnaire the first time, I was
    somewhat offended by it. I think that is what the author intended it for.

    John Burgeson (Burgy)
           (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
            humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)

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