Homosexuality and Christianity
Today’s society is one of toleration: the toleration of one another’s ideas and beliefs. We have become a society of what is right for you, is right for you and what is right for me, is right for me. This mentality has seeped into all of the institutions of our society including religion. This toleration has given society the power to smother our religious beliefs and set the values and morals by which we live. This notion of toleration is evident in the recent debate of homosexuality in Christianity. It has become one of the most controversial issues in the Church and in our society today.
In this paper I will show how the lack of biological or biblical evidence in one way over another results in the toleration and acceptance of homosexuality in today’s society. I will first examine the biological evidence used to justify homosexuality in our society. Secondly, I will investigate the ambiguity of the biblical evidence that rejects homosexuality. Lastly, I will conclude with the action that needs to be undertaken by Christians until further evidence is discovered. Homosexuality has gone from being immoral to being tolerated and even accepted.
The foundation of this transition lies in the biological evidence that has surfaced over the decades. Science in comparison to religion is objective and does not pass moral judgment. It presents factual information and is incapable in distinguishing right and wrong. With a substantial amount of biological evidence it would be difficult to ignore homosexuality and its place in society. However, this necessary evidence has not yet been found to exist. Despite the vast amount of information and studies on homosexuality, there is no factual evidence that proves homosexuality to be purely and primarily biological.
The evidence that does exist, however, is adequate to open the door for the toleration and acceptance of the homosexual movement in our society. The beginning of this homosexual movement is based upon Alfred Kinsey’s 1948 report on sexual behavior in the human male and the New York academy of medicine’s public health study on the subject of homosexuality in 1963. Between 1939 and 1948 Kinsey made a valuable statistical survey of the sexual behavior of twelve thousand males (Holt, p. 2).
According to Science and Homosexuality, the value of the survey was that it enumerated the manifold forms taken by a force so powerful it cannot be denied expression (Holt, p. 2). From this survey, Kinsey concluded that homosexuality is present in ten percent of all males in a persistent (obligatory) form and in thirty-five percent of all males in a transitory form. Kinsey concluded that this was due to the fact that homosexuality is a biological variant. This survey was the first step in proving the connections between biology and homosexuality. However, the Kinsey report was flawed in a number of ways.
First, twenty-five percent of its subjects were former or current prison inmates. Secondly, the ten-percent statistic of the number of men who maintained a homosexual preference over the course of a lifetime was found to be a distortion of Kinsey’s findings, which was in reality a much lower four-percent (Holt, p. 3). Thirdly, conscious and unconscious motivations in the expression of homosexuality, whether of the exclusive (obligatory) type or not, were completely disregarded. The statistical studies Kinsey offered ignored the concepts of repression, of the unconscious mind, and of motivation (Holt, p. 3).
In Science and Homosexuality, Dr. Nathan Holt writes that, “while Kinsey’s findings supply incidence rates of certain phenomena, they do so as if behavior has no connection with motivation. Since neither conscious nor unconscious motivation is even acknowledged, these studies arrive at a disastrous conclusion that the resultant composite of sexual behavior is the norm of sexual behavior… ” (Holt, p. 3). Lastly, there was no other data available to contradict the Kinsey report and as a result, the 10% figure was so often repeated that it gradually became accepted as truth in discussions of homosexuality.
In 1963 the New York academy of medicine entrusted its committee on public health to study the subject of homosexuality. In 1964 they concluded, “homosexuality is indeed an illness, the homosexual is an emotionally disturbed individual who has not acquired the normal capacity to develop satisfying heterosexual relations… ” (Holt p. 1). In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association voted to eliminate homosexuality from the official approved list of psychiatric illness. This action would strengthen the homosexual movement by proving that homosexuality is biological, something you are born with and that cannot be changed.
For this to have occurred the accumulated weight of various studies over the course of many years was to have been thoroughly examined and a scientific consensus was to have been reached. However, according to Jeffrey Satinover, M. D. , a practicing psychiatrist, scientific research in the case of homosexuality had just begun, years after the question was decided (Holt, p. 2). Thus, with no significant new scientific evidence the homosexual movements’ argument became a new standard within psychiatry.
Just as there is no evidence at the present to substantiate a biological theory completely, there is no evidence to entirely support the rejection of homosexuality biblically. Scripture in comparison to science is not objective and is open for interpretation. It is nearly impossible to substantiate the immorality of homosexuality on the basis of scripture for two principal reasons. First and foremost, only a Christian of faith can look to scripture as the source and norm of proclamation and life.
In an age of individualism it is difficult for many to understand the commitment to Christ and his teachings that involves giving your life to be in the world but not of it. Only faith can explain this devotion. One cannot begin to understand if they do not have faith. Secondly, the original meaning is often lost in interpretation and translation and it becomes troublesome to distinguish right and wrong. One could interpret scripture to contend that human sexuality was created for the sole purpose of generating life and another could debate that it was created for expressing love, for mutual companionship and pleasure.
The scriptures most often used against homosexual acts run into a similar dilemma. The Old Testament verses such as Leviticus 18:22 which reads, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable,” and Genesis 19:1-29 which tell of the of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and its wickedness are often used as biblical proof of the immorality of homosexuality. However, are often disregarded as to not to apply to today’s Christians but rather the Gentiles of the Old Testament. The scripture concerning homosexuality in the New Testament is another example of the continuing debate over translation.
In I Corinthians 6:9-11 the destiny of the wicked is foretold that they are not to inherit the kingdom of God. It reads, “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ” Romans 1:18-32 and 26-27 reveals God’s wrath against mankind.
Against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth. The revulsion to what is holy and to what is God’s will results in God’s wrath as described in verses 24-32. Specifically in this case verse 27: “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. ” In these verses the debate lies in the original intent and meaning of these passages. For this debate there is no clear-cut answer.
However, the biblical debate itself, is sufficient in casting a spell of doubt on the authority of Christianity and its teachings in today’s society. The result is society’s solution to tolerate and thus to accept homosexuality and its movement until concrete evidence is found. Ultimately, the homosexual movement of today and thus the acceptance and toleration of homosexuality in society and in Christianity may derive from the mere dissatisfaction with the current status of biological explanations for sexual orientation and the biblical explanations rejecting sexual orientation.
This insufficiency creates a subculture that focuses entirely on the right to be a homosexual as a desirable and preferable way of life, rather than on the reason this condition exists. Charles Socarides, M. D. , president of the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality stated that, “clearly a disturbing trend was developing, with homosexuals banding together, not to demand help from psychiatry and the medical profession and public recognition of their condition, or simply to protest against legal injustices, but to proclaim their normality and attack all opposition to this view” (Holt. p. 2).
In conclusion, institutions, specifically religious institutions are in controversy over how best to regulate sexual behavior toward personal and social well being. The division seems to occur between those whose moral standards are based primarily on a commitment to and a faith in Christ and his teachings; and those, on the other hand whose morality is set by society. As Christians we need to remember that all believers and those searching for faith should be welcomed into the Christian church. When Peter was given a vision of a sheet of unclean animals descending from heaven, he heard the voice of God telling him to, “rise, kill, and eat. Peter objected.
His Bible (the Old Testament) told him this was sinful but the heavenly Voice said, “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean. ” Peter took this vision to be divine authorization for him to take the gospel to the “unclean Gentiles” (Griffin, p. 6). This is an instruction to accept one another as children of God despite our differences. For membership is by confession and acknowledgment that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. In Galatians 5:14 Paul wrote, “the whole Law is fulfilled in one statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ” We need to focus on God’s love.