Evolution and Homophobia: How We Are ‘Created’ LGBT and Straight

Do you remember the TV comedy, Maude? The December 3, 1977 episode was ‘The Gay Bar’, in which a very conservative acquaintance told Maude that, ‘If God wanted gay people he wouldn’t have created Adam and Eve, he’d have created Adam and Steve’.

Shortly before, on November 19, The New York Times reported a protest sign that read, ‘God Made Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve.’ This seems to be the first use of the phrase. Some two years later anti-gay fundamentalist, Jerry Falwell, began using the phrase and made it famous.

Falwell was Right!—and Wrong!—about Adam and Steve

Falwell - Adam and Steve

Falwell – Adam and Steve

We discussed earlier that the Eden story, which contains Adam and Eve, is not an historical narrative about two people who actually existed but a mythical reflection on the human condition. Therefore Falwell is correct in saying God did not create Adam and Steve; but he is mistaken in saying God created Adam and Eve. The person who ‘created’ Adam and Eve was the author of the Eden story, just as the person who ‘created’ Huckleberry Finn was Mark Twain. So it is an error to say ‘God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve’.

Of course, the point Falwell attempts to make is that God created Adam and Eve as the proper model of all sexual relationships—one man and one woman, and this simply is not the case. Adam and Eve are mere details in a wonderful myth about the human condition. They are no more standards for us to follow than are the antics of Huckleberry Finn.

‘One man and one woman’ is not even the standard in the Bible. Even our greatest Old Testament heroes had multiple wives and concubines—Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon. One man and one woman was NOT the standard. And there is NO biblical standard against a loving relationship between two males or between two females.

Another objection against gay and lesbian relationships comes from Genesis 9:

God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth…multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”

The objection is that gay and lesbian couples cannot increase and multiply, but I think we have pretty much accomplished that task, and heterosexuals are going to continue multiplying. But, going back to Adam and Steve, does God create some of us heterosexual and some of us gay? How does this work?

How We Are ‘Created’ LGBT and Straight

I contend that God does not cause any of us to be either straight or LGBT. In fact, I don’t think God is directly involved in our personal prenatal development. It is a natural process that we actually understand very well: an egg and a sperm combine to create an embryo so that some nine months later a new person is born. The basics are quite clear.

Some believers would disagree with me by pointing to Psalm 139:

You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

The poet delights in the wonder of the birth process, and I agree with him! The development of a new individual is an amazing thing, but this is just poetry—not God’s revealed truth. The same poet, later in the same Psalm, says:

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!…They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord…I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

Whoa! I don’t think that represents God’s revealed truth! Do you?

Individuals are not created by God—they are born. And some of us are born straight while others are born LGBT, and I don’t think God is involved; it is a natural process.

Why Are Some Born LGBT and Others Born Straight?

One of the most cruel things fundamentalists say to gays is that they ‘choose’ the gay ‘lifestyle’ (don’t get me started on that!)–and that they can change! Not true! Both heteros and LGBTs are born the way they are. Sexuality is complex: some are born straight, some are born gay or lesbian, and it gets more complicated than that. Some are born transgender; their genitals do not match the gender of their brain. Who would choose that?

As an anti-gay Christian, one thing that made a big impact on me was learning about intersexuality, where the baby’s sexual organs are ambiguous; sometimes they are born with both gender characteristics and doctors or parents arbitrarily assign them to one gender or another. This made me realize how complex sexuality can be; it is not nearly so cut and dried as anti-gay Christians suggest. In addition there is bisexuality, asexuality, and probably conditions of which I am not even aware.

How does this happen? I think there is a rather simple answer—evolution.

Genetic mutation is a big factor in evolution; that is when a genetic change occurs in an individual and is passed on to their offspring. Sometimes these mutations do nothing, but other times they create some actual change in a population. Mutation is the source of many of our differences from each other—such as height, skin color, and a host of others.

So some of us are born straight and some are born LGBT because of genetic mutations in our population. Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality is created by God, nor are they choices made by the individuals. Homosexuality is the result of evolution and is neither sinful nor defective. It is only different from heterosexuality—nothing more. It should not even be an issue; there is no reason LGBTs should not be welcome by all Christian believers.

Next time we will talk about what Young Earth Creationists say about genetic mutations.

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126 Responses to Evolution and Homophobia: How We Are ‘Created’ LGBT and Straight

  1. Jennifer says:

    Excellent item – very balanced and helpful for those of us who struggle to come to terms with not only being ‘different’, but also having to cope with being cast out from faith communities.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. consultgtf says:

    3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

    4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

    5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.
    Like wise…
    10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good…
    27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them…

    Now We have answer to the topic on, “Why Children are suffering…”
    The answer is…
    Imagine if all the creations had reversed their given role, like Moon taking role of Sun…,
    If earth stops rotating and revolving…,
    If sea enters land…,
    If light takes the role of darkness, so on…

    Just because we are bent upon satisfying our senses, we cannot go against our CREATOR and HIS LAWS, if you dare, then bare the consequence, you are reason for your generations suffering!

    Like

  3. wlburnettejr says:

    This is indeed a very complex subject, and I don’t believe it is simply a choice- I don’t recall ever choosing to be heterosexual, I just am. Therefore, I tend to think I was born that way, and it follows that homosexuals must be born the way they are. However, you failed to address passages where homosexual activity is listed as sinful behavior, along with fornication, adultery, etc.: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28, 1 Timothy 1:9-11, Genesis 19:4-13, Jude 7 for example.

    This is a subject I have struggled with for some time, as it is clearly defined as sinful in the Bible, and while I don’t believe the Bible is inerrant, I think we have to take it as a body of work rather than taking verses out of context. As a body of work, the subject is addressed several times and not once is it described as anything other than unclean- or sinful. At the very least, it is aberrant or deviant. Now, we are called to love all- whether sinners (of which we all are), enemies, etc., so I don’t believe anyone should be shunned, ostracized or mistreated in any way for their sinful behavior. But just to accept it as something that is “OK”, so that the church performs marriage ceremonies and ordains gay clergy, etc. doesn’t seem right either. If so, do we open the doors to other behaviors listed as sinful? Do we have drunken preachers in the pulpit? Known fornicators? Adulterers? Where do we draw the line? If the Bible is not our guide or authority on how we are expected to behave as Christians, what is? How do we decide what to keep and what to throw out?

    And finally, I was either born with, or developed over time, several undesirable traits that I have had to learn to suppress, so to simply say that someone is born with certain traits and therefore should be able to indulge in them doesn’t really work either… In light of all this, I still have a problem with just accepting homosexuality as being natural and therefore permissible in the Christian walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      WLB, I am aware of the idea that the Bible speaks against homosexuality in several passages. However, as I reviewed these passages in some detail I realized that they were not all talking about the same thing and none of them had in mind same-sex relationships as we see them today.

      If you are interested, I have addressed each of these ‘clobber’ passages; and their links are listed on this resource page. Just scroll down to ‘Articles’ and you will see “From Jesus without Baggage”. These are my articles.

      Feel free to continue this conversation.
      https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/books-and-resources/gays-and-the-church/

      Like

      • wlburnettejr says:

        Tim, I didn’t think you didn’t know about the passages, I just meant you hadn’t addressed them in this article. I will check out your other writings on the subject. I’ve done a pretty good bit of reading on both sides of the debate, and as I said I struggle with it, but I want to make it clear that I am not condemning anyone- nor judging to condemnation. It is always best to err on the side of love, and that is my goal.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Susan Jackson says:

      The difference is that fornication, adultery, public drunkenness that you mention, and other such activities which are labelled sin, are causing harm and hurt to other people. The same cannot be said of the private activity of consenting, adult, monogamous couples. Making love to one’s soulmate does not equate with indulging in an undesirable trait, such as paedophilia or a desire to rape. I’m really not interested what goes on in the bedrooms of other couples, heterosexual or homosexual, as long as they are safe and happy.

      Liked by 2 people

      • wlburnettejr says:

        Yes, I understand the difference, and agree that what consenting adults do together is not causing harm to anyone else. Personally I don’t have a problem with what consenting adults do… I simply included homosexual activity in the context in which scripture lists sins, and that is where my questions lie. In trying to determine how this activity fits into the context of a Christian witness, or lifestyle, how do I as a Christian view it in light of scripture? Since current culture is attempting to have this viewed as just another natural, acceptable lifestyle, I’m trying to understand why it is called out as sinful in scripture since it does no harm- as you state, if in a monogamous relationship between consenting adults.

        Liked by 1 person

        • ANTHONY PAUL says:

          The point you raise throughout your part of the discussion here should make those who are sympathetic toward homosexuality very uncomfortable if they believe that The Bible says anything at all that stands apart from our own spiritual myopia and tunnel vision; it appears to me that from a legalistic point of view at least, The Scriptures are very clear about the subject. I don’t see the writers of The Bible making any sort of distinction between one type of homosexual activity being more acceptable than another. On the contrary, we find that in the NT it is always listed along side other sins such as sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, theft, greed, drunkenness, etc. (1 COR 6:9-10) In ROM 1 we are pretty much given a definition of homosexuality as man’s having given up natural relations with a woman resulting in the man being consumed with passion for another man (clearly referring to sexual congress); Paul then goes on to call this a “shameless act” by which men were given up to their own “debased mind…”. With this in mind, I personally find that modern interpretations of homosexuality going beyond the question of sin, even raising it to the level of a holy sacrament, stretch the boundaries of reasonable thought rendering meaningful dialogue almost impossible. We are forced to admit that either The Bible does speak authoritatively on matters of spiritual life and death or the only authority we are willing to recognize is that voice within our own head by which we concoct our own ideas about what The Word tells us is righteous and unrighteous. We may not be bound by The Law as we do not live under it, but once we start twisting it around to suite our own personal preferences then we are once again walking in the shoes of The Pharisees.

          Unfortunately, way too many “good christians” have used these passages to publicly humiliate and ostracize others in the gay and lesbian community. I don’t see these actions as those of a righteous or Godly people… we must all remember that there are many, many other sins listed along side of this one; and I must confess to you that I myself have fallen under the weight of one or two or three in the course of my own lifetime. I just don’t believe that homosexuality is a greater sin than any of the others… in condemning others for their sin we do by that same act of judgement condemn ourselves.

          Liked by 2 people

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          WLB, you said, “In trying to determine how this activity fits into the context of a Christian witness, or lifestyle, how do I as a Christian view it in light of scripture?…I’m trying to understand why it is called out as sinful in scripture since it does no harm.”

          I think your concern is very legitimate. However, I don’t think the Bible anywhere calls out loving, same-sex relationships as sinful. If you are interested you can give me the reference you have in mind and I can share what I have written about that reference to show that it does not condemn gay relationships.

          Like

          • wlburnettejr says:

            Tim, I’ve read all of your posts on the subject, all of the comments for and against on this post, watched the video that laceduplutheran shared, read several other texts and diligently and prayerfully searched my heart. Basically it seems to me that your, and other gay-affirming Christian’s view, is that the Bible doesn’t really mean what it says on this subject. In order to affirm same-sex relationships, you basically have to rewrite, reinterpret, or ignore what Scripture says about a man lying with a man, etc.. As Anthony Paul said, Scripture makes no distinction between those abusing temple boys and a committed same sex relationship. I have to wonder why this distinction isn’t made in scripture… If what they really meant was “don’t use and abuse others”, why didn’t they just say that? Why specifically call out the same-sex activity? Then there would be no need for debate. However, I don’t think it’s possible for us to know with any certainty, so I’m going to have to consider homosexual activity sinful, but since it’s not for me to judge another to condemnation, I’ll just leave it up to God and do my best to love everyone as Jesus has called me to do. After all, we all fall short in some way, and are saved by grace through faith, so I think those of us who truly love Jesus are doing the best we can with what we’ve got.
            Thank you for your thoughts on this. I enjoy your blog very much.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            WLB, I am glad you enjoy the blog and hope you continue to enjoy it. Not every post is like this one.

            I really like your statement: “It’s not for me to judge another to condemnation, I’ll just leave it up to God and do my best to love everyone as Jesus has called me to do. After all, we all fall short in some way, and are saved by grace through faith, so I think those of us who truly love Jesus are doing the best we can with what we’ve got.”

            I think you are absolutely right!

            You wrote that those who are gay-affirming think “the Bible doesn’t really mean what it says on this subject.” I think the reality is that the Bible hardly says anything about loving same-sex relationships. The six passages used to condemn gays are all about something else. The closest possible passage would be Romans 1, which I address in a separate article:
            https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/paul-and-homosexuality-in-romans/

            I had also asked earlier if you had a particular anti-gay reference in mind and you mentioned: “What Scripture says about a man lying with a man.” I examine that passage here:
            https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/does-leviticus-say-gays-are-detestable-and-must-be-killed/

            Let me know what you think.

            Like

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  8. newtonfinn says:

    Because I, like Tim and many others on this forum, have come to look for guidance on these kinds of issues in the words (and actions) of Jesus, instead of in OT language and customs or non-gospel portions of the NT, let me quote Jesus, as he speaks in “Life of Truth” straight from the synoptic tradition. Responding to a question whether it is better to remain unmarried, he observes that “there are some incapable of marriage by birth, and some were made so by men.” This observation is not made in judgment and carries no moral censure. It is merely an example of the profound common sense with which Jesus understands the world and the people around him. His take on evil is similar, in that it recognizes the obvious existence of terrible things that happen to us, and instead of trying to explain them, he simply distinguishes evil that happens by itself from evil that happens by human action. Are not our LBGTQ brothers and sisters among those who, in the social order of Jesus’ day, were incapable of marriage by birth? Jesus takes all this in stride, like he does the lilies and the birds, as given aspects of God’s creation to be acknowledged and accepted.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Well said, Newton. I really liked, “It is merely an example of the profound common sense with which Jesus understands the world and the people around him.” I wish we all had Jesus’ common sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. wlburnettejr says:

    I think it’s a stretch to infer that Jesus was referring to our LGBT brothers and sisters in that passage. “Made so by men” would be more likely referring to a eunuch, and “incapable by birth” is too ambiguous to draw any real conclusion from. Any distinction between the gospel portions of the NT and the rest is sketchy as well since it was all written by men. There wasn’t anyone following Jesus around with a recorder… This is one of the many mysteries of life, and I am bothered by it as it pertains to the church’s official position- not a one on one individual position. That is between each individual and God, and I will not cast a stone. As far as that goes, I think if it is indeed a sin as scripture seems to indicate, it is no more a sin than anger, greed, gluttony or any other sin we may be guilty of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • newtonfinn says:

      I agree with your interpretation about “made so by men,” but why is “incapable of marriage by birth” too ambiguous a phrase to interpret? Certainly it would seem to apply to the small fraction of those of us born with the physically permanent genital issues among those that Tim mentions. Why would it be a stretch to apply it as well to those born with an inner sexual orientation other than the so-called straight orientation? Inborn impediments to marriage (in Jesus’ day) would seem to have included all such situations, and yet Jesus is never depicted as condemning eunuchs or people with other physical issues or, for that matter, LBGTQ people, who were certainly not unknown in his culture. Unlike other voices in the Old and New Testaments, Jesus’ message is radically inclusive, as were his actions in calling women, zealots, and tax collectors as followers. It is the character of Jesus, not this or that saying, which in the final analysis makes his total acceptance of LBGTQ people an easy call for me. Anger, greed, gluttony, etc. involve one’s will, one’s choices. Does being gay fall into this category? How much suffering has been caused, and is still being caused, by judging people for things out of their control? And as far as the church’s official position is concerned, Jesus never founded an institutional church but rather ignited a spiritual movement that ossified into the church. Indeed, it was not long after this “change of state” that the church married empire, an unholy union which the Jesus I know and love would never have blessed. That’s the marriage issue that really needs to be talked about in today’s Christianity.

      Like

      • wlburnettejr says:

        Well, I’m glad that it’s an easy call for you. I wish it were for me. I do appreciate your response- it gives me some more points to consider.
        To respond to some of the questions you pose- not in any particular order… “Incapable of marriage by birth” is just too broad of a statement to draw any specific reference from. It could apply to genital problems, yes, but it also could apply to cerebral palsy, or any type of physical deformity. But being gay does not make one incapable of marriage- lots of gay, or bisexual folks have done it. Of course Jesus never condemned eunuchs or people with physical issues, why would he? Eunuchs don’t castrate themselves… Yes, Jesus was much more inclusive of the downtrodden than the religious order of the day, and I love that about him, but Jesus was also a Jew who “came not to strike one letter from the law of the prophets”. The fact that there is no record of Jesus specifically coming out against homosexuality doesn’t prove anything either- he he didn’t condemn slavery either… Having a predilection doesn’t involve the will, but engaging in the behavior does. As I said earlier, I’m seeking an understanding, trying to decide in light of scripture where I stand. I’m not condemning anyone. Is scripture valuable for teaching, reproof, for training in righteousness? Or is it not? If only some of it, which parts? These are the answers I’m seeking.

        I liked your statement about the institutional church, and I agree to some degree. But, it was inevitable that man would seek some type of organization once it grew, and people being people, it was also inevitable that it would not be a perfect institution, so those who are pure in heart- or seeking to be do the best they can.

        Liked by 1 person

        • newtonfinn says:

          The abhorrence of the body has a long and unfortunate history in Christianity and other religions. Yes, some did castrate themselves and otherwise mutilate or punish the body with the thought that this would be pleasing to God. If the body, and sexuality, are not inherently sinful (and I find little to nothing in Jesus’ words to so indicate), then why would a loving God, Jesus’ Abba, allow sexual expression (in committed relationships) to straight people but not to gay people? Because of their inborn orientation, are gay people consigned by their compassionate creator to refrain from this fundamental expression of intimacy and connection? Maybe this line of thinking, wilburnettejr, could be of some use as you work through your reflection on this issue that is so divisive for the church and our larger society. Thank you for engaging with me as a brother in Christ seeking to know his mind and heart.

          Liked by 2 people

          • wlburnettejr says:

            I had never heard of men castrating themselves with the thought that it would be pleasing to God, that’s an enlightening thought. I personally do not believe that the human body, and sexuality are inherently sinful.

            You make some great points- and these type of points are why I have questions, rather than just saying the Bible calls it sin, so therefore it is. However, the scriptures are our only written authority, so if we throw this out- what else do we throw out? What do we keep? Who am I to decide? That’s my struggle.

            Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            WLB, there was one famous case of self-castration in the early church. Church Father Origin did so in light of his understanding of the NT. Most of the other Church Fathers criticized him for it.

            I understand your (apparent) concerns that the Bible has 8 passages that seem to condemn same-sex relationships. Many call these the ‘clobber’ passages. But after close consideration I conclude that none of these are valid arguments against loving same-sex relationships we see today.

            If you are interested, I examine each of these in the section ‘From Jesus without Baggage’ at:
            https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/books-and-resources/gays-and-the-church/

            Like

        • Jennifer says:

          Really like the genuine honesty of this piece. We do interpret scripture according to our experience – slavery was tolerated for centuries by Christians; speaking in tongues was condemned as the work of the devil for centuries. …always these views staunchly backed by scripture!
          It’s the same for lgbt issues – we are at such a turning point where centuries of condemnation are being reviewed. Common sense, medical evidence and the fact that so many people who fervently love Jesus and are lgbt…these factors are forcing us all to drop our worship of dogma and actually come back to a fresh openness to seek truth…

          Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Jennifer, I agree with you that, “We are at such a turning point where centuries of condemnation are being reviewed. Common sense, medical evidence and the fact that so many people who fervently love Jesus and are lgbt…these factors are forcing us all to drop our worship of dogma and actually come back to a fresh openness to seek truth.”

            I think this IS a turning point–and a significant one.

            Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          WLB, you said, “I’m glad that it’s an easy call for you.” Let me say that it was NOT an easy call for me, yet it was my ultimate conclusion–Jesus’ inclusiveness.

          Like

      • Susan Jackson says:

        Wow! This is a brilliant comment, newtonfinn. I wish you would join in the debate on https://www.premier.org.uk/content/view/full/780236. I have been thoroughly castigated on that thread by fundamental Christians who insist that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice which is hated by God and that the Bible commands Christians to speak out about it (in so-called love!) to save them from damnation.

        Liked by 2 people

        • wlburnettejr says:

          Pose this question to those who are so sure it is a lifestyle choice: “So you chose to be heterosexual? You could have gone either way?”

          I’ve asked many on the lifestyle choice side of the debate and not once has anyone answered yes to that question.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            WLB, you are so right! Another response I have heard is ‘When did you choose to become heterosexual?’ I think these questions really get to an important point.

            Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Susan, I read the article you referenced as well as some of the comments. And you are right, there was considerable heavy opposition expressed.

          Like

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Newton, “It is the character of Jesus, not this or that saying, which in the final analysis makes his total acceptance of LBGTQ people an easy call for me.” This was my conclusion, as well; Jesus’ consistent inclusion of all sorts of people seems to me to make this inclusion very likely as well. Especially in the absence of any negative statement.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. michaeleeast says:

    Tim, Once I suggested that the apparent increase in homosexuality may be natures way of addressing the overpopulation of the earth. Food for thought.
    It’s a breath of fresh air to hear someone talk about homosexuality in a purely scientific way.
    It takes the dynamite out of the conflict.
    Blessed are the peacemakers.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I wonder if you’ve seen this video – https://vimeo.com/224160031. It’s excellent. It talks about sexuality in the time of the New Testament and in the Roman empire. Very well done and hits on all the controversial topics in a great way. Take a look.

    Liked by 2 people

    • newtonfinn says:

      Superb lecture. Pretty much covers it all. Thank you for directing our attention to this enlightening and lively presentation.

      Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Luther, thanks for sharing this link. I watched it and it is VERY good. I recommend it to anyone who is interested; it is 37 minutes long but very informative.

      Liked by 1 person

    • ANTHONY PAUL says:

      “Some interpreters, seeking to mitigate Paul’s harshness, have read the passage [in Romans 1] as condemning not homosexuals generally but only heterosexual men and women who experimented with homosexuality. According to this interpretation, Paul’s words were not directed at “bona fide” homosexuals in committed relationships. But such a reading, however well-intentioned, seems strained and unhistorical. Nowhere does Paul or any other Jewish writer of this period imply the least acceptance of same-sex relations under any circumstances. The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any Jew or early Christian.”

      You might assume that this statement was made by a fundamentalist preacher… but you would be wrong; these words were written by Louis Crompton (1925-2009), a gay author, scholar, and professor of gay studies whose works include, among others, Homosexuality and Civilization.

      If anyone is interested in an intelligently presented opposing view on this discussion I refer you to the following: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2014/11/13/not-that-kind-of-homosexuality/

      The author presents a rather short but very reasonable and practical view of what Paul was actually saying regarding same sex relations without all of the cultural baggage and emotional noise that seems to be part and parcel of every discussion on homosexuality — in or out of the church. Unfortunately, when viewing such presentations as the one offered by laceduplutheran, we are left with the impression that the ancient world knew nothing about consensual, life-long, and loving homosexual relationships and that the entire homosexual culture was one of pederasty, victimization, and exploitation. This was simply not the case… so the author raises a very valid point in suggesting that Paul, it would seem, would have made some distinction if he, in fact, held one in his mind. As the author, Kevin De Young points out, such discussions arguing for a distinction in the Biblical author’s mind between exploitative and loving/committed homosexuality flagrantly ignore the evidence (both Biblical and historical/archeological) and are little more than “…an argument from silence”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Anthony, thanks for sharing the link to the article. I agree with the author that the Bible nowhere speaks positively about loving same-sex relationships but, as the author, himself, pointed out in another instance the argument from silence is very weak. Some gay advocates do claim that four passages are such positive references (Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, the centurion and his servant, and the eunuch in acts). But I do not consider any of them valid for that purpose; the claims are just wishful thinking.

        I also agree with the author that loving, dedicated same-sex relationships did exist and were known in the ancient world, but that has no bearing on the thought that these are not what Paul had in mind.

        Despite these agreements, I did not find the article persuasive. It is the same old stuff. The author refers to Paul a lot, which is reasonable since Romans 1 seems to be the death knell against gay relationships. But in my opinion it only SEEMS to be so. I see Romans 1 quite differently than those who condemn LGBT relationships. You might be interested in reading that perspective:
        https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/paul-and-homosexuality-in-romans/

        Liked by 1 person

        • ANTHONY PAUL says:

          Thanks for this link, Tim… I have read your comments in your primary blog but I would like to read further by looking at you links within the link. One point which I believe can be addressed at this point is this idea that if one believes that same sex relationships are Biblically sinful the one who holds such a view then goes on to condemn those of a homosexual lifestyle… This may be true with fundamentalists who have a great need to somehow prove that by standing against both the sinner and the sin they are truly “holy and godly people”. I can’t speak to another’s psychological needs. That is not me.

          I feel that two discussions have been going on in this particular blog and I am quite surprised that it has not yet been addressed: The first is the issue of whether the subject at hand is in fact considered sinful… like any other sin without all the other embellishments about whether homosexuality is of the promiscuous or the “good kind”. Secondly, we need to look at how this particular group of people who are perceived as sinners are judged and treated by others who seem to see this sin as more damning somehow. I believe that Paul is expressing the same thought… he never denies that sin is sin; but he is saying that those who judge others for their sin have no right to do so as they are just as sinful. In short there is a dichotomy of thought here which is unfortunately lumped together: 1. The specificity of what is sinful; 2. People passing judgement on others for what has been declared to be sinful. Paul never splits hairs about degrees of sin neither does he qualify anything said about what constitutes sin in Romans or anywhere else. To say otherwise is reading into The Bible something that is not there. As believers and followers of the way of Christ we have an obligation to be discerning about what The Spirit is telling us about sin… and that same Spirit tells us that passing judgement on others is beyond the scope of anyone calling himself a follower of Christ. In fact, Jesus goes further and commands us to love our neighbor — and I believe that we recently talked about who our neighbor is in another blog: those with whom we may have very little in common.

          You say that the argument from sin is “the same old stuff”. Perhaps that is due to the fact that when we read what the writer is saying without personal bias, the language is quite clear and it still carries weight. The lecturer in the link offered by laceduplutheran suggested that we read Paul’s words within the context of the passage and then presents his view based on what I suspect are some pretty strenuous mental calisthenics… if, in fact, we look at Paul’s words in the greater context of his rabbinic culture we may find that there is no way that a first century Jew would condone any kind of same sex relationship. Now this may bring us back again to the liberal argument that cultural differences spanning 2000 years or more mitigate in favor of a friendlier view of homosexuality in our time; but then it would also have to be admitted that The Bible says nothing to us today that is meaningful and substantial… The Bible is then simply rendered into a kind of spiritual silly putty which people of any time and culture can mold to their own personal liking… as I believe is often done in our day.

          In conclusion, we have not even begun to scratch the surface for having an in-depth discussion on this matter, and clearly there are several divergent views about it. For myself, the Bible must be allowed to speak with some authority about what is right and what is wrong… you found the link which I posted unconvincing while I found it to be reasonable and compelling. I feel that in any forum of interest, various views must be presented, and I have tried to do just that. In the end neither of us will change our position of that I am sure… but at least we have taken the time to examine the arguments.

          Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Anthony, you concluded: “I feel that in any forum of interest, various views must be presented, and I have tried to do just that.” I totally agree! I always appreciate alternate perspectives. And I also appreciate that your belief that all same-sex relationships are ‘Biblically sinful’ does not lead to your condemnation of those relationships.

            You asked about homosexuality as ‘sin’. My question is: what constitutes ‘sin’? For many people sin means transgressing God’s many laws, but I think sin has to do with harming other people–including harming ourselves. I think this is very pertinent to the discussion thus far: abuse and exploitation are very harmful in a way that loving same-sex relationships are not. So why would God care about same-sex relationships?

            I have no idea what Paul thought about loving same-sex relationships; he doesn’t say. However, it doesn’t matter. As you point out, Paul was bound by his era and his Jewish culture although he did an excellent job transcending that culture in many ways–even to the point of accepting Gentiles as equals. But it is true that Paul was somewhat bound to his culture as we see in numerous places in his writings.

            You stated: ” For myself, the Bible must be allowed to speak with some authority about what is right and what is wrong.” But ‘the Bible’ doesn’t really ‘say’ anything; it is the individual writers who say this or that. In this case it is Paul, and what Paul says does not always represent God’s very truth; even if Paul did intend to oppose all same-sex activity in Romans 1, it does not mean he represents God perspective in the matter. I admire Paul for his wonderful insights, but Paul is not God.

            Good discussion!

            Like

      • So using the same logic, we can also argue that slavery is acceptable because the bible does address it in several locations and even condones it too. Even Jesus uses parables that speak favorably about slavery and slave masters – Matthew 13:24-30 is the parable of the wheat and the weeds. Jesus has an opportunity to condemn slavery, but uses it to make his point. This is the arguments that were made during the Civil War. Yet we don’t have slavery anymore. We’ve grown and learned that even though it is permitted in the bible, it’s just plain wrong.

        The bible prohibits the marriage of people from other nations with God’s chosen people. Likewise, why aren’t we following Deut. 25:5 where a woman is supposed to marry her dead husband’s brother if they didn’t have children.

        Maybe this has to do with how we have changed over time and no longer view women as property of men – that women have rights too.

        As for Leviticus, why are we allowed to practice the other abominations that are listed – things like eating shellfish (Leviticus 11:10-19). Eating leftovers is an abomination (Leviticus 19:7). The list goes on and on. Apparently these are of equal weight in sin as the abomination of a man lying with a man that is cited in the previous comments. Yet today no one even thinks about eating leftovers as a sin. “But that’s different” – is it? The bible calls it an abomination – the same word used for eating leftovers is used for a man lying with a man. Sounds like the same weight to me.

        I could go on, but the fact of the matter is we aren’t going to convince each other. We have different ways of reading the bible and how it should be used and interpreted. That doesn’t mean I disregard the bible and see no authority in it. It means we interpret the bible differently. This is no different than the fact that there are literally hundreds of english translations of the bible. All with their own quirks and errors in this. This comes automatically from the fact that we are reading an interpretation from a different language and culture.

        Liked by 2 people

        • ANTHONY PAUL says:

          ” We have different ways of reading the bible and how it should be used and interpreted. ”

          We are in total agreement here!!

          Liked by 2 people

        • ANTHONY PAUL says:

          Much of what you say about OT “abominations” is very true… you missed one, however: what about the commandment to circumcise every Hebrew male in households. And we know why we don’t follow that because Paul addresses the issue in the NT… the issue of abstaining from eating certain foods is also addressed in The Book of Acts. The issue of slavery is always a good one that people like to point to in order to show that the Bible shows strong cultural biases which we no longer observe today. But nowhere in the NT is slavery condoned and sanctioned within the context of the church. Paul’s letter to Philemon is perhaps the most definitive statement of how he feels about the relationship of master and slave… He, Paul, sends Onesimus (an escaped slave) back to Philemon (a Christian) with the letter… but Paul’s words are words connoting freedom and not slavery… in fact he asks that Onesimus be sent back to Paul a free man. I won’t belabor this as you can read this for yourself.

          I know that we all have the capacity to perform all kinds of mental gymnastics when we attempt to justify our own personal views. All I am saying is that when we flagrantly go against interpretations of The Bible which show years of scholarship and hard work and we seek to gloss over differences with partial truths, then The Book loses its authority as a Godly book and merely becomes little more than a work of fiction.

          Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Anthony, you state: “When we flagrantly go against interpretations of The Bible…then The Book loses its authority as a Godly book and merely becomes little more than a work of fiction.”

            I think your assessment here is a bit strong. I don’t believe the Bible is inerrant or ‘God’s very word of truth’ throughout, but that does not mean to me that it is little more than fiction. The Bible contains a tremendous amount of insight, though the insight is not spread evenly within the Bible. In places the insights are terrible; think of the conquest and genocide of Canaan.

            Which leads me to ask whether your perspective of the Bible is inerrancy or something similar.

            Like

          • I hear what you are saying and at the same time wonder why you are citing Leviticus in your initial argument at all then since Paul supposedly addresses the issue. We can’t have it both ways – cite the OT when it is convenient and then say that something is addressed in the NT so the citation in the OT doesn’t matter.

            Further, what about the status of women? Women were seen at property in the OT and in 1 Timothy addresses women and makes them inferior to men. Do we still hold that to be true?

            Further, if one takes a literal interpretation of Scripture, then they take on an outmoded cosmology that science has shown to be different than what was understood before. even Jesus had the old cosmology understanding where the earth was the center of the universe with a dome of water above and below. We know that isn’t true anymore. Does that make the bible untrue or a lie and then to be disregarded? No, not at all. It helps us then to reframe how we read Scripture given what we know. God gives us the capacity to grow and to learn and adapt. The bible wasn’t given to us as something that binds us into a way of thinking about all things forevermore. That’s not Good News at all – that’s Law. Where is the Good News? We see God’s interaction with creation change over the course of the bible. We see Jesus’ methods change over the course of the Gospels. We read Paul and recognize that his writings change and adapt to fit the culture and context he is writing to – it isn’t the same writing style to each church he founds.

            Just because we have a different understanding of humanity doesn’t mean that the “Book loses its authority as a Godly book and merely becomes little more than a work of fiction.” It doesn’t for me anyway. It’s not a zero-sum game where it’s either all literally true and inerrant or it’s a work of fiction. It’s not all or nothing. It doesn’t have to be. I would cite Luther, since I’m Lutheran – He said something to the effect that we must discern the Word within the word. It’s about seeking out the Good News within the word. That allows for us to read scripture and see the genre and culture and context. And still have plenty of meaning for us today.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Luther: “It’s not a zero-sum game where it’s either all literally true and inerrant or it’s a work of fiction.” I totally agree.

            Like

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Luther, I think what you said about slavery and the status of women is very pertinent to the discussion. We have changed on those issues and I think part of the reason we changed is because of Jesus’ consistent radical inclusiveness. I think the same is true of same-sex relationships.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Steve Hill says:

    All I know is that I was attracted to the opposite sex in first grade. I didn’t know why; I just liked the way they looked. It wasn’t a choice; it just WAS.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. ANTHONY PAUL says:

    “But ‘the Bible’ doesn’t really ‘say’ anything; it is the individual writers who say this or that. In this case it is Paul, and what Paul says does not always represent God’s very truth; even if Paul did intend to oppose all same-sex activity in Romans 1, it does not mean he represents God perspective in the matter… Paul is not God.”

    Thank You!!! Now we are getting somewhere… in fact, to the very core of where our interpretation of Scriptures lie… when we begin to pick and choose which words are God’s in The Bible and which are man’s we run into some very serious problems of exegesis… how do we know that anything in the Book actually says anything about the Mind of God? Going a step further and the question of homosexuality aside, if Paul is just writing his own personal thoughts how can we be sure that anything he says… let’s say about justification by faith or God’s bountiful grace towards us all — how do we know any of this represents reality as it exists within the Mind of The Craeator? If some of it does represent God’s Word while some parts don’t, how do we know which is which? For all we know God has just let all these people write all this stuff and — without His saying, “I’m God from on high; and I approve this message” — He could just be enjoying a good laugh watching us run around trying to catch our own theological tails.

    To put it another way, I just don’t feel that saying that The Bible was written by fallible men and is therefore a fallible book… but only sometimes… but when the writer says something with which we intuitively agree… then it’s from God… I’m not trying to be funny here; it makes no logical sense to me to say that The Book is culturally biased one time and then still speaks with authority at others. Who is qualified to make the determination about which is which… all we are really doing is choosing to do so from our own culturally biased and rather “progressive” point of view.

    Furthermore, I don’t believe that the differences between the OT and the New are relevant especially as we read through the entire context of Scripture — old and new testaments as I suggested in my last post to laceduplutheran. The argument from “culture” only works if you assume that the writers of The Bible constantly contradicted themselves on vital questions of what constitutes God-approved behavior and sin… there’s that word again… but like it or not, The Bible is very clear about the fact that sin = death… it isn’t something He just frowns upon; I think it unfortunate that in what has been labeled “post modernism” sin is something distasteful and not talked about in any “intelligent” discussion. Secondly, we have to make the further assumption that modern culture is morally superior to everything that came before (BTW, I am not saying that ancient cultures were superior either). In addition, if we reduce The Bible to the words of men only, how can we know that anything written about Jesus has any real merit outside of personal flights of fancy? In my mind, anyway, when we start to dispute the authoritativeness of this book, we only find ourselves confronted with more problems and very few answers… and discussions that go round and round and basically lead us nowhere.

    Like

    • “when we begin to pick and choose which words are God’s in The Bible and which are man’s we run into some very serious problems of exegesis” – So does that mean you exclusively use a Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic bible? Do you believe that the Bible are specifically God’s words, as opposed to inspired by God? Because translations are totally about picking and choosing which way words are going to be translated in the Bible. And Bible translations are typically made up of sinful human beings who come together, argue for a translation and put it out as the official Word of God, when what it really is, is a translation and preference based off of the original language. It helps to also understand the context, history, and culture of the audience of the original manuscripts too. Again, does this make the bible worthless – no. It just allows us to recognize that we don’t worship the bible – we worship God. The bible certainly helps us to do that. And at the same time there are parts of it that are questionable and that don’t help us anymore. It may be God’s word, but that doesn’t make it God. This is what I meant by discerning the Word within the word.

      Like

      • ANTHONY PAUL says:

        I don’t believe I ever meant to suggest that I worship The Bible… Much of what you say about translations and interpretations is indeed correct… however, in looking at some scholarly works that compare different translations we find that most follow the spirit if not the letter of what the author was saying. Serious problems only arise when we find the most egregious violations of the author’s intent as he wrote in the original language — one such translation is The New World translation of The Jehovah’s Witnesses.

        You say, “And at the same time there are parts of it that are questionable and that don’t help us anymore.” That is strictly a personal value judgement made by you and those who believe that the Bible must be made to fit their own personal bias of what should and what should not be acceptable in decent and polite society. I’m sure you’ll agree that there are many out there who will argue the point with you; and short of making this an argument “ad hominem” their point could be as valid as your own. They believe that The Bible is literally true… you say that it should reflect your own subjective view of what you have come to believe to be “truth”. Oh!! To have the wisdom of a Pontius Pilate: “What is truth?”

        P.S. Please don’t hit me with the tired argument that The Bible can’t be literally true because it condones slavery and wife beating, and genocide. I believe I have answered that alleged position elsewhere in the blog.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Anthony, I must agree with Luther when he says, “It helps to also understand the context, history, and culture of the audience of the original manuscripts too. Again, does this make the bible worthless – no. It just allows us to recognize that we don’t worship the bible – we worship God.” I would add that the Bible should be read with regard to genre.

          You state that “They believe that The Bible is literally true… you say that it should reflect your own subjective view of what you have come to believe to be “truth”.” I think it is inaccurate to say that those who do not accept inerrancy are using their own subjective view. It takes conscientious work to attempt to understand some passages.

          You mention earlier about “when we begin to pick and choose which words are God’s in The Bible.” This is a common accusation against those who do not accept inerrancy (similar to the accusation of subjectivity). I think these accusations are based on misguided assumptions on how we approach the Bible.

          You pose the question that if we do not accept inerrancy, “how do we know that anything in the Book actually says anything about the Mind of God?” In my opinion, the clearest understanding we have about the mind of God is what Jesus tells us–and the essence is that God loves us and wishes to relieve our fear, heal our brokenness, and bring us reconciliation with God, other people, and ourselves. This is exactly what I need to know about God.

          The writers of the gospels together present a consistent and compelling portrait of Jesus’ character in his teachings and actions. I think this is the beginning point of understanding the mind of God, and it is contrary to common depiction of God in the OT as an angry, harsh, vindictive God. I don’t think the two views can be reconciled; those particular OT writers were simply mistaken in their understanding of God. Either that or it is Jesus who is mistaken.

          Liked by 1 person

          • ANTHONY PAUL says:

            Tim: Thanks for this very well written response to this entire argument… You have taken the discussion to a different level. I must agree totally with every word, and glad to do so… you touch on the subjective nature of our individual consciousness and this is an area I’ve been looking at in other unrelated readings of Carl Jung and others which I have been doing of late.

            “I think it is inaccurate to say that those who do not accept inerrancy are using their own subjective view. It takes conscientious work to attempt to understand some passages.”

            You raise a very valid point here which is basic to how we, as individual agents, perceive reality around us… I’ve been doing so much reading on this subject of late that I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I just didn’t see it sooner… your comment was spot on; thank you!!

            ” In my opinion, the clearest understanding we have about the mind of God is what Jesus tells us–and the essence is that God loves us and wishes to relieve our fear, heal our brokenness, and bring us reconciliation with God, other people, and ourselves.”

            You’ve made several other very salient points which I won’t reiterate because of personal time constraints; but I just wanted to highlight your quote above because I believe that it goes right to the heart of the matter of what The Bible, in its totality, is trying to tell us about the nature of God — and, just as importantly, about the nature of our relations with others; and, of course, you are right on target here as well. I believe that what you are saying here is, “If we don’t follow Jesus (God) and His teachings as revealed to us in Scripture, then which God do we follow?” Indeed, Jesus is the fulfillment of the entire Law and the prophets… which is to say, the law of love.

            I would like to thank you and the others in this forum for sticking with me on this… I do believe that I have finally found closure here, and certainly something valuable to hold on to when engaging in other future discussions of this type.

            Liked by 2 people

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Anthony, I am glad if I have been helpful in making the perspective of those who do not accept the inerrancy approach more clear. And that is the purpose of dialog–to help people understand each other better.

            I think this entire conversation has been useful to all of us.

            Like

        • Clearly we aren’t going to see eye to eye on this. I wish you well. God Bless.

          Liked by 1 person

          • ANTHONY PAUL says:

            I’m sorry for the curt nature of my response… clearly, your thoughts on the subject are valued and respected… I wish that my response to your post had only been a little kinder and had reflected that thought yesterday. Please read my last post to Tim… this applies to you as well as the others in this forum.

            Anthony

            Liked by 1 person

          • No offense taken Anthony. I appreciate healthy debate and know that sometimes we can all wrap our beliefs into our identity – myself included. In the end, we are children of God – that is our identity. And why we can live in forgiveness and grace.

            Liked by 2 people

    • wlburnettejr says:

      “In my mind, anyway, when we start to dispute the authoritativeness of this book, we only find ourselves confronted with more problems and very few answers… and discussions that go round and round and basically lead us nowhere.”
      You mean like this one? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • ANTHONY PAUL says:

        Exactly!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        WLB, I agree with one aspect of this point; when we reject inerrancy there are fewer answers; but the answers I once thought I had as an inerrantist (and was so certain of) were not real answers at all but contrived answers. The Bible is not meant to be an answer book for everything.

        But my experience is that while seeing the Bible through contextual eyes did present me with fewer answers but also presented me with fewer problems as well.

        Like

        • wlburnettejr says:

          I rejected inerrancy long ago- then came the task of deciding what I did believe and did not believe- which is a slippery slope, and is ongoing. I do agree with your statement “my experience is that while seeing the Bible through contextual eyes did present me with fewer answers but also presented me with fewer problems as well.”

          I’m not sure why the subject of homosexuality is such a sticking point for me- I guess because my visceral reaction is that it just “feels” so contrary to nature- the natural order of things. But, like I said, I think we are born the way we are born, and I can’t bring myself to believe God holds it against us… it’s a conundrum I just have to accept I guess.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            “My visceral reaction is that it just “feels” so contrary to nature”. WLB, some people call this the ‘yuck!’ factor. And it is often engrained in us from our culture growing up. I am not at all attracted by or curious about same-sex relationships; but I have come to see that at the core of things LGBTs are human just as I am.

            I agree with you that “we are born the way we are born.” I did not choose to be straight, but I can choose to accept those who are not straight.

            Like

    • newtonfinn says:

      ALL OF US pick and choose our religious beliefs based upon subjective things like reason, reflection, emotion, desire, and personal religious experience. This obviously includes one’s stance toward the Bible. Even the most ardent fundamentalist first CHOSE to take the Bible as literally and authoritatively true for entirely subjective reasons.This doesn’t mean, of course, that all religious beliefs are of equal value, especially when it comes to their reasonableness, or that some Christian beliefs, for example, do not grasp more accurately and fully than others the nature of God, the life and teaching of Jesus, and other aspects of Christian faith and tradition. This inherent subjectivity behind all religious belief can be difficult and daunting to acknowledge, because it puts one essentially on one’s own in making crucial decisions about fundamental beliefs, swimming, as Kierkegaard liked to say, on a turbulent sea over 70,000 fathoms. One can attempt to minimize the number of subsequent subjective decisions one must make by making an initial one to become a fundamentalist, but there is no escaping the fact that subjectivity alone–including reason, reflection, emotion, desire, and personal religious experience–lies at the core of EVERYONE’S religious beliefs.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. ANTHONY PAUL says:

    “Which leads me to ask whether your perspective of the Bible is inerrancy or something similar.”

    Fair question. The best short answer I can give you is that I lean toward inerrancy… but I don’t believe everything in it is LITERALLY true.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Evolution and Young Earth Creationism (YEC): 4 Invalid YEC Claims Against Evolutionary Science | Jesus Without Baggage

  16. I am not so sure that God is entirely uninvolved with our prenatal development and that it all fits into the randomness upon which evolution depends – to me this is a mystery, one I had to confront personally with God:

    When God’s Spirit tested me with this: “I want you to give-up your need/want** to be female; your healing and your ability to help others heal, depends on this.” A week of agonizing later, I surrendered this. God’s full answer came in stages, but immediately after this surrender, I perceived this from the Spirit: “I understand what you are going through with this, and many would think it to be a developmental-defect, but I see you as perfect, the way you are meant to be, and I will bring you healing, and I will heal others as I work in and through you.” This was still difficult to take-in and I had surrendered something that had driven me through my life. What could “healing” possibly mean in this context?? Even though the “pull” to be a “healer” myself is deeply embedded (and really, it’s the reason I point to for accepting God’s terms of surrender in this instance), it was all clouded in dark mist, tears and the overwhelming desire to die…

    **(Need/want: something so intense that the two seem fused together.)

    What is pertinate to this blog post however, is the unsolicited response of God to my personal condition. Part of the mystery was resolved when I discovered from my mother (and confirmed by a constellation of my body’s characteristics) that I am a DES child – a child subjected to endocrine disruption in the stages of my gestation due to the powerful artificial estrogen: Diethylstilbestrol. Yes, I occupy the blurry space between intersex and transsexual. People would see all this, this “blended-ness,” this way that my sex and gender do not align, this fact that I am not a cisgender female, but I am not a cisgender male either and that I have attributes of both sexes, but that am not either one exactly: they would see this as simply a defect. BUT God *knows* different, right? There is a difference between *knowing* and *directing* isn’t there? With God, maybe not so much as we know to be true of humans. That my condition is “perfect” from God’s eternal perspective makes me wonder.

    …God’s had more to say over the next weeks, months and now years. This was my second “Abraham & Isaac” moment with God in the journey to sort-out my gender issues, and I cannot adequately describe the pain I experienced here, nor the concurrent gentleness of God to me in all this. What I learned over time was that it wasn’t that God did not want me to be female, nor to develop into a woman – rather it was that God did not desire my need/want (the two are inexplicably entwined) to take God’s place in my life, to be my God. I could not have seen this at the time I was asked to offer-up this tender, vulnerable part of my innate being; if I had been explained in plain terms as I understand it now, my acquiescence likely would have been merely intellectual while my heart turned away to worship my condition; I might not have seen, or it might have taken me much longer to *know* myself more as God knows me. And as time went on, I came to realize that God was going to meet me in this – I learned that the “New Thing” God promised to do in me, if I accepted God’s challenge to journey together, would actually result in my developing {gasp!!} into the woman I was destined to be, to God’s glory and to my (unfathomable) relief and joy…

    “Be who God created you!! God makes no mistakes!!” …I am who God created me: If God did not intend for me to be a woman, then I simply would not be – my relationship with Jesus is that close.

    Everyone is given their gender and it is our joy and responsibility to manifest these, they are our “mode of being,” certainly now in our present temporal, corporeal context. God has many modes of being, and I strongly suspect we also will have new modes revealed in ourselves as our context changes in our long walk through eternity.

    …As close to “bare metal” as I can come, I recognize that I am a blend of sex and gender characteristics, and that my innate sense of my gender (gender identity) is overwhelmingly female; I am most comfortable, most authentically myself, where Jesus is most clearly seen, when I am expressed as a woman. I sensed this through much of my life, where my inner compass pointed, and where my gifts and outward expressions manifested: I am a female person who had to live much of her life as-if she was a man, just to survive childhood and later “get along,” but now I move through life as the woman I am, with as much congruence as is possible for a person of my mixed makeup and experiences…

    …And the Word become Flesh, and what exists in “corpo-reality” supercedes what I and others sometimes assume of God (and God’s doings) through our interpretation of Scripture. Experience: personal knowlege and personal relationship with God, overpowers all the dogma that was brought to bear over and against me by myself and others.

    I am my God’s beloved daughter, and what I will become is not yet clear to me. This is my story, written with my own blood and tears, my crucible of purification, my cross, God’s altar upon which I am bound (whence I asked to be bound, lest I run away from God screaming)…

    …A tree is known by its fruit – good trees produce good fruit, and bad trees, bad fruit. My fruit is for the joy and nourishment of all God brings near me (and it is), it is also free to be rejected, crushed and defiled by some (and it is). This is a mystery; I am a paradox; God is all of this and more…and I am held…closely, I am held…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Chas says:

    Tim. The position outlined in your original post accords with my own views. One further point is that since evolution requires offspring to carry genes to the next generation, people who are exclusively homosexual would be the end of a dead line. This reinforces the view that homosexuality is caused by a mutant gene and that this mutation must be very frequent, even with exclusively heterosexual parents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Chas, I agree with you that being gay is genetic (rather than an individual choice). Whether it is due to a single gene mutation I have no idea.

      I have also read of a study that indicates that being gay is influenced by factors in the early life of an individual, but I don’t recall the details and remember that I was not very convinced when I read about the report. I didn’t get enough information to analyze it but it seemed to support the familiar anti-gay idea that bad parenting or early abuse is the primary cause for people to ‘become’ gay.

      Like

      • Chas says:

        Tim, Since the incidence of the mutation seems to be very high, it seems unlikely to be on more than one gene, on the basis of probability. There could be an early life influence, as well as a genetic one. A friend of mine had feelings of homosexuality that seemed to have their origin in abuse that he experienced early in his life from somebody who was the only person who showed him any tenderness, or indication of caring for him, at that time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • “A friend of mine had feelings of homosexuality that seemed to have their origin in abuse that he experienced early in his life from somebody who was the only person who showed him any tenderness, or indication of caring for him, at that time.”

          This is a common, and even reasonable question to ask, AND it is one that has been researched. The consensus is that nurturing (even abusive nurturing, even rape) does not lead to person being gay or transgender.

          In my case, I was raped more than once as a five year old. When I finally came to the point where it was live-or-death imperative to sort-out my gender issues, I had to prayerfully and scientifically (actually both in combination!) consider whether my sense that I am a female person and my need to transition into womanhood was due to my rapes (hating my self & body because I had male genitalia and I was (penetratingly) raped by men), OR that I have a female gender identity and need to transition because my sex and gender simply do not align. Part of the confusion manifested in the fact that I had tried to destroy my genitalia and related areas from the rapes up to the point when I began my transitioned decades later. I had an overpowering sense that I was evil simply because I was configured as and assumed to be: male. I did untangle these things in therapy and clearly recognized that both things were present yet my gender identity is female apart from my traumas, and so my transition into womanhood was legitimate for me…

          …To toss another kink in all this, I am asexual (I do not experience Primary Sexual Attraction), that is: I don’t “get the hots” for people; no “love at first sight” for me; I never dated; never flirted (didn’t even recognized when males & females would flirt with me, from what others have said); and I never thought I would marry nor have a sexual relationship with anyone. I am married for spiritual reasons: my spouse and I believe we can serve God together better than apart, and that is why we married 28 years ago. ANYWAY, this KINK is: WHY am I asexual? Is it my innate sexual orientation (as asexuality generally deemed to be) OR is this the residue of my rapes? It could be either one because I know that the rapes have made sexual expression very Very VERY difficult for me, and though a lot of healing has taken place here, I still deal with significant residue (and I seem to be *mostly* asexual, now feeling only the slightest twinges of sexual attraction now that I’ve had years of estrogen driving my body.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Brettany, I am so sorry for you rape experience.

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          • *Thank You* {very small voice}

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          • Chas says:

            Brettany, the state of ‘asexuality’ is, I suspect, not that uncommon. One of my uncles was asexual. He never married and he was not gay. Although he was sociable and got on fine with women, he just didn’t seem to be attracted to them sexually.

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          • Interesting Chas! I suspect that you are correct that asexuality is more common than people are aware…

            (After I had come to Christ as a young adult, I simply assumed that I had “the gift of celibacy.”)

            …Many people insist that asexuality does not exist: I remember my pastor in 2010 sneering at me when I told him that I was asexual (this was in the context of talking about my transgender nature – this pastor eventually tossed me out of the congregation for being trans and (behind my back) demanded that my spouse divorce me or she would be tossed-out as well; as we left, several other congregants left as well).

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, you may very well be correct. I don’t have much of a detailed opinion of the causes, but I firmly believe it is a choice–at least not in the vast number of cases.

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    • I encountered a number of thoughts as to why homosexuality could be beneficial in an evolutionary sense (and much the same argument can be made for transgender people). Most of these seem to boil-down to people like us taking-on social roles that help society move forward, whether it is in the way we often assist with additional caregiving be it with children and or elders. In my own case, I actually have one biological child, BUT I have helped parent over four dozen other children some for weeks, others months and several for years. So, I my spouse and I have not “replaced” ourselves (two people for one offspring), BUT we have positively affected the lives of many children some of whom may not have survived without our intervention. (Disclosure: I am a woman of transsexual/intersex experience, and my spouse is a cisgender woman. Both are bodies are such that it was barely possible for us to have a single child together twenty-five years ago – we were marginally fertile.)

      Anyway, here is a link to one such talk about why homosexuality could be an evolutionary benefit…

      http://www.newnownext.com/homosexuality-ted-talk-james-o-keefe/11/2016/

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chas says:

        Brettany, while your argument is sound for modern times, it seems unlikely to have been a significant contributor to the successful survival of children in early societies, if these were as uncomfortable with, or downright hostile to, homosexuality as many past societies have been (and certain societies still are!). This of course raises the question: why do/did these societies feel challenged by homosexuality?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Not every society has the problems with this that western society does. We get a lot of our problem with this from our Greco-Roman background…

          …May I suggest that when a society is challenged by this, that such could be guessed by the way women are treated in that society. When you think about it: what we have come to call “homophobia” really has its roots in misogyny – that is, anything seen as feminine is seen as less, or even evil. Most of us do not really know other people do in their private sexual expression (which is why gay people can remain closeted), BUT when people assume another person to be “gay” it is almost always because of the way that person does not conform to expected gender roles and expression. A feminine man or a masculine woman are both targets of misogyny.

          It’s interesting to note that some societies have a place for people who do not conform to typical expectations. For two examples, the Fa’afafine people of Samoa and Muxe of Mexico are people who contribute to their societies by being the extra “female help” for (female) work and child-rearing. There is a similar pattern for female-assigned persons assuming the roles and expression of men in other societies.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Chas says:

            Brettany. I think you are probably right to point to misogyny as the root of homophobia. Do you have any examples of current societies where misogyny is absent, since we might be able to use these as a test for the hypothesis.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hi Chas, I don’t think there are any societies where misogyny is entirely absent, but I hope you find the following helpful…

            The blend of my hypothesis and your question would be an interesting subject of formal research. However, because of the “squishy” nature of social science, we may only be able to observe correlation rather than prove causality.

            …I did a little “casual” research this afternoon, combining statistics from several sources, noting that these stats are a few years old (and there has been a substantial change in views on homosexuality through much of the world). Also, many of these statistics asked about “tolerance” instead of “homophobia” and since these are not the same, we can only guess that “high tolerance” implies lower homophobia. There is a similar semantic issues with misogyny vs. gender (economic) equality where we must guess that “more equality” implies lower misogyny. As you can imagine that language is a bit slippery!

            I am betting that there has actually been some academic research on the relationship between misogyny and homophobia, but I have not had the time to look closely into this.

            Here are two lists that I combine the data from several sources (I have linked below), to help us get some idea if misogyny and homophobia are at least phenomena that correlate.

            Also I in my original comment, I neglected to factor religion into this, and I think that religion is actually the societal (maybe spiritual?) component that actually makes or reinforces the linkage between misogyny and homophobia. As progressive towards women and “othered” people that early Christianity was in the context of the surrounding Greco-Roman and Near East cultures of the time, it is still quite far below where humanity (I believe under God’s Spirit’s direction) has come to today (and where we appear to be moving).

            Another observation: we in the USA like to think we are pretty far ahead in both gender equality and in homosexual tolerance, but really we are on the low side of “in between:” higher much of the Middle East, but quite low in comparison to Northern Europe/Scandinavian (most if which is post-Christian, I might add).

            Here is the combined data from several sources. The percentage or tag preceding the country name indicates the degree of tolerance to homosexuality.

            Countries with the most gender equality, from most to least

            62%** Finland (tie with Iceland)
            82%** Iceland (tie with Finland)
            74%** Norway
            81%** Sweden
            67%** South Africa
            72%** Denmark (tied with Ireland)
            51%** Ireland (tied with Denmark)
            75%** The Netherlands
            60%** Germany (tied with Latvia, Sri Lanka & Switzerland)
            ??% Latvia (tied with Germany, Sri Lanka & Switzerland)
            ??% Sri Lanka (tied with Germany, Latvia & Switzerland)
            68% Switzerland (tied with Germany, Latvia & Sri Lanka)

            Countries with the least gender equality, from least to most:

            W3 Yemen
            W3 Chad
            W2, 2%^^ Pakistan
            W3 Saudi Arabia
            W3, 16%** Turkey
            W3 Iran (Gay people are given the choice between sex change and death.)
            ?? Qatar (tied with Oman, Morocco, Ethiopia & Egypt)
            W2 Oman (tied with Qatar, Morocco, Ethiopia & Egypt)
            W1 Morocco (tied with Qatar, Oman, Morocco, Ethiopia & Egypt)
            W2 Ethiopia (tied with Qatar, Oman, Morocco, & Egypt)
            W1 Egypt (tied with Qatar, Oman, Morocco & Ethiopia)

            ##Countries with the Most and Least Gender Equality (based on World Economic Forum data)
            (https://www.livescience.com/18573-countries-gender-equality-ranking.html )

            **OECD data, 2014 (http://icelandmag.visir.is/article/iceland-least-homophobic-country-oecd )

            ++UN data, 2015 (https://www.undispatch.com/here-are-the-most-and-least-tolerant-countries-in-africa/ )

            ^^PEW data, 2013 (http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/06/04/the-global-divide-on-homosexuality/ )

            W1: Human Rights Commission Data: Numerous country’s State Departments have issued Travel Warnings for LGBT tourists, where being gay highly discouraged and indirectly criminalized.

            W2: Human Rights Commission Data: Numerous country’s State Departments have issued Travel Warnings for LGBT tourists, where being gay is criminalized with severe penalties.

            W3: Human Rights Commission Data: Numerous country’s State Departments have issued Travel Warnings for LGBT tourists, where being gay is criminalized with grave to capital penalties.
            (http://hrc-assets.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com//files/documents/TravelAdvisory-Final-0605.pdf )

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          • Chas says:

            Brettany, it is significant that the least tolerant countries are those that are predominantly Muslim. I do not know what the Quran says about homosexuality, but one can guess that it strongly condemns it. Your survey did not mention UK, but I would have expected us to be amongst the most tolerant. There have been several high-profile criminal proceedings in England against gangs of men who have been enticing, drugging, raping and passing around amongst them, young girls below the age of consent. A high proportion of these girls were/had been in local authority care, where they should have received protection. The police had regarded these girls (thus proving that they had been aware of them) as having a lifestyle that they had chosen, or that they were engaging in prostitution. It was only when one policewoman resigned and ran a campaign to have the situation put right that prosecutions of these men began. Her viewpoint, which has now become accepted, is that there is no such thing as an under-age prostitute, just a girl who is being abused.
            Coming back to the subject of Islam, it is significant that almost all these men have been Muslims, and they seem to have regarded these girls as being morally inferior, justifying themselves for what they had done. In the past week, there has been more controversy around this topic, because the media (seemingly to be ‘politically correct’ and avoid any offense to Muslims, has been describing these men as Asians, which is causing offense to Hindus and Sikhs, who are asking for them to be correctly described as Muslims who are mainly from Pakistan.

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          • It is interesting Chas that many of the worst nations are Muslim. I think that their misogyny is actually better known than their homophobia (which is pretty virulent).

            Neither the UK, USA, New Zealand, nor Australia found their way into the top nor bottom few nations concerning gender equality and gay tolerance. With respect to tolerance, the OECD data I cited ranked NZ and Australia marginally above the OECD average of 52% and the UK, Ireland and USA somewhat below (UK at 52% was above the USA at 50%), and this was as of 2014.

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  18. I’m not sure there is much concrete evidence of a ‘gay gene’ is there? I wonder if sexuality is more social that biological?

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Spill, I suspect that being gay is genetic in some way but I have no idea how it works. You could be right that social factors could be important. Can you clarify what you have in mind about social factors?

      Like

      • Sex drive is biological and genetically encoded for the continuation of our species. Everything about our sexual identity is constructed by culture. Nothing genetic makes a woman wear a dress or sit with her legs crossed, a man’s genetics don’t make him want a dominant woman, a woman’s genetics don’t make her prefer black men to Asian men, I don’t think genetics makes you gay…the culture we’re raised in, our parents, school, media, art, sport, all affect our personality and isn’t our sexuality an extension of our personality? The whole problem with society is that we try to make these things come from some deep unchangeable part of our being when it could just be symptomatic of the way our society looks at all these things.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chas says:

          The only way to remove cultural influences is complete isolation from society. Who wishes to raise their children in that way? How would they be able to fit into society afterwards?

          Liked by 1 person

          • …But then there is this question: WHY do we all have an innate sense of our gender that transcends our genital configuration and our society’s expectations? THIS is what is “baked into us,” what is innate, and THAT is rooted in biology. AND what has been repeatedly demonstrated (sometimes with tragic results) is that you cannot force someone to change their gender identity nor their sexual orientation. You cannot talk, drug, bribe or beat it out of people, and they usually know gender identity by the time they are young children, and their sexual orientation by puberty.

            So HOW males and females differ in their roles and expression is often hopelessly mixed-up in the culture in which they are immersed, BUT the fact that they gravitate to one or the other (or neither or some blend of these poles) is very much dependent on the makeup of the individual person.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Chas says:

            Brettany, I have been giving some thought to this subject, because I believe that children will usually take on behaviour common to their sexual gender, in the presence or absence of/from societal exposures. It might be that this tendency is locked into the genes and that it goes back to a time of hunter-gatherer societies, when there appear to have been clear-cut gender-based roles, with the men doing the hunting and the women the child care and foraging. Before that, taking Chimpanzees as an example, the alpha-males dominated the whole group, with the females and young males deferring to them and being bullied if they did not do so. Some element of this latter behaviour can be seen in society even now.

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          • From all my investigation of this sort of thing, it seems that testosterone figures into much of it…

            …I have witnessed interesting changes in transgender men when they start testosterone hormone replacement. Hormones have a *profound* affect on us, in our underlying “wiring” (and the propensities & potentials this implies) and in our subsequent behavior. I have been asked about this, and I wrote about my experience of this in detail if you are interested:

            How Hormone Replacement Therapy Has Affected Me
            View story at Medium.com

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        • “Nothing genetic makes a woman wear a dress or sit with her legs crossed.” I’m not sure that I would entirely agree that these things are cultural. For one thing, many things that are “typically” male and female in behavior cross cultural boundaries…

          …Let’s take a “simple” behavior like leg crossing for example. I was birth-asigned-male, yet I have always crossed my legs as women do, even when I was punished for it by parents and later beaten by others. Why do women cross their legs as they do? Well, think of this: crossing our legs is something we all do, but crossing them closed, to protect our genitalia (whether physically or psychologically) is an expression of vulnerability. It is quite likely that women feel the need to cross their legs this way out of a realization of their (speaking generally here) vulnerability to the strength and sexual aggressiveness of men. Sexual aggression does tend to be biological, and it’s strongly linked with testosterone. Estrogen on the other hand is much less of sexual stimulant and tends to push people in protective, nurturing directions. These biological tendencies can “add up to” the way people express themselves in a given context. Am I completely correct here? Probably not, but I am what suggesting is that while complex masculine and feminine behaviors are very often learned, cultural phenomena, much more often than people may assume, there is a biological basis for many of these expressions.

          With humans virtually every aspect of us is some combination of nature & nurture, and we make some of our worst mistakes when we assume only one or the other.

          Say, have you ever considered women double-crossing (or “twining”) their legs? It’s something males generally cannot do (because their pelvic geometry doesn’t permit it), and it’s not something most men would be caught dead doing. In may case, I do have female pelvic geometry and can and often do twine my legs and have done so since I was a young child – BUT I now know that my gestation was disrupted through severe endocrine imbalances – my body did not virilize as it as “supposed” to, and so many aspects of my body remained in the default female configuration.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Unfortunately patriarchy is very universal so it’s difficult to know how such behaviours cross cultural boundaries. I remember learning that smiles were a mysteriously cross cultural gesture that completely unconnected societies all recognised. So agree, it’s complex and very interesting. Thanks 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          • Chas says:

            Brettany, I was shocked to hear that you were punished for the way that you crossed your legs. I didn’t even realize that there was a ‘woman’s way’ and a ‘man’s way’ of doing so! In regard to testosterone, I very much agree that it is strongly related to aggression, and not just sexual aggression. Many of the stupid things that young men tend to do are the direct result of its influence. As a senior citizen, I feel glad to be rid of the high levels that tended to influence my behaviour as a younger man.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Most people underestimate how much our sex hormones influence the way we are wired to think, the way we develop and then the way we operate our bodies (both consciously and unconsciously).

          As one who has lived significant parts of my life under the dominance of testosterone, estrogen and NO sex hormones, I can attest that we are not nearly so deterministic as we might imagine ourselves to be.

          (You might enjoy reading a bit about my experience here: https://gracefullytrans.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/the-difference/ )

          Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Spill, thanks for the clarification; you have some good thoughts here. The one ’cause’ for being LGBT is that it is a choice; I don’t think so–especially inmost cases.

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Spill, you might be right but, again, I don’t think being LGBT is just a choice.

          Like

    • wlburnettejr says:

      I have never heard a heterosexual person say that they chose to be heterosexual. To say that you “chose” to be one or the other indicates you could have gone either way, but for but you chose to be hetero. I know I didn’t choose… I can’t imagine that it’s any different for a gay person.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        WLB, neither have I. I like the response some have to those who says being gay is a choice–‘When did you chose to be heterosexual?’

        Liked by 1 person

    • Who would choose to be in member of a marginalized group where at least you are alienated from most of society (often including family and friends), and at worst you are physically attacked and not infrequently killed. Who in places where homosexual relationships are punished by death would *choose* to be gay?

      Even more so, who would choose to be transgender? This is an even more marginal community where family and friends have told us: “couldn’t you at least be gay instead???” where being seen as “gay” is considered the lessor of two catastrophes.

      No, people who are truly gay and/or transgender, do not choose this – the risks are way WAY too great. Remember, most of us simply want to live quiet lives like most everyone else.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Brettany, I really like your comment: ‘Who in places where homosexual relationships are punished by death would *choose* to be gay? Even more so, who would choose to be transgender? This is an even more marginal community.’ The fact is many LGBTs try to change but cannot and some commit suicide. Who would choose to be gay under those circumstances?

        Liked by 1 person

    • I doubt there will ever be a single gene found that switches sexual orientation, rather it seems that a number of genes are involved. There is also a pretty strong case for endocrine disruption in gestation as being an important contributing factor. In milder forms, endocrine disruption may affect sexual orientation, and in moderate forms affect gender identity and in severe forms bring-on obvious intersexuallity.

      We are already aware that a specific genetic issues can alter the way one’s body creates or responds to sex hormones both in gestation and in later development, SUCH THAT there are some XY females (Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) and some XX males (Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia) where neither of these folks are “transgender” or “transsexual” in “it’s just in their heads” sense, instead they are classically intersex (in many cases not even realizing there is a misalignment until a co-morbid medical condition leads to their learning about their unexpected karyotype.) It bears repeating that while a genetic issues triggers the problem, it is actually a HORMONAL issue with TESTOSTERONE that leads to a person’s body masculinity from the default female pattern of development.

      Folks might find this article approachable and thought provoking…
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/2016/09/when-does-she-become-he/

      Liked by 2 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Brettany, thanks for sharing this information. I think the causes of LGBT are more complex that many people think–and I don’t know the answers. However, I do not think one chooses to be LGBT.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. The scientific consensus is that being gay or trans is biologically rooted: it is “baked-in” as we are developing.

    It’s not a case of choosing whether we are straight or gay or trans, it’s a case of how will we live with it, and that is a very VERY personal that is almost always incredibly costly whatever choice is made.

    Numerous studies through the years have confirmed that straight parents don’t make (socialize) gay children, neither do gay parents make (socialize) straight kids, nor do trans parents make (socialize) trans kids. The assumption that LGBT people recruit otherwise straight people is a pernicious myth that has been debunked scientifically. A Google search will turn these up pretty readily.

    None of this is to say that there is not a social component to our identities – as with virtually everything about complex humanity, there is some balance & tension between nature & nurture. But what has been observed is that biology gives us our innate identities which we build upon and express over the course of our lives in whatever context we are placed. THAT is why there is the “closet” – when society makes it *unsafe* to be oneself, the people naturally hide themselves for the sake of self-preservation. The main reason we are seeing more and more LGBT people in recent decades is that it is gradually becoming LESS UNSAFE for use to reveal who we are to others. (Remember, coming-out as LGB, and *especially* transgender, is a life-altering way to put one’s life at risk on many levels, often including the level of actual survival. People don’t “come out” unless it’s absolutely unlivable in the closet. This tension leads to the highest suicide rate of any people group on the planet.)

    Liked by 1 person

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