Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Truly Thought-Provoking Take on Homosexuality

John Derbyshire on on National Review Online

The debate on homosexuality, while not as prominent right now as before the November elections, still boils on, and probably will for a very long time. One of the main arguments--indeed, probably the biggest, right now--concerns the causes of homosexuality. Mr. Derbyshire takes this on, and gives us his understanding of the science. He then summarizes:
My own inclination, therefore, is to believe that most homosexuality is inborn, or acquired early in life, possibly by infection, or by biochemical imbalances in the womb, perhaps helped along by some genetic predisposition...Most homosexuality is, I believe, inborn, or acquired very early in life.

Can this be true? How can we say this behavior is wrong and evil if it is something "inborn"? Why would God give someone tendencies toward something He then turns around and condemns? Maybe homosexuality is just another way of life, one that we are parochial to oppose.
Or maybe not. Many people are born with--or receive early in life--problems to overcome. I'm not just talking about those that are blind, deaf, crippled, etc. What about a man who struggles with a short, violent temper all his life, because that is all he learned from his father? What about a woman who constantly is demeaning to her children, because that's the way her mother was with her? What about the person who finds pleasure in hurting small animals (for whatever reason)? Or (this one is my favorite) the person born with an extreme tendency to alcoholism? Do we just throw up our hands and say, "Oh, well, you can go ahead and do that, because you can't help it?" As Mr. Derbyshire puts it:
I don't think that the fact of a predilection's being inborn should necessarily lead us to a morally neutral view of the acts it prompts. If you could prove to me that pyromania is inborn, I should not feel any better disposed towards arson. On the other hand, I should have a somewhat more sympathetic attitude towards arsonists than I had before.

Exactly. We know, from current modern revelation, that acts of homosexuality are NOT morally neutral. We should not confuse sympathy for the confusion and struggle of the sinner with sympathy and acceptance for the sin. Just as our society condemns the actions of men and women who are abusive (to spouse or children or small animals or themselves), it is NOT morally wrong or "mean" or intolerant to condemn the actions of the practicing homosexual.
But what about God? How could a loving God give someone a challenge such as this? (Let's leave aside the question as to whether it is something God gave to the person, or if it is something that God merely allowed to happen.) All of us are born into the natural state, with natural appetites and passions and troubles. The mortal body is the natural man, and, as King Benjamin puts it, "The natural man is the enemy of God..." (Mosiah 3:19). We have all been called to put off the natural man, and "yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit...and [become] a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord".
I truly believe this is possible. It may that the struggle to fight these feelings will, for some, last their entire lives. Perhaps some will never reach the point in this life where they can be in a heterosexual relationship, and perhaps others' paths will be marred with giving in to temptation and then struggling to return. But as surely as I believe 1 Cor. 10:13
"God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able...that ye may be able to bear it"
and 1 Nephi 3:7
"For I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them"
I know that there is always a way to live righteously.


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  • Keryn, it seems to me the reason LDS leaders portray homosexuality as a chosen rather than an inborn predisposition is precisely because that makes it easier to condemn it morally. The fact that that position (that it's chosen, not inborn) conflicts with what most researchers are coming up with is of little concern to Mormons, but that's hardly a surprise.

    As you point out, recognizing that it is largely inborn doesn't equate to homosexuality or any other activity being morally neutral. But it would move people, even leaders, to start mixing some understanding, even compassion, in with their moral condemnation.

    By Blogger Dave, at 2/19/2005 8:37 AM  

  • "....it seems to me the reason LDS leaders portray homosexuality as a chosen rather than an inborn predisposition is precisely because that makes it easier to condemn it morally...."
    I must say that is one of the most slippery reasons for LDS leaders "condemning" homosexuality I've ever read? Please go back to WHO is speaking via scripture....or doesn't God's take on the subject merit any serious role in the discussion of WHY it is condemned?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/02/2005 12:22 PM  

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