Archive for the ‘Social Concerns’ Category

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With a major ruling passed in the capital recently regarding gay marriage there has been a significant exchange of opinions online, especially on social networking sites. One post in particular I noticed was of a billboard stating that the Bible affirmed gays and lesbians. On further investigation I found a number of additional similar billboards making the same claims.

The intent of the billboards is obvious when one considers the intense gay marriage debate that has raged on for years now. It is conservative Christians that seem to be the most vocal in opposing gay marriage, so if one can prove that Jesus affirmed gay couples, or admitted that some are born gay then clearly the conservative Christians would no longer have grounds to oppose gay marriage.

Now my aim in this article is not to open the gay marriage can of worms. My intent is to investigate the claim that the Bible affirms gay couples. Are the claims on these billboards true? Does the Bible affirm the homosexual lifestyle? Here is what I found in my research.

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So what does the Bible actually say:

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.’

Jesus said to him, ‘Shall I come and heal him?’

The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.’ And his servant was healed at that moment.”  Matthew 8:5-13 (NIV)

At face value it seems rather devoid of anything that would allude to the centurion and his servant being a gay couple. In fact, the story seems very simple in that the centurion has a servant that is dying that he wishes for Jesus to heal. So how can anyone think the centurion was gay?

According to the creator of the billboard, the Greek word used for servant is “pias,” which in Greek refers to a same-sex partner (1). But then of course they explain later that pais has multiple meanings ranging from “boy” to “servant” to “male concubine.” So then question naturally follows, why are they assuming pais is being used to reference a male concubine, and not just a male servant as all Bible translations present it as? They argue that the parallel story in Luke uses the word “entimos doulos” to describe the pais. Entimos meaning “honored.” This is where they make a jump to pais being a male concubine, because a servant wouldn’t be considered honorable. Yet “doulos” is defined as “slave” or “servant.” The translation is simply put, an “honorable servant.”

Additionally, when the centurion mentions the way in which he commands his servants, he refers to them as doulos yet he doesn’t use the same word to refer to his pais. It is then speculated that he didn’t use the same word because his pais was his male lover not a servant. But this overlooks something important: The Luke 7 version of the story refers to the pais as “entimos doulos” as previously used in the earlier argument. This reinforces the notion the pais used in the Matthew narrative is referring to a servant as well.

They then go on to claim that because the centurion traveled so far to see Jesus in seeking healing for the pais, it must be due to the centurion’s unending love for this pais. Could it just possibly be that the centurion is just compassionate and cares for one of his servants? After all, the words used to describe the sick person is entimos doulos, an honorable servant. If the centurion were to make an effort to help one of his servants it would surely be for an honorable one.

As Gill’s Exposition says, “The concern of the ‘centurion’ for him, shows him to have been a good servant, faithful and obedient to his master; since he was so much affected with his case, and took so much care of him; and Luke says, he ‘was dear unto him’; in great esteem, highly valued, and much beloved: and also, that the centurion was a good master; he does not put his sick servant from him, but takes care of him at home, and seeks out for relief for him, being greatly desirous of his life. And as his keeping him at home discovered a tender regard to him; so his not bringing him forth, or ordering him to be brought out to Christ, which was sometimes done in such cases, shows his great faith in Christ, that he was as able to cure him lying at home, as if brought before him; absent, as well as present,” (2).

Now, of course, maybe the centurion’s pais was a male concubine, but one would need contextual evidence within the story to leap to that particular translation over the honorable servant translation. Yet, there is no logical reason to jump to the male concubine translation within the context of the story. It is therefore no surprise when all of the Bible translations list the pais as a “servant” or “young man,” and not a male concubine (2).

A final point to make is this: Jesus never denied healing or service to sinners. Just as He helped the woman about to be stoned for adultery.  Jesus’ service to sinners in no way means He condones their sin. Likewise, under the hypothetical situation in which the centurion’s servant was a male lover, Jesus’ healing works in no way affirms their lifestyle, it only shows Jesus’ compassion for sinners. With all things considered, it is an incredible stretch on scripture to declare that Jesus affirmed a gay couple.

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Acts 8:26-40 says;

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.

In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. Then they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. (NIV)

So I am sure, just as with the previous Bible passage quoted, you’re wondering where the gay man is in this passage. According to www.gaychristian101.com it is the eunuch that is gay. The argument is this: Jesus accepted eunuchs that did want to marry (Matthew 19:12), then they quote Clement of Alexandria who said, “a true Eunuch is not one who is unable, but one who is unwilling to, to indulge in pleasure,” and “Some men, from their birth, have a natural sense of repulsion from a woman.” Ergo, Eunuch equals gay?

Another website, http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org, thankfully goes into more detail into their argument. They argue that eunuchs are defined as men with no interest in women falling into two categories: “Man-made” eunuchs who had been castrated, and “natural” or “born” eunuchs that, from birth, were incapable or disinterested in women. They then go onto say that eunuchs in the Kama Sutra are said to have seduced men and that Alexander the Great fell in love with a eunuch, as proof that eunuchs are historically gay men.

Ok, so there were gay eunuchs all throughout history. But Clement of Alexandria didn’t write Acts, so his definition of a true eunuch doesn’t apply to this portion of scripture (nor any portion of the Bible) since he was not the author. Likewise, the Kama Sutra and Alexander the Great came come completely different cultures than that from which the Bible originated. So how do we know the Ethiopian eunuch in this passage was gay?

The first argument is this: The Eunuch was reading from Isaiah 53:7-8 which talks of the suffering of God’s anointed one. Verse 7 saying that He was “despised and rejected by others,” verse 8 saying that He was “oppressed and afflicted.” The author goes on to claim that these verses apply to the eunuch being treated in similar fashion, as eunuchs were typically mistreated in the Jewish culture, which is a stretch, because it very well could just be that… oh I don’t know… God wants the eunuch to know about Jesus. But given the benefit of the doubt, if we assume the Isaiah 53:7-8 is supposed to parallel the eunuchs circumstances we still haven’t arrived to the conclusion that the eunuch is gay. Only that he is a eunuch that is being mistreated, which came with the territory of being a eunuch.

The second argument is this: Eunuchs were not welcome into the assembly of the Lord per Jewish law (Deut 23:1). So when the Eunuch asks what is preventing him from being baptized, and Philip just says all you need to do is believe, and doesn’t mention Deut 23:1, the author makes the enormous jump to the conclusion that (assuming that the eunuch is gay) it doesn’t matter that the eunuch is gay. Because if being gay did matter Philip would have said something, but he did not, so being homosexual must have been accepted in the early church.

I have three problems with this conclusion: 1) There is still no conclusive evidence that the eunuch is gay. The arguments provided only work if one makes the gay assumption to begin with and is thus circumstantial. Without this major factor established the subsequent arguments about what Philip said to the Eunuch are null and void. 2) It would be illogical to assume that every word spoken between the eunuch and Philip was recorded and is in Acts. It would be illogical to assume that with any other conversations recorded in the Bible. In other words, Philip may have said more but it was not recorded. Granted this does not help either side in the discussion, but it should always be considered. In other words, never use the Bible’s silence on a particular subject to support your agenda. 3) My final point requires a hypothetical situation: Lets replace the eunuch with, let’s say… a horse thief. Philip meets this guy who notoriously steals horses. They get to talking about God and reading some scripture when the horse thief asks, “what can I do to be baptized?” Do you think Philip’s answer would be any different than what he said to the eunuch? He’d probably say the same very thing: “Just believe.” Yet, this in no way makes the horse thief’s lifestyle of stealing horses acceptable does it? Why of course not.

After all, if someone has to call out your sins and make you promise to stop doing them before they baptize you (which isn’t Biblical) they would have quite a long list wouldn’t they? Christianity is an inside out change in one’s life, not outside-in. You don’t promise to stop doing your sins and then ask for permission to be baptized. You place your trust and faith in Jesus, believing in His redemption and then become baptized, dying to your old sinful ways and living a newly reformed life in Christ. This newly reformed life in Christ being devoid of your old sinful ways. I think any Bible reading Christian would agree with me that the first step in anyone’s redemption is to first believe in Jesus, which is what exactly what Philip communicated to the Eunuch. Ultimately the arguments made for Acts supporting early church’s acceptance are very poor and inconclusive.

On a side note: It should be noted that, the billboard’s claim of a church welcoming a gay man is not a issue of contention. All church’s should welcome all individuals, since all are sinners.

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Matthew 19:10-12 says; “The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it,” (NIV).

Nothing is said here that can’t be solved by the previous argument from Acts. Being a Eunuch does not equal being gay. Jesus even mentions eunuchs in the plural form, and if we all agree that not all eunuchs were gay, we therefore can’t conclude Jesus was directly mentioning homosexuals, even if he is referring to those born a eunuch. Since there is no conclusive evidence presented (all provided is circumstantial) that Jesus is referring to homosexuals, one should not make an absolute claim that Jesus said some are born gay.

Outside of the Bible, there is a strong case against the general claim that people are born gay. Though many genes have been linked to homosexuality, the genes require environmental triggers, leaving a scenario in which genetic and environmental factors are required. So people may be predisposed to genetic factors, but these factors need to be triggered in order to be expressed. Likewise, most of us are born with genes that lead to cancer, which unless triggered, may never be expressed. In this scenario, when a parson does get cancer, would you tell them, “it’s OK, you were born that way,” ?

Other arguments against the born gay theory: Homosexuality is a sexual preference/orientation. Sexual preferences are not determined by anyone until later on in life, years after birth. Simply put, no doctor or scientist will ever be able to state with 100% certainty that a child is, at time of birth, a future homosexual, because that child will not determine its sexual preferences until much later on in development. Again, it is then fallacious to say an individual is born gay.

Another case to be made is that a significant portion of the gay/lesbian population claim their lifestyle is a choice, and to suggest otherwise, that they have no control over it because they were born gay, is highly offensive. We typically use the phrase “You were born that way,” to justify behaviors we generally do not wish to take credit for. Thus, many in the LGBT community see the phrase “born that way” as an offensive sympathetic justification for a wrong. As in, you’re gay, something is wrong with you, but it’s OK, because you were born that way, sorry.

Lastly, being born with anything doesn’t make it “good.” Being born with certain traits does not make them permissible either. We wouldn’t say that since a child was born with autism that makes autism OK would we? If we somehow had proven that pedophilia was 100% genetic and people were born that way, that wouldn’t make pedophilia OK would it? So being born a certain way does not mean we must accept it as “good.” The Bible declares we live in a cursed and fallen world, which is why children are born with birth defects every day. So even if it could be proven with 100% certainty that people are born gay, what does it really prove?

Yet, there is still one last argument to make against this claim. According to Gill’s Exposition, the Eunuchs born as natural, are in reference to being born with physical defects, “ Our Lord here distinguishes the various sorts of persons, that can and do live in a single state with content: some by nature, and others by violence offered to them, are rendered incapable of entering into a marriage state; and others, through the gift of God, and under the influence of his grace, abstain from marriage cheerfully and contentedly, in order to be more useful in the interest of religion; but the number of either of these is but few, in comparison of such who choose a conjugal state, and with whom it is right to enter into it, notwithstanding all the difficulties that may attend it. Some men are eunuchs, and of these there are different sorts; there are some, which were so born from their mother’s womb; meaning, not such who, through a natural temper and inclination of mind, could easily abstain from marriage, and chose to live single; but such who had such defects in nature that they were impotent, unfit for, and unable to perform the duties of a marriage state; who, as some are born without hands or feet, these were born without proper and perfect organs of generation; and such an one was, by the Jews, frequently called, , “an eunuch of the sun (n)”: that is, as their doctors (o) explain it, one that from his mother’s womb never saw the sun but as an eunuch; that is, one that is born so; and that such an one is here intended, ought not to be doubted. The signs of such an eunuch, are given by the Jewish (p) writers, which may be consulted by those, that have ability and leisure,” (3)

In conclusion, there is no sufficient evidence mentioned in scripture that Jesus was speaking of men born gay, rather than men born with physical defects. Additionally, outside of the Bible and concerning matters of science, there is no sufficient evidence that homosexuality is purely genetic with no environmental causes, which is what would be required for a man to be considered born gay.

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Ruth 1:14 says, “At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her,” (NIV).

This is actually the first verse that appears to have some legitimacy as an account of same sex affection.  The book of Ruth speaks of Naomi and her husband Elimelech that move to Moab with their two sons. Elimelech dies, but the two sons marry local women, Ruth and Orpah. But right before the sons marry, both sons die, leaving Naomi, Ruth and Orpah to fend for themselves. Naomi tells her daughter in-laws to return to their homes since she cannot support them, this where Orpah merely kisses Naomi good-bye, but Ruth clings to her. The Hebrew word used for clung is “dabaq.” Interestingly enough, this is the same word used in Genesis 2:24 when God declares that man is supposed to leave his mother and father and cling to his wife. It would seem to suggest, at least initially, that Ruth’s affection towards Naomi was of similar significance to that of any man’s inclination towards his wife. Thus, Ruth and Naomi were lesbian lovers.

The first counter argument to this claim is that a lesbian couple requires both women to be lesbians. And though one may argue that Ruth is strongly attracted and in love with Naomi, there is no indication that Naomi feels similarly. After all, Naomi was commanding Ruth to leave her along with her sister. In fact, nothing in the book of Ruth would even hint that Naomi felt consensual other than letting Ruth live with her. But that would be a stretch, so we could only assert, at best, that Ruth was a lesbian, not Naomi.

A second point to make is that when one considers other usages of dabaq in the Bible.  Psalm 63:8 says, “I cling to you, your right hand upholds me,” (NIV). Psalm 119:31 says, “I hold fast to your statues Lord, do not let me be put to shame,” (NIV). Joshua 23:8 says, “Hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now,” (NIV). Proverbs 18:24 says, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother,” (NIV). So we see that there is nothing purely sexual in nature to dabaq, it only testifies to a deep commitment or oath of loyalty. This commitment or loyalty is something  that two members of the same sex can have towards one another without being considered gay or lesbian. This deep commitment or oath of loyality applies to all usages in Genesis, Joshua, Proverbs, Psalms and Ruth. However, the same cannot be said for the intimate sexual partnership definition which doesn’t apply to Joshua, Proverbs, or Psalms. Rabbi Dr. Meir Levin writes of dabaq’s usage , “So Orpah has left but Ruth cleaved to Naomi. This description of their relationship is pregnant with meaning for the word “clinging’ is usually used in Tanach to indicate an intense commitment of one individual to another or of man to God,” (Levin).

Trevor Dennis of the Guardian, a believer of Ruth and Naomi’s lesbian relationship, writes, “The book of Ruth is the great love story of the Bible and it is a story of love between women – Ruth’s marriage to Boaz is entered into only to protect the relationship between the women and ensure their survival,” (Dennis). Wait! Who is Boaz? Oh yes, starting in Ruth 2, we read of a landowner named Boaz who takes a liking to Ruth. And in chapter 4 we read of Boaz’s marriage to Ruth, in which they make love and conceive a child. Something of which all the women rejoice over. This should lead one to question Ruth’s homosexuality, for her marriage to Boaz, which Naomi seems to set up, support and rejoice over, casts serious doubts on that assertion. Dennis claims the marriage is to ensure their survival, which is a valid argument to make. But this argument would be equally valid if Naomi and Ruth were both heterosexual. The additional claim that the marriage protected their relationship is only valid if one assumes their relationship was a lesbian one. So her marriage to Boaz can only lead one to question the homosexual assertion placed against Ruth and Naomi, not support it.

Now one might argue, that lesbians can have a deep commitment to each other, and just because there is no sexual connotation doesn’t make them any less lesbian. Well, actually it does. Homosexuality is defined as a sexual preference or orientation. Removing sexual attraction and preference out of the equation removes all the weight of the lesbian charge brought against Ruth and Naomi. Therefore, since there is no sexual connotation used in dabaq, and Ruth married man, we have no sufficient evidence that Ruth and Naomi were lesbians. The only way one can maintain such a theory is if one applies the unwarranted assertion of a lesbian relationship, when in fact, a neutral analysis of the text in no way leads to any such notion.

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2 Samuel 1:26 says, “I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women,” (NIV). Furthermore, 1 Samuel 20:41 says, “After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most,” (NIV).

Compared to other passages in the Bible that supposedly affirm gay people, none is used more frequently utilized then David’s relationship with Jonathan.  And rightfully so. David and Jonanthan seem to have a gay relationship.   The quote from 2nd Samuel is David writing a peom to the deceased Jonathan who was killed in battle. In the 1st Samuel quote, the word used at the end is directly translated in the Hebrew to “enlarged,” according to Ben Kamin, a writer for the Examiner, (Kamin). Which would mean David and Jonathan kissed and wept together until David “enlarged,” or became erect. Theologian Theodore W Jennings Jr writes that their relationship was, “no platonic friendship, but with all the elements of passionate romance,” (Dennis).

It seems impossible to argue! Jonathan loved David more than any woman had? Let us examine this more carefully. The word used for “love” is “ahaba,” which can mean the love between man and woman, man and man, man towards himself, sexual desire, or God’s love to His people, (7). Ahaba is used numerously all throughout the Old Testament in various ways which is why it is defined in so many ways. So the question we must then ask is, in what context is ahaba being used? That the ahaba surpasses that of a woman does not immediately declare the love is sexual. After all, I can say that Christ loves me more wonderfully than any woman. Does that mean I am gay, or that Jesus is gay? Not at all. Because love (ahaba) does not necessitate sexual attraction in every instance it is used.

Gill’s Exposition says, “thy love to me was wonderful; as indeed he might well say, being towards one of a mean extract in comparison of his, to one who was not his own brother, but a brother-in-law; and to one that was a rival to the crown he was heir to, and would take it before him: and who ran the risk of losing his father’s affection, and even his life, for espousing his cause… passing the love of women; either that which they are loved with by men, or that with which they love their husbands and children; which is generally the strongest and most affectionate. The Targum is,’more than the love of two women,’ than his two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail; so Kimchi; meaning that he was more strongly and affectionately loved by Jonathan than by them, who yet might love him very well too,” (4). John Wesley concurs that the love mentioned of women is that of their love for their husbands and/or children (8).

In regards to the 1 Samuel verse, the original word used for exceed/enlarged is “ad higdil” which means “to magnify” of which the root word is, “gadal,” (6). Gadal is translated as follows: To be large in body, mind, soul, estate, honor, and or pride, (6). Another source translates it: to grow, become great or important, promote, make powerful, praise, magnify, do great things. So now that we know what ad higdil means, we can see that exceed/enlarge is an appropriate English word. But now we must consider context. And in context of the story between Jonathan and David: The two are departing and leaving one another, hence the weeping and kissing of goodbye. The situation is one of sorrow. So would we expect this to be a situation in which David becomes enlarged or erect? Such a translation seems out of place. However, in context where both are crying, scholars translate the “ad higdil” as David crying more than Jonathan, or to a greater degree. Such a translation fits the context much more seamlessly than an erect penis.

Now, one might immediately point out all the kissing. Two men kissing? They must be gay, right? Wrong! Again, when we consider context, in this case of time and place, kissing among the same sex was just as common as a hand shake, and in many middle eastern cultures, still is to this day. Kissing as a form of greeting of goodbye can also be read of in Acts 20:37, Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26, and 1 Peter 5:14. Let’s think about it, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, does that mean Judas and Jesus were having a love affair? Hardly! Kissing was a common greeting and goodbye among close friends, not evidence of sexual attraction.

In summary, Gill’s Exposition reads, “and they kissed one another; as friends about to part: and wept one with another: as not knowing whether they should ever see each other’s face any more: until David exceeded; in weeping more than Jonathan; he having more to part with, not only him his dear friend, but his wife and family, and other dear friends and people of God, and especially the sanctuary and service of God, which of all things lay nearest his heart, and most distressed him,” (5)

Additionally, 1 Samuel 20:42, the very next verse reads, “Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, “The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.”’ Then David left, and Jonathan went back to the town,” (NIV).One might question, if David and Jonathan were both gay, what descendants would they be having? They would have no descendants to speak of. Unless they maintained sexual relations with women as well, in which case they’d be bisexual, not homosexual.

I think it again becomes apparent that only if homosexuality is assumed prior to analyzing the text can one come to the conclusion that David in Jonathan were gay. Dennis admits to this when he writes, “If we see Jonathan and David as two men passionately in love with one another – Jonathan from the first, and David once he has transferred his affections and loyalty from his wife, Michal, to Jonathan – then many details in the text, including the precise Hebrew terms it uses, which are drawn from erotic love poetry such as the Song of Songs, fall into place,” (Dennis). That is, the gay love theory will “fall into place,” “If we see Jonathan and David as two men passionately in love with another.” Thus, the only way to maintain David and Jonathan were gay is if one makes the prior assumption they were.

To close, I believe there is another very important topic to consider: Even if Characters in the Bible are gay we can’t assume their actions are acceptable by God. After all, all characters in the Bible (excluding Jesus) were fallible and made grave mistakes. There seems to be this odd notion among some people that if a character in the Bible commits to an action, the Bible condones it. This is hardly the case though, as Christians are only to follow the teachings of Christ and the commands of God found in the Bible. We are certainly not follow after every action Biblical figures have taken. If that were the case then we should be following the actions of Judas or the Pharisees…

Finally, all the verses mentioned on these billboards can hardly be substantiated as evidence that the Bible supports the gay lifestyle. The arguments used to support the gay assumption are foggy, relying on a variety of speculations outside of scriptural context. Yet, there are a number of verses within the Bible that aren’t so vague on the subject of homosexuality. Take for example, Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination,” (ESV). Or Romans 1:26-27, “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error,” (NIV). Or 1 Corinthians 6:9, “…do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality…” (ESV). There is plenty more, but I think the point is very apparent that homosexuality is not approved of in the Bible.

During this time in our country where big decisions are being made at a state and federal level approving same sex marriage, there are numerous arguments that go back and forth over the subject. There are valid arguments to be made for, and there are valid arguments to be made against. But what certainly isn’t valid, is pushing the fallacious idea that the Bible supports homosexuality, when there is abundant evidence to the opposite, and the so-called evidence used to support this false idea is ambiguous at best.

References:

1)    http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/biblical_evidence/gay_couple.html

2)    http://biblehub.com/matthew/8-6.htm

3)    http://biblehub.com/matthew/19-12.htm

4)    http://biblehub.com/2_samuel/1-26.htm

5)    http://biblehub.com/1_samuel/20-41.htm

6)    http://www.qbible.com/hebrew-old-testament/1-samuel/20.html

7)    http://lexiconcordance.com/hebrew/0160.html

8)    http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=wes&b=10&c=1

Dennis, T. (Oct 13, 2006) “Face to faith,”  www.gaurdian.co.uk

Kamin, B., (Feb 5, 2009) “Sorry, right wingers, but King David was gay,” http://www.examiner.com

Levin, M., “The Two Mothers,” http://www.torah.org

Drinking alcohol is generally frowned upon by Christians traditionally. But newer converts and younger converts seem to be more liberal on the issue. I, myself, was always on the fence towards this subject. I like to drink socially every now and then (responsibly of course), but always felt like I was doing something wrong, or not being a good Christian role model to others. The problem I had was identifying where this feeling I got came from. Was it from what I read in the Bible or did I get this guilt trip from expected traditional Christian behavior? As any Christian might find, sometimes we tend to adhere more to the traditions of a classic American Christian image instead of reading what is actually in the Bible to model ourselves off of.

 

The first distinction we need to make is between alcohol and being drunk. We often put these two into synonymous realms, but they are quite different. Alcohol is a beverage. Being drunk is the result of having too much of that beverage. With this distinction made it is now appropriate to look at what the Bible says about these subjects.

 

Alcohol:

 

Deuteronomy 14:26 says, “Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice.” (NIV) Here we see the wine and fermented drink written of as something to purchase and consume in the presence of the Lord and rejoice over.

 

Leviticus 10:9 writes that priests may not have been drinking when entering the tabernacle, “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations,” (NKJV) This verse has a more negative view on drinking, but in context only applies to priests entering the holy tabernacle. The reasoning being that only the pure and cleansed may enter the tabernacle, and if you have had alcohol you were not pure enough to be in the presence of God.

 

Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart;” (NKJV) This is undoubtedly an “alcohol is good” passage.

 

Proverbs 31:6, “Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish!” (NIV) This verse is tricky. Some believe this verse is referencing the use of alcohol to treat those that are sick. This makes sense because in Biblical times alcohol was recognized as a pain reliever and anesthetic.[1] But others believe, and this is more in line with many Biblical scholars, that this verse is more in context with drinking for those who are impoverished or suffering, as a form of relief. Indeed, if you read this verse in context (verses 4-7) the latter seems to be more appropriate.

 

Psalm 104:14-15 says, “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the service of man, That he may bring forth food from the earth, And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, And bread which strengthens man’s heart.” (NKJV) This seems to suggest that wine is a gift from God that is good for man.

Isaiah 25:6 declares, “On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.” (NIV) Here we see alcohol as a form of luxury.

 

Isaiah 55:1 says, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (NIV)  Isaiah 62:9 says, “…but those who harvest it will eat it and praise the Lord, and those who gather the grapes will drink it in the courts of my sanctuary.” (NIV)  Amos 9:14 says, “…and I will bring my people Israel back from exile. They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.” (NIV) All these verses relate to wine possession as prosperity and a blessing.

Jesus drank alcohol; Luke 22:18, “For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Or Matthew 26:27-29, “Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’” (NIV)

Religious scholar J. Stephen Lang writes, “The Bible definitely does not prohibit drinking alcohol… Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine suggests that He did not disapprove of drinking it.”[2]

 

But before we all go out and buy a six pack and start getting crazy there are some very important historical factors to take into consideration here. There wasn’t modern sanitation in Biblical times. The water available for drinking was often filled with bacteria, heavy metals, viruses and other contaminants. However, through the process of making wine, many of these contaminations are removed. This made the drinking of wine and other fermented beverages a healthier option.[3] Many believe this comes into play in 1 Timothy 5:23 when Paul instructs Timothy to stop drinking water and instead drink some wine for his constant illnesses. It is possible that Timothy was getting sick from the water.

 

This brings up another vital point though. If wine was consumed as a safer alternative in the past, and now today we have access to safe drinking water (in first world countries that is), should we still be drinking wine, or any alcohol for that matter? With the variety of safe beverages we have, what are the reasons we have for drinking alcohol? Is it just to get drunk? But before we answer that, there are some more things to consider and weigh in.

 

We additionally need to define what exactly wine was in Biblical times. It would be inaccurate to say it was just grape juice. But it would likewise be inaccurate to say it is the same wine we drink today. Wine was not fermented to the same degree it is today.[4] The wine drank by Jesus and others in Biblical times did not have as strong of alcohol content. But, it was still alcohol. So if it took two to three glasses of ancient wine to account for one glass of wine today, that still doesn’t change the fact that they were consuming alcohol. So clearly alcohol can’t be generalized as being bad and sinful by itself. There are clearly some other factors involved, and now is when we turn through the pages in the Bible in search of drunkards!

 

 

Drunkenness:

 

Genesis 9:20-21 speaks of Noah becoming drunk enough at one point that he passes out naked. Some shenanigans with his sons occur afterwards when one of them accidentally sees him on the ground naked that leads to Noah being very upset about the whole thing. Later in Genesis, Lot’s daughters get him drunk, seduce him and bear his children. Biblical scholars in general disagree on the meaning of both these stories outside of just stating the facts of what really went down, but they do agree that there is some semblance of negative connotation attributed with the stories and not praise. I use them here to simply point out the weird and odd things that happen when you drink too much. Which anyone reading this, that has at least at one point drank too much, is all too well aware of I’m sure.

 

Proverbs 41:4-5 says, “It is not for kings, Lemuel— it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.” (NIV) Here we see drinking being bad for Kings if they drink to the point of forgetting important things. Loss of memory would definitely be associated with being drunk.

Isaiah 28:1-3, 7 says, “Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley — to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine! See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground. That wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards, will be trampled underfoot. [Verse 7] And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions.” (NIV) Here we see God’s wrath on a people that are heavily drinking.

Isaiah 56:11-12 says, “Yes, they are greedy dogs Which never have enough. And they are shepherds Who cannot understand; They all look to their own way, Every one for his own gain, From his own territory. ‘Come,’ one says, ‘I will bring wine, And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; Tomorrow will be as today, And much more abundant.’” (NKJV) Here we see drinking in the context of greedy dogs that can never have enough, which seems to suggest excessive drinking.

Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,” (NIV) Leave it up to the New Testament to give a more straight forward answer. It is pretty clear that this verse condemns getting drunk.

 

So at this point we can make two conclusions: First, the Bible does not condemn the consumption of alcohol. Second, the Bible DOES condemn getting drunk off that alcohol. But we cannot stop here. As much as this may seem like the case is closed, there are definitely some more variables at hand. Addiction? Witnessing? Abstinence? How do we even gauge what being drunk is? Isn’t that a relative standard that varies from person to person? As you can see, the case is far from closed.

 

 

Addiction:

Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” (NKJV) Proverbs 23:39-35 says, “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. ‘They hit me,’ you will say, ‘but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?’” (NIV) These verses in proverbs paint the picture of someone who is led astray by wine, consumed by it, tempted by it, addicted to it. And what do people do who are addicted to alcohol? They mock, fight, have woe, have sorrow, have strife, complain, have blood shot eyes, and can’t feel pain when they’re beat. The message here is very clear; addiction to alcohol is destructive.

Isaiah 5:11 says, “Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.” (NIV) Again, here we have the behavior of someone addicted to alcohol presented as being bad.

Titus 2:3 says, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.” (NIV) Titus speaks of teaching what is good by teaching older women to not be addicted to wine. Clearly being addicted to wine is bad.

 

Though 1 Corinthians 6:12 is in context speaking of sexual immorality, it can also apply to alcohol addiction in my opinion, “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything.” Or 2 peter 2:19, “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for ‘people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.’”

 

The conclusion here is that alcohol should not consume you and be your master. You should not be addicted to it. If you are, than the alcohol is your master and not the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Discipleship and Witnessing:

The next problem to consider is whether drinking aids or hurts the Christian’s ability to witness and be a good role model for Jesus. Common rational in the church is that if the unconverted see you drinking they will accuse you of hypocrisy, which will damage any attempt you have at witnessing to them. But this rational is based on the false assumption that the Bible condemns drinking. When in truth, the Bible condemns being drunk, but does not condemn drinking.

A new rational that is emerging in newer and younger converts is that not drinking may actually harm your ability to witness. That refusing to drink will perpetuate the misconception that Christianity is just a long list of do’s and don’ts. Again, this is based on the false assumption that the Bible condemns drinking. So the real issue at hand is that drinking or refusing to drink may hurt your witness if people (both the converted and unconverted) don’t know what the Bible actually has to say about the subject.

The real solution to this problem is proper knowledge of the Bible and bold ability to properly address the issue to others. Jesus drank wine, and he even hung out with the drunkards. When people called Him a hypocrite for claiming to be holy yet hanging with unholy people, Jesus said did not back peddle or retreat. He boldly declared, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:29-32, NIV). Jesus, as always, provided an excellent example in helping sinners, while maintaining the integrity to not sin Himself. So if you’re drinking in public and not getting drunk, no one can accurately call you a hypocrite. And if they do, respectfully educate them on what the Bible actually says.

But what about becoming a stumbling block to others? As mentioned in Matthew 18:6-9 and 1 Corinthians 8:9-13, Christians are not supposed to indulge in activities that may be a stumbling block to others. In other words, if you’re hanging out with a recovering alcoholic, you probably shouldn’t be drinking in front of them as it may lead them back into their drinking problem. Now many argue with analogy that if someone has a credit card problem, does that mean you can’t make credit card purchases in front of them? If someone is over weight from eating too much, does that mean you can’t eat in front of them? The distinction made is that if someone has a problem with irresponsible usage of an item does that mean you cannot use that same item in a responsible manner? If anything, your responsible behavior may actually help show that person the healthier way to manage that particular item. Regardless, the verses mentioned earlier seems to suggest it is best to not even risk being a stumbling block. After all, the only thing at risk with ourselves is not being able to enjoy certain indulgences. Sounds like a small sacrifice… But now we must ask, should we just take the safe route and avoid any possible chance of becoming a stumbling block by never drinking in public? Should we just take the safe route and take a vow of abstinence?

 

 

Abstinence (from alcohol):

 

Even though the Bible green lights drinking responsibly, some Christians do have a good reason for not drinking. Maybe they just don’t like the taste. Maybe they’re under age. Maybe they’re recovering alcoholics, maybe they were raised by alcoholic parents, or maybe they’re in a country where the culture prohibits the consumption of alcohol. Maybe you’re pregnant. In Judges 13:4, an angel commands Samson’s mother not to drink because she is pregnant. But if you do enjoy having a drink from time to time (responsibly of course), should you stop?

 

Biblically, the only people mentioned that had to completely abstain from alcohol where the Nazirites, a small group in Israel.[5]  Numbers 6:1-15 speaks of the rituals of the Nazarite, who made a special dedication to the Lord by doing many things like not cutting their hair, not touching dead bodies, and not drinking. They were to be pure at all times. This was not a command for all Israelites to do, but a command for those who chose to make the vow.

 

Back to the core issue at hand: It doesn’t hurt to not drink. If you think it may hurt your witness, take that opportunity to explain to others around you why you’re not drinking. If you’re a Christian, and you’re not drinking because of alcoholism in your family and not your religious convictions, explain this to your friends or family if you think it may be a problem.

 

However, to never drink because it may lead to alcoholism or irresponsible behavior, is in my opinion, a poor argument. People become slaves to making money, does that mean we should never use money? People who eat too many sweets may become diabetic or over weight, does that mean we should never eat sweets? People become addicted to the internet or use it to look at porn, does that mean we should stay away from the internet? As mentioned before we need to distinguish between what is in itself a sin, and what is only a sin when used irresponsibly or in great excess. Since the Bible does not declare alcohol a sin, but does declare the over excessive consumption of it a sin, then alcohol is clearly only a problem when consumed irresponsibly. Therefore there is no command to abstain from it if you do not wish to.

 

In my opinion, it can’t hurt you as a Christian to not drink. But if you do drink, be aware of the environment you’re drinking in. Be responsible. Communicate with those around you to make sure you are not a stumbling block. Be respectful and ask if they don’t mind you drinking. Defend yourself and your faith if you’re accused of hypocrisy. Know what your limit is. And with all this considered, I only have one last thing to say; CHEERS!


[1] Lang, J.S. (1999) 1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible but Never Thought to Ask, 2010 Ed., Barnes & Noble, Inc., New York: NY, pp. 119

[2] Lang, J.S. (1999) 1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible but Never Thought to Ask, 2010 Ed., Barnes & Noble, Inc., New York: NY, pp. 119

[5] Lang, J.S. (1999) 1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible but Never Thought to Ask, 2010 Ed., Barnes & Noble, Inc., New York: NY, pp. 119

 “Race is the witchcraft of our time… It is a contemporary myth. Man’s most dangerous myth.” – Montague Francis Ashley-Montague, Anthropologist.[1]

 

Identifying people as being part of a particular “race” has been instilled in me ever since I was a child. Reinforced by the notion that evolutionary science confirmed that we all come from varying races of humans (varying evolved versions of man), I grew up with very unhealthy views of the multitude of cultures and different people I encountered everyday in Los Angeles. My teachers would educate us about the “races” but then teach us toleration of differences and peace. Though I was far from being a “racist” in the traditional sense, I possessed what is debatably an unhealthy habit in that I had preconceived opinions about people based on their race. Social studies have revealed that when we identify someone as a particular race we immediately link that person with our preconceived notions of that race.[2] Regardless of whether those notions are positive or negative, they are still preconceived and unfounded in that individual initially. This is something, that if we were all honest with ourselves, we do to a certain degree everyday. Whether these thought processes are natural, healthy, right or wrong becomes a very debatable sociological issue.

 

Later in my life when I started reading the Bible, and eventually became a Christian, I was presented with a different viewpoint on races. The Bible makes it clear that we are all one, part of the same family.

 

“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings…” Acts17:26NKJV.

 

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” Galatians 3:28 NKJV.

 

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all,” Colossians3:11NIV.

 

These verses coincide with the first book of Genesis in which all of mankind is an offspring of Adam and Eve. This became a problem for me immediately because it corrupted the whole notion of there being races. Now some might try to reconcile a Biblical Adam and Eve with the traditional view of races, as I tried, but I concluded it cannot be done. A study of history, science, and sociology reveals that this issue is leaning towards one side more and more as time progresses. And it is leaning towards the Biblical model of there being no real races at all.

 

A Brief History of Racism

 

Discrimination has always been around. It can be argued that ever since man has been around there has been some form of discrimination against others for various reasons. But racism as we know it today did not significantly originate until the Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th centuries.[3] Suddenly European explorers were encountering people much different than themselves instead of the very subtle differences found in people within their own neighboring countries. It thus became a need to explain these differences.

 

The concept of race then began to take shape to explain these differences and eventually support the notion of more dominant races which could then justify exploitation of inferior races. And as history shows, European and neo colonialism generally involved an exploitation of the natives being colonized. This occurred for most indigenous populations, including Hawaiians, as well as Latinos who were colonized by Spainand Portugal. From Africa, to Asia, to all PacificIslands, Europeans were colonizing and taking power.[4]

 

Science was first used to distinguish race in the 18th century by a Swiss botanist and explorer named Linnaeus. His book Systems of Nature would become the foundation for modern taxonomy. In his second edition he took on distinguishing humans, in which he labeled all humans as homo sapiens, but divided them into four distinct regions; American (americanus), European (europaeus), Asian (asiaticus), and African (afer).[5] Further descriptions would indicate Homo sapien europaeus as very smart and muscular, whereas Homo sapien afer was noted as slow, negligent and foolish. But this taxonomy was differentiated and categorized by geography. Before Darwinian evolution originated in the 1800’s, this geographic location determined race. For example some scientists distinguished races as the “English Race” or the “Irish Race,” etc.[6]

 

This of course changed when Charles Darwin published his revolutionary book, Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection of the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. At the heart of this book are many incredibly racist ideals. Ideals which were quickly realized and propagated for the same reasons found in the Age of Exploration. If man was evolving, with Caucasians being the apex of advanced human, then all other races were inferior to some degree. Thus many atrocities could be justified, whether intentional or unintentional. Racism was no longer determined by geography, but by biological superiority with the lowest on the totem pole being more ape than man. Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Steven Jay Gould claims, “Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1859, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolution theory.”[7] According to Orin Starn, professor of cultural anthropology at Duke University North Carolina, “Brains were very much the preoccupation and obsession of many scientists and especially anthropologists in the 1800s, and you had back then this notion that—to put it crudely—that white people had bigger brains than people from the Third World, than brown people, and that bigger brains meant that they were more intelligent and that that could somehow explain and justify European colonialism and dominance over the rest of the world. So what you had back then in the 1800s was scientific racism.”[8]

 

Ernst Haeckel, a scientist at the time that strongly supported Darwinian evolution, yet is now widely discredited, wrote, “At the lowest stage of human mental development are the Australians, some tribes of the Polynesians, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the Negro tribes. Nothing, however, is perhaps more remarkable in this respect, than that some of the wildest tribes in southern Asia and eastern Africa have no trace whatever of the first foundations of all human civilization, of family life, marriage. They live together in herds, like apes.”[9]

 

There was a time when the Aborigines were considered to be the missing link between us and our apelike ancestors.[10] This resulted in terrible atrocities committed against aboriginal people in an effort to collect scientific specimens. There was a time when an African pygmy was displayed with an orangutan in the same cage at the Bronx zoo.[11] The Scientific American published an article on Congo pygmies noting them as “small ape-lie, elfish creatures… [that] exhibit many ape-like features in their bodies.”[12]

 

Science was also misused for race differentiation with intelligence tests like the Binet test in the late 1800s and early 1900s. At the time it was believed intelligence was a biological trait, so if you failed an intelligence test it was because of your biology.[13] The problem was that the test didn’t accurately gauge intelligence but instead gauged English literacy and western culture.[14] So if you didn’t speak English, were illiterate, and knew nothing of western culture you would of course fail, then you would be considered “feeble-minded.” Naturally many foreigners failed these tests which would lead to the belief that there were intelligence levels between races, with white Europeans and Americans being the most intelligent.

 

The notion of evolution-based biological races would lead to many atrocities in the years to come. Most notably the eugenics movement and the Nazi holocaust. Science was birthing a terrible racism with monumental casualties. But was this real science? Or pseudoscience involving more of cultural and social influence than actual observational research? What does science tell us today?

 

 

Are There Really Different Races?

 

First, there should be some clarifications on race, culture and ethnicity. Today people tend to use them interchangeably as if they are one and the same which leads to a massive convolution of the issue. Race is a classification system for identifying people within specific groups based on physical characteristics such as eye shape, skin color, etc. which is the result of common decent and heredity. Culture is the combined beliefs, values and behaviors that a group of people share. Then there is ethnicity, which is the most troublesome for people. Ethnicity is a part of culture, but applies to smaller groups within the culture. It contains the more specific characteristics of people within the culture. For example, many of us share a common national culture being Americans [assuming you as the reader are an American], but have varying beliefs and traditions more specifically found in our ethnicity. Often these values and beliefs can be entangled with both culture and ethnicity, and often they are not. Either way, ethnicity and culture is far different from race.

 

Today, all human beings are classified as Homo sapiens sapiens, with all scientists agreeing that there really is only one race of humans.[15] This is based off a large amount of research which is producing the same unified results. The National Institute of Health announced, based off human genetic sequences, that there is only one race, the human race.[16] Results from the Human Genome Project reveal that all humans are 99.9% similar to each other.[17] What we consider to be racial differences or characteristics are only minor variations among different people groups. Scientists have determined that the average person is about 0.2% different from another person whether their next door or around the world.[18]

 

Dr. Harold P. Freeman, the chief executive, president and director of surgery at NorthGeneralHospitalin Manhattandeclares, “If you ask what percentage of your genes is reflected in your external appearance, the basis by which we talk about race, the answer seems to be in the range of .01 percent. This is a very, very minimal reflection of your genetic makeup.”[19] Additional studies report similar results of 0.012% of variance at a biological level.[20]

 

But if we are all the same for the most part, why do we look so different? This indicates precisely the problem: Appearance. Douglas C. Wallace, a professor of molecular genetics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlantaexplains why race is so widely recognized at a personal level, “Unfortunately for social harmony, the human brain is exquisitely attuned to differences in packaging details, prompting people to exaggerate the significance of what has come to be called race. The criteria that people use for race are based entirely on external features that we are programmed to recognize and the reason we’re programmed to recognize them is that it’s vitally important to our species that each of us be able to distinguish one individual from the next. Our whole social structure is based on visual cues, and we’ve been programmed to recognize them, and to recognize individuals.”[21]

 

It is therefore necessary to break down the physical visual components of what we consider race. The first difference people immediately think of with race is skin color. When we think of skin color, we think of many variances in color from black people, to asian people, to latin people, and white people. But from a scientific stand point there is actually only one coloring agent, melanin. And of melanin there are only two types; eumelanin (brown to black) and pheomelanin (red to yellow).[22] So in reality all people are just different shades of melanin within melanocyte cells. Melanin also plays a part in eye color and hair color. The more melanin produced, the darker the eyes or hair of an individual. Then consider that melanin is controlled by four to six genes with multiple alleles and it becomes possible for one couple to produce children with a wide variety of skin shades.[23] For example, my two very tan parents producing me, a fair skinned freckled boy incapable of tanning. Unless you consider freckle accumulation a form of tanning.

 

According to genetic counselor Dr. Ricki Lewis, “Although people come in a wide variety of hues, we all have about the same number of melanocytes per unit area of skin. However, people differ in melanosome number, size, and density of distribution. Differences in skin color arise from the number and distribution of melanin pieces in the skin cells of the uppermost layers… skin color is not a reliable indicator of ancestry.”[24]

 

Another factor used to distinguish race is eye shape. But eye shape is determined by the amount of adipose tissue around the eye. Asians have more adipose tissue whereas Caucasians tend to have less, hence the notable difference in eye shape.[25] So we all have adipose tissue, but in varying amounts, just like melanin.

 

Further studies on genetics reveal that a traditionally labeled “black” person can be more related to a random traditionally labeled “white” person than another black person. Sub-Saharan Africans and Australian aborigines both have black skin and many would even go so far as to say they’re very similar looking, yet genetically they are very dissimilar in inherited characteristics. In one study, 100 PennsylvaniaStateUniversitystudents had their DNA tested to compare European, Asian, African and Native American genetic contribution. The results revealed that none of the students were “pure” anything. One light skinned black student was found to be 52% African and 48% European. Another student that considered themself “black” was found to be 58% European.[26]

 

Other flaws in race assumptions can be found in medicine. Race-based prescribing is used to prescribe medicines based on race. For example, a disease found more typically in socially identified African-Americans would lead to medicines being more readily prescribed to African-Americans. Though on average this is not a problem, many individuals identified as part of a particular race have been found to not fit criteria, with a white person being denied a drug that would work or a black person given a drug that won’t work.[27] Lewis clarifies this issue, “Basing medical decisions solely on race or ethnic group can lead to errors, such as failing to offer a drug that may be helpful to an individual who belongs to a group in which that drug does not usually work.”[28]

 

As a multitude of scientific research accumulates, it is leading to the unanimous conclusion in multiple scientific disciplines that “race” has no scientific validity.[29] Dr. Jurgen K. Naggert, a geneticist at the Jackson Laboratory says, “These big groups that we characterize as races are too heterogeneous to lump together in a scientific way. If you’re doing a DNA study to look for markers for a particular disease, you can’t use ‘Caucasians’ as a group. They’re too diverse. No journal would accept it.”[30] Dr. Eric S. Lander, a genome expert at the Whitehead Institute believes, “There’s no scientific evidence to support substantial differences between groups and the tremendous burden of proof goes to anyone who wants to assert those differences.”[31] Lewis writes, “Skin color is one trait used to distinguish race. However, the definition of race based largely on skin color is more a social construct than a biological concept, for skin color is but one of thousands of traits who frequencies vary in different populations.”[32] Dr. J. Craig Venter head of Celera Genomics Corporation writes, “Race is a social concept, not a scientific one.”[33]

 

Race is essentially determined via local meaning systems, rules, demographics, relationships, and structures.[34] All of which are facets of society, and thus race is a social determinant, not a genetic one. There is a reason why anthropology textbooks from the 1970s and onward are using the term “race” less and less.[35]

 

An article published in the Journal of Counseling and Development by Assistant Professor Susan Chavez Cameron from the University of New Mexico Albuquerque and Assistant Professor Susan Macias Wycoff from California State University Fullerton, argued that the term “race” is so meaningless it should be discarded. They write, “Originally based on a system of folk taxonomies, the term race has been used to group people by physical appearance, often with disruptive and harmful social consequences. Given that many national and international scientific groups have diminished their use of the term race in the classification of people, it is time for the mental health professionals to seriously discuss the role and assess the usefulness of the terms race… In lack of support to retain the term race as a scientific concept, and given the development of a no race position by anthropologists and geneticists, it is time for the mental health profession to become more active in addressing the use of this term.”[36]

 

Thus it can be concluded that the term “race” is a social construct, not a scientific construct. If it has no scientific value, than it can be argued that its social value is likewise worthless and, if anything, detrimental. These conclusions can hence be easily reconciled with the Biblical account of mankind being of “one blood” without the compromise of scripture. Yet, we could agree that there have been many instances of self proclaimed Christians being racist. How could this be?

 

 

Racist Christians

 

All racist Christians have one thing in common: compromise. It is the same problem found with many Christians whose actions contradict what is taught in the Bible. Many Christians from the 17th century and onward that adopted the revolutionary evolution theory, despite it contradicting biblical teaching, felt justified in their exploitation of other people due to their race. Compromising on Biblical verses that speak of all people being of one blood from the descendants of Adam and Eve leads to this possibility as well.

 

Case in point; the term “Caucasian” came from self-proclaimed Christians that rationalized that if man was created in the image of God, that undoubtedly the white man was this original creation. This decision came from the very unscientific and subjective notion of aesthetic beauty. White men declared that white people were more beautiful than the other “races” and thus God’s original creation of mankind were white. Based off that notion it was determined (again by unscientific subjectivity) that the most beautiful white people were from the country of Georgia. From there it was determined that white people would be called Caucasian, named after the Caucasas mountain range in Georgia where it is believed white humans evolved.[37] The entire rational behind the origin of he term Caucasian violates many Biblical tenants. Yet it was self-proclaimed Christians that developed and propagated it.

 

Many self-proclaimed Christians with biases will bend or ignore Biblical principals to facilitate their prejudices and secure their status in society. As Carol M. Swain, Ph.D., a professor of political science and law at VanderbuiltUniversity, writes, “… our Creator God designed unique men and women with different shapes, colors, talents, and ability groupings. In spite of God’s vast diversity in creation, however, people congregate based on their similarities. This natural inclination produces problems in society when one group possesses superior resources to other groups and uses those resources as a means of suppression. Through out history, humanity has used skin color to create rankings of social superiority, with lighter-skinned people typically designated as superior to those with darker skin. Discrimination based on skin color has been a hallmark of history.”[38]

 

Believing that there are superior races or a particular race that is superior to all others is known as ethnocentrism. And though many self proclaimed Christians have adhered to such a mindset, there is no Biblical scripture that commends this behavior. Outside of the verses noted earlier, further verses found in Deuteronomy 10:17 and Acts10:34declare that God has no partiality, and therefore does not favor a particular “race.” Revelation 5:9 asserts that Jesus laid down his life for people of all nations and languages. In conclusion, if truly believe in the revelation of Christ as recorded in the Holy Bible, you have no wiggle room what so ever to maintain that there are different races of humans. You must accept that we are all from the same family and are all children of God.

 

 

Racism Today

 

Today racism is alive and well. And though science has clearly demonstrated race is a social construct and is arguably irrelevant, many declare that proponents of evolution still cling to very racist notions, as can be noted in Professor J. Philippe Rushton’s book Race, Evolution and Behavior which claims that there are at least three races in existence.[39] Swain writes, “Hard-core racists argue for the existence of at least three races: Asians, blacks, and Caucasians, as well as a hierarchy of intelligence within the races; however, scientific evidence supports the existence of one human race.”[40]

 

Some people still argue that depictions of human evolution in textbooks today still harbor racist miscinceptions. Such as this picture which shows man evolving lighter skin and hair.

More and more scientists are getting on board with establishing a race-less future. Freeman declares, “Science got us into this problem in the first place, with its measurements of skulls and its emphasis on racial differences and racial classifications. Scientists should now get us out of it.”[41] The late Frederick Soddy, a radiochemist and economist likewise recognizes science’s role in social dilemmas, “[The blame for the future ‘plight of civilization] must rest on scientific men, equally with others, for being incapable of accepting the responsibility for the profound social upheavals which their own work primarily has brought about in human relationships.”[42] With time, hopefully the notion of “races” will be looked back on by all professionals in all fields as a sad time in our history, and with its demise, hopefully the demise of racism. It is a long shot, but one can dream. Ultimately science is confirming what the Bible has stated all along; there are not many races of man, but one race of man.

 

Associate Professor of Sociology at Emory University Atlanta Amanda Lewis writes, “Although the idea that race is a social construct is widely accepted, the reality of race in daily life has received too little attention.”[43]

 

So what is the moral of the story? We should abandon the concept of race and instead respectfully distinguish people by their ethnicity and culture. This is not to say we resort to a color-blind mentality, for that can be equally destructive leading to misconceptions of the nature of racism today as well as only benefiting those who are hardly (if at all) affected by a racism mostly encountered in minority populations.[44] We can’t ignore that racism is still out there, and we can’t assume it has been beaten. The change starts with every one of us as an individual. We each have a choice to make in how we deal with people different than us. Hopefully, realization that they’re not much different from you at all is enough to change how we identify and react to others.

 

I think it is fitting to end with a quote from concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl, who writes of their being more than one race, “There are two races of men in the world, but only these two- the ‘race’ of the decent man and the ‘race’ of the indecent man. Both are found every-where; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent and indecent people. In this sense, no group is a ‘pure race.’”[45]


[1] Ashley-Montague, F.M. (1942) Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race, New York,NY: Columbia University Press.

[2] Lewis, A.E., (2009) “Everyday Race-Making: Navigating Racial Boundaries in Schools,” as written in Understanding Society: An Introductory Reader, 3rd Ed., Edited by Anderson, M. L., Logio, K. A., & Taylor, H. F.,  Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, pp. 300.

[3] Cameron, S.C. & Wycoff, S.M., (1998) “The Destructive Nature of the Term Race: Growing Beyond a False Paradigm,” Journal of Counseling and Development, 76: pp. 279. This article can be accessed here: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~sarnold7/edtech/articles/race.pdf

[4] Martinez, E., (2009) “Seeing More Than Black and White,” as written in Understanding Society: An Introductory Reader, 3rd Ed., Edited by Anderson, M. L., Logio, K. A., & Taylor, H. F.,  Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, pp. 288.

[5] Gould, S.J., (1996) The Mismeasure of Man, New York,NY: Norton.

[6] Ham, K (2006) “Are There Really Different Races?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 1, Green Forest,AL: Master Books, pp. 220.

[7] Gould, S.J., (1977) Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Cambridge,MA: Belknap-Harvard Press, pp. 127-128.

[8] “All in the mind”, ABC Radio National,21 December 2008, <www.abc.net.au/rn/allinthemind/stories/2008/2435743.htm#transcript>.

[9] Haeckel, E., (1876) The History of Creation, pp. 363-364.

[10] (Feb 1924) “Missing Links with Mankind in Early Dawn of History,” New York Tribune, pp. 11.

[11] Bergman, J., (1993) “Ota Benga: the man who was put on display at the zoo!” Creation 16(1): pp.48-50.

[12] Keane, A.H.J., (1907) “Anthropological Curiosities; the Pygmies of the World,” Scientific American, 64:99, pp. 107-108.

[13] Cameron, S.C. &Wycoff, S.M., (1998) “The Destructive Nature of the Term Race: Growing Beyond a False Paradigm,” Journal of Counseling and Development, 76: pp. 277. This article can be accessed here: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~sarnold7/edtech/articles/race.pdf

[14] Gould, S.J., (1996) The Mismeasure of Man, New York,NY: Norton.

[15] Ham, K (2006) “Are There Really Different Races?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 1, Green Forest,AL: Master Books, pp. 222.

[16] Angier, N., (August 2000) “Do Races Differ? Not Really, Genes Show,” http://www.nytimes.com

[17] Schoofs, M., “The Myth of Race: What DNA Says About Human Ancestry- and Bigotry,” Village Voice, part 3.

[18] Gutin, J.C., (November 1994) “End of the Rainbow,” Discover, pp. 72-73.

[19] Angier, N., (August 2000) “Do Races Differ? Not Really, Genes Show,” http://www.nytimes.com

[20] Cavalli-Sforza, L.L., Menozzi, P., & Piazza, A., (1994) The History and Geography of Human Genes, Princeton,NJ:PrincetonUniversity Press.

[21] Angier, N., (August 2000) “Do Races Differ? Not Really, Genes Show,” http://www.nytimes.com

[22] Ham, K (2006) “Are There Really Different Races?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 1, Green Forest,AL: Master Books, pp. 227.

[23] Ham, K (2006) “Are There Really Different Races?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 1, Green Forest,AL: Master Books, pp. 227-228.

[24] Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, 8th Ed.,New York,NY: McGraw Hill, pp. 135.

[25] Ham, K (2006) “Are There Really Different Races?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 1, Green Forest,AL: Master Books, pp. 229.

[26] Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, 8th Ed.,New York,NY: McGraw Hill, pp. 135.

[27] Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, 8th Ed.,New York,NY: McGraw Hill, pp. 136.

[28] Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, 8th Ed.,New York,NY: McGraw Hill, pp. 136.

[29] Cameron, S.C. &Wycoff, S.M., (1998) “The Destructive Nature of the Term Race: Growing Beyond a False Paradigm,” Journal of Counseling and Development, 76: pp. 279. This article can be accessed here: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~sarnold7/edtech/articles/race.pdf

[30] Angier, N., (August 2000) “Do Races Differ? Not Really, Genes Show,” http://www.nytimes.com

[31] Angier, N., (August 2000) “Do Races Differ? Not Really, Genes Show,” http://www.nytimes.com

[32] Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, 8th Ed.,New York,NY: McGraw Hill, pp. 135.

[33] Angier, N., (August 2000) “Do Races Differ? Not Really, Genes Show,” http://www.nytimes.com

[34] Lewis, A.E., (2009) “Everyday Race-Making: Navigating Racial Boundaries in Schools,” as written in Understanding Society: An Introductory Reader, 3rd Ed., Edited by Anderson, M. L., Logio, K. A., & Taylor, H. F.,  Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, pp. 300.

[35] Littlefield, A., Liberman, L., & Reynolds, L.T., (1982) “Redefining Race: The Potential Demise of the Concept in Physical Anthropology,” Current Anthropology, 23, pp. 641-647

[36] Cameron, S.C. &Wycoff, S.M., (1998) “The Destructive Nature of the Term Race: Growing Beyond a False Paradigm,” Journal of Counseling and Development, 76: pp. 277. This article can be accessed here: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~sarnold7/edtech/articles/race.pdf

[37] Cameron, S.C. &Wycoff, S.M., (1998) “The Destructive Nature of the Term Race: Growing Beyond a False Paradigm,” Journal of Counseling and Development, 76: pp. 280. This article can be accessed here: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~sarnold7/edtech/articles/race.pdf

[38] Swain, C.M., (2011) Be The People, Nashville,TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., pp. 175.

[39] Race, Evolution and Behavior can be accessed here: www.­harbornet.­com/­folks/­theedrich/­JP_Rushton/­Race.­htm

[40] Swain, C.M., (2011) Be The People, Nashville,TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., pp. 175.

[41] Angier, N., (August 2000) “Do Races Differ? Not Really, Genes Show,” http://www.nytimes.com

[42] As quoted in Thaddeus Trenn’s “The Central Role of Energy in Soddy’s Holistic and Critical Approach to Nuclear Science, Economics, and Social Responsibility,” British Journal for the History of Science (1979), 42, pp. 261.

[43] Lewis, A.E., (2009) “Everyday Race-Making: Navigating Racial Boundaries in Schools,” as written in Understanding Society: An Introductory Reader, 3rd Ed., Edited by Anderson, M. L., Logio, K. A., & Taylor, H. F.,  Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, pp. 301.

[44] Gallagher, C.A., (2009) “Color-Blind Privilege: The Social and Political Functions of Erasing the Color Line in Post Race America,” as written in Understanding Society: An Introductory Reader, 3rd Ed., Edited by Anderson, M. L., Logio, K. A., & Taylor, H. F.,  Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, pp. 267-273.

[45] Frankl, V.E., (1959) Man’s Search for Meaning, Boston,MA: Beacon, pp. 86.

When debates in homosexuality and society begin in any forum, there seems to be a point at which the conversation turns to animals. That is, homosexual animals. This topic is usually introduced by the party that is trying to portray homosexuality as a constant norm in life. After all, if homosexuality is common in nature, than how can anyone consider it a deviance or unnatural?

 

There are overall three topics that are usually presented to defend homosexuality as a normalcy to be embraced. First, we are told homosexuality is purely genetic, biological or innate. Second we are told homosexuality is irreversible. Third, since a wide variety of animals engage in homosexuality, it is therefore natural.[1] All three of these are very hot topics, which unfortunately usually received biased press coverage and thus the population in general mostly believes that all three are true. However, it is very well documented that homosexuality is not purely biological and innate, and it is very well documented that homosexuality is not a permanent irreversible life sentence. Please visit my other article “Born That Way,” at https://matthew2262.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/born-that-way/. So all that is left to discuss on this topic are the animals.

 

Homosexual Animals Are Everywhere!

 

The exact number of how many animals are known to engage in homosexual behavior is very high at first glance. The typical number of animal species in which this behavior has been observed is generally said to be about 500. [2] According to trans-gendered biologist Joan Roughgarden, there is documented evidence of homosexual behavior in 450 different species and undocumented reports related to another thousand species.[3] According to University of Oslo zoologist Petter Böckman, about 1,500 animal species are known to engage in same-sex behavior.[4] This leads one to then of course ask, which animals are doing it?

 

Here are some common claims of animal homosexuality: While studying a mutant allele of an eye color gene on fruit flies, scientists changed the genetics of the fruit flies which inadvertently caused the fruit flies to begin to express homosexual behavior.[5] A zoo in Germany had more male penguins than females, and when it came time to rear young, the surplus males shacked up with each other. When the zoo tried to fly in additional females, gay activists cried out in protest claiming the zoo keepers were interfering with the penguin’s natural “gay” behavior.[6] Studies show that 10% of domestic rams prefer to mate with other rams instead of ewes.[7] Dogs often mount other dogs of the same sex exhibiting homosexual behavior.[8] Male bighorn sheep engage in genital licking intercourse to the point of ejaculation.[9] In one example, sixteen male finches were raised to adulthood together in captivity. Upon reaching maturity, the males coupled up and showed signs of affection to each other. When females were then introduced to the finches’ cage, five of the eight male-male pairs stayed together and ignored the females.[10] Bonobo monkeys exhibit a wide variety of homosexual behavior from female to female genital rubbing to male and male sexual interactions.[11] Albatross females have been known to couple up for as long as 19 years together incubating eggs and raising chicks together.[12] All-male “orgies” are claimed to have been observed with giraffes, dolphins, killer whales and manatees.[13] Homosexual behavior has also been spotted with bears, gorillas, flamingos, owls, salmon, etc.[14] The list is extensive!

 

So many animal species have been accounted for as exhibiting homosexual behavior that the NaturalHistoryMuseumat the Universityof Oslonow has an exhibit called “Against Nature?” The exhibit displays the wide variety of animals that engage in homosexual behavior. The intent is obviously to prove that the behavior is not against nature.[15] This prevalence in nature itself is what drives many to accept that it is natural and normal.

 

Psychologist Dr. Nigel Barber writes, “Apart from ‘gay genes[16] in humans, the main evidence that homosexuality is naturally selected is the fact that gay animals are so common.”[17]  Geir Soli, the project leader for the “Against Nature?” exhibit remarks, “The argument that a homosexual way of living cannot be accepted because it is against the ‘laws of nature’ can now be rejected scientifically.”[18]

The agenda here is very clear. If it can be established that animals are indeed genuinely homosexual in nature, then society has no ground to frown upon homosexual behavior because it is a normal part of life. Neuroscientist and self-proclaimed homosexual Simon LeVay expresses it as this, “It seems possible that the study of sexual behavior in animals, especially in non-human primates, will contribute to the liberalization of religious attitudes toward homosexual activity and other forms of non-procreative sex. Specifically, these studies challenge one particular sense of the dogma that homosexual behavior is ‘against nature’: the notion that it is unique to those creatures who, by tasting the fruit of the tree of knowledge, have alone become morally culpable.”[19]

For James Esseks, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, finding out that many animals were gay was the final push for him to come out of the closet. In his words he described his initial thoughts upon finding this out, “Oh, hey, this is quote-unquote natural. This is normal. This is part of the normal spectrum of humanity — or life.”[20] Clearly the question of normalcy and what is “natural” is paramount here.

Procreation or Pleasure

 

This additionally leads to the question of reproduction being engaged in for reproduction alone, or also for pleasure. Obviously humans do not engage in homosexual behavior for reproduction and the prevalence of homosexual activity in nature seems to suggest that it cannot be for reproduction alone. Janet Mann, a biologist at GeorgetownUniversitywrites, “Not every sexual act has reproductive function. That’s true of humans and non-humans.”[21] As head of the Anthropology Department at East Carolina University, Linda Wolfe believes, “You can make up all kinds of stories: Oh it’s for dominance. It’s for this. It’s for that, but when it comes down to the bottom I think it’s just for sexual pleasure.”[22]

 

Now most people tend to believe that sex for reproduction is only a religious idea institutionalized by those superstitious bible thumpers. But the greatest threat comes from the evolutionary idea. After all, in evolution theory the whole goal of survival of the fittest is to out perform others to reproduce and generate the most offspring. Something homosexual behavior does not do. With this in mind it should be understood that the greatest hindrance to the study of homosexual animals has not been from homophobic religious powers, but from the evolution hardened scientists. Many attempts to fit homosexuality in the realm of competitive evolution have been proposed, like Universityof California Biology Professor Marlene Zuk’s theory that gay individuals contribute to the gene pool of the community by taking care of their relative’s young without compromising local resources by having young of their own.[23] Such theories are not rooted in scientific observation has it has not been successfully demonstrated in any experiments.

 

When it comes to homosexuality in the animal kingdom within the framework of evolution, evolution theory becomes very flexible. This is noted in many evolutionist theories that attempt to accommodate animal homosexuality within the evolutionary framework as Zuk tries to do. A theory that is so flexible it can account for everything and anything isn’t a good theory at all as explained by biologist and chemist Dr. Phillip Skell: “Further, Darwinian explanations for such things are often too supple: Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive—except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed—except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.”[24]

 

Yale ornithologist Richard Prum states, “Homosexuality is a tough case, because it appears to violate that central tenet, that all of sexual behavior is about reproduction. The question is, why would anyone invest in sexual behavior that isn’t reproductive?”[25] It is self-evident that homosexuality in the animal kingdom is at odds with evolution theory. Especially when humans are supposedly the same product of this animal evolution.

 

According to Zuk, “Sexuality is a lot broader term than people want to think. You have this idea that the animal kingdom is strict, old-fashioned Roman Catholic, that they have sex to procreate. … Sexual expression means more than making babies. Why are we surprised? People are animals.”[26]

 

The Difference between People and Animals

 

The main problem is the modern outlook that humans are just animals. How many times have you heard someone excuse inappropriate, immature, or irrational behavior by blaming it on their “animal instincts.” It is this same line of reasoning that leads people to conclude that morality is determined by nature and therefore what is commonplace in nature is acceptable. Anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist Donald Symons writes, “Despite the absence of God in most scientific writing, the implicit belief that nature constitutes a moral order frequently persists. Thus writers with tolerant or positive views about homosexuality often begin their discussions by emphasizing the frequency with which non-human animals and preliterate peoples engage in homosexual activities, implying that homosexuality is natural and hence acceptable.”[27] The mindset is that animals act according to their nature, which is best for them. So if they engage in homosexual behavior it is essentially good for them, and therefore morally acceptable. And since man is an animal, what is morally right for animals is morally right for man.

 

But should we really let what is natural (or “good”) in the wild determine what is morally right for humans? Let us say for the moment it does. And let’s agree that whatever is scientifically found to be common place in nature should be considered morally acceptable. Based off that, we should consider filicide and cannibalism morally acceptable. After all, cannibalism and filicide is very common in nature, more so than homosexuality. Theft, rape, and incest are common place in nature as well.[28] But yet we wouldn’t consider these morally sound practices… So we cannot let what is common in nature determine what is acceptable morally.

 

We need to understand that humans are very distinct and separate from animals. This distinction comes from three principles; 1) Animal instincts are not bound by absolute determinism of physical laws governing the world. 2) Animal cognition is purely sensorial, and therefore lacks human intellectual perception. 3) Animals are often over stimulated when experiencing multiple instinct impulses occuring at the same time which can lead to abnormal behavior.[29]  When two instincts clash with a human, intellect prevails to determine which instinct to follow. Since animals lack intellect and will power, the instinctive impulse with the most favorable outcomes prevails. Animals are therefore at many levels, whether intellectually or consciously, radically inferior to humans. Animals lack reason as well as many other attributes that humans have at their disposal. To compare animal behavior to man is to deny the very scientific understanding of human behavior which far exceeds that of any animals.[30]

The actuality that humans have a body and life shared with animals does not mean we are strictly animals. Nor does it mean that we are a half-animal or quarter animal. Human rationality exhibits all of our nature so that our sensations, impulses and instincts are not purely animal but instead are controlled by rationality which is essentially what constitutes us as human. Therefore, humans are characterized not by what we have in common with animals, but by what differentiates us from animals. This difference is paramount, not coincidental. We as humans are rational animals. Human rationality is what makes human nature distinctive and vitally separate from animal nature.

Paul Vasey, of the Universityof Lethbridgecautions, “For some people, what animals do is a yardstick of what is and isn’t natural. They make a leap from saying if it’s natural, it’s morally and ethically desirable. Infanticide is widespread in the animal kingdom. To jump from that to say it is desirable makes no sense. We shouldn’t be using animals to craft moral and social policies for the kinds of human societies we want to live in. Animals don’t take care of the elderly. I don’t particularly think that should be a platform for closing down nursing homes.”[31] Dr. Charles Socarides of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality writes, “The term homosexuality should be limited to the human species, for in animals the investigator can ascertain only motor behavior. As soon as he interprets the animal’s motivation he is applying human psychodynamics–a risky, if not foolhardy scientific approach.”[32]

 

Are They Really Gay?

 

Of all the animals listed earlier, we need to now ask ourselves if these animals are actually gay. Is their behavior actually homosexual or just appear to be homosexual? Are they engaging in this behavior because of the same factors that cause humans to do likewise? Let’s examine the examples provided earlier of homosexual activity in the animal kingdom.

 

The fruit flies that exhibited homosexual behavior were genetically altered in a lab. Something that can’t be consider natural at all. Additionally, all that the mutation did was alter the fruit flies’ sense of smell, making them attracted to male pheromones, which lead to the male on male activity.[33] And human smell has nothing to do with homosexuality. As far as those penguins inGermany; penguins always couple up, so when there are not enough females to go around, the males couple up with the males. We cannot consider them homosexual because they never had “sex” with one another, and additional females were never introduced to test whether or not the males would ditch their male partners and join with the new females. Something which has been observed with similar captive penguins in other zoos when there are not enough females to go around.

 

In regards to the Rams in which 10% of the population is considered homosexual, the behaviors observed are simply that of males “mounting” other males to exhibit dominance over another male.[34] In addition, the number in Ram populations that exhibit this dominance behavior is actually 1.5% not 10%.[35] Lastly, the tests conducted to determine this behavior involved locking up male and female rams in a pen leaving nothing but their hind quarters exposed, then releasing a male ram into the pen to see which one he will try and mate with. If the Ram mated with a locked up male ram then it was considered homosexual. Hardly a sound experiment of natural Ram behavior especially considering that the only way for the ram to determine which one was male or female would be by scent alone. If the Ram had a poor sense of smell, which is not uncommon, it could easily have just chosen the wrong “rump” to mount.[36] According to biochemist Dr. Neil Whitehead, “Those who study this field acknowledge that mounting behavior by rams on rams is deeply mixed with expressions of dominance, which is so critical in the life of a ram.”[37]

 

In regards to dogs mounting other dogs of the same sex, it is caused by one of two things; the scent of a female in heat, or establishing dominance. When the scent of a female in heat is in the air it can cause a stimulus overload in both males and females, which leads to the dogs mounting other dogs regardless of their sex.[38] The other cause is the establishment of social dominance that is most notably observed in un-neutered male dogs, but is sometimes observed with female dogs.[39] Cesar Ades, ethologist and professor of psychology at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, explains, “When two males mate, what is present is a demonstration of power, not sex.”[40]

 

Male bighorn sheep cannot be considered gay either. The “homosexual” behavior in question is only found in outcast groups of males that were kept away from the females by other dominant and superior males. These outcast males stick together but still establish dominance over each other via mounting. Ejaculation occurring in these mountings is rare, and when it does occur from these encounters it is significantly less than when mounting females.[41] Most notably, one year the superior males were shot to conserve the population. This left the females available and the bachelors moved in to take over the now available females. That year, male to male mounting was non-existent.[42]

 

What about the gay finches? Well, none of them ever engaged in anything remotely sexual with each other.[43] Their behavior was more of a coupling for survival that is apparent in many bird species.

 

Bonobo monkeys are probably the most frequently mentioned animal when these matters are brought up. Especially since there is an overwhelmingly popular notion among the general public that we are closely related to these monkeys. Female bonobos that have sexual encounters are noted in new females that enter bonobo clans, and immediately engage in sexual contact with the dominant females in the clan. The reasoning has been found that these activities are for establishing bonds of trust, friendship or alliance which helps the new females become integrated into the group.[44] Is this anywhere near why female humans engage in sexual contact with each other? These females also mate with males, and do not have contact with the females exclusively but instead temporarily. This means they’re not homosexual, but at the most bisexual.[45] Frans B. M. de Waal, who has spent hundreds of hours filming and observing bonobo behavior declares, “There are two reasons to believe sexual activity is the bonobo’s answer to avoiding conflict. First, anything, not just food, that arouses the interest of more than one bonobo at a time tends to result in sexual contact. If two bonobos approach a cardboard box thrown into their enclosure, they will briefly mount each other before playing with the box. Such situations lead to squabbles in most other species. But bonobos are quite tolerant, perhaps because they use sex to divert attention and to diffuse tension. Second, bonobo sex often occurs in aggressive contexts totally unrelated to food. A jealous male might chase another away from a female, after which the two males reunite and engage in scrotal rubbing. Or after a female hits a juvenile, the latter’s mother may lunge at the aggressor, an action that is immediately followed by genital rubbing between the two adults.”[46] Their actions are clearly in the context of diffusing tension, expressing acceptance and other affective states. Again not the same reasons humans engage in homosexual activity.

 

As for those lesbian albatross, they couple up to incubate eggs and look after off spring, but they never do anything remotely close to what can be considered sexual activity.[47] The coupling is necessary because one bird must stay behind to look after eggs or chicks while the other searches for food. This is typically done with male-female partners, but when there are not enough males to go around, the additional females pair up with each other. When males do become available these female-female couples are usually broken up, as what has been noted with captive penguins in zoos. For example, two male penguins at the San Francisco Zoo that were together for six years. That was until a female became available, after which the couple broke up as one of the males coupled with the now available female. The penguin zoo keeper Anthony Brown was accused by pro-gay activists as intentionally splitting up the couple, to which Brown responded, “Penguins make their own decisions here at the San Francisco Zoo.”[48]

 

Male dung flies mount each other to tire the other one out making him less able to compete for mating. Male marine mammals often mount each other to establish trust and social bonds.[49] The list goes on and on. In fact, the further you go down in the animal kingdom the more common homosexuality appears simply because lower forms of life are more difficult to identify as male or female because there is less to distinguish the differences between the sexes, and therefore there is often confusion as to which sex another is.[50]

 

Symons writes, “Writers with less sanguine views of homosexuality point out that a great deal of mounting among non-human animals is not sexually motivated, that homosexual behavior is more frequent among captive than among free-ranging animals, and that exclusive homosexuality is rare among preliterate peoples, implying that homosexuality is unnatural and hence unacceptable.”[51] Sociobiologist Edward Osborne Wilson writes, “Further, homosexual behaviour among animals is engaged in for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with sex. In many cases it is only a ‘ritualized form of aggression.”[52] LeVay writes, “Although homosexual behavior is very common in the animal world, it seems to be very uncommon that individual animals have a long-lasting predisposition to engage in such behavior to the exclusion of heterosexual activities. Thus, a homosexual orientation, if one can speak of such thing in animals, seems to be a rarity.”[53]

 

Dr. Antonio Pardo, Professor of Bioethics at the Universityof Navarrewrites, “Properly speaking, homosexuality does not exist among animals…. For reasons of survival, the reproductive instinct among animals is always directed towards an individual of the opposite sex. Therefore, an animal can never be homosexual as such. Nevertheless, the interaction of other instincts (particularly dominance) can result in behavior that appears to be homosexual. Such behavior cannot be equated with an animal homosexuality. All it means is that animal sexual behavior encompasses aspects beyond that of reproduction.”[54] Ades declares, “Human beings have sex one way, while animals have it another. Human sex is a question of preference where one chooses the most attractive person to have pleasure. This is not true with animals. For them, it is a question of mating and reproduction. There is no physical or psychological pleasure….The smell is decisive: when a female is in heat, she emits a scent, known as pheromone. This scent attracts the attention of the male, and makes him want to mate. This is sexual intercourse between animals. It is the law of nature.”[55]

 

But I believe biologist Bruce Bagemihl, said it best: “Any account of homosexuality and transgender animals is also necessarily an account of human interpretations of these phenomena….We are in the dark about the internal experience of the animal participants: as a result, the biases and limitations of the human observer–in both the gathering and interpretation of data–come to the forefront in this situation…..With people we can often speak directly to individuals (or read written accounts)….With animals in contrast, we can often directly observe their sexual (and allied) behaviors, but can only infer or interpret their meanings and motivations.”[56] Thus, labeling an animal homosexual is not proper in the realm of science, but is instead the inferred opinion of the observer.

 

The Prisoner Effect

 

As much as we’d like to think that animal researchers conduct their observations in the wild, there is often not enough funds to do so, among many other problems that arise when trying to follow wild animals. Because of various difficulties that arise in trying to monitor wild animals, many of the behaviors we observe in animals are not taken from circumstances in the wild, but instead in captivity. Many statistics come from animals in zoos. In fact, most homosexual activities noted in animals come from animals in zoos.[57] Biologists call this the “prisoner effect.”

 

This leads to a dilemma, because behavior found in captivity is not natural behavior. Quite often animals do not reproduce and live short lives in captivity because they are not in the wild. How can we consider behavior most frequently found in unnatural arenas, natural?

 

The Christian Perspective

 

The Bible declares that we are made in the image of God as recorded in Genesis. This separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom which was not made in this same fashion. Therefore we cannot compare ourselves to that of animals because our creation alone separates us from them. It is also evident in psychology and philosophy that our rational capabilities further separate us from the animals.

 

Now many Christians use the argument that homosexuality is not “natural” and therefore unacceptable. Even if it could be concluded that many animals in nature were in fact genuinely homosexual and therefore homosexuality was natural, this would not make it morally sound. Thus, this is a poor argument to make because whether something is natural or unnatural does not make it right. Nor by that same token does it make it wrong. We forget that what we observe in nature as “natural,” is in fact the nature of a sin cursed world. Filicide is common, and doesn’t violate the laws of nature, yet Christians can’t declare it is right because it doesn’t break the laws of nature. Throw in the established fact that we as humans are capable of ethics and morality which the rest of the animal kingdom is not capable of and it becomes clear that what is “natural” in the world is not what is morally right.

 

Morality among humans should not be determined by biology or zoology. Morality in humans belongs to the realms of philosophy and ethics. Something which animals are not capable of, and therefore should not be determinants in how we behave. As bioethicist Bruto Maria Bruti declares, “It is a frequent error for people to contrast human and animal behaviors, as if the two were homogenous. …. The laws ruling human behavior are of a different nature and they should be sought where God inscribed them, namely, in human nature.”[58]

 

In conclusion, the claimed homosexual behaviors we see in animals are not homosexual at all. Many animals never engage in intercourse with the same sex but are instead simply coupled for survival. Those that do engage in homosexual activity are never exclusive to the same sex but always mate with the opposite sex as well. Overall, claimed homosexuality is rare in the wild, it is very dependant on social environment, it is most commonly the result expressing dominance or trust, and change is possible.[59] This is hardly comparable to the nature of homosexuality in humans. Mostly because, as mentioned earlier, humans are much more intellectually capable than animals and not prisoners of instinct. Any gay man or lesbian woman that points to alleged cases of homosexuality in animals to support their lifestyle is doing a serious discredit to their cause and themselves as intellectual and rational human beings.

 

At that, I think it to be irrational to claim that homosexuality is “good,” because of the simple premise that “animals do it too.”


[1] Solimeo, L.S.,  (September 2010) “The Animal Homosexuality Myth,” http://www.narth.com

[2] Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, 8th ed.,McGraw-Hill,New York, NY. Pp. 113.

[3] Roughgarden, J. (2005). Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, gender, and sexuality in nature and people.Berkeley:University ofCalifornia Press.

[4] Moskowitz, C., (May 2008) “Same Sex Couples Common in the Wild,” http://www.livescience.com

[5] Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, 8th ed.,McGraw-Hill,New York, NY. Pp. 114.

[6] (June 2009) “Male Penguins Raise Adopted Chick,” news.bbc.co.uk

[7] Fitzgerald, J.A., (1997) “Sexual Orientation” as written in Ellis L, Ebertz L, (eds). Sexual Orientation: Toward biological understanding. Praeger,Westport,CT.

[8] Mooallem, J., (March 2010) “Can Animals Be Gay?” http://www.nytimes.com

[9] Barber, N., (June 2009) “Gay Animals,” http://www.psychologytoday.com

[10] Wall, T., (August 2011) “Zebra Finch Bro-mance Trumps Mating,” news.discovery.com

[11] Barber, N., (June 2009) “Gay Animals,” http://www.psychologytoday.com

[12] Mooallem, J., (March 2010) “Can Animals Be Gay?” http://www.nytimes.com

[13] Barber, N., (June 2009) “Gay Animals,” http://www.psychologytoday.com

[14] Moskowitz, C., (May 2008) “Same Sex Couples Common in the Wild,” http://www.livescience.com

[15] Goudarzi, S., (November 2006) “Homosexual Animals Out of the Closet,” http://www.livescience.com

[16] Please read by other article on gay genes at https://matthew2262.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/born-that-way/

[17] Barber, N., (June 2009) “Gay Animals,” http://www.psychologytoday.com

[18] Goudarzi, S., (November 2006) “Homosexual Animals Out of the Closet,” http://www.livescience.com

[19] LeVay, S., (1996) Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality (MIT Press;Cambridge,MA, pp. 209.

[20] Mooallem, J., (March 2010) “Can Animals Be Gay?” http://www.nytimes.com

[21] Moskowitz, C., (May 2008) “Same Sex Couples Common in the Wild,” http://www.livescience.com

[22]Anderson, D., (November 2006) “Homosexual Animals: Using ‘Science’ to Push a Political Agenda.” Creation.com

[23] Moskowitz, C., (May 2008) “Same Sex Couples Common in the Wild,” http://www.livescience.com

[24] Skell, P., (August 2005) “Why Do We Invoke Darwin? Evolution Theory Contributes Little To Experimental Biology,” The Scientist, 19(16), pp. 10.

[25] Mooallem, J., (March 2010) “Can Animals Be Gay?” http://www.nytimes.com

[26] Smith, D., (February 2004) “Love That Dare Not Squeak It’s Name,” The New York Times

[27] Symons, D., (1979) The Evolution of Human Sexuality,” Oxford University Press,New York: NY, pp.60.

[28]Anderson, D., (November 2006) “Homosexual Animals: Using ‘Science’ to Push a Political Agenda.” Creation.com

[29] Solimeo, L.S.,  (September 2010) “The Animal Homosexuality Myth,” http://www.narth.com

[30] Solimeo, L.S.,  (September 2010) “The Animal Homosexuality Myth,” http://www.narth.com

[31] Smith, D., (February 2004) “Love That Dare Not Squeak It’s Name,” The New York Times

[32] “Exploding the Myth of Constitutional Homosexuality,” National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, http://www.narth.com

[33] Mooallem, J., (March 2010) “Can Animals Be Gay?” http://www.nytimes.com

[34] Whitehead,  N., (September 2010) “’Gay’ Ram Claims Questioned By NARTH Leader,” http://www.NARTH.com

[35] Whitehead,  N., (September 2010) “’Gay’ Ram Claims Questioned By NARTH Leader,” http://www.NARTH.com

[36] Whitehead, N.,  “Is Ram Behavior Evidence of ‘Natural’ Homosexuality?” http://www.mygenes.co.nz

[37] Whitehead,  N., (September 2010) “’Gay’ Ram Claims Questioned By NARTH Leader,” http://www.NARTH.com

[38] Schultz, J.L., (Summer 2002) “Getting Over the Hump,” ASPCA Animal Watch, http://www.petfinder.org

[39] Schultz, J.L., (Summer 2002) “Getting Over the Hump,” ASPCA Animal Watch, http://www.petfinder.org

[40] “Gay Puppy?” Focinhos Online, www2.uol.com.br/focinhos/petsnodiva/index.shtml.

[41] Whitehead,  N., (September 2010) “’Gay’ Ram Claims Questioned By NARTH Leader,” http://www.NARTH.com

[42] Whitehead, N.,  “Is Ram Behavior Evidence of ‘Natural’ Homosexuality?” http://www.mygenes.co.nz

[43] Wall, T., (August 2011) “Zebra Finch Bro-mance Trumps Mating,” news.discovery.com

[44] Lucentini, J., (February 2001) “In Search of the ‘Gay Gene,’” http://www.washingtonpost.com

[45]Anderson, D., (November 2006) “Homosexual Animals: Using ‘Science’ to Push a Political Agenda.” Creation.com

[46] Waal, F., (March 1995) “Bonobo Sex and Society,” Scientific American, pp. 88

[47] Mooallem, J., (March 2010) “Can Animals Be Gay?” http://www.nytimes.com

[48] Mooallem, J., (March 2010) “Can Animals Be Gay?” http://www.nytimes.com

[49] Mooallem, J., (March 2010) “Can Animals Be Gay?” http://www.nytimes.com

[50] Solimeo, L.S.,  (September 2010) “The Animal Homosexuality Myth,” http://www.narth.com

[51] Symons, D., (1979) The Evolution of Human Sexuality,” Oxford University Press,New York: NY, pp.60.

[52] Wilson, E.O., (1975) Sociobiology: The New Synthesis,HarvardUniversity Press;Cambridge,MA, pp. 281.

[53] Simon LeVay, (1996) Queer Science: The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality, MIT Press;Cambridge,MA,  pp. 207

[54] Prado, A., “Aspects of Homosexuality and Medical Difficulties,” Nuestro Tiempo, Jul.-Aug. 1995, pp. 82-89.

[55] Solimeo, L.S.,  (September 2010) “The Animal Homosexuality Myth,” http://www.narth.com

[56] Bagemihl, B., (1999) Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, St. Martin’s Press;New York,NY, Pp.2.

[57] Mooallem, J., (March 2010) “Can Animals Be Gay?” http://www.nytimes.com

[58] Bruto Maria Bruti, “Questions and Answers on the Issue of Homosexuality,www.paginecattoliche.it/domande-_omosessualita.htm.

[59] Whitehead, N.,  “Is Ram Behavior Evidence of ‘Natural’ Homosexuality?” http://www.mygenes.co.nz

Yesterday when I turned on the TV a show called “The Doctors” was on. On the screen were two images of brain scans showing patterns in brain activity between heterosexual males and females. There was quite a difference between the two. Then they showed the brain scan of a homosexual male, whose brain activity was very similar to the heterosexual females. Alas, the Doctors concluded homosexuals are born homosexuals. The brain scans show it as a biological fact!

That very same day while doing research for genetic causes of age longevity I came across an online article that stated that homosexuality was inherited and therefore genetic. That same day, while flipping through my human genetics text I incidentally came across a section about the possibility of homosexuality being inherited. That’s a lot in one day! Needless to say my curiosity was peaked enough by this time to look much further into it. I’ll be honest, I was curious myself. Are homosexuals born homosexuals, or do they become homosexuals? Is it a choice or predetermined by genes? After a lot of research I found that the answer is both yes and no. Like most topics in genetics and biology, the more we come to discover, the more complicated things are. As geneticist and gene therapist Rick Lewis writes, “Homosexuality at a genetic level is hard to explain because the person’s phenotype and genotype are consistent, but physical attraction is towards the same sex.”[1]

But before we can go forward, bad science needs to be weeded out first. There are so many “evidences” used to support and deny genetic causes of homosexuality that are poor, but widely distributed. Thank you mainstream media! The brain is an excellent example. The brain scans shown on the Doctors show do not show proof that homosexuality is genetic or biologically rooted, they only show commonalities in brain activity patterns. They show an effect, not a cause. If those brain scans are evidence of genetic causes then I could just as easily point to a gay man kissing a man, and a woman kissing a man and say “Eureka, similar patterns! Proof homosexuality is genetic!” Also, how large was the sample of men and women, homo and hetero used in the study? Why didn’t we see an image of the lesbian woman’s brain activity patterns? These are all things that need to be considered when presented with such “evidences.” As Dr. Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist and self-proclaimed homosexual himself states, ““The alternative — that the difference resides only in patterns of brain activity — has been ruled out, because sexual orientation remains unchanged after all brain activity has been temporarily halted.”[2]

As far as the factoids I stumbled across online and the text from my human genetics textbook, they spoke of identical twin testing. Testing which proves to be a much more concrete study than just brain activity patterns. Results from a study back in 1993 (one that has been countless times revisited and retested), identical twins are twice as likely to be homosexual than are same-sex fraternal twins.[3] This experiment was conducted by Dean Hamer, a researcher for the National Cancer Institute. He studied 40 pairs of homosexual brothers. He found that X Chromosomes in 33 of the pairs were the same, and concluded that homosexuality is linked to the X chromosome, though the gene responsible itself was never identified.[4] Many studies done afterwards on identical twins provided less optimistic results, but concluded the same: There is a genetic factor for homosexuality.

Back to the brains. There are regions of the brain that are in fact different sizes between homosexual males and heterosexual males.[5] This research was brought to the public by LeVay in 1991. Studying the cadavers of gay and straight men he found an area in the brain called the anterior hypothalamus (called INAH-3) was much smaller in gay men than straight men.[6] A study by William Byne of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City turned up similar results.[7] Many have used this finding as further evidence that homosexuality is deeply rooted in biological and genetic factors.

William Reiner, a psychiatrist at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, concludes that there is a genetic factor to gender identity after his experience with sexually deformed children. When children are born with deformities, for example boys with a deformed penis, they are often surgically castrated and raised as girls in an effort to give them a life less painful than being raised as a boy with a deformed penis. Many of these boys never take to being a female despite being treated like one and given estrogen therapy. This lead Reiner to conclude that environment isn’t the cause of our gender identity and therefore it must be genetically determined.[8]

As R. Elizabeth Cornwall, a psychology professor at the Universityof Coloradotestifies, “The evidence for the biological basis for homosexuality is very, very strong. It’s coming from a lot of different areas. The religious right has been very, very successful at creating controversy where there is none. The scientists who study in this area, it’s not a question that there’s a biological component, it’s just how that biological component is working.”[9] Or as Dr. Alan Sanders, a psychiatric geneticist at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute puts it, “”I think the evidence is pretty convincing already that a substantial contribution to sexual orientation comes from genetics. It’s probably the single biggest factor that we know about.”[10]

An In Depth Look

 

Clearly genetics is linked to homosexuality. But in order for someone to make the claim that someone is “born that way,” biological factors have to be the ONLY cause. Note that Dr. Sanders said that genetics are a “substantial” contributor, but not the sole contributor. As Dr. Brian Mustanski, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois believes, “Since sexual orientation is such a complex trait, we’re never going to find any one gene that determines whether someone is gay or not. It’s going to be a combination of various genes acting together as well as possibly interacting with environmental influences.”[11] Dr. Mustanksi opens the door for the possibility for outside environmental influences.

Let us go back to the twin studies. Geneticist Sven Bocklandt of the David Geffen School of Medicine of UCLA (and protégé of Hamer) is also conducting genetic research on twins based on Hamer’s study. The DNA in identical twins are the same, but their genes are not always, which is why he believes you can have in some cases both twins come out gay, or just one of the twins come out gay. This is due to methylation. You may inherit genes from your mother and genes from your father, but methylation determines which of those genes is active and which are not, and methylation is influenced by diet and environment.[12] So even if one truly believes homosexuality is rooted in genetics environment still comes into play.

But the twin studies conducted by Hamer has been and still is challenged and overturned. Dr. George Rice, a neuroscientist at the Universityof Western Ontarioreplicated Hamer’s study on twins and completely overturned it.[13] Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director for the National Institute for Health, remarked that Hamer’s study “grabbed headlines” but was “widely overstated.”[14] Dr. William M. Byne, Director of the Laboratory of Neuroanatomy and Morphometrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine wrote of Hamer’s study, “Thirty-three of 40 pairs of gay brothers the researchers studied inherited the same version of this chromosome region—significantly more than the 20 pairs (half) expected by chance … [but the researchers] warned against making too much of their results, however ‘We have never thought that finding a genetic link makes sexual orientation a simple genetic trait like eye colour. It’s much more complex than that.’ … seven of the original 40 pairs of brothers did not share the same version of this critical region, for example. And other studies have shown that even the identical twin of a gay man has only a 50 per cent chance of being gay himself. So Hamer’s gene, whatever it turns out to be, is neither necessary nor sufficient to determine homosexual orientation.”[15]

Hamer was not the only one to conduct twin studies though, many have and continue to test twins for genetic correlations. A recent study in 2008 revealed that 27% of homosexuality in genetically contributed. But the error range for the study was 95% meaning that genetic contribution could be much lower. The study also reveled that non-shared environmental contributions greatly predominate, and are in that case the largest causes of same-sex attraction (SSA).[16] Biochemist Dr. Neil Whitehead writes of the report, “Are genetic contribution results of say 27% important? No. In the twin studies world the influence would be classified as weak to modest. And any influence is indirect – it is likely to be something like an innate tendency to be very sensitive to the opinions of others. However, even this weak or modest genetic contribution is probably greatly overstated.” And furthermore, “Twin studies are favorites of mine because of the potential light they throw on the origins of same-sex attractions (SSA). The latest one (Santtila et al., 2008) is three times larger than any previous study – in fact, larger than all the rest put together. Does this latest study teach us something new? Quick answer: No. It confirms the best recent studies, which tell us that genetic factors are minor; non-genetic factors are major.”[17]

Another study conducted earlier in 2002 by Yale and Columbiaresearchers Bearman and Bruekner published in the American Journal of Sociology found that the genetic contribution was zero and that chance was a very important factor. If one male twin had SSA, there was a 7% chance the co-twin had SSA, for females the results drop to 5%. Why are these results so different from others? The researchers stated that other studies were conducted from volunteers, and therefore there was a bias. Bearman and Bruekner’s study consisted of a more random sample, and thus results were much lower.[18]

Collins writes of twin studies as follows, “An area of particularly strong public interest is the genetic basis of homosexuality. Evidence from twin studies does in fact support the conclusion that heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality. However, the likelihood that the identical twin of a homosexual male will also be gay is about 20% (compared with 2-4 percent of males in the general population), indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.”[19]

As for LeVay’s study of the anterior hypothalamus INAH-3, a smaller INAH-3 in the brain is like the evidence of brain activity patterns mentioned earlier; it is only evidence of effect not cause. All we can conclude from LeVay’s study is that homosexuality and smaller INAH-3s are associated. There is no proof that a smaller INAH-3 causes homosexuality. Besides one could simply argue the opposite; that homosexuality causes the INAH-3 to shrink. When Byne completed the study of the INAH-3 he found that though they were indeed smaller in gay men, they contained the same number of nerve cells as straight men. Since nerve cells of the INAH-3 only develop in the earliest stages of brain development in the womb, the size of the INAH-3 must be determined sometime later.[20]

It should also be understood that measuring this brain structure is very difficult considering it is smaller than a snowflake, and we still are determining the exact function of INAH-3. Some researchers use volume to measure INAH-3, some use neurons.[21] Biologist, Psychologist and Licensed Clinical Counselor Dr. Jerry Bergman writes the following on this study, “If LeVay’s research is valid, it indicates that homosexuality is caused by a biological pathology, since he found that the INAH 2 and 3 (the preoptic nuclei) was much smaller in homosexual compared to normal heterosexual males, indicating it is caused by disease, hormone imbalance or some other abnormality. If it is caused by pathological conditions, it is not normal.”[22]

As far as Reiner’s study of deformed children, he was working only with children establishing gender identity, not sexual orientation/SSA. One could use his study to support that gender identity has underlying genetic causes, but not SSA. It is surprising how often his work is brought up in the realm of this debate despite being a completely different topic. The reasoning is thought to be because the layman tends to get gender identity and sexual orientation confused, unable to distinguish the difference between the two. It is in understanding sexual orientation, and specifically SSA, that we can learn that its cause, although linked to genetics, has a multitude of causative factors.

SSA Causative Factors

 

According to Lewis, there are stages at which we develop certain identities. Our genetic sexual identity (XX or XY) is established at fertilization. Our phenotype sexual identity (reproductive organs) is distinguished after 8 weeks of fertility and continues to develop through puberty. Gender Identity (feelings of being male or female [Reiner’s study]) is established during childhood. And lastly, sexual orientation (attraction to the same or opposite sex) is determined during childhood.[23] Why does it take so long for sexual orientation to become established if it is claimed to be “predetermined” genetically? Sexual orientation cannot be established any earlier because we’re dealing with children. Infants do not have a sexual preference from the womb that can be measured or known. Sexual orientation is a development that occurs overtime, and because it develops overtime it is therefore influenced by environment.

Licensed family therapist and Assistant Professor of Psychology atPalm BeachAtlanticUniversity, Dr. Julie Harren writes that sexual orientation (and more specifically homosexual orientation) is establish from a multitude of factors that all come together in the form of an equation:

Genes + Brain Wiring + Prenatal Hormonal Environment = Temperament
Parents + Peers + Experiences = Environment
Temperament + Environment = Homosexual Orientation[24]

As you can see above, there are many factors that come into play through the process of homosexual development. Bergman writes on the following subject, “An enormous amount of research has been completed on the influence on homosexuality of such factors as passive fathers, domineering mothers, marital relationship abnormalities, closeness and similarity of siblings, relationships with peers, adolescent sexual experiences, feminine interests in males and masculine interests in females while growing up, and numerous other factors. So far, a consistent pattern has not been determined. Likely numerous factors exist which influence homosexual development, any one of which is often not critical. Suffice to say that all of the factors that have been proposed and have been to some degree documented as influential are regarded in Western society as pathological, that is, a domineering, overbearing mother and a weak, passive, ineffective father.

Regardless of the validity of these studies, they all point to pathology in interpersonal relationships as an important or influencing factor in the development of homosexual behavioural tendencies. No one has noted that loving siblings and parental relationships in which the power is equitably shared causes homosexuality, although some have noted that this environment will not necessarily preclude a child from developing homosexual tendencies. …a variety of experiences, many of which have little to do with the person himself or herself, can cause one to become a homosexual, depending on the degree that one’s early diffuse sex drive is conditioned toward persons of the same sex and away from persons of the opposite sex.”[25]

I think it is safe to conclude that there is no one sole cause for homosexuality. Trying to say so is to ignore the observable complexity of the issue. What is observable is a highly complex matrix of potential influences that individually are not significant, but in combination can produce a wide variety of orientations, which is probably why the outcome is not as simple as gay or straight, but instead gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered, etc. What we should ask ourselves is why does homosexuality need to be biological? Why are advocates of homosexuality trying to push a genetic cause?

Why Fight For A Genetic Cause?

Our culture is one that is overall not very accepting of the homosexual culture. Granted, compared to other countries and civilizations one could argue thatAmericais incredibly tolerant and accepting of homosexuals. Regardless there is this predominant mindset and agenda being spread that homosexuality is predetermined. That gays and lesbians are born that way. The reasoning behind which is obvious; if people are born gay, how can you justify any form of mistreatment, prejudice, or dislike of them? After all, they can’t control what they are. The agenda is to force acceptance, hence why so many are striving to promote “evidence,” genetic or otherwise, that gay people are born gay.

Biologist Ruth Hubbard writes, “… many people seem to believe that homosexuality would be more accepted if it were shown to be inborn. Randy Shilts, a gay journalist, has said that a biological explanation ‘would reduce being gay to something like being left-handed, which is in fact all that it is…’ Questions about the origins of homosexuality would be of little interest if it were not a stigmatized behavior. We do not ask comparable questions about ‘normal’ sexual preferences. … Still, many gay people welcome biological explanations and, in recent years, much of the search for biological components in homosexuality has been carried out by gay researchers.”[26]

Dr. A. Dean Byrd, a psychologist and former president of the National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, writes, “Unfortunately, much of the research in areas such as homosexuality, has been not only misrepresented in the media but by the scientists themselves through the tendency to overestimate the quantitative contribution of their findings.”[27] Or as Michael Bailey, a psychology professor for Northwestern University and researcher for the “gay gene” writes, “People are going to make a big deal out of this because people are obsessed with this topic. We obviously find this topic very interesting, but people often make more than they should of these kinds of results.”[28]

Another thing to be considered is the actual genetic causes in question. Many of the genetic links associated with homosexuality, that advocates are so quick to propagate for the “born gay” agenda, are in fact abnormalities. Dr. John Shea, medical advisor for the Campaign Life Coalition writes, “If correct the theories would thus show the opposite of the normalcy of homosexuality, which the mainstream media are attempting to posit with the coverage… ‘I was born abnormal, and therefore I’m normal’ is not good logic.”[29]

On this topic, Bergman writes, “Even if a biological factor exists for some persons, it is another question altogether as to whether homosexual behaviour is desirable or even acceptable. Change is admittedly difficult, but the level of success in treating other sexual disorders such as pedophilia is also extremely low. The latter individuals also claim that they have strong attractions for young children, and have minimal or no attraction to adults of the opposite sex. Some indications also exist that pedophilia may be biologically influenced. This alone would not argue that laws against pedophilia behaviour should be rescinded, or that this behaviour is a normal, acceptable sexual preference. If it were shown that many behaviours now classified as abnormal, including sadomasochism, various fetishes, coprophilia, necrophilia, etc., are likewise influenced by biological factors, this may help us to understand persons who indulge in these practices, but it would likely carry little weight in convincing society to embrace these behavioural forms as normal or desirable.”[30]

So even if we could conclude with certainty that homosexuals are in fact “born that way,” it still should not change how we approach homosexuality. But since it is evidently not genetically predetermined we should no longer latch on to the theory that being born gay will in anyway help homosexuality inAmerica. Believing that to prove being born gay will settle all problems related to homosexuality in poor logic and bad science.

Research scientist for thePalo AltoResearchCenter, Nick Yee writes, “In this crossfire of whether homosexuality is genetic, I contend that our finding of a gay gene will not really get us anywhere in the debate. This is because we know that bad things can be genetic. For example, the mental retardation that accompanies Down Syndrome is caused by a genetic defect. So is cystic fibrosis that causes problems in human respiration. Accompanied by other abnormalities such as color-blindness or Klein-Felters, the list of genetically caused defects is not short. Even if a gay gene were found, this would not grant homosexuality moral or social acceptability because it could still be regarded as a defect or an abnormality.

        Some homosexuals also feel that finding a gay gene might diminish prevalent homophobia. This is also a naïve view. Racism has not diminished because we know that blackness or whiteness is genetic. Sexism exists even though we know that sex is genetic. Since finding a gay gene will neither make homosexuality morally or socially acceptable nor will it diminish homophobia, it is clearly the wrong place to be looking. The gay gene debate and arguments over whether it is genetic or not are superfluous and can have no real impact on the important aspects of the discussion of whether homosexuality should be acceptable.”[31]

Evolution and Homosexuality

Now we come to another problem on this topic that further undoes the born gay theory; evolution. If homosexuality has its roots only in genetic and biological causes than it overturns evolution simply because it still persists! Evolution would require only the most beneficial traits for survival and reproduction to be passed on through natural selection. If homosexuals don’t produce offspring, for obvious reasons, than how could their genes be passed on for millions of years?

Bailey writes, “Frankly, the biggest problem of the genetic possibilities is the evolutionary problem. And I don’t think that Dean [Hamer] has taken that problem seriously enough.”[32] Lee Ellis, a sociologist for Minot State University, writes of homosexuality being rare, “Evolution isn’t very good at explaining oddities.”[33] Bergman writes, “Since nature would consistently select those organisms with stronger heterosexual drives, it would become stronger and stronger until it would eventually become the all-encompassing human drive, more important than food and other life preservation needs. Evolution would not select for length of life beyond childbearing years, but primarily for the number of offspring that an individual was able to produce… Homosexuality would obviously usually not produce higher levels of reproduction than heterosexuality—evolutionary selection would consistently work in the opposite direction, selecting for heterosexuality—and any biological factors positively influencing homosexual feelings would rapidly be selected out. Homosexuality is thus not easy to explain from this world view.”[34]

Though many scientists have tried to rationalize homosexuality and evolution their theories are always incredibly vague, full of loop holes, and/or dependant on very creative speculations of human homosexuality millions of years ago, and therefore easily refuted. This has in fact lead many evolutionists to conclude that homosexuality is in fact influenced by environmental, sociological, and physiological causes as well. After all, genetically alone, it cannot be explained via evolution. It pushes one into a corner. If you believe homosexuality is purely genetic you must deny evolution. If you believe in evolution, you must deny homosexuality is purely genetic.

This does open the door to the possibility that a creationist could believe that homosexuality is purely genetic. Couldn’t God have created people gay? And if a gay gene was to be found hypothetically, doesn’t that mean God is creating people gay? This would of course overlook two topics in the scripture of the Bible. One being that homosexuality is not approved of by God, and two, we live in a fallen world cursed with sin. After all, children are born everyday with all kinds of genetic disorders which we never attribute to God, but instead the effects of a sin cursed world. So even if we were to find a gay gene that still doesn’t mean God intended or wanted them to be that way. To do so would suggest that God intentionally wanted a child to be born with autism or a chromosome disorder. As Bergman writes, “The Creator-designed sexual orientation is heterosexual, and any deviation from this must be due to an aberration in either biological or psychological development.”[35]

Homosexuals Against the “Born Gay” Theory

 

There tends to be a generalization made in reading articles like these in that the author and all noted doctors and scientists quoted are anti-homosexual, and are therefore hell bent on destroying homosexual progress. But the “born gay” theory is opposed by homosexuals as well, which should not be overlooked on this topic.

Karla Mantilla, an author for the lesbian-feminist journal Off Our Backs: A Woman’s News Journal, wrote, “Of course it’s a choice—how could it not be?”[36] Gay writer Joe Sartelle writes, “”I think that the popularity of biological accounts of homosexual desire among gay people has to be understood as a way of coping with deeply-rooted homophobia. What else can it be when we defend ourselves by saying things like, “Do you think anybody would choose to be this way?” This is a defensive position, one that implicitly accepts that there is something wrong with homosexuality, that it is indeed an abnormality which demands to be explained.”[37] A multitude of resources for the viewpoint that homosexuality is a choice and not genetically predetermined can be found at http://www.queerbychoice.com.

 

Why Does It Matter?

 

The “Born Gay” Theory needs to be addressed for multiple reasons: 1) To believe in such is simply put, bad science. 2) Believing in such will not help the homosexuals inAmerica(in fact, many argue that finding a primary genetic cause will lead to genetic testing of embryos that would influence abortion and could lead to the eventual extermination of homosexuals). 3) This belief destroys the possibility of therapy for homosexuality because it falsely asserts that you cannot change who you are.

As Harren writes, “The inaccurate concept that homosexuality is solely biological is extremely misleading. Many therapists tell their clients that homosexuality is biological and therefore unchangeable. These therapists encourage their clients to embrace a gay identity, even when such clients are seeking change for their orientation. In doing so, therapists negate clients’ rights to self-determination. Clients have the right to choose their own goals for therapy and should be allowed to pursue the path they desire. Clients should not be discouraged from pursuing change when change is what they seek. In order for clients to have the options made available to them, it is vital that therapists as well as clients become better educated on this issue.”[38]

The therapy for homosexuals itself is heavily criticized by activists because it asserts that homosexuality is a problem that needs to be corrected. Advocates for therapy on the other hand assert that is a choice that can be corrected. And that giving homosexuals the opportunity to change their orientation should not be frowned upon. But it is hard to formulate your own unbiased opinion on the matter when the media has been overwhelmingly biased on the issue. As Byrd writes, “Whenever any form of reorientation therapy is discussed in the mainstream media, it usually involves someone who either never went through such therapy, or went through a faith-based process and became disillusioned. This is poor journalism and doesn’t serve the public. Consumers of print media and broadcast media deserve better information. We are asking for a fair hearing of our work – not distortions or characterizations.”[39]

It is in fact the reparative therapy of homosexuals itself that further dismantles the “born gay” theory. After all, if homosexuality is a purely genetic or biologically caused behavior, how can it be treated? The National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuals has a long list of successful cases of rehabilitation. There is the successful PFOX (Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays) non-profit organization. There is also faith-based rehabilitation programs like HA (Homosexuals Anonymous). To account all the men and women that by self testimony declared themselves to have been treated for homosexuality clearly demonstrates that homosexuality is not purely genetic.

The Final Say

 

To conclude, let us ask the question again: Is there genetic or biological proof that people are born gay?

LeVay writes, “Although efforts have been made to establish the biological basis of sexual orientation, for example, by the application of cytogenetic, endocrinological, or neuroanatomical methods, these efforts have largely failed to establish any consistent differences between homosexual and heterosexual individuals.”[40]

Byne writes, “What evidence exists thus far of innate biological traits underlying homosexuality is flawed.”[41]

Bergman writes, “The extant empirical research supports the creationists’ hypothesis, concluding that homosexuality is due either to environmental, social or physiological pathology. The research which indicates biological factors are involved in homosexuality does not conclude that biology is destiny, only that certain abnormal factors, both genetic and environmental, influence the development of the eventual sexual response. That these are abnormal supports the conclusion that the Creator designed a sexual response which fulfills the goal to reproduce, multiply and bond, and that other sexual responses are not designed, but are the result of pathological factors.”[42]

Harren writes, “Although not supported by the research, many therapists believe that homosexuality is solely biological in nature, and therefore unchangeable. Yet despite ongoing efforts, researchers have not discovered a biological basis for same-sex attractions. In fact, many researchers hypothesize that a homosexual orientation stems from a combination of biological and environmental factors.”[43]

Whitehead writes, “Genes are responsible for an indirect influence, but on average, they do not force people into homosexuality. This conclusion has been well known in the scientific community for a few decades but has not reached the general public. Indeed, the public increasingly believes the opposite.”[44]

And even Bocklandt points out that after 14 years of research there has been no evidence that genes are the sole cause of homosexuality and no one has yet to pinpoint the base pairs that could cause it.[45]

In conclusion I think it is most appropriate to assert that there are a wide variety of causes for homosexuality, and though our genetics play a role in the equation, the role is a very small role. Is this good or bad to gay the community? I’d say neither, it is neutral. For Christians it doesn’t matter whether homosexuality is genetic or not because it doesn’t change Christian theology. But one thing is for sure: There is no one that will benefit from maintaining the unscientific notion that people are “born gay.”


[1] Lewis, R., (2008) “Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications,”McGraw-Hill,New York:NY, pp. 113

[2] LeVay, S.,  (September 2000) “The ‘Gay’ Brain Revisited,” http://www.nerve.com

[3] Lewis, R., (2008) “Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications,”McGraw-Hill,New York:NY, pp. 114

[4] Lewis, R., (2008) “Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications,”McGraw-Hill,New York:NY, pp. 114

[5] Lewis, R., (2008) “Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications,”McGraw-Hill,New York:NY, pp. 114

[6] LeVay, S.,  (September 2000) “The ‘Gay’ Brain Revisited,” http://www.nerve.com

[7] Abrams, M., (June 2007) “The Real Story on Gay Genes,” http://www.discovermagazine.com

[8] Hendricks, M., (September 2000) “In The Hands of Babes,” John Hopkins Magazine, http://www.jhu.edu

[9] (August 2006) “Media Campaign In Colorado Waged Over ‘Born Gay’ Theory,” http://www.narth.com

[10] Sherr, L., & Diamond, J., (March 2008) “Is There A ‘Gay Gene?’” http://www.abcnews.go.com

[11] (January 2005) “Is There A ‘Gay Gene?’ New Genetic Regions Associated with Male Sexual Orientation Found,” http://www.webmd.com

[12] Abrams, M., (June 2007) “The Real Story on Gay Genes,” http://www.discovermagazine.com

[13] Abrams, M., (June 2007) “The Real Story on Gay Genes,” http://www.discovermagazine.com

[14] Byrd, A.D., (April 2007) “’Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired;’ Concludes Dr. Francis S. Collins, Head of the Human Genome Project,” http://www.narth.com

[15] Byne, W., (1994) “The Biological Evidence Challenged,” Scientific American 270(5):26-31, pp. 26.

[16] Santtila, P., Sandnabba, N.K., Harlaar, N., Varjonen, M., Alanko, K., & von der Pahlen, B. (2008). “Potential for homosexual response is prevalent and genetic,” Biological Psychology, 77(1), pp. 102-105

[17] Whitehead, N.E., (December 2010) “Latest Twin Study Confirms Genetic Contribution to SSA is Minor,” http://www.narth.com

[18] Bearman, P.S., & Bruckner, H., (2002) “Opposite-sex twins and adolescent same-sex attraction,” American Journal of Sociology 107,  pp. 1179-1205.

[19] Byrd, A.D., (April 2007) “’Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired;’ Concludes Dr. Francis S. Collins, Head of the Human Genome Project,” http://www.narth.com

[20] LeVay, S.,  (September 2000) “The ‘Gay’ Brain Revisited,” www.nerve.com

[21] LeVay, S., (1991) “A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men.” Science 253:1034–1037, pp. 1034.

[22] Bergman, J., ( April, 1995) “Creationism and the Problem of Homosexual Behavior,” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[23] Lewis, R., (2008) “Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications,”McGraw-Hill,New York:NY, pp. 114

[24] Harren, J., “Homosexuality 101: What Every Therapist, Parent and Homosexual Should Know,” http://www.narth.com

[25] Bergman, J., ( April, 1995) “Creationism and the Problem of Homosexual Behavior,” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[26] Hubbard, R. & Wald, E., (1993) Exploding the Gene Myth: How genetic information is produced and manipulated by scientists, physicians, employers, insurance companies, educators, and law enforcers, Beacon Press, Boston; MA, pp. 94-95.

[27] Byrd, A.D., (April 2007) “’Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired;’ Concludes Dr. Francis S. Collins, Head of the Human Genome Project,” http://www.narth.com

[28] Rudansky, A., (April 2010) “NU Prof. Bailey Researching Possible ‘Gay Gene,’” http://www.dailynorthwestern.com

[29] Weston, J.H., (June 2006) “If Gay Brother Research is Correct It Shows Homosexuality Is Not Normal,” http://www.lifesitenews.com

[30] Bergman, J., ( April, 1995) “Creationism and the Problem of Homosexual Behavior,” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[31] Yee, N., “Will A Gay Gene Get Us Anywhere?” http://www.nickyee.com

[32] Abrams, M., (June 2007) “The Real Story on Gay Genes,” http://www.discovermagazine.com

[33] Lucentini, J., (February 2001) “In Search of the ‘Gay Gene,’” The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

[34] Bergman, J., ( April, 1995) “Creationism and the Problem of Homosexual Behavior,” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[35] Bergman, J., ( April, 1995) “Creationism and the Problem of Homosexual Behavior,” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[36] Mantilla, K., (1999) “Biology My Ass,” Off Our Backs: A Woman’s News Journal, as noted at http://www.queerbychoice.com

[37] Sartelle, J., (May 1994) “Rejecting the Gay Brain (and Choosing Homosexuality),” Bad Subjects, No. 14 as noted at http://www.queerbychoice.com

[38] Harren, J., “Homosexuality 101: What Every Therapist, Parent and Homosexual Should Know,” http://www.narth.com

[39] NARTH Press Release (May 2007) “NARTH Urges Media to Accurately Report on Reparative Therapy,” http://www.narth.com

[40] LeVay, S., (1991) “A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men,” Science 253:1034–1037, pp. 1034.

[41] Byne, W., (1994) “The biological evidence challenged,” Scientific American 270(5):26-31, pp. 26.

[42] Bergman, J., ( April, 1995) “Creationism and the Problem of Homosexual Behavior,” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[43] Harren, J., “Homosexuality 101: What Every Therapist, Parent and Homosexual Should Know,” http://www.narth.com

[44] Whitehead, N.E., “The Importance of Twin Studies,” http://www.narth.com

[45] Abrams, M., (June 2007) “The Real Story on Gay Genes,” http://www.discovermagazine.com

Fight or flight? Probably one of the most debated moral subjects of the Bible is in regards to violence. This subject alone has divided the church into a few different denominations. Christian groups like the Mennonites and Quakers refuse to fight based off Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.[1] Most other groups seem to be more willing to engage in warfare, but it seems to be based on relative circumstances church to church and person to person. I myself have struggled with this question ever since I became a Christian. It is, simply put, a large gray area. Can violence be justified or is it never justified? Is killing only wrong when innocence lives are at stake and how do we determine innocence? Can’t one kill to defend themself? Most of life’s questions for a Christian are easily answered in the text of the Bible. But in this realm it is not easily answered.

Common practice for Christians regarding tough subjects like this is a “back to the Bible” mentality, looking at what the first Christians did to model how Christians today should be conducting themselves. In the Roman Army, those that converted to Christianity were asked to no longer kill and instead ask for forgiveness for past killings.[2] Even early Christians that often disagreed with each other such as Origen and Tertullian both agreed in Christians should not enter military service.[3] Sure enough, the first Christians did not enter military service. In fact, the first documented Christians to join military service was in AD 300.[4] And this was only after Constantine, a Christian Emperor, came to power. Not to be ignored is the Roman centurion mentioned in Acts 10 that becomes a Christian yet it is never written that he leaves his profession. One can only speculate if he did or not, and if not, does that suggest his profession was acceptable? This doesn’t settle the matter though, because even though the original Christians did not join the army, it cannot be ignored that it was the pagan Roman army they were not joining. An army that was constantly at war for various reasons. None of which were justifiable for Christians. So is fighting acceptable when justified, or is it never justified for the Christian man and woman?

One of the most influential Christians in American history, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arguably a pacifist, “I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self-defeating effects of physical violence. But in a day when sputniks and explorers are dashing through outer space and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can win a war. It is no longer the choice between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence…”[5] And furthermore, “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction…. The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”[6]

Ben Salmon writes of the true nature of Christianity, “Regardless of nationality, all men are brothers. God is “our Father who art in heaven.” The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” is unconditional and inexorable. … The lowly Nazarene taught us the doctrine of non-resistance, and so convinced was he of the soundness of that doctrine that he sealed his belief with death on the cross. When human law conflicts with Divine law, my duty is clear. Conscience, my infallible guide, impels me to tell you that prison, death, or both, are infinitely preferable to joining any branch of the Army.”[7]

But many disagree with this view of the nature of Christianity. “…there are others who wish to argue a philosophy of pacifism based upon the Bible. This is an unconscionable distortion of divine revelation. Whether defensive or preemptive, war is a necessary component of divine justice when evil rears its ugly head. The Bible teaches us that all Christians have a God-given responsibility to take a stand against wickedness for our good and His Glory. We have a right to protect our families and our possessions from murderers that mock the laws of the God of the Bible and exalt themselves.” –David Harrell.[8] It is clear that there is a strong case for both views.

Those who claim Christianity is a religion of pacifism look towards Jesus as the role model. Jesus is the Prince of Peace as mentioned Isaiah 9:6. Was there ever a time he was violent? The only time Jesus used physical force was when he cleaned out the temple in John 2:14-16, in which men were ripping off travelers selling them goods in the temple. Jesus cleared them all out by force. But this is a far cry killing of course. Outside of this one event, Jesus’ life was one of peace. So if we’re supposed to model ourselves off Jesus, and He was a man of peace, love and non-violence, then violence should not be an option for a Christian, right?

Here we come to the one thing that needs to be straightened out. Jesus was not passive. Yes he cleared out a temple with force and he “fought” in other non-violent ways for the souls of men as well. In the Gospel accounts Jesus is constantly confronting religious leaders. Especially in Luke 13:10-17. Author John Eldridge wrote the book “Wild At Heart” to break the image of Jesus being a passive wimp, and to recognize him as the strong warrior figure He is. He writes, “If you’re a leper, an outcast, a pariah of society whom no one has ever touched because you are “unclean,” if all you have ever longed for is just one kind word, then Christ is the incarnation of tender mercy. He reaches out and touches you. On the other hand, if you’re a Pharisee, one of the self-appointed doctrine police… watch out. On more than one occasion Jesus “picks a fight” with those notorious hypocrites.”[9] He writes further, “Christ draws the enemy out, exposes him for what he is, and shames him in front of everyone. The Lord is a gentleman??? Not if you’re in the service of the enemy. God has a battle to fight, and the battle is for our freedom… I wonder if the Egyptians who kept Israel under the whip would describe Yahweh as a Really Nice Guy? Plagues, pestilence, the death of every first born- that doesn’t seem very gentlemanly now, does it?”[10]

 The Bible speaks of Jesus in Revelation19:15saying, “Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” This shows the nature of Jesus as one who is not simply passive and gentle, but one who is a warrior. So if we are to model ourselves off Jesus, we cannot overlook this part of his character. Then again, the Bible says, “For we know Him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews10:30-31). Are we not to imitate this warrior Jesus, but instead wait and leave the fighting to him?

Hitler killed millions, but how many more would he have killed if not defeated in WWII. The atheist communist Stalin is claimed to be responsible for the deaths of 15-20 million people![11] Imagine how many lives could have been saved if he was stopped? Imagine how many Rwandans would have not died if the US stepped in to stop the Tutsis massacre. But we didn’t and 800,000 were slaughtered in less than a month.[12] When genocide is occurring, are we to stand-by and let them continue? How are we to stand before God and explain that we did nothing to try and end their killings? If we end a reign of terror are we not peacemakers? “Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God,” Matthew 5:9. I don’t think anyone would disagree with the prospect of ending genocide, so ending genocide doesn’t seem to be the contested question here. It’s the method by which we bring about its end.

Dave Hoekema, executive director of the American Philosophical Association, writes on the similarity and difference between Pacifist and Just-War Christians and their theology, “Pacifism and just-war theory reach different conclusions only in a narrow range of cases: both positions insist that Christians must strive always for healing and reconciliation and must act out of love for all, and both traditions unequivocally condemn the reasons—whether nationalism, territorial or economic gain, revenge or glory—for which nearly all wars have been fought. Yet the differences that exist are both theologically and politically significant. Just-war defenders argue that if all means short of violence have failed and organized violence promises to be a limited and effective means of reestablishing justice, Christians may participate in war. Pacifists insist that to resort to warfare, even for a moral end, is to adopt a means inconsistent with the Christian’s calling.”[13]

What is our calling? We are commanded to hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). In doing so we must take a stand against what is evil in this world and pursue righteousness (2 Timothy2:22). So we must fight, but the question is more appropriately, how should we fight?  In 2 Corinthians 10:4, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine powers to demolish strongholds.” So it appears our fighting should not be with weapons but with spirit, lining up with pacifist methodology. Jesus blessed the meek and asks us to forgive and love our enemies, turn the other cheek and return good for evil. How can we fight with these instructions?

According to David Harrell, “In every case when Jesus admonished these virtuous attitudes, the issue was always the need for a mortification of pride that inevitably seeks retaliation for personal offenses. Jesus’ passion was to call us to surrender our fanatical commitment to personal rights and vengeance and replace such attitudes with the love of Christ… In fact, war is an extension of capital punishment that God Himself instituted to maintain order and justice. This is well documented throughout Scripture.”[14] Harrell brings up a good point in that we must examine all of scripture, not just the New Testament. Without the Old Testament we cannot fully understand the role of Jesus for mankind. In the same way, we cannot fully understand Jesus’ teachings without understanding the Old Testament as well because Jesus is the son of God, and God does not change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). God’s stance on war and violence cannot be in contradiction with Jesus’ teaching, John 10:30.

Genesis 9:6 says, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed.” Exodus21:12states, “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.” This is confirmed by Jesus in the New Testament in Matthew 26:52 when Peter pulls out his sword to attack the temple guards that are arresting Jesus. He tells Peter to put away his sword stating, “all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” Deuteronomy17:13states that capital punishment is a deterrent to crime, “Then all people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again.” 

This may seem confusing because the OT also states in Exodus 20:13, “Thall shall not kill.” But the Hebrew word used in this passage literally translates into, “the intentional, premeditated killing of another person with malice; murder.”[15] So murder is wrong. But is war murder? God ordered the Israelites to go to war in 1 Samuel 15:3 and Joshua 4:131 Samuel 15:18 says, “Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.” Samson was used by God to fight the Philistines that had taken overIsrael. So obviously God is not against all war or else why would He command it? It seems that it is not killing in the broadest sense that is wrong, but murder that is wrong.

But if we fight with weapons, aren’t we denying Christ’s call for us to love everyone, even our enemies? We as Christians are to love everyone! As St. Macary said, “If a man loves all men passionately, but says only about one man that him he cannot love, the man who says this is no more a Christian, because his love is not all embracing.”[16] To clarify this, Communist prisoner Richard Wurmbrand writes, ““But Christians are more than just mere men; they are children of God, partakers in divine nature. Therefore, tortures endured in Communist prisons have not made me hate Communists. They are God’s creatures, how can I hate them? But neither can I be their friend. Friendship means one soul in two breasts. I am not one soul with the Communists. They hate the notion of God. I love God.”[17]

 I think this points out that we are to not hate our enemies. In not hating them we are loving them. Is it possible to fight an enemy without hatred of them? Is it possible to fight an enemy if you love them? One thing for certain is that it is possible to love another, while not submitting to them. To love thy enemy does not mean to not resist them. Though pacifists argue that pacifism is not passivity, and that it can and should be a force of resistance. That is, resistance that does not incorporate violence. Case in point; Ghandi’s protests inIndiaand Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s fight for civil rights. Though one may make the argument that not all “fights” can be won with pacifism, as the success stories mentioned are related to rights and liberty struggles, not mass murders and genocide. With that, when all options are exhausted, war must be utilized.

What would happen if Christians never resisted or fought back? After all, the world is filled with sin and evil and not everyone will come to Christ. As Wurmbrand writes, “I am not so naïve as to believe that love alone can solve these problems. I would not advise the authorities of a state to solve the problem of gangsterism only by love. There must be a police force, judges and prisons for gangsters- not just pastors. If gangsters do not repent, they must be jailed. I would never use the Christian phrase about ‘love’ to counteract the appropriate political, economic, or cultural fight against Communists and other tyrants, who are nothing but gangsters on an international scale. Gangsters steal a purse; they steal whole countries. But the pastor and the individual Christian have to do their best to bring to Christ rebellious nations- whatever crimes they commit- as well as their innocent victims. We have to pray for them with understanding.”[18] Wurmbrand brings up the need the for prisons, judges, and police. These are requirements for justice and enforced law. Something which many argue cannot be enforced without the threat of force.

David Harrell writes, “Love cannot exist without law, and law cannot exist without the sword.”[19] Harrell brings up a good point. Peace requires justice. And justice cannot prevail without strength as there will always be those who commit to injustice. The concept of justice is something that Martin Luther King Jr. declares is a necessity to peace, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”[20]

Justice and law can be enforced without hate, which is exactly what Christ commands us to do. The Christian is to not hate. As Wurmbrand writes, “Only love can change the Communist and the terrorist… Hatred blinds. Hitler was anti-Communist, but one who hated. Therefore, instead of conquering them, he helped them win one-third of the world.”[21] And, ““We must love our neighbors as ourselves. Communists and other persecutors are our neighbors as much as anyone else.”[22]

I still can’t help but ask the same questions though. Can war be waged without hate? I think it can. But can it be waged out of love for the enemy? Wurmbrand brought up an important argument, that not everyone will accept Christ, and not everyone will turn to good. We have to continue to love even those that will always remain an enemy. And if this is the case, does pacifism work? This brings a divide amongst pacifists and non-pacifists Christians in that we must question the nature of man. Ghandi questioned this himself, “If love or non-violence be not the law of our being, the whole of my argument falls to pieces”[23] In other words, if man is not inherently good, than pacifism will never succeed. This is an easy part for Christians which believe that through the fall of man, man is inherently evil at heart, needing the grace of God.

But this argument can go both ways. As Hoekema points out, “…realism about human nature cuts two ways: if it undermines a pacifism based on optimism, it also undermines the assumption that weapons of destruction and violence intended to restrain evil will be used only for that purpose. The reality of human sinfulness means that the instruments we intend to use for good are certain to be turned to evil purposes as well. There is therefore a strong presumption for using those means of justice that are least likely to be abused and least likely to cause irrevocable harm when they are abused. An army trained and equipped for national defense can quickly become an army of conquest or a tool of repression in the hands of an unprincipled leader.”[24] Ironically though, just such a leader, Joseph Stalin made the following statement about pacifism, “It would therefore be a mistake to think that “pacifism” signifies the liquidation of fascism. In the present situation, “pacifism” is the strengthening of fascism with its moderate, Social-Democratic wing pushed into the forefront.”[25]

So has anything been concluded? Or are we just left with more questions that we originally had? Here are the conclusions I reached: The nature of God and Jesus is one of a warrior that fights evil and upholds what is good. As Christians, we must rescue the souls of men and love all people, but we must prohibit them from harming innocent lives as well. We are not to be passive, but resist tyranny. The methods by which we resist encompass acts of love, mercy, forgiveness, but if these options alone do not do and our only remaining option is warfare, than we must engage in warfare. To say Jesus would never condone warfare is to deny God’s call to arms throughout the Old Testament, of which Jesus and God cannot be in contradiction. The only gray area left, is under which circumstances of which we should engage in war. And unfortunately this is where we are tested morally amidst the gray. But do not be mistaken, there will be times where we will need to engage in warfare, as there have been plenty of times in the past. As written in Ecclesiastes 3:8, “There is a time for war, and a time for peace.”


[1] Lang, J.S., (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc., Pp. 361

[2] Hoekema, D., “A Practical Christian Pacifism,” www.religion-online.org

[3] Hoekema, D., “A Practical Christian Pacifism,” www.religion-online.org

[4] Lang, J.S., (1999) “1001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible,”New York: Thomas Nelson Inc.,  Pp. 362

[5] “Social Justice and the Emerging New Age” address at the Herman W. Read Fieldhouse,WesternMichiganUniversity, (18 December 1963).

[6] King, M. L., (1967) “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”

[7] As quoted in Finney, T. (1989) “Unsung Hero of the Great War: The Life and Witness of Ben Salmon,” pp.118-119.

[8] Harrell, D. (2005) “Out of the Depths; A Survivor’s Story of the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis,” Xulon Press, Pp. xvii

[9] Eldredge, J., (2001) “Wild At Heart,” Thomas Nelson Inc.,Nashville, pp. 24.

[10] Eldredge, J., (2001) “Wild At Heart,” Thomas Nelson Inc.,Nashville, pp. 25.

[11] Naimark, N. M., “Russia, Stalin’s Crimes, and Genocide,” History News Network, www.hnn.us

[12] Ford, A. (Dec  9th, 2008) “A Brief History of Genocide,” www.time.com

[13] Hoekema, D., “A Practical Christian Pacifism,” www.religion-online.org

[14] Harrell, D. (2005) “Out of the Depths; A Survivor’s Story of the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis,” Xulon Press,  Pp. xvii-xix

[15] “What does the Bible say about War?” www.gotquestions.org/war-Bible.html

[16] Wurmbrand, R. (1967) “Tortured For Christ,” Living Sacrifice Book Company,Bartlesville,  pp. 54

[17] Wurmbrand, R. (1967) “Tortured For Christ,” Living Sacrifice Book Company,Bartlesville,  pp. 54

[18] Wurmbrand, R. (1967) “Tortured For Christ,” Living Sacrifice Book Company,Bartlesville,  pp. 146

[19] Harrell, D. (2005) “Out of the Depths; A Survivor’s Story of the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis,” Xulon Press,  Pp. xix

[20] As quoted from Oates, S.B. (1982) “Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”

[21] Wurmbrand, R. (1967) “Tortured For Christ,” Living Sacrifice Book Company,Bartlesville,  pp. 59

[22] Wurmbrand, R. (1967) “Tortured For Christ,” Living Sacrifice Book Company,Bartlesville,  pp. 145

[23] As quoted in Merton, T. (1964) “Gandhi on Non-violence,” Pp. 24

[24] Hoekema, D., “A Practical Christian Pacifism,” www.religion-online.org

[25] Stalin, J. (1924) “The Period of Bourgeois-Democratic Pacifism”