Born that way?

dna2.gifThe “gays were born that way” saying has taken on a life of its own and has a significant impact on public policy.  Is it true?  If it is true, does it matter?  Some thoughts . . .

1. I’m highly skeptical of “proof” that it is genetic (either a “gay gene” or genetic predispositions), as these studies have all been proven to be false in the past.  See the Gay Gene Hoax.

2. Even if it is genetic, that doesn’t change the morality of the behavior.  You don’t get an “ought” from and “is.”  Gay-bashing is a sin, but those people could claim they were “born that way.”

3. If it is genetic, the number of gays will be dramatically reduced in a generation or so.  Heterosexual parents will be quick to abort their children with predispositions to be gay.  And the Liberals won’t do much to stop them, because they typically love abortion rights more than gay rights.  They haven’t changed their views even for gender selection abortions (which virtually all involve the murder of females), so they probably won’t change them for gays, either.

I think that would be a bad thing, of course, as I’m against abortions except to save the life of the mother regardless of whether the baby has a predisposition to be gay.

4. I’ve seen lots of evidence that many people are gay because of sexual abuse and/or relationship issues.  I agree that anecdotes don’t make a full case, but I’m talking about a lot of anecdotes from people who come across hundreds or even thousands of gays.  I’ve read of many counselors who said that virtually all of their gay patients had been abused or had serious relationship issues.  It has also been my personal experience knowing gays.  And here’s a quote from gay activist / journalist Tammy Bruce from The Death of Right and Wrong:

Almost without exception, the gay men I know (and that’s too many to count) have a story of some kind of sexual trauma or abuse in their childhood – molestation by a parent or an authority figure, or seduction as an adolescent at the hands of an adult.  The gay community must face the truth and see the sexual molestation of an adolescent for the abuse it is, instead of the “coming-of-age” experience many regard it as being.  Until then, the Gay Elite will continue to promote a culture of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and suicide by AIDS.

She wasn’t trying to dispel the “born that way” notion, but I thought her comment was compelling.

And nearly all the lesbians I know were abused by their fathers or husbands.

5. It doesn’t have to be one traumatic event.  It could be the complete dynamics of a relationship in place from birth that would make someone think they were “always that way.”

6. Gays who choose that lifestyle would be predisposed to say they were born that way.  Otherwise, the whole “civil rights” demands would have even less reasoning behind them.

7. How many times do you see a newborn and say, “Now there’s a gay baby!”  Be sure not to unfairly stereotype youths as gay just because they have non-traditional characteristics.  How about nurturing and encouraging them for who they are and what interests they have?

8. Why are some people so eager to insist on the genetic link?  Seems kinda homophobic to me, as if they think the lifestyle would make an undesirable choice.

And don’t just say, “They are picked on, so who would want that lifestyle?”  That reasoning wouldn’t apply to people with true genetic differences that have made people a source of disapproval in the past.

Also, gay approval is at an all time high – “pride” parades, recognition as employee network groups at many businesses, civil unions & marriages – even apostate church weddings, almost universally favorable media treatment, etc.

9. Here’s one lady who doesn’t claim she was “born that way.”  She says feminism led her to lesbianism (go figure!).

Ms Wilkinson, Professor of Feminist and Health Studies at Loughborough University, said: “I was never unsure about my sexuality throughout my teens or 20s. I was a happy heterosexual and had no doubts. Then I changed, through political activity and feminism, spending time with women’s organisations. It opened my mind to the possibility of a lesbian identity.”

226 thoughts on “Born that way?”

  1. Ah, a nice round 200! Monk is happy.



    Neil said: Ha! There goes my happy weekend.

    That reminds me of the episode where the guy did his 100th sit-up, so Monk was happy. Then the guy does one more and Monk is distraught.

    P.S. Kudos for working Monk and the Simpsons into one quote. If you can work in Psych (the third of three shows I watch) it would be a trifecta.


  2. ER, I still think I have probably been more focused on addressing your position than explaining mine, so touchiness on your part isn’t altogether unexpected, but thanks.

    Starting at the beginning, I believe that ideas are real and objective things: certainly not physical things, but real nonetheless. The idea of pi — the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter — is a real thing, and some approximations are closer than others. I believe that God’s message to man is just like any other set of ideas in its being real and objective.

    Some approximations to pi are better than others: 3 is good, 22/7 is better, 3.14159 is even better still. And we know when one approximation is better than another by using methods to compute pi and comparing the approximation to our results.

    Some approximations to God’s message are also surely better than others, but, unlike the value of pi, there is no way on our own to know for certain whether one approximation is better than other. We can continue searching for manuscripts that were closer to the original autograph manuscripts of the Bible, seek to understand its contemporary language and culture, and seek to create better translations, but there’s no way we can determine on our own whether the Bible contains errors as you believe or evil commands as Dan believes.

    I think the Bible clearly teaches that it is not so contaminated, and I believe the Bible on this point, and therefore I affirm its inerrancy. But what I wrote earlier is that, since there’s no way to know whether the Bible is contaminated and furthermore there’s no way to sort the wheat from the chaff, the spiritually safe thing is to assume that it’s all part of God’s good and true message to man.

    Of course, I do not affirm the inerrancy of the reader. People make mistakes in interpretation all the time: the first-century Jewish leaders did, first in presuming that Scripture’s Messiah and its “suffering servant” were two different people, and second in missing the prophecy of the Incarnation in which the promised child would be called the almighty God and everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6). I personally believe the Bible is clear on the Incarnation and the Trinity, not because my own ability to interpret is perfect — I have adjusted my beliefs as my understanding of Scripture has changed — but because I’ve seen very good arguments that the Bible teaches these things and have seen no persuasive contrary arguments that start with an affirmation of Scripture’s inerrancy and authority. The problem with believing in the reader’s inerrancy is that it risks making the reader inflexible and unteachable: he is likely to ignore the clear meaning of inconvenient passages.

    The thing is, that same risk is inherent in another approach. If affirming the reader’s inerrancy is risky, so is denying the Bible’s inerrancy, for the same reason that the reader is likely to dismiss incovenient passages — to dismiss them as erroneous rather than presume that he knows the Bible really teaches.

    You mention a very interesting passage in your list of supposed errors:

    “And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11). “No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, … the Son of Man.” (John 3:13)

    Personally, I think the two passages can be reconciled by noting that context is sometimes implicit and not always explicit. If I say, “nobody’s gone to the store,” I may mean nobody in the house has gone today. The point of John 3 is that no one else alive on Earth has ever revealed the deepest truths about God because no one has come from God the way Jesus had. I’m not sure what you would discard as erroneous: Elijah appeared in the Transfiguration, which John witnessed, so 2 Kings 2 is probably not incorrect, and earlier you implied that Jesus never sinned or made a mistake.

    But all that said, the interesting thing is the context of the verse you cite from John 3. There, Jesus was telling Nicodemus things that you, ER, would likely reject as being biologically inaccurate: a man has to be born twice to see God’s kingdom, and is that really any easier to swallow than Genesis having two seemingly incompatible creation accounts back to back? Nicodemus expressed the doubt of an intelligent skeptic, and in His response, Jesus asked this:

    “If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?”

    Now, I believe it actually is possible for a person to believe someone else about spiritual truths and not about physical truths: a primitive who thinks the earth is flat may know and practice the Golden Rule far better than some astrophysicists. But when the person claims to be from God, and if his verifiable claims are thought to be wrong, I believe it must be a very fragile thing, one’s trust in his claims that can’t be verified. And if his verifiable claims really are wrong, just what makes a person think the man came from an omniscient and almighty God?

    I believe the Bible is God’s written word, and the Bible certainly isn’t Jesus, God’s Incarnate Word. The latter should be worshiped as divine in being, the former should merely be respected as divine in origin.

    But the question Jesus asked about Himself applies to the Bible: if you can’t believe it about the earthly claims, how can you trust its spiritual claims? If you can’t trust its spiritual claims, believing that Jesus saves and that He was raised becomes all the harder, because the Bible is by far the single best witness we have to the salvation provided by the Resurrection of Christ.

    The content of John 3 provides a really strong counterpoint to your skepticism of John 3 and the rest of Scripture.


  3. Well, some of the Bible’s earthly claims are false on their face: its cosmology, specifically.

    God is not “up there” any more than God is right here, the Evil One is not “down there” any more than the Evil One is right here; and we are no more in “the middle” than we are anywhere. None of which has a thing to do with the spiritual Truths asserted in the Bible.

    Rather than seeing the Bible as “God’s revelation to man,” I think a better way to see it is man’s — Jews’ and the earliest Christian believers’ — exlanations of their encounters with the Divine, which we call “God.” As such, it is inspired, and, because it is closer in time to the events and thinking described, it is closer to “accurate,” in the sense that it represents the early believers’ own apologetics, but not inerrant — because as inspired as they might have been, they were still human!

    Moses himself was limited by his own sin. David? A real mess. Peter? A mess. Paul wore his sin, and his personal struggles, on his sleeve. Etc., etc.

    Sigh. You trust God, apparently, because of your belief that the Bible is wholly accurate and infallible and inacurrate in all things. I trust God despite the fact that is just as clearly to me NOT wholly accurate and infallible and inerrant in all things.


  4. I mean John 3, ER: the passage you cite is where Jesus tells Nicodemus about being born again.

    ER, I well understand that the Bible’s writers were guilty of very serious sins. One reason I think the Bible is so trustworthy is its refusal to whitewash reality. Had Jesus’ apostles fabricated the accounts of His life, they would have probably put themselves in a much better light. And even though God is good, as Father and Son and Holy Spirit, God that spoke to Job remains enigmatic, as does the Christ.

    But from their sinfulness it doesn’t follow that God couldn’t inspire them to write inerrantly, and I understand you deny inerrancy, but I still can’t grasp the method by which you pick out what’s true from what’s not.

    About the Bible’s supposed cosmology, I think C.S. Lewis wrote an excellent response, in his book Miracles, on the subject of metaphor.

    …very often when we are talking about something which is not perceptible by the five senses, we use words which in one of their meanings refer to things or actions that are. When a man says that he grasps an argument he is using a verb (grasp) which literally means to take something in the hand but he is certainly not thinking that his mind has hands or that an argument can be seized. To avoid the word grasp he may change the form of the expression and say, “I see your point,” but he does not mean that a pointed object has appeared in his visual field. He may have a third shot and say, “I follow you,” but he does not mean that he is walking behind you along a road. Everyone is familiar with this linguistic phenomenon and the grammarians call it metaphor. But it is a serious mistake to think that metaphor is an optional thing which poets and authors may put into their work as a decoration and plain speakers can do without. The truth is that if we are going to talk at all about things which are not perceived by the senses, we are forced to use language metaphorically. Books on psychology or economics or politics are as continuously metaphorical as books of poetry or devotion. There is no other way of talking, as every philologist is aware.

    Maybe the human writer of the passages to which you refer thought that God lives in the sky. Heck, maybe Isaiah didn’t realize that the suffering servant is the Messiah. Neither eliminates the possibility that God intended the supposed cosmological mistake to be ultimately understood as metaphor, or that God inspired the prophecies about the suffering servant and the Messiah knowing that the two are the same.

    But Lewis’ point is that talking about spiritual things — that talking about ANYTHING not perceived by the senses — requires metaphor. There’s no way God could reveal theological truth to us mere humans without metaphor, though the supposed cosmological claims aren’t proof that the claims were (as I believe) metaphorical.

    I can’t in any way prove that what you think is a mistake if taken literally was never meant to be taken literally. But because any spiritual truth must be communicated through metaphor, it’s reasonable to conclude that the passages in question were meant to be taken metaphorically. Because there’s a reasonable alternative interpretation, what you present is no proof of the Bible making clearly false claims.

    You are of course welcome to prove C.S. Lewis an idiot by presenting a counter-example where a non-physical idea is explained without metaphor. Perhaps you could explain how God exists outside or beyond time, without using physical prepositions like “outside” and “beyond.”


  5. Re, “Perhaps you could explain how God exists outside or beyond time, without using physical prepositions like “outside” and “beyond.” ”

    God created that which we call time.

    And, duh. Of course you meant John 3. It was late.


  6. “Well, some of the Bible’s earthly claims are false on their face: its cosmology, specifically.”

    Hey, I thought only fundies were supposed to be Biblical literalists. The weatherman refers to a “sunrise” just like the Bible does, and we know that neither means it literally.


  7. Well, for what it’s worth, I’m rethinking the differences between “inerrant,” “infallible” and an adherence to a literal reading of the Bible. I have fallen into the habit of bunching them together, when they are different.

    I think I can say this:

    The Bible is sufficient unto salvation, as in everything one needs to know to come to salvation is in there. Christians of good consience, however, have always differed as to what those things are. But the Bible is complete in that regard, and, inerrant in its gist.

    The Bible is infallible as the main source of people’s memories and explanations of the various revelations that God has given the Jewish prophets and some early Christians, which taken together give a glimpse, but only a glimpse, of God’s Godness and how we as believers, generally, can commune with God through Christ. The revelations themselves, being of God, are godly, i.e., right as rain, dead-on, “infallible.” That’s not to say that the writers’ memories were perfect or their interpretations, while inspired, are totally without error.

    I do take the Bible seriously as THE source of documents for our Jewish religious heritage and the source of some — very important — thinking among early church leaders and believers. I rely on it because it is what it is, more or less (accounting for the different books that different expressions of the faith have in their different Bibles.).

    But I do not take it all literally. I think the whole thing falls apart when anyone tries to take it all literally. Because even something as fundamental as “Jesus rose from the dead” is so totally open to interpretation it’s impossible to be literal, as in EXACT, about it what that means

    For example, I think Paul’s description can be read either way, 1. bodily resuscitation/resurrection, or that the body dies like a seed, which, like a seed, leads to a NEW body, a different kind of body, not a resuscitated body.

    The philosophical question of whether an actual seed disappears or becomes part of the plant it produces is an open one. The gist, though, is this: The life embodied by the seed continues, embodied in the tree.

    I think the same kinds of questions are open about the Resurrection. And while I think, obviously, that it’s worth thinking about and talking about, I do not think it’s important enough to cause division among believers who disagree on the particulars.

    The testimony of the first Christians is enough for me to believe that they encountered the Risen Christ. The devil — as the father of dissension and confusion — is in the details, IMHO.

    From 1 Corinthians 15:

    35But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
    42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.


  8. BTW, Neil, to be really good, bloggery, IMHO, should be at least minimally reciprocal. Stop by sometime. Quite a few Lefties, and what you probably consider heretics, do hang around my place. But most of them don’t bite. Much. 🙂


  9. “But I do not take it all literally.”

    I think we’d both agree that “literally” is a loaded word. I doubt you meant it this way, but I think that theological liberals like to use the literalist argument to dismiss orthodox views, but they equivocate when doing so. I would be the first to say that we don’t take everything literally. But in my experience those lobbing the literalist claim are usually the ones picking and choosing what was God-breathed and what wasn’t.

    Re. being reciprocal: Fair enough, E.R. Actually, I have read your blog. You have a good sense of humor. I just went there yesterday and caught up. I almost commented on one piece a few days ago but didn’t want to get into it with Mr.-I-just-want-to-have-dialogue-except-when-people-call-me-on-my-passive-aggressiveness-and-explode-my-prejudices-against-fundies. I have plenty of time for people who can actually have differences of opinion and carry on a dialogue. But my mid-year resolution was to stop wasting time with people who have no interest in that.

    I’m not worried about getting bitten. I just don’t want to polarize false teachers further (not you, as you have a good give-and-take, but others).


  10. ER, I like it to be reciprocal, too (or whatever that big word is)… but if I read every blog of every person that has ever commented on mine…


    *grins upon recovery* I smell advertising… hey, I’ve done it too. Nothing to be ashamed of.

    Okay, I’ll stop. I’m being mean.


  11. Great googly-moogly! (Should that be hyphenated?) This was an incredible discussion! Bubba, you da man!

    I saw this topic and started reading a few comments earlier today. Upon arriving home, I started again. That was about 9PM. It’s now 1AM! By virtue of that grand expenditure of time, I now claim my right to spout.

    For the Elijah bit: wouldn’t it be safe to say that “Elijah went up in a whirlwind…” was more like “taken up”? In other words, not by his own power, whereas “ascending” in reference to Christ was an action of Christ, or by his power? I don’t know that we can say that Elijah had power at all for such feats, but that to say that no one ascends implies a conscious decision on the part of the ascender(?). Just a thought. Never researched that supposed disparity.

    As to the topic itself, I believe that as regards homosexual behavior, there is nothing but extra-biblical attachments when trying to support it no longer being sinful, or that between loving, monogomous couples it is not sinful. The Levitical admonition is plain and any conditions would have to have been included. As to whether the Levitical Laws have any bearing on Christian behavior, my first post on my blog (—sorry, Neil) contained an extensive pasting of an argument over the homosexual issue that contained what I feel is a very clear and logical explanation for why homosexual behavior is still prohibited, and eating shellfish isn’t.

    I also have to say that it’s a bit tiring to hear offerings of things such as the anecdotes surrounding the God-mandated annihilation of towns, and suggesting that from those stories anyone could righteously claim they are mandates for everyone afterwards. They were specific orders for a specific people for actions against specific towns. They in no way compare to a commandment, as in the Ten Commandments or Levitical Law.

    I also have a problem with the notion that because there may be differences of opinion on a topic, that all parties must agree to respect every opinion. Respect the person offering the opinion, sure. But if the opinion is crap, it seems that to correct it is the Christian thing to do. Yeah, I may be wrong, but as stated, proof is in order. And I don’t really care how much one “prays” on a subject, if one can’t find within Scripture clear precedent, then to preach otherwise, such as saying that homosexual behavior is OK, or such unions are not sinful, is heresy. Harsh, but no worse than what Christ has said to certain Pharisees and money changers. And really, there’s no “nice” way to say “you’re wrong”. Folks don’t like to hear it. It offends. So why beat about the bush?

    In any case, I’m so late to this game perhaps only Neil will read this when it shows up in his mailbox, but I had to comment. Plus, I think that rounds it to 215. Monk will be happy.


  12. The word of God does not change. People who think it does are just bending the words of The Bible to fit their own needs. I agree, homosexuality is an abomination. Yes, they should be loved. If you truely love them you would tell them the truth of God’s word. Homosexuality is a sin. You will go to hell if you lead a homosexual lifestyle. As will liars murderers gluttons drunkards etc. They need to be told the truth.
    Consider this. Two women cannot reproduce. Two men cannot reproduce. If God was affirming of homosexuality then men could have children with other men. Women could have children with other women. He is straight forward on this.
    I think gay people can go straight. You see just the opposite in prison. Straight males and females turning to homosexuality to forfill a need? So why cant a gay person change? I think people who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle should not be looked down upon. They are putting God first in their lives. Is there anything wrong with that? Psychiatrists say wanting to change is wrong. You should not try to change. So what do they say to a transgender person? They want to change because they are not happy with who they are. The medical profession does not look down upon transgender people. So why then would they say to change is wrong it is not truely you? Think about.


  13. christopher: Consider this. Two women cannot reproduce. Two men cannot reproduce. If God was affirming of homosexuality then men could have children with other men. Women could have children with other women

    You realise that homosexual behaviour is found throughout the animal, right?

    Neil said: Please, not the “animals do it” argument. Your dog may try to do it with female dogs, male dogs, your leg, your coffee table, etc. I’m hoping people who appeal to animal behavior don’t take it to those extremes.

    Also, sometimes the behavior in animals can be brought about by stressful situations (e.g., overcrowding), which supports the view that external causes have an influence.

    Christopher: think gay people can go straight. You see just the opposite in prison. Straight males and females turning to homosexuality to forfill a need?

    Sexuality is not black and white as you seem to be saying. Sexual desire is strong, and the denial of it can cause psychological issues. That some gay men have “gone straight” doesn’t mean their basic desires have changed. They’re possibly denying those desires.

    So why cant a gay person change?

    Because your sexual orientation is not a conscious choice.

    Neil said: That is pure unscientific dogma. See and others. I’ve read of people changing to and from their orientation, and heard of countless examples of people who were abused and / or had dysfunctional relationships that led to it.

    Christopher: I think people who want to leave the homosexual lifestyle should not be looked down upon. They are putting God first in their lives. Is there anything wrong with that?

    Psychiatrists say wanting to change is wrong. You should not try to change.

    I think it is more that the suppression of desires can lead to problems. If those desires are to hurt or kill people, then the problems caused can be worth it. If there is no harm however, why suppress?

    Neil said: You begged the question. There can be great harm – physically, spiritually and emotionally.

    So what do they say to a transgender person? They want to change because they are not happy with who they are. The medical profession does not look down upon transgender people. So why then would they say to change is wrong it is not truely you? Think about.

    Transgender people are not happy with the sex they were born with. It’s would be analogous to predominantly gay people begin forced to have heterosexual relations, or predominantly straight people forced to have homosexual relations.
    You see why your call to simply “change” could be hard or damaging?

    Neil said: If you really want to help transgender people you’d support counseling for them, not mutilation.


  14. If being gay was a choice, the act of engaging in sexual activities with a member of the same sex may legitimately be considered sinful. Now, if people are born gay, that claim would be easily discredited.


    1. LOL.

      Me: Here are 12 specific reasons why the “born that way” thing is a myth.

      You: But they are born that way. Bigots! [Oooh . . . petty name-calling! How effective. Also this: bigot [big-uh t] 1. a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion. Sounds like the LGBTQX lobby!]

      Me: Gee, uh, great response.

      When did you choose to be straight?

      That is as clever and meaningful as it is original.

      And now you are on moderation for being a nuisance.

      I deeply hope you reconsider your views. Please re-read the post again carefully. Eternity is a mighty long time to regret your actions.


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