Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homosexuality: Are its Problems Due to Stigmatization or Something Else

Here is my response to a gay friend's blog: http://dseiple.blogspot.com/2010/10/society-and-homosexuality.html

You’ve re-focused us on an essential question:

“Why is there such a high price to pay in many cultures for expressing homosexual affection? Is it a problem intrinsic to the homosexual condition, or is it a kind of self-fulfilling sentence passed upon a marginalized minority group, due to the deeply embedded fears of human culture itself?”

I don’t think that social “fears” can adequately explain the obvious fallout resulting from same-sex practice. It can’t explain the fact that gays live severely shortened lives, nor their incidence of venereal diseases, nor even a myriad of other problems. Instead, these seem to be endemic in the lifestyle, something reflected in the fact that this institution has been tried extensively throughout history without any clear indication that it contributes to the well-being of those who practice it. Even in places where it is reported that same-sex sex was widely accepted, like in ancient Greece and Rome, it seems that it only achieved very limited acceptance in the final analysis. “Aristotle, Herodotus, Aristophanes, and many other later Stoic and Cynic philosophers expressed moral disapproval of such practices.” (John Davis, “Evangelical Ethics,” 144). Arno Karlen has observed that those who think that homosexuality had been broadly accepted “have not read the primary sources.” (“Homosexuality in History,” 80).

Why has the rejection of homosexuality become what seems to be the ubiquitous verdict of history? Perhaps, it’s because the various societies and world religions have observed the price tag associated with this practice. In this regards, Davis writes of the work of British Anthropologist, J.D. Unwin:

“After a comprehensive study of both Western and non-Western cultures throughout human history, Unwin concluded that the record of mankind ‘does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it had been absolutely [heterosexually] monogamous, nor is there any example of a group retaining its culture after it has adopted less rigorous customs.’ Unwin observed that a society’s adoption and maintenance of heterosexual monogamy as a social standard “has preceded all manifestations of social energy, whether that energy be reflected in conquest, in art and sciences, in extension of the social vision, or in the substitution of monotheism for polytheism.” (p. 116)

Similarly, after investigating 77 different societies, Ford, Beach and Gadpaille concluded that if homosexuality is adopted, it will prove socially counterproductive. Why? We are not born with a blank slate, but with a moral character that reacts against certain things. God has written His laws on our heart, and when we break these laws, we have to pay with internal conflict and corruption (Romans 2:14-15). Paul illustrates this price:

• Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another… 1:26-27 Even their women exchanged natural 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 indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

I know that this picture is very offensive, but I wouldn’t be preaching doom and gloom unless our Savior had the perfect remedy:

• 1 John 1:8-9 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Without Christ, we’re all in the same shame-ridden boat. I write this not to shame or stigmatize but in hope that the reader will resort to the only One who can remove all of our shames and stigmas. He says:

• Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

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