“Genetic Homosexual?” and our morality…

John is attracted to men. Jane is attracted to women. And so, our cultural says, “Go for it! If that’s the way you feel (the culture’s only form of “objective” truth). After all, that’s the way you were born. It’s in your genes.”

I, Paul, am attracted to women (pl.) and yet I am married, to a singular woman. I also have the tendency, bent, disposition, because of innumerable factors (nature, nurture, etc.) to be angry and act out in anger. If I left myself unchecked and just did whatever I felt like, I, sad to say, would be an abusive adulterer. Something that would not be good for me, my wife, my children, or society. 

So, even if I am by nature a genetic abusive adulterer is that ok? Should I be content with that? Promote that? 

I do not see how that is admirable. Many people would lead me to believe that is the higher good; to be something akin to animals. To do whatever we want, whatever our natural self would want to do. It sounds like many would sniff the wind and follow their inner impulse. However, does anyone realize that our inner impulse, whatever it might be, will often lead to some very bad places?

We all have many dispositions: selfishness, pride, boastfulness, etc. but that does not make it right; even if natural. If we want to just say that everyone should just do whatever their genetic disposition has given them, then we should just do away with the penal system and society in general. For what, in that line of thought, would allow us justification to repress any inner and natural desire?

Many studies, for instance, show that many drug addicts, whether meth, heroin, or cocaine, have a genetic disposition to drug addiction. However, we don’t say, or most of us don’t say, that drug addiction is okay. Why? Many would say because it harms the body and harms society. Just because someone has a disposition for something does not justify that disposition. 

The logic that says homosexuality is fine because people have a disposition towards it is faulty. That just does not follow. People have dispositions in all sorts of ways. But that does not make it morally good. 

People say: “To your own self be true” and other such phrases. But where does our deepest self lay? In our pants? Or does our mind and our convictions play a pretty big part? Maybe being “true to our self” also, and more fundamentally, means being true to our convictions, to what we think and believe at the core of our being. If I ask, “Is love more than bodily fluids?” This will be answered not unbiasedly but according to other deeper and more fundamental questions.  The real issue at stake in this conversation is about fundamental convictions; how we see the world, our ultimate desires, our view of life and our view of “the good.”

People, for instance, compare sex to eating. Yes, sex is like eating in some ways. It is a natural enough thing (although much more significant psychologically, relationally, etc.), yet if we don’t eat we die. That is not the case with sex. Yet sex, under certain belief systems, e.g. naturalistic hedonism, will be seen as close to ultimate. Whereas the Christian sees sex as a good gift from God. A gift that must be enjoyed in the right way to the right end. In the Christian’s belief system there is something more awesome more significant than sex, infinitely more.

When the Christian, whether their tendency is more towards heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual temptation, has found that there is something more significant, lasting, and satisfying than sex (yes, something better than sex!) it obviously impacts them. They can be recreated and desire what is more significant than some of their inner dispositions.[1] Through relationships, whether with friends, a spouse, or God, we see that we are not just sexual animals; that is one part of our constitution. It is not, or I don’t think we should let it be, the fundamental and driving part. That view is shallow, problematic, and simply just not accurate to reality.

What we are seeing in our culture is two worldviews colliding. One says we are fundamentally animals and thus expects us to live according to our innate animal desires. And from that worldview, it’s consistent. Only why stop with adultery or homosexuality?… whatever one finds to do, whatever the desire, it should be allowed in that system.[2] The other worldview says we are not animals and we should not live simply according to our desires. Our desires can be wrong, very wrong. The Christian says that we were created in the image of God but have been marred through sin. We need to be remade in God’s image by listening to His Word. The problem happened in the beginning exactly because we were not listening and did what we (wrongly) desired.

Our desire must be shaped, informed, led by He who knows; namely God. God has all wisdom. Not us. He, as our good Father, knows how to give good gifts, even if we think we want something else. He knows what we ultimately need and what will ultimately satisfy.

So, there may be “genetic homosexuals” that are not practicing homosexuals. I myself am a “genetic adulterer” yet, by God’s empowering grace, I am not a practicing adulterer.

___________________________________________

[1] Of course, here, if someone sees humans as fundamentally just sexual animals then what I am saying will be scoffed at. However, I will also rightfully scoff at their shallow, sad, and bankrupt view. If we are mere animals then what of love, what of society, what of the penal system? Obviously, “non-Christian presuppositions will lead to non-Christian interpretations and ultimately to non-Christian conclusions” (Michael J. Kruger, “The Sufficiency of Scripture in Apologetics,” 87 in The Master’s Seminary Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 2001). Yet, those conclusions are chaotic, problematic, and wrong.

[2] “Logic, science, and morality make no sense within the non-Christian worldview. For example, how can the atheist justify and explain the origin and universal applicability of moral absolutes? He simply cannot. Consider philosopher William Lane Craig as he explains the impossibility of moral absolutes in an atheist worldview: If there is no God, then any ground for regarding the herd morality evolved by homo sapiens as objectively true seems to have been removed. After all, what is so special about human beings? They are just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time. Some action, say incest, may not be biologically or socially advantageous and so in the course of human evolution has become taboo; but there is on the atheistic view nothing re ally wrong about committing incest. If, as Kurt states, ‘The moral principles that govern our behavior are rooted in habit and custom, feeling and fashion,’ then the non-comformist who chooses to flout the herd morality is doing nothing more serious than acting unfashionably (William Lane Craig, The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality, located at http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/meta-eth.html, 4)” (Michael J. Kruger, “The Sufficiency of Scripture in Apologetics,” 83n35 in The Master’s Seminary Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 2001).

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

2 responses to ““Genetic Homosexual?” and our morality…”

  1. Marvin Edwards says :

    Every moral issue is a question of benefit and harm.

    Consider marriage. Marriage is an ethical structure imposed upon mating.

    Without marriage we have sexual profligacy, women carrying children without spousal support, children with no guarantee of parental support, and the spread of sexual disease in the community.

    With marriage you have support for the woman, you have children with parenting, and you have sexual felicity preventing the spread of disease.

    So, if people are going to be having sex, then it is morally better within marriage than outside of it.

    Homosexual orientation is a mating handicap. Normally, sexual attraction is to the opposite gender. This aids mating. But the homosexual’s attraction is not aligned with his/her gender, and he or she is drawn instead to someone of the same sex. Normal mating may still be possible, but it feels unnatural to them.

    Because the sexual behavior of two adults harms no one else, it is allowed now under law.

    Same sex marriage provides the same moral benefits to same sex couples as to opposite sex couples. It sustains a lasting relationship between two people committed to loving each other, and it reduces the spread of sexual disease in the community.

    Therefore it is morally better to allow same sex couples to marry, because in marriage there is more benefit and less harm.

    Now, one can certainly make a case that it is morally better for the homosexual to marry someone of the opposite sex, to commit to love their spouse, and to raise children together. Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson did that. Before marriage he discussed his same-sex attractions with his wife-to-be. They worked in the ministry together and had two daughters. Later they divorced and he began a relationship with a man, who he married when it became legal.

    So we know it is not an impossible choice for most homosexuals to make for their lives. But it may not be easy. For those who choose the path that feels more natural, there is now the moral benefit of marriage.

    Like

    • Paul O'Brien says :

      Marvin,

      Thank you for you observations. My post is not so much concerned with homosexual marriage. I disagree with homosexual marriage but my post is not directly about that. It is more to say that reasoning from natural disposition alone is faulty. I think homosexual marriage is wrong on different grounds. But I have different grounds to say it is wrong and to say that other things are wrong, whereas the naturalistic position has no clear stopping point.

      You say, “Every moral issue is a question of benefit and harm” and I am afraid you have many utilitarian dictators that would agree with you. They would agree with your sentence, as would many people, however they would disagree over the question of “benefit” and “harm.” That’s where that system gets in trouble (you can see more of my thoughts here: https://newcreationinx.com/2015/09/07/our-chronological-and-geographical-snobbery-and-our-need-for-a-standard-beyond-ourselves/).

      Basically the argument, I don’t really have time to make here, is that if there is a God, which I believe there is, then we have an objective moral standard beyond ourselves. A moral standard that says, whether we like it or not, that certain things, such a homosexuality, are wrong. If there is a God and an objective moral standard then we have a solid basis for society.

      “If there is no God, then any ground for regarding the herd morality evolved by homo sapiens as objectively true seems to have been removed. After all, what is so special about human beings? They are just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time. Some action, say incest, may not be biologically or socially advantageous and so in the course of human evolution has become taboo; but there is on the atheistic view nothing really wrong about committing incest. If, as Kurt states, ‘The moral principles that govern our behavior are rooted in habit and custom, feeling and fashion,’ then the non-comformist who chooses to flout the herd morality is doing nothing more serious than acting unfashionably” (William Lane Craig, The Indispensability of Theological Meta-Ethical Foundations for Morality, located at http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/meta-eth.html, 4)” (Michael J. Kruger, “The Sufficiency of Scripture in Apologetics,” 83n35 in The Master’s Seminary Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 2001 see also http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-real-consequences-of-atheism).

      There either is or there isn’t an objective moral standard. If there is an objective moral standard then we do not determine where it is. If there isn’t an objective moral standard then there is no basis whatsoever for morals and why stop at homosexuality?

      Like

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