Are Homosexuals Born That Way?

Posted: April 4, 2013 in Apologetics, Christians & Culture, Homosexuality & Same-Sex Marriage, Politics

5844865Lady Gaga’s song, “Born This Way,” reached the top spot on the Billboard 100 charts in 2011, echoing the sentiments of America’s youth. Some of the lyrics go like this: “Rejoice and love yourself today, ’cause baby you were born this way, no matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive.” The message of the culture is, “This is who I am. I was born this way. Don’t judge me for being me.” To be honest, this message possesses tremendous rhetorical force. So how have Christians responded to this idea?

Unfortunately, this matter is one frequently misunderstood and mishandled by Christians. Churchgoers often view homosexuals and those with homosexual tendencies as second-class citizens. Their arrogance has fooled them into thinking gays are somehow inferior persons – persons not worthy of God’s grace, not welcome in our church, and not deserving of our friendship. Even worse, those who struggle with homosexual desires are often shunned and told to keep quiet. “That’s gross” or “that’s unnatural” are common remarks. The church’s reputation of homophobia is often rightly deserved, for many Christians stop thinking Christianly when the issue of homosexuality is raised – as if they have forgotten the nature of sin and the message of God’s grace in the Gospel of Jesus. So are homosexuals just born that way? Did God create certain individuals with homosexual desires? If so, is it morally permissible to act out those seemingly natural desires?

Contrary to the belief of many Christians, there are persons who experience and struggle with homosexual tendencies – many often unaware of the reasons. (Up to this point, there has been no scientific proof that I am aware of that shows a biological/scientific reason for this tendency). An old high school friend (we will call him Sam) recently described his coming out experience. Sam grew up in a loving home where both biological parents were present and active in his life. He basically had a typical male childhood. However, as he entered the later teenage years, he noticed a lack of attraction for females and a growing attraction for other males. This really bothered Sam, filling him with guilt, which prompted him to begin attending church with a friend. He was afraid to mention his homosexual feelings to anyone for fear of condemnation, but hoped that church would fix him. Sam even prayed that God would take the feelings away. With no change, Sam went off to college and eventually joined a Christian group that told him God had made him this way. He should not be ashamed, but rather embrace who he is.

This story is not intended to minimize the seriousness of homosexuality, but to help you understand the reality of the personal struggle many individuals face. But why is this struggle present? Where did it come from? Classical Christianity teaches that God initially created the world perfect, but man willingly chose to rebel against God and go his own way, subsequently plunging all humanity into sin with him. One effect of this rebellion was that it caused all men to be born into sin – literally born with a sinful nature. Psalm 51:5 states, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Likewise, Genesis 8:21 says, “…for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” All of humanity is deeply affected by sin from birth, with different sins affecting different persons in different ways.

Given this fundamental doctrine, Christians should understand that being born with homosexual tendencies is simply one outworking of the sin nature we all possess. No one is immune – each person wrestles with different sinful proclivities (e.g. anger, pride, bitterness, lust, or envy). Many are plagued for life with certain besetting sinful tendencies. A proper understanding of the sin nature should help Christians see the reason for homosexual inclinations, but it should also underscore the fact that we too are no different. Christians likewise are sinful from birth and in need of the grace and forgiveness of God. All of mankind, homosexual and heterosexual alike, desperately need Jesus to change them, to overcome the sinful nature, and turn them from enemies to children of God.

But does a tendency justify a behavior? Does being born homosexual justify homosexual behavior? The answer to these questions is most certainly no. Two reasons will be given in support, one biblical and the other logical. Biblically speaking, God always holds man accountable for his actions, not his temptations or inclinations. Regardless of my urge to lust after another woman, I am obligated to suppress that temptation, and not act on those so-called natural instincts, for the lustful actions are sinful in God’s eyes (not to mention my wife). We groan for the day when sin will be eradicated (Rom. 8:18-21), but until that time we fight against the sin that dwells within (Rom. 7:17,20). In the same way, individuals with homosexual tendencies, those “born that way,” must realize that all persons are born into sin and in need of God’s grace. No one is exempt, but all need Jesus to overcome the sinful nature inherited from our first parents, Adam and Eve. Homosexuals should never be shunned for their inherent feelings, but should be directed to the Gospel, the same Gospel all need equally for freedom from sin.

Logically speaking, being born a certain way never justifies any particular action. Individuals are responsible for their own actions, regardless of desire, tendency, or any other biological impulse. This characteristic sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom – people possess a will to choose, specifically moral choices. The notion of morality and justice rests upon the assumption that individuals make choices between moral and immoral behavior. Therefore, murderers, thieves, liars, adulterers, coveters, cheaters, drunkards, and abusers should never be exonerated of their actions for inherent tendencies toward those behaviors, for the individual chose to engage in the action. If any behavior can be justified by appealing to inborn tendencies, what prevents society from permitting any behavior? The logic of condoning homosexual behavior because one is “born that way” is a logical slippery slope that will ultimately lead to unbridled immorality and corruption. Moral behavior (what ought to be) can never be justified by what seems to be natural (what is) – this is known as the is/ought fallacy. If homosexual behavior is to be accepted as morally permissible, justification must be sought on other grounds.

To learn more about this topic and others related to same-sex marriage, please download this free booklet here.


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