Homosexuality: Morals and Ethics Catch-All Thread

I just find it crazy that people are talking about the pain and suffering they went through coming to grips with their sexuality, and we have posters saying "tough stuff, buddy - we all have hard times!" Christians like that are why I left the church.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

Valmorian: the man in your avatar seems to be wearing a Russian Navy hat?

A fake one, and that would be me and my wife in that photo. She's from the Czech Republic and you can get a lot of cheap authentic and knock-off Russian stuff there.

Crispus wrote:

I think people are also fundamentally underestimating how difficult it is for a committed conservative Christian, one who is certain in their faith, to turn away from that faith. That's what would be required for such a person to accept a gay son and believe that they are not sinning. For such a person, it's not like they can easily just shrug and say "Bah, forget the Bible, the kids are more important."

I think you're skirting the fact that one can be a Christian and not consider homosexuality to be a sin. Thus one's faith isn't at issue so much as one possible interpretation of Christian faith. Either way, I simply don't understand how someone holding such beliefs would not be forced to examine them after discovering their child was gay. Do they think that homosexuality is a choice?

Crispus wrote:

Maybe that's how some here think it should be, but for someone who devoutly believes in their religious teachings, it's not so simple, especially since turning a blind eye to one teaching can, for some people, result in their entire belief system tumbling down. I think people who have never been deeply invested in religious beliefs have trouble understanding how deep such beliefs can run, and how difficult it can be to turn away from them.

I'll respond with a quote:

James Luther Adams wrote:

An unexamined faith is not worth having, for it can be true only by accident. A faith worth having is a faith worth discussing and testing.

Chabuda wrote:

After going through all of these posts, I did some research about being born gay and having the choice of being gay. I'm wondering where everyone is getting their information as I have read conflicting reports. I have a number of friends that are homosexuals and they have also told me some have chosen that lifestyle, while others have told me that they were born that way. The underlying notation from this thread is obviously that everyone was born that way.

There has been more research into it, and the use of *shudder* twin studies(where if one twin is gay one study showed a 70% chance the sibling would also be gay) and *double shudder* family studies has begun to yield results. One hypothesis that I saw truly intrigued me. Women pregnant with boys develop anti-boties as it recognizes the male body as a threatening foreign body, as it is very different from her own make up(Y chromosomes and all). There is a strong correlation between women who have several sons, and the younger sons having a higher rate of being homosexual. The American Medical Association and American Psychological Association have fallen on sexual preference being more related to genetics than not. And that brings in a slew of other sub-disciplines of environment, epigenetics, etc.

I take issue on another level. Often the natural vs choice starts at a basis that heterosexuality is the default setting, that heterosexuality is the "right" way, with little support to that. It also presupposes that natural is moral. Honestly, since when has a man's nature determined what we expect him to do? Ghengis Khan had many natural inclinations most of us would call abhorrent. What is your natural inclination when a man bumps into your son at the mall? Knocks him down. Do we want to allow you to beat that man to a bloody pulp? (I do, this fictitious man needs a can opened up on him). I think we draw a line when a natural inclination is unhygenic, dangerous, etc.

Is it natural for animals to relieve themselves wherever they please? Do we want to say that toilets and toilet paper are evil?

I am a funky kind of libertarian, I include harm to self among those forbidden behaviors. Drugs, unprotected sex, etc. Mostly because we are never alone, you OD on Heroine, it effects a lot of other people-police, hospitals, local government, etc. Two men or two women (giggidy) loving eachother, raising a family, paying their taxes, caring for a home seems 100% harmless.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/3JPIP.jpg)

NSMike wrote:

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/3JPIP.jpg)

That is sinister.

OG_slinger wrote:
NSMike wrote:

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/3JPIP.jpg)

That is sinister.

Niiiice.

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/mRwFY.jpg)

This image was making its rounds on the internet, today... I did see an interesting response to it over on Livejournal.

On behalf of myself and other LGBT and pro-gay-marriage observant (or partially observant) Jews, I would like to mention that I do take seriously the "Old Testament" (or rather Torah-based) commandments against eating pork, shellfish and yes, even wearing clothes woven from different fabrics. Nonetheless, my Conservative Judaism is a form of Judaism that takes our traditions seriously even while being willing to examine and reinterpret the commandments in light of new information and new knowledge. So we're by and large egalitarian and supportive of gay rights and gay marriage. Last time I checked, Conservatives Jews--even the most observant ones--weren't living a "sexist, chauvinistic, judgmental, xenophobic lifestyle."

So I dislike this argument--the implication is "opposing gay marriage is just as silly as not eating shellfish or worrying about mixing fabrics! What stupid rules Judaism has!" That's a nasty implication--especially as American Jews overwhelmingly support gay marriage, by as much as 81% per some polls. (See this article and Pew Forum.)

(Also, the question "Should we still obey Old Testament laws" is rather strange in this context, since the commandments against easting shellfish or wearing clothes woven from different fabrics was never intended for the whole world, but only for Jews. Any educated fundamentalist will argue that, and point out that sexual morality is expected of everyone. I happen to think that gay, consensual sex between adults is perfectly moral, but a fundamentalist will argue otherwise. In any case, the shell-fish/fabric argument won't get you very far.)

OG_slinger wrote:

That is sinister.

Took me a minute.

As has been said already in this thread, people use the tools that are available to them to justify their already-established worldview. If slavery and Christian thought were "inseperable" as you say, why then do we see that the abolitionist movement arises from a mostly Christian base? Alexander Stevens was a southern civil-war era politician looking to use whatever means necessary to support his world-view.

There are several issues with this line of thinking. First, we have many, many examples of the use of the Bible to justify slavery. You've basically said that you think we can't tell whether someone was justifying a previous belief with the Bible, or actually adopted their beliefs from the Bible. And yet, slavery is accepted in the Bible in numerous ways, and not with equivocation. How can that not be more than just a justification, for a believer?

The problem for you then is to explain how *both* sides can use the same book as justification for opposing beliefs. You could also explain why slavery is actually supported by the Bible, both OT and NT - if the authors were justifying their beliefs, how could that end up in God's book? Conversely, if God approves of slavery - and the Founders clearly believed that as a group enough to leave slavery in the Constitution - wouldn't it be the Abolitionists who were wrong? And is a justification based on practices sanctioned by God really just a justification? Is there somewhere in the Bible where God says "Slavery is evil and should be condemned and prevented?"

Or is the meaning of the Bible in the eye of the reader? Can it's meaning change over time, legitimately?

Another issue is that if we can't tell whether the Bible inspired belief in slavery, or just reinforced a cultural bias - like maybe the Jewish cultural bias when it was written? - how do we tell the difference for any other moral/ethical topic? I mean, it's pretty clear that in British and European and Roman and Greek and Hebrew and other cultures, slavery was sanctioned by the Bible. If that moral underpinning on such a major topic based on an institution present before the Bible and sanctioned that way for thousands of years is somehow ambiguous, how much more so the rest of it? Maybe the prohibitions on shellfish or pork or mixed clothing are, you know, not entirely necessary? Maybe we could actually free a Canaanite slave? Maybe we don't have to hang the dead bodies of those put to death for crimes?

Maybe we don't actually have to condemn homosexuals either?

So this topic has definatly got me soul searching. I've been reading around on studies that may or may not trace homosexuality to genetics but it's very difficult to find an unbiased source. I'm not an unreasonable person, and I truely wish to seek as much information on this as I can, from both scientific studies and the Bible. I find myself at a crossroads in my thought process, if homosexuality is truely genetic then what is it? Is it a genitic abnormality (Not saying being a homosexual is abnormal)? If so then I can have no issue with it, why after all, would God allow it, only to condemn it? And in that case, I have to search the Bible for more information on it's teachings of homosexuality, perhaps talk to a few of my Christian peers and find out exactly my faith holds for me.

I know this may sound stupid to some of you, maybe even anger you on how I handle this situation. But I guess I need to find this out more for my self than anything. If I've been living to my faith incorrectly, then I want to change that.

Again, I am sorry if any of what I've said offended anyone, it's not at all intended

The capacity to look back on one's own core beliefs and reevaluate them is one of the things that separates good men from bad. Good on you for even trying, Conformist (irony of your name aside)

This may be slightly OT, but I do wonder if..religious people ever question the real meaning behind some of God's proclamations. He's got form on testing people, seeing what they do. He's given the word Hisnword in a way that leaves room for ambiguity, interpretation and the desire for clarification.

Isn't it possible he could be testing people to see how well they treat gay people? Is it possible he's laid a little trap and he wants to see who'll set it off and who'll step over it?

Crispus wrote:

I think people are also fundamentally underestimating how difficult it is for a committed conservative Christian, one who is certain in their faith, to turn away from that faith. That's what would be required for such a person to accept a gay son and believe that they are not sinning. For such a person, it's not like they can easily just shrug and say "Bah, forget the Bible, the kids are more important."

Maybe that's how some here think it should be, but for someone who devoutly believes in their religious teachings, it's not so simple, especially since turning a blind eye to one teaching can, for some people, result in their entire belief system tumbling down. I think people who have never been deeply invested in religious beliefs have trouble understanding how deep such beliefs can run, and how difficult it can be to turn away from them.

The problem here is that we don't know the foundation of that person's "committed" belief. Do they actually study the Scriptures, or do they simply read it and let their pastor tell them what it means? Do they know the history of the Church and how it flowed from the Apostles to the Early Church fathers to a religion that was embraced by the Roman Empire, et. al.? Do they know what heresy truly is? Do they know why their brand of Christianity takes its particular stand on abortion, sex education, evolution, birth control, etc.? Or do they just believe they have to believe it because the rest of the conservative Christians believe it? And on and on.

This isn't to belittle anyone's belief, but just believing it because Rev. Jones and that nice evangelist who came and spoke at the church believe it isn't enough.

My religious beliefs run very deep. My spiritual beliefs run even deeper. But I also have to be open to the idea that I, as an imperfect human being, may not fully understand Scripture or God's revelation. At any time, my faith may need to alter based on findings in linguistics, archeology, etc. I do no one any favors by being so rigid in my belief that I am willing to offend God by not using my brain to understand that I will never know all of God's revelation or truth.

It is very brave to stand up for our beliefs.

It is more brave to stand up and admit we might be wrong.

(Edit: I just noticed your last post and express my kudos to you for it.)

Conformist, read up on the Kinsey Scale too. Understanding that there *are* people who are attracted to both sexes (and those who are attracted to neither, and other stuff too) helps understand how confusing it can get. For example, a person who is attracted to both sexes *could* choose to live in a same-sex style in one degree or another, but a person who is not attracted to the opposite sex could not make that choice (just as you and I could not "choose" to be attracted to the same sex). Both types - the choosers and the stuck - exist, but I don't see any real understanding of that on the side of those who condemn. And yet the fact that attraction is a *continuum* changes the discussion a great deal, because it knocks dead the idea that there are only "them" and "us". Some of "us" may be partly "them"; in fact, it's almost certain in any large group, statistically.

Also, the American Psychological Association has a page of statements, each of which has a summary of research available at the time. Here's part of the one on homosexual parenting, for example:

Many lesbians and gay men are parents. In the 2000 U. S. Census, 33% of female same-sex couple households and 22% of male same-sex couple households reported at least one child under the age of 18 living in the home. Despite the significant presence of at least 163,879 households headed by lesbian or gay parents in U.S. society, three major concerns about lesbian and gay parents are commonly voiced (Falk, 1994; Patterson, Fulcher & Wainright, 2002). These include concerns that lesbians and gay men are mentally ill, that lesbians are less maternal than heterosexual women, and that lesbians' and gay men's relationships with their sexual partners leave little time for their relationships with their children. In general, research has failed to provide a basis for any of these concerns (Patterson, 2000, 2004a; Perrin, 2002; Tasker, 1999; Tasker & Golombok, 1997). First, homosexuality is not a psychological disorder (Conger, 1975). Although exposure to prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation may cause acute distress (Mays & Cochran, 2001; Meyer, 2003), there is no reliable evidence that homosexual orientation per se impairs psychological functioning. Second, beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents have no empirical foundation (Patterson, 2000, 2004a; Perrin, 2002). Lesbian and heterosexual women have not been found to differ markedly in their approaches to child rearing (Patterson, 2000; Tasker, 1999). Members of gay and lesbian couples with children have been found to divide the work involved in childcare evenly, and to be satisfied with their relationships with their partners (Patterson, 2000, 2004a). The results of some studies suggest that lesbian mothers' and gay fathers' parenting skills may be superior to those of matched heterosexual parents. There is no scientific basis for concluding that lesbian mothers or gay fathers are unfit parents on the basis of their sexual orientation (Armesto, 2002; Patterson, 2000; Tasker & Golombok, 1997). On the contrary, results of research suggest that lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children.

Note that "exposure to prejudice ... based on sexual orientation may cause acute distress". Could God condone causing that in children, or would he perhaps want us to treat them like other children?
As others have pointed out "I love you but I can't respect the way you live (or your parents, if they are gay)" is not an emotionally comforting statement.

Anyway, food for the brain that eats thoughts.

This may be slightly OT, but I do wonder if..religious people ever question the real meaning behind some of God's proclamations. He's got form on testing people, seeing what they do. He's given the word Hisnword in a way that leaves room for ambiguity, interpretation and the desire for clarification.

Isn't it possible he could be testing people to see how well they treat gay people? Is it possible he's laid a little trap and he wants to see who'll set it off and who'll step over it?

He hasn't given us any new revelations since the Bible (or since the mid-19th century, if you're LDS), so unless he came back and told us, how would we know? He was talking to Job, but doctrinally he's not talking directly to anyone anymore.

Crispus wrote:
DanB wrote:

I think you fundamentally under estimate just how deeply psychologically scarring it is for a child to know that their parent doesn't accept who they are.

I think people are also fundamentally underestimating how difficult it is for a committed conservative Christian, one who is certain in their faith, to turn away from that faith. That's what would be required for such a person to accept a gay son and believe that they are not sinning. For such a person, it's not like they can easily just shrug and say "Bah, forget the Bible, the kids are more important."

Maybe that's how some here think it should be, but for someone who devoutly believes in their religious teachings, it's not so simple, especially since turning a blind eye to one teaching can, for some people, result in their entire belief system tumbling down. I think people who have never been deeply invested in religious beliefs have trouble understanding how deep such beliefs can run, and how difficult it can be to turn away from them.

Sure. No one is asking anyone to turn away from Christ. But the pluracy of Christian churches certainly indicates that it's possible to both believe in Christ and accept homosexuality.

(somewhat tannhausered by complexmath)

The Conformist wrote:

I know this may sound stupid to some of you, maybe even anger you on how I handle this situation. But I guess I need to find this out more for my self than anything. If I've been living to my faith incorrectly, then I want to change that.

First, Thank you for sharing throughout this thread and Second, Thank you for taking this step. Even if your searching for answers re-affirms your previous position... being curious and honest enough to begin the search in the first place means the world to many of us. I wish you the best of luck!

The Conformist wrote:

So this topic has definatly got me soul searching. I've been reading around on studies that may or may not trace homosexuality to genetics but it's very difficult to find an unbiased source. I'm not an unreasonable person, and I truely wish to seek as much information on this as I can, from both scientific studies and the Bible. I find myself at a crossroads in my thought process, if homosexuality is truely genetic then what is it? Is it a genitic abnormality (Not saying being a homosexual is abnormal)? If so then I can have no issue with it, why after all, would God allow it, only to condemn it? And in that case, I have to search the Bible for more information on it's teachings of homosexuality, perhaps talk to a few of my Christian peers and find out exactly my faith holds for me.

I know this may sound stupid to some of you, maybe even anger you on how I handle this situation. But I guess I need to find this out more for my self than anything. If I've been living to my faith incorrectly, then I want to change that.

Again, I am sorry if any of what I've said offended anyone, it's not at all intended :-)

I almost missed this post last night, somehow. This is great.

SixteenBlue wrote:
The Conformist wrote:

So this topic has definatly got me soul searching. I've been reading around on studies that may or may not trace homosexuality to genetics but it's very difficult to find an unbiased source. I'm not an unreasonable person, and I truely wish to seek as much information on this as I can, from both scientific studies and the Bible. I find myself at a crossroads in my thought process, if homosexuality is truely genetic then what is it? Is it a genitic abnormality (Not saying being a homosexual is abnormal)? If so then I can have no issue with it, why after all, would God allow it, only to condemn it? And in that case, I have to search the Bible for more information on it's teachings of homosexuality, perhaps talk to a few of my Christian peers and find out exactly my faith holds for me.

I know this may sound stupid to some of you, maybe even anger you on how I handle this situation. But I guess I need to find this out more for my self than anything. If I've been living to my faith incorrectly, then I want to change that.

Again, I am sorry if any of what I've said offended anyone, it's not at all intended :-)

I almost missed this post last night, somehow. This is great.

+1

The fact that you're willing to question restores my faith in humanity.

SixteenBlue wrote:
The Conformist wrote:

So this topic has definatly got me soul searching. I've been reading around on studies that may or may not trace homosexuality to genetics but it's very difficult to find an unbiased source. I'm not an unreasonable person, and I truely wish to seek as much information on this as I can, from both scientific studies and the Bible. I find myself at a crossroads in my thought process, if homosexuality is truely genetic then what is it? Is it a genitic abnormality (Not saying being a homosexual is abnormal)? If so then I can have no issue with it, why after all, would God allow it, only to condemn it? And in that case, I have to search the Bible for more information on it's teachings of homosexuality, perhaps talk to a few of my Christian peers and find out exactly my faith holds for me.

I know this may sound stupid to some of you, maybe even anger you on how I handle this situation. But I guess I need to find this out more for my self than anything. If I've been living to my faith incorrectly, then I want to change that.

Again, I am sorry if any of what I've said offended anyone, it's not at all intended :-)

I almost missed this post last night, somehow. This is great.

+1!

Jayhawker wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
The Conformist wrote:

So this topic has definatly got me soul searching. I've been reading around on studies that may or may not trace homosexuality to genetics but it's very difficult to find an unbiased source. I'm not an unreasonable person, and I truely wish to seek as much information on this as I can, from both scientific studies and the Bible. I find myself at a crossroads in my thought process, if homosexuality is truely genetic then what is it? Is it a genitic abnormality (Not saying being a homosexual is abnormal)? If so then I can have no issue with it, why after all, would God allow it, only to condemn it? And in that case, I have to search the Bible for more information on it's teachings of homosexuality, perhaps talk to a few of my Christian peers and find out exactly my faith holds for me.

I know this may sound stupid to some of you, maybe even anger you on how I handle this situation. But I guess I need to find this out more for my self than anything. If I've been living to my faith incorrectly, then I want to change that.

Again, I am sorry if any of what I've said offended anyone, it's not at all intended :-)

I almost missed this post last night, somehow. This is great.

+1!

GROUP HUG!

Conformist's point that "why after all, would God allow it, only to condemn it?" is something I've always felt about the intersection of religion and sexuality. If indeed, God made us in his own image, then he's the one responsible for all the gays. Seems bonkers for some of his followers to be pissed off at the gays, when they should be pissed off at the Big Man himself for putting them here in the first place.

More so, if we are made in God's image, then God himself likes a bit of man-love, no?

Jonman wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
The Conformist wrote:

So this topic has definatly got me soul searching. I've been reading around on studies that may or may not trace homosexuality to genetics but it's very difficult to find an unbiased source. I'm not an unreasonable person, and I truely wish to seek as much information on this as I can, from both scientific studies and the Bible. I find myself at a crossroads in my thought process, if homosexuality is truely genetic then what is it? Is it a genitic abnormality (Not saying being a homosexual is abnormal)? If so then I can have no issue with it, why after all, would God allow it, only to condemn it? And in that case, I have to search the Bible for more information on it's teachings of homosexuality, perhaps talk to a few of my Christian peers and find out exactly my faith holds for me.

I know this may sound stupid to some of you, maybe even anger you on how I handle this situation. But I guess I need to find this out more for my self than anything. If I've been living to my faith incorrectly, then I want to change that.

Again, I am sorry if any of what I've said offended anyone, it's not at all intended :-)

I almost missed this post last night, somehow. This is great.

+1!

GROUP HUG!

Conformist's point that "why after all, would God allow it, only to condemn it?" is something I've always felt about the intersection of religion and sexuality. If indeed, God made us in his own image, then he's the one responsible for all the gays. Seems bonkers for some of his followers to be pissed off at the gays, when they should be pissed off at the Big Man himself for putting them here in the first place.

More so, if we are made in God's image, then God himself likes a bit of man-love, no?

Well from what I've gathered so far, at least from my limited and humble viewpoint is that if people are indeed born with a genetic difference that causes them chemically to find the same sex attractive then I don't personally believe that God would find that sinful. It is possible that those who aren't homosexual and yet still make the choice of living a homosexual lifestyle well, therein lies the sin. Again, I'm still in the very early stages of my reading so things may still change.

We are created in God's image, however since he has no need to reproduce, and from my knowledge of the scripture doesn't have "lust" for man nor woman. But this of course is if you even believe in the scripture.

Also another conclusion I've come to is that in the end no one, not myself, not anyone here can judge another human being for how they live there life, that is God's right, and only through his eyes should they be judged. Me being human however makes this very difficult, since by nature we judge things on the smallest level, especially when people disagree with our lifestyles. Something I need to always try and remember.

Well, people are born predisposed to all kinds of behavior (sexual and otherwise) that is universally accepted as wrong. They were essentially "created" (via genetics or environmental factors) that way, does that automatically make the behavior okay? I'm not sure that line of reasoning bears out in the end.

And so we come to the point I made earlier.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Well, people are born predisposed to all kinds of behavior (sexual and otherwise) that is universally accepted as wrong. They were essentially "created" (via genetics or environmental factors) that way, does that automatically make the behavior okay? I'm not sure that line of reasoning bears out in the end.

Care to cite examples of people born predisposed to unacceptable behavior?

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Well, people are born predisposed to all kinds of behavior (sexual and otherwise) that is universally accepted as wrong. They were essentially "created" (via genetics or environmental factors) that way, does that automatically make the behavior okay? I'm not sure that line of reasoning bears out in the end.

Care to make some examples?

Because I wonder if the reason that they're universally accepted as wrong is that those behaviors cause harm to others. Sociopathy, for instance.

Homosexuality on the other hand, is a harmless behavior, or viewed in a different way, just as harmful/harmless as heterosexuality.

Jonman wrote:
NormanTheIntern wrote:

Well, people are born predisposed to all kinds of behavior (sexual and otherwise) that is universally accepted as wrong. They were essentially "created" (via genetics or environmental factors) that way, does that automatically make the behavior okay? I'm not sure that line of reasoning bears out in the end.

Care to make some examples?

Because I wonder if the reason that they're universally accepted as wrong is that those behaviors cause harm to others. Sociopaths, for instance.

Homosexuality on the other hand, is a harmless behavior, or viewed in a different way, just as harmful/harmless as heterosexuality.

I'd like to see proof that sociopaths are born sociopaths as well. Not just examples of people with pre-disposition, I want to see proof they were born that way.

NormanTheIntern wrote:

Well, people are born predisposed to all kinds of behavior (sexual and otherwise) that is universally accepted as wrong. They were essentially "created" (via genetics or environmental factors) that way, does that automatically make the behavior okay? I'm not sure that line of reasoning bears out in the end.

I bolded the key part of your statement there, because in this case, homosexuality is no longer universally accepted as wrong. It may not even be a majority anymore who see it that way. So while I see what you're saying there, I don't feel it's a relevant statement in this situation anymore.

SixteenBlue wrote:

I'd like to see proof that sociopaths are born sociopaths as well. Not just examples of people with pre-disposition, I want to see proof they were born that way.

I do recall seeing some news article about how a brain tumor made an otherwise well-adjusted man become a raging pedophile. The reason this was discovered was that his disturbing behaviours disappeared when the tumor was removed, only to reappear quite some time later. At that point it was found that the tumor had grown back and was removed a second time, causing the urges to disappear again.

Over time I've been persuaded that there is no such thing as "free will" in the sense that we are the masters of our own destiny. Any belief, any decision, any thought you have must either be the product of some previous cause or be ultimately uncaused.
Sam Harris has a really interesting video about why our idea of free will is mistaken, and it's really compelling.

Ultimately it was this revelation that led me to the conclusion that our legal system needs to deal not in punishment but rehabilitation and protection.