Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dueling David 2b: Naturally Flawed Logic

Blogs aren't the best places for debate, but well try to make this work as best as possible.  This is an ongoing debate with David.  See "Dueling David" for the previous round if you'd like to join in, and don't forget to read the comments because that is where David replied.

Naturally Flawed Logic
I never claimed that anything which occurs in nature is OK. After all, there are some pretty horrific genetic mutations which happen in nature. If I had the power to control that, maybe like God, I would probably try to prevent that from happening. But I digress. ;-)

I missed the BBC series on chimps, but, yes, murder and cannibalism happen in nature. Yes, many, if not most or all, of us feel the occasional violent urge like we would want to kill others, even if that feeling is fleeting and not deeply serious. But that's entirely different than sexuality. Let's talk about why.

Sexuality affects us so much that researchers determined that one of the first things we recognize about anyone is their sex. Male or female? This is long before we could even form an opinion on whether or not we should kill them. ;-) Our sexuality is always there. Our urges to kill other people? Not so much, unless we are just insane.

In purely legalistic perspective, your friend's comment is correct. Until someone has homosexual sex, they are not homosexual. But that's not true in the brain and the internalized sexuality which we all think about on at least a subconscious level any time we meet other people. In fact, that's one reason why I know that male homosexuals are natural. Not because I have homosexual desires, but precisely the opposite. I think male homosexual sex is repulsive. If all men had the same sexuality as me, male homosexuality would not exist. Yet male homosexuals do exist, so not everybody has the same sexuality.

You know what else? I can often tell when another man is homosexual. You may have heard of a term “gaydar.” Not always. Not perfectly. But often enough that it's not just coincidence, I can tell. I picked up on it pretty readily with the three gay friends I have, and it's not because they were flamboyant about their homosexuality, or because they made passes at me (although one of them did eventually, I guess his gaydar wasn't working).

You may be of the opinion that men and women think differently. Quite often, the homosexual men I've met have thought differently as well. This is somewhat of a proven fact too. Do a little research, and you will find that our top military language translators are quite often homosexual. That's why policies which exclude gays from the military are actually somewhat detrimental to national security.

An unnatural love for languages and an inclination for interior design are stereotypes of homosexuals for a reason. It's not that all homosexuals possess these skills, but enough do to stand out. And that points to homosexuality as being more than simply a label of someone who preforms the act of homosexual intercourse.

Something else to consider: Roughly 1.7% of human births are intersex, where sexual organs are not clearly male or female, or actually have both sexual organs. About 0.018% of human births have chromosomes which are inconsistent with either male or female. If something as basic as male verses female organs can get mixed up, it must be inherently possible for “masculine” brains to end up in female bodies, or visa versa, or some hybrid of male and female brain.

OK, so all of this points back to homosexuality being completely natural, homosexuals being born with homosexual desires from birth, and God condemning them for those very same desires. Yes, I know, desires and actions are different. You can argue it's still a choice in the end (no pun intended). But if a homosexual man feels towards sex with a woman the way I feel towards homosexual sex with another man, well, quite frankly, that's no choice at all. It's not going to happen.


  1. I have made an attempt at brevity, there is a measure of brusqueness as well. I apologize and beg your indulgence.

    If I read this correctly you are saying that sexual impulse is special. I guess the implication is that it should not constrained the way other natural impulses must be. Are you monogamous? Does your partner share your opinion? I don't know what else to say about that line of reasoning.

    The other tack you take is the "gay gene". That argument was popular in the 80's and 90's, but to date no conclusive evidence justifies your assertions (recent research in South Korea notwithstanding). I have also know a fair number of gay people. I can assure you your "gaydar" does not work on someone who does not want to reveal that aspect of their lives to you, and I submit it has returned false positives on numerous occasions. Do you really have any idea how broad the spectrum of homosexual behavior is?

    Once again your argument reduces to the idea that God makes people a certain way and then condemns them for it. I suppose that's true if you blame God for man's wickedness, but then we come back to the real problem don't we.

    Let's talk about the morals of God.

  2. No, I did not say there was a gay gene at all. You are categorizing it in that way to make the argument easier for you to deal with.

    There is indeed a whole spectrum of gay behavior. I am well aware. I'll convict you by your words here:

    If on one end of the spectrum is someone completely heterosexual, such as myself, wouldn't there naturally be someone who is completely homosexual, to the point of finding heterosexual sex repulsive?

    Born condemned by God.

  3. Not to split hairs, but we are all born condemned by God. Did you miss the point of the Law?

    Why are people condemned by God? How are people justified to God? Not by being born homosexual.

    Remember I said I was conflicted about this subject? My problem is the reaction to homosexuality. It is just another sin, get over it. Gossip is just as bad or worse but we don't make such a fuss about that. Maybe because gossips aren't a minority. Hopefully we'll catch up someday.

  4. Well, at least we can agree on homosexuality being "just another sin" from the Christian perspective.

    Now what you have to deal with is why God would stack the deck against particular people, such as what I'll call "pure" homosexuals (repulsion to heterosexual sex).

    I believe this is how you play the game, but correct me if I'm wrong: You accept Jesus. You become saved. You repent from sinful behaviors, such as homosexuality. If you don't repent, then you haven't really been saved.

    Now you have a subset of people, pure homosexual Christians, denied their sexuality or blatantly continuing on in their sins because that's what feels natural.

  5. I had a friend who was a homosexual and became a Christian (before I did). She continued to live as a practicing homosexual for several years. In the intervening time I became a Christian. I never doubted her relationship with God. We discussed it and it was clear to me she understood the same God I did.

    Your view is centered in the rules not in the love of God. She eventually changed her behavior but she never changed her heart. I do not know if she fell back into that practice (it was long before marriage was legal anywhere in the US) but I do not doubt I will see her in heaven any more than I doubt her love for God.

    That is why you can't judge God. He doesn't follow your rules, He has established a better way.

  6. So apparently you have a viewpoint well outside of mainstream Christianity. To you, you can blatantly continue in your sin and still be saved.

    I guess there is no real need to discuss this further than. ;-)

  7. Once again you miss the meat of the matter.

    You cannot merely modify outward behavior i.e. "keep the law". Behaving according to the rules so that you "measure up" is fruitless because you cannot do it.

    You need to have your heart changed so that behavior flows from the inside out, not the outside in.

    If you believe "... you can blatantly continue in your sin...", you did not read Romans as I suggested. What I outline is in fact mainstream Christianity.

  8. That's strange. I read a book which I could have sworn was called Romans. It didn't say nobody could follow the Law. In fact, it said just the opposite in Romans 5:14:

    "Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come." NIV

    And when I got to Romans 6, it sure seemed like Paul was saying you had better not continue in your sins (such as homosexuality). You know, that's the one which starts:

    "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!..."

    and continues:
    "...that we should no longer be slaves to sin..."

    "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness."

    and caps the whole section off with that famous line after arguing that saved people should stop sinning:

    "For the wages of sin is death..."

    That all seems to be in line with what I've heard from mainstream Christianity. That last line finishes:

    "...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

    So the natural conclusion is that if you are continuing in your sins, you are not under grace. (Note, this is different than the occasional screw-up sin. This is more like continuing with homosexual behavior.) That's the way I've heard it framed by some of the best mainstream preachers today, such as Dr. David Jeremiah, Woodrall Kroll (or however you spell his name), Charles Stanley, etc.

    Continuing on in the next chapter, in Romans 7:20 where Paul is talking about when he does what he does not want to do, that's more like the occasional screw-up sin than a blatant continuation in homosexual behavior.

    But why limit yourself to Romans? How about 2 Corinthians 12:21 where it would be a grievous thing to find people still continuing in their sins:

    "I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged." NIV

    Or how about 1 Timothy 5:22's call to be sinless:

    "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure."

    But the real kicker, the icing on the cake, the incontrovertible truth on the Christian mainstream position, is found in 1 John 3:9:

    "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God."

    Game. Set. Match. Unless you'd like to contradict Scripture...

  9. Game. Set. Match? What about Love?

    Apart from the fact that Romans 5:14 doesn't talk about keeping the law (that's in Romans 7), it would seem that once again you miss the point.

    You should try reading to understand instead of reading for ammunition. But be warned they ban that book for a reason. My friend was doing research for her Anthropology thesis when bam, suddenly her life was changed. She wasn't looking to change her life or stop being a homosexual, but suddenly it became an issue.

    What you missed in my comment was she "changed her behavior but she never changed her heart." That is because Christ had already changed it. Eventually her behavior followed.

    You are still trying to make a law, but that isn't how it works. Christ said in Matthew 18:15 if your brother sins and does not repent let him be as a Gentile or a tax collector. He also says in Luke 17:3 if your brother sins and he repents 7 times in a day forgive him. The difference is in the heart is it not?

    So just as Moses wrote in Deuteronomy God writes His law into our hearts. The change comes from the inside out, not the outside in. Making a new set of "Laws" from the NT is no better than trying to make the old set work. We are a new creature in Christ, made pure by the blood of a new covenant.

    So 1 John 3:9 is true.

    Postscript - I just looked her up on the web. She has proved Christ true.

  10. You rightfully busted me on Romans 5:14. That was an embarrassment. Thanks for correcting it.

    Not that it's really a good excuse, but I work really long hours and travel a lot, so my mind isn't always fresh, and my time is often crunched. But that's no excuse for not reading the entire context to be sure of it's meaning. I am sorry about that.

    However, the rest of the previous comment stands true. Mainstream Christianity maintains you can't blatantly continue in your sin and be saved.

    I understand what you are saying about your friend, and I understand what you are saying about the internal change, now that you have added that to your argument.

    Yet that still does not answer the central question raised in this stream. What if a "pure" homosexual wants to be a Christian? The view mainstream Christianity and the Bible have says that the God-given desires they have are wrong. They would have to deny their native sexuality.

    Romans 6 and 1 John 3:9 both condemn those who would continue in a homosexual lifestyle, regardless of how they felt on the inside. Consider the surrounding verses...
    1 John 3:8
    "The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work."

    1 John 3:9
    "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God."

    and 1 John 3:10
    "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister."

    What this says is that anyone who continues to sin is from Satan, not from God. There is no conversion effect or allowance for people like your lady friend. If you were to take this to heart, and you saw a homosexual Christian continuing on in their homosexuality, you would be bound to consider them as, well, children of Satan.

    I know you are just going to ignore these verses, because you have more of an open, loving, and accepting philosophy about your faith. (Or at least that's the vibe I get, aside from your rather nasty mockery of me.) Such a philosophy does not lend itself to accepting hash words as they are. You conveniently brush aside things like the narrow road from your mind, (you know, where Jesus effectively says that the overwhelming majority of the world is going to Hell, and only the few who walk the straight and narrow will be saved?) and selectively institute a come-as-you-are, forgive-till-the-cows-come-home take on the faith.

    You viewpoint isn't Biblical, and yet it is. It isn't mainstream, and yet it is. It all depends on the particular filter you want to use.

    If I have semi-accurately described your faith in these last couple paragraphs, then you should know that it's the flavor of the faith which I find most appealing. So my contention with you is not with your particular brand of Christianity, or you personally, but rather simply to remind you that you are not entirely according to the scripture here. I know from your comment about NT laws that you are OK with not being in harmony with the entire text.

    So we are at an impasse. You will not honestly consider any verse which is contrary to your philosophy. So what is the point of further debate?

    Although, I still would like to know what you come up with about what God says about the Law on the other post thread... Tip: Try searching for "law," "commands," "decrees," and "ways" at Bible Gateway. Although you've got to be careful with that last one, as it quite often does not mean the Law.

  11. "You[r] viewpoint isn't Biblical, and yet it is. It isn't mainstream, and yet it is". Paradox, we're getting there. I like Zen because it encourages one to think outside the ruts. God is really really big and we are really really small.

    My approach is pretty simple. God is the judge, not me (The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom). Apply His truth to my life and trust Him for the details (Faith, Hope and Love abide but the greatest is Love). You may remember this started with me shutting my mouth.

    I have a blog and one post talks specifically about the wide and narrow gates (Heaven and Hell). If you care to you can read at least what I say I believe.

    I may try a study on the law, but I'm not sure I will come up with what you expect me to find (since, like you, I have been through the books before). If you care to you can email me with specific pointers and we can do this in my sandbox. Or not, as you wish.

  12. I'm expecting that if you study what God says about the Law, you will realize how incongruous it is to both Paul's point of view and God's righteousness. OK, well, I guess "expecting" is a bit strong. I doubt you'll see it my way. Call me a skeptic. ;-)

    By the way, I can't get to your blog unless you give me a link or something. You have marked your profile as private, so I can't get to it to get to your blog link.

  13. A few notes about what I've read here:

    If 1.7% of humans have genitals that are neither male nor female, then there are roughly 119,000,000 people in this world who are free to choose from the men's *or* the women's restroom. ;-) A more accurate figure, I think, is this, taken from The Intersex Society of North America: "If you ask experts at medical centers how often a child is born so noticeably atypical in terms of genitalia that a specialist in sex differentiation is called in, the number comes out to about 1 in 1500 to 1 in 2000 births." Nevertheless, your point remains valid, Fool: there are a lot of people who don't fit into the "manly man" category nor the "womanly woman" category, and many for whom sexuality is confusing at best.

    You conclude with: "But if a homosexual man feels towards sex with a woman the way I feel towards homosexual sex with another man, well, quite frankly, that's no choice at all. It's not going to happen." Nor does it need to. Homosexuals can have intimate, loving relationships with others of the same gender without having sex. You'll say that's not fair, and you'll be right. But God never claimed that this life would be fair, for *anyone*.

  14. Yes, Ollie Wallflower, it's an issue of definition, and things which come to us in a spectrum as opposed to in discreet categories can result in a lot of gray. I got the data from Wikipedia, which I believe cites close to your numbers as well...
    "According to the ISNA definition above, 1 percent of live births exhibit some degree of sexual ambiguity. Between 0.1% and 0.2% of live births are ambiguous enough to become the subject of specialist medical attention, including surgery to disguise their sexual ambiguity.

    According to Fausto-Sterling's definition of intersex, on the other hand, 1.7 percent of human births are intersex."

    The fact that it does happen is of interest. Even with the conservative 1/2000 rate, at a sold-out game at Yankee Stadium, you'd have about 25 people who were not born with a clear gender.

    I think you are correct, in that I do not remember coming across a verse in the Bible where God promises a fair life for anyone or everyone. While not a direct contradiction, not being fair certainly stands in contrast with God's perfect justice, righteousness, and love, at least in the way we mortals view those traits. For if we had the ability to make everyone have a fair chance in this world, it would be unjust to stack the odds for or against someone, unrighteous to make someone more or less likely to sin, and unloving to place additional burdens on only select people.

  15. It was really only because I had one of those "that can't be right" moments when I saw the 1.7% figure that I looked into the matter. As it turns out, Fausto-Sterling's claim is highly disputed. To quote Leonard Sax, "Fausto-Sterling computes the incidence of intersexual births to be 1.7 per 100 live births, or 1.7%. To arrive at that figure, she defines as intersex any 'individual who deviates from the Platonic ideal of physical dimorphism at the chromosomal, genital, gonadal, or hormonal levels.'" Her numbers make much more sense with this broad definition in view.

    But even if there were only *one* person in the world who did not have a clear gender, your point would remain valid, because such a person would *apparently* be at a disadvantage with regard to sexual temptation.

    You state: "While not a direct contradiction, not being fair certainly stands in contrast with God's perfect justice, righteousness, and love, at least in the way we mortals view those traits." Matthew 20:1-16, the "parable of the vineyard," is an interesting study in fairness. The workers initially saw it as fair to work one full day for one denarius. . . but only until another worker arrived and worked for just a short time and received the same amount of money. Just like that, fair became unfair. So the concept of fairness--in contrast with justice or righteousness or love--changes as circumstances change. I would suggest that fairness is a human concept that basically just means "what I think I ought to get." To a poor person in China, having one child and enough money to buy food to eat might be considered fair, while to an American, fair could mean having a fully-loaded Ford Expedition, a boat, and a five-bedroom house.

  16. The point is well made about the relativism of fairness. There is a lot of gray when defining what exactly is fair when none of us start from the same exact point.

    However, I think my assertion may still be valid from this perspective: I am not referring to fairness of the quality of life, or parents, or any temporal matter. I am getting down to the fairness in terms of the likelihood of making it to a blissful, eternal afterlife. Given the permeation of sexual drive on the persona, the "pure" homosexual has direct contention with the word of God, as described in above comments. This puts up a barrier to believing in God for salvation.

    For heterosexuals, it's the equivalent of God saying in the Bible that loving your wife is wrong. Knowing how much I love my wife, I think I would really struggle with that, and find it difficult to believe in or follow such a God.

    As many people point out, homosexual desires can be a manageable sin, in that homosexuals can deny themselves their inherent desires just as anyone can for any sin. Some homosexuals do just that to follow God, so the barrier is not insurmountable. To me, the extra barrier is just unnecessary and unfair to the many who feel their natural love and attractions point to a more robust truth than the one purported in the Bible.

    Who knows? Maybe your God will grade on a curve at the end. Maybe homosexuals and people born into other faiths will get extra credit towards the afterlife. However, most verses of the Bible suggest the contrary is true...

  17. As for "grading on a curve," as you well know, and as Calvinists would be quick to point out, God doesn't actually "grade" at all, but rather chooses (predestines) people based on criteria known only to him (if on any criteria at all). But don't let me open THAT can of worms here. I'm sure you've done a post about predestination elsewhere.

  18. LOL! I haven't gotten around to that study yet, but it's coming. ;-)

    You're right, it's not so much a grade scale. It's more of a pass/fail, where God has decided who passes and who fails before they even start to take the test.

    Stop! Stop! Get back in there, you miserably worms! ;-)