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A Christian Perspective
Why should Christians be concerned about what causes homosexuality? A proper understanding will help in several ways...
What Causes Homosexuality?
This will in turn help us to have the compassion and longsuffering necessary if we will be able to help those who wish to repent of their homosexuality.
- Remove some of the "homophobia" that many Christians have because of something they do not understand.
- Gain appreciation for the extremely difficult challenge that one who is homosexual will face should he or she try to repent.
Before looking at the specific causes of homosexuality, some general comments...
NATURE OR NURTURE? OR PERHAPS SOME OF BOTH?There is much controversy going on as to whether homosexuality is genetic or environmental in origin. Homosexuals are desperately looking for any evidence that would seem to confirm that they were "born homosexuals." It should be easy to understand why, for if "God made them that way" then it is not their fault they are homosexual and it must not be a sin to act out their desires. So any research that might suggest a genetic origin is quickly offered as a defense. But the vested interest that homosexuals have often prevent them (and more "liberal thinking" heterosexuals) from seeing the obvious.
For example, recent studies done with identical twins have been offered by some as evidence that the origins of homosexuality might be in the genes. In one study, Dr. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University examined 110 pairs of identical twins who had been separated at birth and raised in different environments. He found that if one was gay there was a 52% chance the other was also. But among fraternal twins, the chance fell to 22%. Because the ratio was higher among twins who are genetically identical, this study has been referred to by many as evidence that homosexuality is genetic in origin. I even heard Dr. Dean Edell (a famous radio call-in doctor) appeal to this study in defense of homosexuality.
I may be missing something here, but the reason why identical twins are such fascinating subjects of scientific study is because they ARE alike genetically. Therefore, if homosexuality is solely genetic in origin, then if one twin is gay, you would expect the chances of the other twin being gay to be 100%! The fact that only 52% of those who were identical in genetic makeup to their homosexual twin were gay themselves would strongly suggest that genetics alone does not make one homosexual.
This study would rather confirm that though there may be genetic factors that increase the likelihood of one becoming a homosexual, these genetic factors alone do not produce homosexuality (as in the case of 48% of those heterosexuals whose identical twin was homosexual). There must also be environmental factors for homosexuality to develop.
This study confirms my understanding that the cause of homosexuality is a highly complex combination of various factors, some genetic and some environmental, that make it much easier for some people to become entrapped in this particualar sin. In this regard, it is not much different than alcoholism, where similar studies involving identical twins have shown similar results. All it confirms is that there may be some people with a genetic likelihood of developing a "predisposition" toward such things as homosexuality and alcoholism, but it requires the addition of environmental factors to produce the actual homosexual or alcoholic.
WHAT CAUSES HOMOSEXUALITYI strongly recommend a book called "THE UNHAPPY GAYS: What Everyone Should Know About Homosexuality" by Tim LaHaye (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton Illinois, 1978) to gain a good insight into the factors that lead to the development of homosexuality. In his chapter on "What Causes Homosexuality?" Tim LaHaye first describes...
The Components For Developing A Predisposition To Homosexuality
Please carefully note that the components listed below DO NOT CAUSE ONE TO BECOME A HOMOSEXUAL. Rather, they can contribute to the development of a PREDISPOSITION TOWARDS HOMOSEXUALITY. A person can (and many do) have all these components and still not be a homosexual. As listed and describe by LaHaye, these components include:
LaHaye carefully documents how studies have often found these factors present in the development of a predisposition towards homosexuality. Only the first ("A Melancholy Temperament") is truly related to genetics, but many of the others are environmental factors that can occur so early in the development of a child that one could easily believe that once a predisposition towards homosexuality has developed they feel they must have been "born that way."
- A Melancholy Temperament
- Inadequate Parental Relationships
- Permissive Childhood Training
- Insecurity About Sexual Identity
- Childhood Sexual Trauma
- Early Interest In Sex
- Youthful Masturbator And Sexual Fantasizer
- Childhood Associates And Peer Pressure
But even if one has a "predisposition" towards homosexuality, they are not necessarily homosexual. As LaHaye continues to illustrate, to a "predisposition" must be added other factors. He describes this as...
The Formula For Producing A Homosexual
This formula can be illustrated in this way:
A Predisposition Toward Homosexuality
That First Homosexual Experience
Pleasurable and Positive Homosexual Thoughts
To Which Is Added
More Homosexual Experiences
More Pleasurable Thoughts
When one already has a "predisposition" towards homosexuality, exposure to homosexual experiences and pleasurably reflecting upon them can create a powerful attraction difficult to overcome. So powerful can these experiences and reflections be that one not even need to have developed a "predisposition" to be drawn into this sort of behavior. This is why many who were not born with the "melancholy temperament" are also found in homosexual circles.
ConclusionMy purpose in this section has not been to provide a definitive treatment on how homosexuality develops, and I seriously doubt that what has been briefly covered will convince any homosexual that their "orientation" is primarily caused by environmental factors rather than genetic ones.
My hope is to help my brothers and sisters in Christ see that the "web" of homosexuality is one that involves more than a simple choice on the part of those entrapped. Like all those overcome by sin, it involves a complicated process, one which can be overcome only with Divine help, together with the assistance of understanding and patience on the part of children of God!