Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Science and sexual orientation

Here is another study out purporting to show that sexual orientation is based on genetics. I have long accepted this as a matter of fact.
But I’m sure this study will do little to dissuade the legions of flat-earthers out there who are unwilling to accept or consider scientific evidence that does not conform to their predetermined religious views.
My theory on sexual orientation can best be summed up by drawing two concentric circles side by side that overlap by about 10 percent. One circle represents the realm of masculine orientation and the other represents the realm of feminine orientation. The overlapping section represents the gay and lesbian population. I think that sexual orientation is a matter of degree. Depending upon where people fall in each circle is determined by their particular genetic makeup. Some people may be very masculine or very feminine. Others may be less masculine or less feminine, but still definitely heterosexual. Likewise there will be those who are very gay and those who are less gay but still homosexual. Then there are those who fall very close to the dividing line and in these cases I think you find people who can actually “choose” which way they want to go or they can be bi-sexual.
Maybe this is a lot of nonsense. I am only speculating on a theory that makes sense to me. Regardless, I believe it is wrong to discriminate against people of any sexual orientation.
Interestingly enough, if this theory is correct it means that just as conservative fundamentalists fear there is a choice element at work here (although with just a very small percentage of the population) and that means if our society becomes more accepting of homosexuality it could result in more people coming out of their closets and/or choosing one orientation over another. But since I don’t view sexual orientation as a “sin” and because I am not threatened by the prospect of a few more open homosexuals in our society I really don’t see it as any big deal.

But one can’t really address the issue of homosexuality without also addressing the Biblical condemnations of the practice that have turned so many people over the years into homophobic crusaders. Here is where one must determine whether they are going to believe as the fundamentalists do that the Bible is the “inerrant Word of God” or whether it is a divinely inspired work that was still written by men who in many instances allowed their own human faults, prejudices and superstitions to be sprinkled throughout the text. I do not believe the Bible is inerrant. There are too many instances where Biblical text has been used to condone everything from wars and crusades to witch burnings and slavery. Even Jesus did not treat the Bible as inerrant. Quite to the contrary he countered some of its teachings and overwrote it with his own message of forgiveness, compassion and love.
Ultimately, everyone will have to decide for themselves how to deal with the Biblical passages that condemn homosexuals. But for those who opt to follow the condemnation route and believe that God makes everyone with a clearly defined sense of sexual orientation - answer just one question. What about these people who are born with both male and female sexual organs? What is God’s intention there? A cruel joke? I believe God is compassionate, not cruel. We can accept God's creation or we can reject it. That is our choice here.

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