Saturday, 2 January 2010

Is all Homosexual activity unnatural, does it exist in nature, and is it a threat to the human species?

In my previous two blogs I set out why I believe that homosexuality (as a sexual orientation) is not a simple choice; that we have to distinguish between sexual identity and sexual behaviour; how some sexual behaviours have elements of choice; and that the Bible is not clear in its condemnation of homosexuality. In this blog I wish to tackle the arguments that homosexuality is unnatural as it does not occur in nature, the related argument that if homosexuality goes unchecked it will be a threat to the human species, and that the Bible regards it as unnatural.

1. Homosexuality in Nature

It is not true that homosexuality does not occur in nature and therefore is unnatural as some would have us believe. This topic is eloquently handled in a New Scientist article. In this article they establish that Homosexuality does occur quite regularly in nature and there a various evolutionary reasons why this may occur.

I have to agree with the editorial on this article that homosexuality in nature is not a guide to morality. It it first and foremost a basic human rights issue!

2. Homosexuality Threatens The Human Species

Nor can homosexuality be a threat to the species. Depending which figures you refer to, the gay population is between 3%-4% of the populace; other figures state that it may be slightly higher, between 8%-10%. Irrespective, there is little chance that this will threaten the human species because not enough people are procreating. This also erroneously assumes that gay couples will not want children. There are several modern options available to gay couples wanting their own children (other ethical and moral issues aside).

Therefore, this is just plain scaremongering: some conservatives would have us believe that one's sexuality is a choice and, therefore many more people could easily choose homosexuality and not procreate. As we do not choose our sexual orientation it is therefore not possible for heterosexuals to become homosexual and visa versa.

3. Theological View

In my first blog on whether or not homosexuality is simple choice, I touched on the one aspect of the theological argument that homosexuality is unnatural as it is against God's design. Here I wish to examine why some argue that Leviticus and Romans do state that homosexuality is unnatural.

3.1 Leviticus
Many feel that as Leviticus regards same-sex male penetrative sex (note: female same-sex behaviour is not covered in these verses) as an abomination; that it is therefore regarded as unnatural. It is incorrect to translate the original Hebrew words "shiqquwts" into the English word "abomination". The Hebrew word in Leviticus means "unclean" and not "unnatural". It relates to Jewish laws of cleanliness. If one were to accept that "abomination" equates to "unnatural", then a Christian should not eat shell fish or any of the other "unnatural" foods either.

Remember, that these cleanliness laws no longer apply. With respect to the prohibition on unclean food, in Peter's vision in Acts 10:11-15, God tells him not to regard as unclean that God has made clean. Additionally Christ is the fulfillment of the laws in Leviticus (Mat 5:17).

3.2 Romans
The use of "unnatural" in Romans 1:26-27, as else where in Romans (Rom 11:21,24), pertains to people behaving "against their own nature", not "against nature".

"... the text does not condemn homosexual acts by homosexuals, rather "homosexual acts committed by heterosexual persons" [...] or heterosexuals who "abandoned" or "exchanged" heterosexuality for homosexuality ..."
As I discussed in a previous blog, while I do not regard one's sexual identity as a simple choice, I do believe that aspects of one's sexual behaviour are a choice. For example, in a prison where there is a lack of the opposite sex, heterosexuals may adopt homosexual behaviours but when they are released they revert back to heterosexual behaviours. Their underlying sexual identity has not changed.

The Roman's verses are also in the context of idolatry and therefore more likely to relate to temple prostitution when people were having sex with the gods, deities or angels.
"Paul is condemning specific types of homosexual activity (such as temple prostitution or pederasty) rather than a broader interpretation..."
The idea of sex with deities or angels is regarded as sin: the cause of Noah's flood and the reason why Lot (a righteous man) offered his daughters to be raped by the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Therefore, is a Sodomite not technically a person who wants to have sex with an angel and not one man with another?) Furthermore, it is interesting that the original Greek in Jude 1:17 refers to sexual immorality of Sodom & Gomorrah as lusting after "another flesh" - few translations such as the NIV even reference this in a foot note. Others do include it, such as the NASB.


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