Saturday, December 22, 2007

God and the "Gay Grene"

I'm not sure how the conversation got there, but somehow a discussion I had at a Christmas Party tonight turned toward personal responsibility. The questions center around why God would allow sin to enter the world if by allowing such a thing people will be damned. This reminded me of something I read in a very fascinating book recently about the emerging research that points toward the genetic influences on homosexuality.

When I read that there is significant evidence for something like "the gay gene" I was perturbed. From what I hear in the Christian community there simply isn't such a thing. They cling to the fact that there isn't any real scientific proof for such a gene. But what happens when science "proves" this, or, at least, makes a convincing argument for biological links to homosexuality? What will happen?

If I were to hazard a guess, probably a lot of what has happened with the "Young Earth/Old Earth" debate: There would be a split between those who find a way to harmonize their interpretation of Scripture so that it matches the "new evidence" or find other research that keeps their current view of Scripture viable. But for people like me, who don't really care which side is right, another question arises: What difference does it make? First, we already know that we often misinterpret Scripture and need to reconsider our positions on things; keep humble. Second, even with a biological propensity toward evil, that doesn't mean that we have to do it. I think we forget that.

It starts very early, trying to pass off our bad behavior on things: Such as the kid driving the toy truck so that it rips the wrapping off the Christmas present. "I didn't do it. The Truck did it." We quickly learn that this doesn't fly and we are responsible. So we move to the next level: "I hit Tommy because he hit me first." Even here, logical, reasonable, and just, our actions are still our responsibility. This battle between revenge and mercy, justice and forgiveness is a lifelong struggle. It becomes more complicated the older we get, and the more we learn of people's motivation. After this, we figure out that there is sympathy for external/internal forces. People have tried arguing, even flippantly, "the devil made me do it", or claim "insanity", but the most powerful would be to point the finger at God. If He made me do it, then He can't damn me.

What we forget is that we all have a tendency to sin. The fact that we feel cheated is due to the fact that all our wants are not met, nor are we perfectly content with what we have. The fact that we lie is because we fear for our wellbeing, or the wellbeing of others. We beat up our siblings because we want to protect ourselves or others. Some theologians have wrestled with the question of God's involvement in sin, but overall Christians have come to terms with this issue. So why are we so freaked out about a "Gay Gene"? This isn't new.

~Luke Holzmann


Anonymous said...

Good, Luke.

It's similar, in my mind, to two other life-situations:

Heterosexuals have a strong temptation to be sexually active with members of the opposite sex. We don't condone such behavior indiscriminantly, arguing that "they couldn't help it, because they were born that way." Nope, we ALL have to exercise self-control.

Alcoholics apparently have some biological and/or chemical reason why they have a hard time controling their drinking. That doesn't mean we should condone drunkenness, nor provide them with resources or encouragement to indulge their desires. Nope, we, as a society, do everything we can to provide incentives and physical/emotional/whatever help to get them to become (and remain) sober.

We ALL have areas of temptation - arguably created by God - that we are responsible to stand up against.

Luke said...

Thanks for the comment!

Dr. Sax (the author of the book I drew from for my original post) also makes connections to smoking, pointing out that people react to nicotine differently; some people have a great "buzz" while others experience nothing. This was probably one of the first bits of information that formally started me on this line of thinking.

Thanks again for the input.