Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Is Sexuality a Choice?

Psychological studies of human growth and development include a focus on the changes or stages in cognition across the lifespan. Concrete, or literal, thinking marks the early years, but cognitive maturity is marked by the ability to engage in both concrete and abstract thinking (except for in the case of some mental disabilities). So, cognitive development refers to the ability to think and reason. During adolescence, individuals begin to develop their world view, too.

This process of cognitive maturing reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s assertion, “When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me,” (1 Corinthians 13:11 New International Version). Furthermore, Paul also stated, “My teaching was as if I were giving you milk to drink. I could not give you meat because you were not ready for it. Even yet you are not able to have anything but milk, (1 Corinthians 3:2, New Living Version). So, Paul was instructing these converts of the need to grow-up in their thinking and reasoning in order to grow spiritually; because, as we mature, we must also adjust our understanding of Scriptures. When we apply Paul’s admonition to the way many Christians read, consider, and deduce what the Scriptures are saying, we discover that many believers are very literal or concrete in their thinking and understanding of Biblical teachings and meanings. Unfortunately, this not only affects spiritual growth, but horrendous acts have also taken place as a result (e.g., the Holy wars, the Inquisition, or the Salem witch trials).

This brings me to the question, “Is sexuality a choice?” In Muslim countries many individuals have been put to death, because they are not heterosexuals. So, if sexuality is simply a “lifestyle choice”, it seems more likely that in countries where being non-heterosexual is punishable by torture and death, that an alternate “lifestyle” would be chosen. However, as a non-heterosexual friend has pointed out, her 'lifestyle choices' includes the types of holidays that she takes, the socializing she does with family and friends, and so forth. It does not include her sexuality.

So, why do we never hear about the 'heterosexual lifestyle"? In fact, why do heterosexuals not have to daily defend their 'lifestyle' or their sexuality? It makes me angry that the LGBTQ (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites, and queers) communities have to defend their sexuality and fight to secure basic human rights Maybe there wouldn't need to be Gay Pride parades if this population wasn't so downtrodden, dejected, and abused, and subjected to torture and death at the hands of hateful, ignorant people—that happens right here in the USA, as well as in other Western countries! 
I don't have to stand up in public to declare, "I'm heterosexual", because society sees it as the 'norm'. But there are many norms in any given society. For example, it used to be the 'norm' to put people with mental diseases or physical handicaps into institutions. Actually, when our own son was being evaluated, and eventually diagnosed with autism, the head psychiatrist just stopped short of saying we should place him in such an institution. However, we would never allow her to make life-changing decisions for a child she had observed for less than an hour! Furthermore, she shook her head sadly when I told her I knew that he had potential. If we had listened to her, our son would not have made the progress that he has, and our lives would not be as rich as they have been with him. Is it challenging? Yes! But, in addition to the academic skills that he has acquired, he has also learned daily living skills and some basic social skills. Society's understanding of autism is also changing due to good research and education. For instance, it's now known that autistic children are not 'aloof' from others as a result of lack of maternal bonding and lack of affection from their mothers. That was a wrong belief, which punished way too many mothers for something that was not their fault: they did not create their autistic children due to lack of maternal bonding.

So, with more and better research and education, who knows what other issues, now considered 'abnormal' or 'sinful', will become acceptable and a new 'norm'? There has been research both in the scientific field (e.g., studies that are exploring the genetic make-up of GLBTQ individuals) and in Biblical studies (e.g., to understand the meaning of the Biblical verses that many Christians use to label GLBTQ relationships as sinful, such as the context in which these singled-out  verses were written, and so forth).

That brings me back to my original question: Is sexuality a choice?  I don’t know the definitive answer, and maybe that isn’t the most important question. Perhaps the most significant issue is love—do Christians have a God-given mandate to treat those in the LGBTQ community as less-loved by God? One might think so, given the attitudes, behaviours, and judgmental comments and criticisms.  In the meantime, my intention is to love and accept all my friends--I don't do a community survey to find out which ones are 'straight' and which ones are 'other'. I also don’t label them as ‘saved’ or ‘sinners’, because salvation and having a relationship with Christ is a deeply personal experience; it’s not my place to judge another’s salvation. The thing that is important to me is that my friends don't have to explain or defend themselves to me. Nothing has changed with my friends who 'came out' many years after our friendship began. For that matter, the same applies to my new, non-heterosexual friends that I have met on Face Book, some of whom surpass basic friendship, because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.  -  This is the salient feature, for me. Many blessings.

Elizabeth Hogan-Hayduk
Former Officer,
Guardians of the Truth, ’83-/85


Kjell Edlund said...

I guess it's not a big surprice for any one that follows this fsaof blog and read the comments that such writings as this from Elizabeth H gets my attention.
I came to know a young person who had struggled through his life with being both gay and autistic/asperger personality.
Where did he meet acceptance and aknowledgement?
When he got a job through the summer some years ago in... Church of Sweden!
It made me so glad it was within the church that he fel complete and accepted.

Kjell - Erik Edlund
Former officer of the Salvation army
God's messengers session 1980-82

Leonard Johnson said...

Elizabeth Hogan-Hayduk has asked the question:”Is sexuality a choice”? Let me answer from my own life. I do not believe that sexuality is a choice. Why, you may ask? My answer is that I am gay, a member of the LGBT community. I have never made a choice to be homosexual, at least to my knowledge. Instead I spent a great number of years praying and asking God to make me a heterosexual person, but He has not answered that prayer. I remain a gay man. When I was engaged in talking with young people in high-school, here in Sweden, on the subject of homosexuality, I often mentioned that when a group of my friends and I sat at an outdoor café and drank coffee or such, and we viewed those passing by, my eye would notice good-looking men, not women. My heterosexual friends would notice all the good-looking women who passed by, but not me, for me it was the good-looking men who walked by, that got my attention. I never chose to be attracted by good-looking men, it simply happened. In my view, my sexuality have never been a matter of choice it has been a given. It simply has been there for as many years as I can remember. I have come to view this as God’s gift to me.

Leonard Johnson
Former Salvation Army Officer
Courageous Session, 1957-1958
Chicago, Illinois
Now living in Malmö Sweden.

Anonymous said...

I have a predisposition to gambling. It's inherent in my nature - I must have been 'born that way'. I lost bigtime once. I don't view this as God's gift to me - I stay away from it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Gambling is not inherent to your nature. Your sexual orientation is. One can go their entire life without ever once gambling or even thinking about gambling. No one can go very long, once they reach adolescence, without having sexual thoughts and urges. It is not something one can voluntarily stay away from, unless one is born asexual--and the vast majority of people aren't. Compulsive gambling is an addiction, an illness if you will, the same as sexual addiction of any kind would be--whether straight or gay.

Having a homosexual orientation isn't anymore a sin than is having a heterosexual orientation a sin. Homosexual orientation is just a minority orientation, the same as being left handed is a minority handedness! If one does evil with their left hand, then they are sinning, the same as would be true if a right handed person decided to do evil with his/her right hand. Ditto for sexual orientation.

Where the crux of the matter seems to be, is that people who express views such as you do on sexual orientation, also seem to think that people who are attempting to do the best they possibly can with their homosexual orientation, by seeking a one on one relationship and marriage, or even just going off to their bedrooms and relieving themselves of their sexual tensions, are sinning because the object of their sexual desire is not heterosexual in nature. That is not leveling the playing field. It is NOT JUST. The real sin is the homophobia behind such thinking. Got it?

Daryl Lach
USA Central

P.S. Btw, the county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue same sex couple marriage licenses in her county under "God's Authority," has been divorced three times, married four times, twice to the same man and has had two children out of wedlock in between marriages. Go figure insanity and the need to scapegoat in the name of God.

"You Must Go Home By the Way of the Cross, To Stand With Jesus In the Morning!"

Kjell Edlund said...

Now, what you are implaying is that you don't agree with us that states that its most certain something you have within your person even from birth.

Well. This theory have some science behind it.
To compare Homosexuality with a predisposition of gambling, or may bee you intended gambling adictious behavior...?
Well... I'm sure you will have a problem in finding science support for this!
The associations for Psycologians have declarations that one Can Not compare Homosexuality with psycological disorders, it is a variant of human sexuality, nothing more!