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.
Guardians of the Truth, ’83-/85