Comparison of six views of
homosexuality with regard to:
Main biblical message
Does a homosexual orientation exist?
Incidence of homosexuality
The six viewpoints, from:
|| "Condemnation" -- the most conservative and
traditional -- to
||"Liberation" -- the most liberal --
stereotypes. They don't necessarily fit the opinions of individuals. Many
people will hold beliefs that combine more than one viewpoint.
in this way emphasizes that there are more sets of beliefs than the two extreme views that
one hears so often in the media.
||One sentence description (repeated):
||Description or main emphasis
||Homosexuality is profoundly immoral at all times.
|"Change is expected"
||Homosexuals can change their sexual orientation, with effort
|"Celibacy is expected"
||Homosexuals must either change or be celibate.
homosexual relationships are the least awful option.
||Seek equal rights. Homosexuality, is morally neutral.
||Reinterpret the Bible. Homophobia, not being lesgay, is the main evil.
||Main biblical message:|
|Viewpoint||What the Bible says about homosexuality|
||Genesis 19 describes that God destroyed the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrah because of their homosexuality.
||Leviticus 18:22 states that
homosexual behavior is an abomination.
||Leviticus 20:13 is similar, and
adds a compulsory death sentence to the offender.
||Judges 19 discusses the near
extermination of the tribe of Benjamin because of their homosexual
||Deuteronomy and Kings state that there shall be no sodomites
allowed in Israel.
||Romans 1:26-27 says that homosexuality --
both by men and women -- is unnatural and a perversion.
6:9-10 says that homosexual behavior is such a serious sin that anyone
who commits it cannot enter heaven.
||1 Timothy 1:9-10 considers
homosexuality on a par with murdering ones parents.
||Jude 7 refers back to the
homosexual sin in Sodom.
The Bible is totally consistent: homosexuality
is a profound sin, worthy of capital punishment, which will prevent a
person from attaining heaven. However, 1 Corinthians 6:11 holds out hope
for the homosexual. If they will repent of their sins and accept Jesus
as Lord and Savior, they will be cured and become heterosexual.
|"Change is expected"||While accepting the "Abomination" viewpoint that
condemns all homosexual behavior, this group emphasizes the
message in 1 Corinthians 6:11: that a homosexual can be cured by
becoming saved. The important message of the Bible is thus for
homosexuals to become saved, to seek help from reparative therapists or
transformational ministries, to terminate their homosexual lifestyle and
to become heterosexual.
This group heavily supports therapists and ministries in their work to cure
|"Celibacy is expected"||The Bible clearly condemns homosexual behavior. Homosexuality is,
without exception, a major sin. The message for the homosexual is to
seek a cure so that they can become heterosexuals. If therapy and/or
prayer fail, as it almost always does, then the message of the Bible is
for the homosexual to leave the gay lifestyle, decide to become sexually
inactive, and be celibate for the rest of their life.|
|"Marginally acceptable"||The Bible does take a negative view towards homosexual behavior. The
Bible states that all "...homosexual practices are unnatural and Godless."
2 But the authors of
the Bible had limited knowledge of homosexuality. The Bible is silent on
the topic of
sexual orientation. In particular, it does not describe committed,
loving, same-sex relationships. Thus, we have a slight degree of freedom
in determining what is moral behavior for such couples. |
||The genocide of Sodom described in Genesis 19 was motivated by
the inhabitants' uncharitable treatment of strangers and uncaring
attitude towards the poor. Homosexual rape is condemned. But this is
unrelated to same-sex behavior in a loving relationship.
||Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 condemn cultic homosexual behavior in
a Pagan temple. They are part of the Holiness Code, and are not
binding on Christians today.
||Judges 19 is a reworked version of Genesis 19, and contains no
additional information about homosexual behavior.
||The Deuteronomy and Kings passages are mistranslations in the
King James Version of the Bible; the
passages refer to prostitution, not to homosexual behavior.
||Romans 1:26-27 condemns heterosexuals who depart from
Christianity, embrace Paganism, worship idols, and act against their
nature by engaging in homosexual behavior.
6:9-10 is somewhat ambiguous, but apparently refers to men who sexually
abuse boys, and is unrelated to consensual homosexual behavior in a
||1 Timothy 1:9-10 carries the same ambiguous message as 1
||Jude 7 refers back to the
attempted rape of angels in Sodom -- again unrelated to consensual
||1 Corinthians 6:11 does hold out hope that sinners can be
reformed and sanctified. However, this would seem to refer to child
molesters deciding to abandon their criminal. abusive practices.
The Bible does condemn certain certain specific sexual sins between
persons of the same sex. Those are still considered immoral, and even
criminal, today by almost everyone. But it delivers no moral message
about private, consensual same-sex activity by a committed, loving
The Bible does talk extensively about the spiritually elevating and
civilizing power of love. It discusses the need for justice and freedom
for all. To deprive persons of elementary rights, including the right to
marry, because they happen to have an unchosen and unchangeable
homosexual sexual orientation is profoundly unjust. We should
concentrate on these positive biblical themes when we develop a moral
code for persons with a homosexual or bisexual orientation.
This viewpoint agrees with the "Equality" supporters: the
Bible is silent on consensual sexual activity within a committed
relationship. On a positive note, the Bible does contain many grand
themes of liberation and justice: the Exodus from Egypt, the story of
Esther, the criticism of social inequality by the major and minor
prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old
Testament), Jesus' support for the broken, poor, imprisoned,
disadvantaged, etc. These themes have inspired Christians and Jews to
promote liberation theology in Central America, and an end to racial
segregation in the U.S. Now, these same themes are inspiring gays,
lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons to fight for equality.
The condemnation found in the Bible against sex outside of marriage
made a lot of sense in biblical times. It was a pre-scientific age when
contraceptive techniques and methods of preventing STDs were
unavailable. They were not intended for all eras and all cultures. In
particular, they are not applicable today. Safe, consensual,
responsible, non-exploitive, non manipulative sex between mature persons
-- whether of the same sex or opposite sex, whether in a committed
relationship or not -- can be moral if it is genuine and spiritually
elevating. Homosexuals "...should be encouraged to seek relationships
that are meaningful and constructive, and that con contribute to the
development of their personality as loving."
||Does a homosexual orientation exist?|
|Viewpoint||Existence of sexual orientation|
Homosexuality as an orientation does not exist. If it did, the Bible
would mention it. Everyone is a heterosexual. What the Bible does
discuss in depth is humanity's sinful depraved nature. Homosexual
behavior is one form by which this fallen nature is manifested.|
people, will experience a same-sex act. This often leads to addiction
which is one form of God's punishment for the act. The person then will
often assert that they have a homosexual orientation in order to justify
Even if the existence of a homosexual orientation could be proven, it
is immaterial, because the Bible would condemn any acting out of that
|"Change is expected"||Opinion is divided.
||Some teach that a homosexual orientation does not exist.
Everyone is basically heterosexual.
||Others teach that a homosexual orientation does exist but that
it can be overcome.
They do agree that some people, mainly as a result of a poor
relationship with their parent of the same sex during early childhood,
do seek same-sex sexual relationships during adulthood. They are trying
to fill a longing that was not satisfied during childhood. They can be
retrained through a loving, intimate but non-sexual relationship with a
member of the same-sex. Their "homosexuality" will disappear and be
replaced with attraction for the opposite sex.
|"Celibacy is expected"||The Bible does not discuss sexual orientation. Its writers appear to
assume that everyone is heterosexual. But they lived in a pre-scientific
age before human sexuality became the focus of numerous scientific
studies. We must turn to science to learn about sexual orientation.
Numerous studies, personal testimonies, the unsuccessful struggles that
countless persons with a homosexual orientation have experienced trying
to become heterosexual, all point to a homosexual orientation that is
unchosen and unchangeable in adulthood. Child psychologists are able to
determine with excellent accuracy which pre-schoolers will grow up to be
gay or lesbian. Studies have shown that a person with a homosexual
orientation is very rarely able to become heterosexual. The Bible calls
them to a state of celibacy.|
|"Marginally acceptable"||This viewpoint generally agrees with the "Celibacy" group. However,
they teach that a loving committed same-sex relationship is to be
preferred over a promiscuous single lifestyle.|
They also agree with the Celibacy group concerning the
existence of a homosexual orientation.
A sexual orientation, whether homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual,
is a gift of God to be appreciated, and explored with responsibility.
||Some suggest that sexual orientation is simply a social
construct...that if social pressures were removed, everyone would
realize that they are bisexual.
||Others, probably the majority, believe on the basis of memories
and current feelings of attraction that sexual orientation is a
||Incidence of homosexuality:|
||How many adults are homosexuals
||Very few adults are homosexuals: on the order of one or two percent.
Also, sexual behavior is very fluid. Many people change their behavior
during their lifetime.
|"Change is expected"
|"Celibacy is expected"
||About 5 to 10% of adults are homosexual. This appears to be a
constant percentage throughout history and among various cultures.
Sexual orientation is difficult to measure. Simply asking a person if
they are gay or lesbian during a phone interview will produce
unrealistically low numbers because of lack of trust. The only reliable
data comes from person-to-person interviews in which a trusting
environment is established.
||Agree with the "Equality" viewpoint.
L.R. Holben, "What Christians think about homosexuality: Six
representative viewpoints," Bibal Press, (1999).
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
Lewis Smedes, "Sex for Christians: The limits and liberties of sexual
living," Eerdmans, (1976). *
Michael Valente, " "Sex: The radical view of a Catholic Theologian" Macmillan,
* Quoted in Reference 1.
Copyright © 2004 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally written: 2004-SEP-18
Latest update: 2004-SEP-18
Author: B.A. Robinson