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Comparison of six views of homosexuality with regard to:

Sexual orientation conversion rates,
Emotional & psychological aspects of homosexuality, &
Spiritual aspects of homosexuality

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The six viewpoints, from:

bullet  "Condemnation" -- the most conservative and traditional -- to
bullet "Liberation" -- the most liberal --

are actually stereotypes. They don't necessarily fit the opinions of individual people. Many will hold beliefs that combine more than one viewpoint.

Presenting data in this way emphasizes that there are more sets of beliefs than the two extreme views that one hears so often in the media.

bullet One sentence description (repeated):
Viewpoint Description or main emphasis
"Abomination" 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.
"Marginally acceptable" Committed homosexual relationships are the least awful option.
"Equality" Seek equal rights. Homosexuality, is morally neutral.
"Liberation" Reinterpret the Bible. Homophobia, not being lesgay, is the main evil.

bullet Sexual orientation conversion rates:
ViewpointSexual orientation conversion rates
"Abomination"This group believes that homosexuality is an addiction -- a habit that needs to be unlearned before the individual can leave the homosexual lifestyle and become heterosexual. A "cure" is certain if the person desires it and is willing to work hard to achieve it. Opinions differ about the speed at which the process will proceed:
bullet Some, following 1 Corinthians 6:11, believe that when a homosexual repents of her/his sin and trusts Jesus as Lord and Savior, they will be immediately cured of homosexuality.
bullet Others believe that homosexuality is caused by an indwelling demon. Exorcism can cure the homosexual in a single session.
bullet Others believe that homosexuality is an addiction that needs lengthy pastoral counseling, prayer, and/or reparative therapy.
"Change is expected" This group firmly believes that the cure rate is very high; this is the essence of their belief system about homosexuality. However, the individual must first repent of their sin and have a genuine motivation to abandon the disordered homosexual lifestyle. They must be willing to commit a great deal of effort to engage in reparative therapy and/or prayer.

Various experts who promote this viewpoint differ on the average length of time needed for a cure.

Some experts feel that some homosexuals will not become fully heterosexual, but will achieve a bisexual orientation. Still, this will be enough to pursue a relationship with a member of the opposite sex with the goal or marriage and children, even though major same-sex attraction continues.

"Celibacy is expected"Very few people with a homosexual orientation can become heterosexual. Reparative therapy and prayer have very low success rates. However, God's grace will help the individual lead a life of celibacy and accept the loneliness of not having any possibility of developing an intimate relationship with a partner.
"Marginally acceptable"This group agrees that the success rate of therapy and prayer is very low. However, the homosexual must first try to achieve change. It is only after every effort has failed that it is morally permissible for them to seek a loving, committed, same-sex relationship.
"Equality"Sexual orientation in adults is immutable. There are serious hazards in trying to seek reparative therapy. The inevitable failure can generate serious depression and suicidal ideation.
"Liberation"This group agrees that sexual orientation cannot be changed, and that therapy is dangerous. Sexual orientation is a gift of God. It should be joyfully accepted, enjoyed responsibly, and used to form loving, spiritually expanding relationships.

bullet Emotional and psychological aspects of homosexuality:
ViewpointEmotional aspects of homosexuality
"Abomination"Author L.R. Holben describes this group as believings that:
bullet Homosexuals are only capable of lust, not of love.
bullet A large percentage are abusive pedophiles and are thus an extreme danger to the young.
bullet Over time, a homosexual will "sink into deeper and deeper levels of vileness and depravity."
bullet They seek the "corruption of all that is good and wholesome..."
"Change is expected"Homosexuality is a type of psychological impairment caused by arrested development. Homosexuals relate to others as: "incomplete members of their own sex." 2 Same-sex committed relationships are always severely limited in depth because both parties are seeking to fulfill their immature needs.
"Celibacy is expected"The homosexual differs from the heterosexual only in one area: the sex to whom they are sexually and emotionally attracted. Homosexuals are quite capable of entering into mature, loving, committed relationships, just like persons of other sexual orientations. But, they are expected to remain celibate.
"Marginally acceptable"Homosexuals are not necessarily neurotic disturbed. Some can achieve the same depth in their loving relationships as some heterosexuals. But they are limited. They can never complement each other in a committed relationship as can heterosexual couples. The can never experience the joy of having children.
"Equality "Some homosexuals suffer emotionally from their sexual orientation, because homophobia from others, and/or because they have internalized hatred of homosexuality. But once an individual has fully accepted his homosexual orientation, he/she does not differ from heterosexuals in their ability to love and form deep and lasting relationships. A growing number are open to having children.
"Liberation"It is homophobia that is pathological, not a homosexual orientation. Homophobia causes people to hate gays and lesbians, even though they have been made in the image of God. Some gays and lesbians may have psychological work to do in order to overcome society's homophobia and/or their own internalized homophobia. But this is the society's problem, not the individual's. Otherwise, persons with a homosexual orientation are as healthy as persons with other orientations.

bullet Spiritual aspects of homosexuality:
Viewpoint Spiritual  aspects of homosexuality:
"Condemnation" Homosexuality is incompatible with Christian commitment. "....homosexuality is ultimately a rebellion of human nature against the divine creator." 3 "In Romans Paul teaches that homosexuality is absolutely wrong, that it is coincident with and on a par with all kinds of other sin, and that God forgives people of all kinds of sin, including the sin of homosexuality." 4
"Change is expected" Homosexual behavior is a sin, but is no more serious than other sexual sins, such as adultery, or pre-marital sex. All of these sins are as a result of the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden. Same-sex behavior involves lust, not love, and rebellion against God. God expects the homosexual to pursue healing.
"Celibacy is expected" The existence of homosexuality is one more indication of the disordered nature of the world since humanity's fall. Merely having a homosexual orientation is not sinful. However, acting on that orientation is always sinful, regardless of the nature of the relationship.
"Marginally acceptable" Homosexuality is one of many results of the Fall. A celibate homosexual can experience a deeply spiritual life. A homosexual in a committed loving partnership will struggle with the imperfect nature of their relationship in comparison to those which can be achieved by opposite-sex couples.
"Equality" Having a homosexual orientation or engaging in same-sex behavior is in no way different from the heterosexual equivalents. Both generate pleasure, "self-transcendence and the deepening and sharing of intimate partnered love." 5
"Liberation" This groups agrees with the "Equality" belief system. Some feel that they have a special responsibility to liberalize Christianity's traditionally negative attitudes towards sexuality.

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Useful references:

  1. L.R. Holben, "What Christians think about homosexuality: Six representative viewpoints," Bibal Press, (1999). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  2. Moberly "Homosexuality: A new Christian ethic," James Clarke Co., (1983). Read reviews or order this book 1
  3. A. Mohler, quoted in: Fred Tasker, "What does the Bible say about homosexuality?", Philadelphia Inquirer, 1997-JUL-13.
  4. Jonathan D. Inman, "Homosexuality and the Scriptures: A Survey of the Central Texts,"
  5. Holben, op cit, Page 177.

* Quoted in Reference 1.

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Copyright 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-SEP-18
Latest update: 2004-SEP-18

Author: B.A. Robinson

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