SUBDIVIDING TWO EXTREME BELIEF SYSTEMS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY
INTO SIX DISCRETE VIEWPOINTS
The two most vocal belief systems:
Throughout most of the essays in the homosexual and bisexual section of
this web site, we have stressed two extreme
positions. We have tried to describe them accurately, without bias, and with clarity. These two viewpoints are generally the most vocal.
They are frequently seen and heard on
the media and in sermons. They tend to be the viewpoints of the movers and
shakers who are changing legislation and North American culture.
In this series of essays, we will call the most conservative position "Abomination,"
because that is the term that is frequently used by religious conservatives to
condemn what they call the homosexual lifestyle. We will name the most liberal viewpoint "Liberation,"
following a book by lecturer and author L.R.
A comparison of the these positions follows:
|Who? Position taken by many religious and social conservatives.
||Who? Position taken by many gays, lesbians, religious
liberals, civil libertarians, etc.
|What? Homosexuality and bisexuality are behaviors: what a person does.
||What? Homosexuality and bisexuality are sexual
orientations. They are part of what a person is.
|Incidence: Less than 2% of the adult population.
||Incidence: 5 to 10% of the adult population.
|Same-sex activity is:
||Same-sex activity is:
|Something that should be criminalized.||
|Something that should be as legal as opposite-sex activity.|
|Sinful and immoral, no matter what the relationship.||
|As morally neutral as is heterosexuality.|
|Hated by God. God calls for the death penalty for homosexuals. (Leviticus
|As fully accepted by God as is heterosexuality.|
|Indicative of mental illness||
|Unrelated to mental illness|
|Caused by incompetent parenting and/or sexual abuse during
childhood, and/or an addiction, and/or the result of sin or idolatry. Emerges during
teenage years. (Romans 1:24-27)||
|Either genetically caused, or is set up by a combination of
genes and triggered by an unknown environmental factor in early childhood.|
|Fixed; cannot be changed. Prayer is ineffective. Therapy is
useless and potentially dangerous.|
|Abnormal for everyone.||
|Normal, for a minority of adults.|
|Unnatural for everyone.||
|Natural for a minority of adults.|
|Same-sex marriage (SSM) is:
||Same-sex marriage (SSM) is:
|An extreme danger to society, particularly to our most
vulnerable citizens -- our children. Marriage is the main building block of
civilization. SSM would destroy the institution of marriage.||
|SSM is beneficial for those gays, lesbians, and bisexuals who wish
to embrace it. It is good for persons of all sexual orientations. It
advantageous for marriage, and for society as a whole.|
These two viewpoints are obviously in virtually total opposition. One can see why this topic creates so much heat, so little light,
almost no dialogue, and endless amounts of angry and fruitless debate. Persons at the two extremes agree on almost nothing
about the nature of homosexuality.
Some of the above beliefs can be proven to be either true or false. However,
it appears to be impossible to develop proofs that are convincing to everyone.
People's beliefs on homosexual topics tend to be relatively rigid.
Intermediate viewpoints on homosexuality:
The 1998 Lambeth
Conference of the worldwide Anglican Communion discussed homosexuality
in its Section Group One committee
-- titled "Called
to Full Humanity." The group issued a draft statement which dealt in part with
human sexuality. They declared that some forms of sexual activity are "inherently
contrary to the Christian way and are sinful." Their
list included adultery, incest, pedophilia, promiscuity,
prostitution, female circumcision and rape. It did not
include homosexual activity in the list. They admitted that "We must
confess that we are not of one mind about homosexuality." Rather than
emphasize the two extreme positions evidenced during their discussions, they
reported that the bishops "generally subscribe to
four main perspectives on homosexuality:" They were described as:
|those who see homosexuality as a disorder, but subject to healing;
|those who see genital sexual activity by homosexuals as going against scripture and the church's teaching and, if unrepented, serving as a
barrier to salvation; |
|those who regard committed homosexual relationships as outside biblical norms but preferable to promiscuity;
|and those who advocate the ordination of homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions."|
Holben subdivides viewpoints on homosexuality further. 1
He adds two additional categories to those suggested by the Lambeth Conference
committee -- a viewpoint that emphasizes the importance of celibacy for
homosexuals, and another which emphasizes sexual liberation and identifies
homophobia as the main evil.
The result is six discrete viewpoints:
||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. Like heterosexuality, homosexuality, is morally neutral.
||Reinterpret the Bible. Homophobia, not homosexuality, is the main evil.
The essays in this section will explain and compare all six viewpoints. For simplicity, we
will refer almost entirely to homosexuality. But the same arguments would apply
to persons with a bisexual orientation if they engage
in sexual activity with a member of the same sex.
The essays largely describe conservative and liberal Christian perspectives.
However very strong parallels exist with conservative and liberal Islam,
Judaism, Sikhism and other religions.
- L.R. Holben, "What Christians think about homosexuality: Six representative viewpoints," Bibal Press, (1999).
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Copyright © 2004 & 2005 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally written: 2004-SEP-14
Last update: 2005-APR-12.
Author: B.A. Robinson