Friday, January 09, 2009

Question of the Day

Do you think that sexual orientation is innate or chosen?

20 comments:

Stresspenguin said...

I don't think its an either/or, but rather and both/and issue.

I think the Kinsey scale is applicable in describing a biological determination of sexual orientation. On a scale from 0 to 6, 0 being exclusively heterosexual and 6 being exclusively homosexual, Furthermore, I believe that that scale is bimodal with the primary curve peeking at 1 and the other smaller curve peeking at 5.

Behavior is shaped by both biology and environment, and thus how one chooses to live out his or her sexuality can differ from the biological preconditions.

Our biology sets ranges for all sorts of things, but ultimately we chose how to behave within those predetermined ranges.

Art said...

I don't recall choosing mine.

Elizabeth said...

I think sometimes innate and sometimes chosen (consciously or unconsciously.) Or maybe always a mix of both? A little nature, a little nurture? How's that for a wishy-washy answer?

4simpsons said...

I am not aware of any science demonstrating that it is innate. I am familiar with research showing it to be tied to relationship issues and/or abuse and/or lust. The relationship issues are often tied to characteristics that sometimes correlate with homosexuals, but don't cause the "orientation."

Of course, even if it is proved to be innate that wouldn't justify acting on the impulses.

And if genetic correlations are discovered it will results in more abortions. Heterosexuals choose death for all sorts of reasons (pressure from boyfriend/parents, cost, gender, impact to education / career / lifestyle, potential disabilities, Down Syndrome, etc.), so I'm pretty sure they would abort potentially gay babies.

I think that would be a bad thing, of course.

My apologies if you were looking for a one word answer!

Dan Trabue said...

I've yet to meet the first person who "chose" their orientation - gay or straight.

Innate.

bob said...

Sex is something you choose to do or not do so you may lean one way or the other but you still must choose.

PamBG said...

How many heterosexuals think that they could have been homosexual but instead chose to be heterosexual because of their faithfulness to God?

Jim said...

Yes...

John said...

Like Art said, I don't remember ever chosing my sexual orientation. I think that sexual orientation is more of scale, like Kurt suggests, than polar opposites, and that people can lean in one direction or another. I've seen various studies revealing that parts of brain are different in homosexuals and heterosexuals.

So I'd say pretty firmly innate, but for those older adults who suddenly discover that they're homosexual, even after being married as heterosexuals for years.

4simpsons said...

Here's one who wasn't born that way -- http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/relationships/article2002552.ece

John Wilks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kenny said...

The issue is clearly much more complicated than 'innate or chosen'. As the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on the subject notes, there have been cultures with radically different ideas about sexuality compared to our idea that everyone is either homo- hetero- or bi- as a matter of either environment, genetics, or choice (depending on whom you ask). The fact is that different people have a lot of different desires and attractions for a lot of different reasons, and very few of them are under our direct control (though we can try to cultivate some and starve others and so exercise some degree of indirect control). We can also choose a variety of different ways to try to satisfy our desires, or we can choose to (try to) ignore them.

From a Christian perspective, I have to say that none of us choose our temptations (although our past sins and other past actions effect our present temptations), but this doesn't excuse us when we give in.

doodlebugmom said...

I am with Art on this one.

JD said...

I read John Wilks response earlier and was going to comment on it to agree with some of his very personal points, but it seems to have disappeared. I also agree with Kenny's comment:

"From a Christian perspective, I have to say that none of us choose our temptations (although our past sins and other past actions effect our present temptations), but this doesn't excuse us when we give in."

Regardless of whether it is innate or chosen, any inappropriate, sexually immoral acts are still sinful, and because of our fallen nature, the proclivity toward the opposite sex may very well be innate, but not excusable.

It is just as sinful for a heterosexual to engage in premarital sex, adultery, and cohabitation as it is for a homosexual to give into any desires they may have of a sexual nature, whether sexual orientation is innate or not. Regardless of what society deems acceptable, scripturally and in the historical Christian teachings it all falls under sexual immorality, and is wrong. As Kenny and John pointed out, some have a predisposition to overeat, others, sexual sins, alcoholism, pornography. All these are temptations from Satan that we, as Christians are called to overcome. We are to live in the world and not be of it. We are called to be an example to all mankind, not try to fit in when we think it is convenient or hard. Moral relativism and inclusiveness does not trump God. God does not change.

In the end, "We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," but it is our challenge as Christians to rise above Satan and his temptations and turn to God in our need. It is times like these that prove that we need God in our lives for the strength to turn away. Accepting Christ comes with challenges that many of us have trouble either accepting or overcoming, but with Christ on our side, we can conquer and we can be rise above any innate behavior, ANY behavior, that is not compatible with Christ, His teachings, or Christianity as a whole.

PAX
JD

JD said...

I originally said:

"and because of our fallen nature, the proclivity toward the opposite sex may very well be innate, but not excusable."

I meant:

"and because of our fallen nature, the proclivity toward the same sex may very well be innate, but acting upon it is not excusable."

Sorry for the confusion.

PAX
JD

RERC said...

If the Christian position is that all premarital sex is sinful, regardless of orientation, I think we would be far more consistent if we ramped up our opposition to premarital heterosexual sex to the level at which we oppose homosexual sex.

Quite simply, we should be as vehement about one as the other.

Or we should re-evaluate the level of priority we assign to combating this particular sin.

Stresspenguin said...

@ RERC: True. I think teenage pregnancies, in general have a greater negative impact on society and our culture than LGB issues.

Or let simply address the wholesale devaluation of the covenant of marriage. Heterosexual couple started redefining marriage well before "the gays" started to get married.

As a child of divorced parents, I'd like the church tackle that epidemic with the same veracity.

Ten to 13 percent of the population identifies as GLB.

Around 50% of marriages end in divorce.

JD said...

RERC,

My point exactly, it is all sin and moral relativism is no excuse. Customs, mores, and folkways, from a Christian perspective, do not amount to a hill of beans when measured against God's word.

To take it a step further, if you are going to defrock a pastor for being a practicing homosexual, you sure as heck better defrock the pastor that committed adultery or is single living with his/her significant other. It is all sinful. ALL of it.

PAX
JD

RERC said...

How likely is this to happen though? My feeling is "not very likely," because it is always easier to go after the sins of people who are not like "us" than it is to point out the "us" sins.

This could be said of many other sins than sexual sin, of course.

We Christians would seem more consistent if we were consistent. And we might even start to shed some of the charges of hypocrisy that are so often leveled against us. Just sayin'.

4simpsons said...

"To take it a step further, if you are going to defrock a pastor for being a practicing homosexual, you sure as heck better defrock the pastor that committed adultery or is single living with his/her significant other."

Yesss!

"I think we would be far more consistent if we ramped up our opposition to premarital heterosexual sex to the level at which we oppose homosexual sex."

I support abstinence programs, too.