Edward Welch’s book Blame It on the Brain?: Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience is an extremely helpful read for all. One of the more persuasive arguments for the approval of homosexuality is the claim that a homosexual cannot help it, they are “born gay”. The argument assumes the possibility of a gay gene in DNA. Welch’s book provides some extremely helpful insight to this argument, and I want to add some background information that will help us think through this issue. Therefore, in this post I will seek to accomplish two things: 1. Provide a survey of Welch’s chapter on Homosexuality and the “scientific evidence” for the gay gene, and 2. Provide a basis for Christian thought vs. Naturalistic/Evolutionist thought.
Part 1: There is proof of the gay gene, right?
Ed Welch says “homosexuality is the hot issue in the church and society…Political sanctions will be imposed on institutions that refuse to hire homosexuals…More denominations will revise their exegesis of biblical passages to allow for homosexual relationships…And people who otherwise take the Bible seriously will leave churches that call homosexuality ‘sin.’ (Page 152)”
In this chapter, Welch approaches this topic in four ways: 1. to understand the person; 2. distinguish between spiritual and physical symptoms; 3. address the heart issues; and 4. address the physical problems. He begins by laying the foundation of what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. Welch rightly points to the following passages:
- Leviticus 18:22 “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”
- Leviticus 20:13 “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” (In this context, this is Old Testament moral law, to which breaking the moral law had differing degrees of punishment. Now, in the New Covenant with Jesus Christ as Mediator, a homosexual finds that the death requirement for punishment has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Therefore, if a homosexual repents and believes in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the punishment has been accepted in the person and work of Jesus Christ.)
- Romans 1:26-27 “Because of this (idolatry), God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.”
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 “Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders will inherit the kingdom of God.”
- Jude 7 “Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”
Welch also comments about Jesus’ lack of addressing and condemning homosexuality. He says, “Jesus did not speak against homosexuality specifically, but neither did he specifically address many other sexual behaviors, such as incest, bestiality, and rape. That doesn’t mean that they were permissible. Jesus consistently upheld the Old Testament law. He stood against all legalistic attempts to narrow its intent, and he maintained that the law addressed both behavior and attitude. He consistently spoke for marriage, and he indicated that the only alternative to heterosexual marriage was celibacy (Matthew 19:12) (Pg. 155).” Welch has much more to say in this first category dealing with the biblical perspective, but for the sake of space, suffice it to say that the Bible makes clear its position on homosexuality.
Biological Data and Homosexuality
The next section Welch deals with is the Biological causes of homosexuality. With a Christian and Biblical worldview in mind (section 2 of this post), Welch wisely says this: “What we would expect to find in the research is this: careful scientific observations will harmonize with the biblical position. Interpretations of that research may differ from the biblical perspective, but the observations themselves, assuming they are reliable, will not (Pg. 165).” What is Welch saying? If Christianity is true, then we would expect to find scientific observations which support instead of go against the claims of the Bible. Welch goes on to say, “indeed this is the case: the findings of science support rather than challenge the biblical view (Pg. 165).” He provides what he calls the “best known study on the biology of homosexuality”:
The lead researcher, Simon LeVay, conducted post-mortem (they were dead) examinations on the brains of nineteen homosexual men who died from AIDS and sixteen presumed heterosexual men, six of whom died of AIDS. His results suggested that the brains of the heterosexual men consistently had more brain cells in a specific area of the brain (INAH 3) that is allegedly implicated in sexual behavior. When viewed with a homosexuality-as-biologically-determined bias, the data show that homosexuality is located in the brain.
Christians and non-Christians have often noted that this study in no way establishes a causal link between brain activity and homosexual behavior. Even LeVay concedes the limitations of his study, suggesting that it is little more than an invitation to further research…He recognizes that AIDS may have confounded the results, that the sample size was too small to draw any clear conclusions, and that his measurements could be prone to error. Furthermore, the brains of three homosexual men in the study were indistinguishable from the analogous brain areas in heterosexual men…From LeVay’s perspective the possible brain differences may just as likely result from homosexuality as cause it (Pg. 166-167).
Welch concludes his point this way: “At most, biology is analogous to a friend who tempts us into sin. Such a friend might be bothersome, but he can be rebuked and resisted (Pg. 167).”
What About Other Genetic Behaviors?
I want to provide some other instances in which it is supposed that certain behaviors seem to be genetic. There are people who believe that there is scientific evidence (though it is similar to that of the homosexual “scientific evidence”) that points towards alcoholism being genetic. Likewise, kleptomania (thievery) is believed to be genetic as well. In these instances, we wouldn’t automatically excuse these behaviors on the basis of genetics. We would encourage the alcoholic and the thief to repent of their sin, even though they may always struggle with the temptation to sin. The urging (genetic) is not the cause or the definitive action. You cannot make the connection, then, that because a thief is genetically urged and disposed to steal, that then he is automatically going to steal, and if he does, then we will accept him for who he is and we ought not tell him that his lifestyle is wrong and encourage him to not steal.
For further reading, I would encourage all readers to read Welch’s book Blame It on the Brain, as it clarifies the difference between genetic influence and genetic necessity. For instance, Alzheimer’s disease is a genetic necessity, meaning that those who have Alzheimer’s will necessarily be caused to have and experience memory loss. On the opposite side, Alcoholism is a genetic influence, meaning that those who are genetically urged or disposed to alcoholism will not necessarily be an alcoholic, rather he or she is only influenced to be an alcoholic. The choice and course of life still remains in their hands.
Part 2: The Naturalist Worldview and Homosexuality
Besides the lack of truth behind the argument of a homosexual being born (genetic) gay, there is a deeper rooted belief (whether assumed or communicated) behind this argument. That is the naturalist/evolutionist worldview. In this worldview, there is no such thing as objectivity as there is no being outside of the system. There is no God, there is no higher power, there is only what is in nature.
The engine that makes naturalism work is evolution. Let me clarify. I do not mean microevolution. Microevolution is simply change within species, or adaptations, such as what was witnessed with Darwin’s Finches on the Galapagos Islands or what is evidenced with different dog breeds. I mean “big-E” macroevolution, natural selection, change across species and new species. The explanation of origins for this worldview is the big bang, which is lacking because there is a huge lack of ability to explain how non-matter becomes matter, and then how non-life became life. That aside, the argument homosexuals use about genetics is based in this worldview.
If natural selection, survival of the fittest is true, then objective reason and morality (right or wrong) is non-existent. Even reason cannot be trusted because, after all, there is no reason for reason. Reason itself becomes a part of the mechanism of natural selection, and what we say is reasonable now may be unreasonable, if it no longer suits for our advancement, in the future. Therefore, the only reliable thing is what is natural. If it a homosexual is born with a gene that then necessitates them to be gay, then it is a natural thing, and therefore a right thing for them.
In response to this, I would argue two things: 1. How do we know what is natural is interpreted rightly? and 2. There is no right and wrong for anything or anybody.
Is Nature Reliable?
No. What is natural can only be interpreted in the backdrop of what will advance humanity. Even in this framework, homosexual genes would assume to become extinct via process of natural selection because it will not advance our species. But that aside, there is no way to know if we are even interpreting what is natural correctly. As stated above, reason itself, which is where interpretation comes from, cannot be trusted as true.
Is there Morality?
No. In this framework, morality, or what is right and what is wrong, is only determined on an individual level. What is right for you may not be right for me, but there is no real way of knowing (remember, knowledge and reason cannot be trusted) what is right. In this view, then all actions of all humans must necessarily become arbitrarily accepted, not as good or right, but as what is right for the individual. There is never a time to be able to call any action either right or wrong. Therefore, a murderer ought to not be condemned as doing something wrong when he murders. A child molester ought to not be condemned as doing something wrong when he molests a child.
Both parts of this post provide helpful information and insight into the argument. There is no sufficient (or even semi-sufficient) scientific data or research that points towards homosexuality being caused by genetics. Likewise, this argument is even grounded in a deeper, more imbedded worldview. This worldview allows for humans to behave in ways that suit them, but it necessarily has greater consequences that even homosexuals have decried as evil. But, after-all, their claim of evil is a borrowed morality from a Christian Theism worldview.
I will close by pointing towards Romans 1. This is a spiritual issue, not a physical issue. Homosexuals (and all sinners who refuse to repent) want their way because they have denied their Creator and have settled to worship creation instead. Romans 1:18-25 says,
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather that the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.