How often do we hear people say, when discussing various behaviours, that they find their actions natural, or they just seem right, or they feel so normal? They want to argue that because it feels good, or seems natural, that it must be right to do it. I hear this all the time.
And nowhere does this crop up more often than in the area of human sexuality. Time and time again we hear these weak excuses and plaintiff rationalisations: ‘But it feels so good.’ ‘How can it be wrong if it seems so right?’ ‘I can’t help it, I was made that way.’ ‘This is just who I am.’
Thus every sexual sin in the book is justified. Adultery is justified. Fornication is justified. Easy divorce is justified. Porn addiction is justified. Homosexuality is justified. Incest is justified. On and on it goes. There is always a cheap excuse to be found for such behaviours.
We of course expect animals to simply follow their urges, but should humans? It is exactly because we are not animals that we really should be living and thinking differently here. Simply having a desire or an inclination to do something does not mean that we should give in to those urges.
Indeed, even if we are born with various biologically-based cravings and desires, this is no reason why we should just give in to them and allow them free rein and full expression. It is a mark of civilisation that various desires and wants are restrained or simply said no to.
Consider the issue of homosexuality. There of course is a huge debate here about how we understand the causes of homosexuality. Activists claim they are born that way; that it is genetically based; and that they can do nothing about it. Incredibly, one often hears these sorts of arguments coming from Christians as well nowadays.
OK, for the sake of argument, let’s just assume for a moment that there may be some biological basis for homosexuality. Even if that is the case, does that mean homosexual activity must be engaged in? After all, people may well be born with an orientation or predisposition to getting angry, to arson, or to over-eating. Should they simply indulge therefore in these various activities, or instead learn how to resist and modify such urges?
As Frank Turek says in his recent book, Correct, Not Politically Correct, “Let’s suppose that scientists someday discover a genetic contribution to homosexual desires. Would that give license to behavior? No, all of us have desires that we ought not to act on. In other words, we were all born with an ‘orientation’ to bad behavior, but desires don’t justify the behavior. For example, some may have a genetic predisposition to alcohol, but who would advocate alcoholism? If someone has a genetic attraction to children, does that justify pedophilia? What homosexual activist would say that a genetic predisposition to violence justifies gay-bashing? (Born gay? What if the gay-basher was born mean?). Desires do not justify behaviors. In fact, there is a word we use to describe the disciplined restraint of destructive desires – it’s called ‘civilization’.”
Yet these folk will insist that they must be who they are. But this argument is spurious, as Dennis Hollinger argues in his important new book, The Meaning of Sex: “It assumes that what we are in our inner dispositions and drives is always good. But most ethical systems, whether philosophical or religious, have called humans to move beyond their inner propensities to higher forms of behaviour and commitment. Capitulating to our inner dispositions or even to our identities is not necessarily virtuous.”
Christians of all people should realise these truths, but sadly even many Christians have bought into moral relativism and the postmodern assault on truth. Thus even some believers have fallen for the “I was born that way” line, and have given into much of the sexual revolution, including the radical homosexual agenda.
Some believers therefore seek to justify and make excuses for homosexuality, instead of standing on the absolutes of Scripture. They want to argue that if it feels right, then by all means let’s do it. ‘Don’t panic, its organic’ seems to be their motto.
But as the late ethicist Stanley Grenz has argued, “Ethics is not merely a condoning of what comes naturally. On the contrary, Christian theology warns us that we dare not always entrust ourselves to what we sense to be ‘natural.’ Our natural inclinations are not a sure guide to proper human conduct, but share in our fallenness.”
Christians are called to something higher. Indeed, human beings are called to something higher than what we find in the world of animals. We have the ability to make moral choices, the ability to say no to unhealthy desires, and the ability to put a chain on potentially out of control desires.
Sure, all those abilities are greatly diminished because of the Fall, but we can still exercise our choice here. And that is in fact why Christ came: to set us free from the bondage to our fallen inclinations and desires. He came to set the captives free, and to free us from self. So those who claim to be Christians are really without excuse in this regard. They simply should know better.
But again, even if we were to concede that some people have a same-sex attraction that seems to be a major feature of who they are, does that mean it must then be acted upon? Are not believers told to crucify the flesh and deny self? Where would we end up as a society if we said that the best thing to do is simply always to give in to our desires and lusts?
As Turek rightly argues, “But let’s suppose that some homosexuals cannot change their orientation. Does that mean they cannot control their behavior? Why do we expect pedophiles to resist their desires but not homosexuals? Because we know pedophiles are human beings who can choose not to act on their sexual desires just like anyone else. We also demand them to resist their desires because our children will not be safe if they don’t….
“The truth is, sexual behaviour is not compulsory. It is always a choice. We all must resist our sexual urges at times. And while it’s not desirable, some do so for their entire lives and never have sex. That’s possible for people with any sexual desire. After all, if I honestly believe that I’ve been born with heterosexual desires, am I required to engage in heterosexual acts? Am I not capable of controlling my sexual desires and remaining celibate? If you claim that I am not, then you have also made the absurd contention that no one in the history of the world has ever been morally responsible for any sexual crime, including rape, incest, and child molestation.”
The fact that so many so-called believers have fallen hook, line and sinker for the homosexual agenda shows how far down the tubes the church has moved recently. Biblical illiteracy is reaching epidemic proportions in many churches, as is common sense and basic logic.
It is time Christians reclaimed the mind, logic, Scripture and truth in these debates, instead of slavishly falling for every trendy new bit of social activism and political correctness. If we cannot take a stand here in such a vitally important area, then we might as well give all this religion stuff away, sell our churches, and let them be turned into gay discos. But with God’s grace, I will hope for something better.