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"But I Was Born This Way"
By Gary F. Zeolla
YOU FEEL MAY BE REAL -
BUT THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT WRONG OR RIGHT"
The above lyrics are from a song titled, "What You Feel" by Christian artist Margaret Becker. In the context of the song, she is referring to someone who is considering "cheating" on his wife because of attractions for another woman.
But how can "real" sexual desires be "wrong?" Shouldn't people just do what comes "naturally?" Or more generally, if someone is born with a particular "sexual orientation" then isn't acting upon those desires "right?" This article will discuss these issues. But first, a look at four possible conversations.
Four Disturbing Conversations
Girlfriend: "Get your hands off of me! I said I wanted to wait until marriage!"
Boyfriend: "But I can't help it. Its not my fault. I WAS BORN WITH THESE DESIRES."
Girlfriend: "Well, if you're born with these desires, I can't expect you to restrain them and wait. I guess we will just have to go ahead and ...."
Note: It is because adults think it is "natural" for teenagers to have sex that condoms are now being handed out at many of our high schools.
Wife: "That's it! I saw you with HER last night, another woman! I'm leaving!"
Husband: "But honey, I can't help it. It's not my fault. I WAS BORN AN ADULTERER."
Wife: "Well, if you're born that way, I can't expect you to restrain your desires. Go ahead and cheat anytime you want."
Note: Recent studies indicate, "Monogamy - when it exists in animals, at least - is not a matter of choice." Instead, it is determined by hormonal factors. How this research applies to humans is still not clear (Valley News Dispatch 10/7/93, p. A3).
The true God: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination" (Lev 18:22).
Homosexual: "But God, I can't help it. It's not my fault. I WAS BORN A HOMOSEXUAL."
The new god: "Well, if you're born that way, I can't expect you to restrain your desires. Go ahead and engage in all the homosexual sex you want."
Note: Recent studies indicate there MAY be an inborn predisposition to a homosexual orientation (Allman, p.8; Valley News Dispatch 8/1/92, p. A1).
Is the desired behavior of the boyfriend, husband, or homosexual, morally "right?" Either all three must be accepted or all three rejected. This is so since they all give the same justification: "BUT I WAS BORN THIS WAY."
Furthermore, "The post-Freudian homosexual ideal is NOT to go against your nature - to be true to your instincts" (Kramer, p.20). And this "ideal" is being applied today to the other "sexual orientations" mentioned here.
The problem with all of the above is it ignores original sin.
Paul the Apostle writes in Ephesians 2:3, "we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath." But what does Paul mean when he says we are "BY NATURE children of wrath?" This is where original sin comes in.
John Calvin explains:
... the Lord entrusted to Adam those gifts which he willed to be conferred upon human nature. Hence Adam, when he lost the gifts received, lost them not only for himself but for us all....
There is nothing absurd, then, in supposing that, when Adam was despoiled, human nature was left naked and destitute, or that when he was infected with sin, contagion crept into human nature....
Hence, as Augustine says, whether a man is a guilty unbeliever or an innocent believer, he begets not innocent but guilty children, for he begets them from a corrupted nature....
ORIGINAL SIN, therefore, seems to be A HEREDITARY DEPRAVITY AND CORRUPTION OF OUR NATURE, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God's wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which Scripture calls "works of the flesh" [Gal 5:19]. And that is what properly Paul calls sin (Calvin, pp. 250,251; see also Gen 3:1-20; 6:5; 8:21; Ps 51:5; 58:3; Jer 17:9; Rom 5:12-21; 1John 3:4).
"And Such WERE Some of You"
So being born with a certain "orientation" doesn't necessarily make engaging in that behavior morally right. But still, can such people change? The homosexual community claims it is not possible. But what does God have to say on the subject?
The Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul declares:
Do not be deceived. Neither FORNICATORS nor idolaters, nor ADULTERERS, nor HOMOSEXUALS, nor SODOMITES, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1Cor 6:9-11).
A few comments on this important passage. First, fornication is, "Sexual intercourse between a man and woman who are not married to each other" (American, p.526). So the Bible clearly teaches pre-marital sex is wrong.
Moreover, pedophilia would also come under this injunction. The pedophiles are pushing to make it legal to have sex with children, not to marry them.
Second, "homosexual" here "refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse" and "sodomite" to "the passive partner" (Louw, p.772). So in no uncertain terms God is declaring all forms of homosexual behavior to be wrong.
And most importantly, be sure to notice the word "were" emphasized in the quote. Among the Corinthian saints were some who USED TO BE fornicators, adulterers and homosexuals. But they no longer are. So God says homosexuals and people with other immoral "sexual orientations" CAN change.
Furthermore, God also says "drunkards" can change. And people today generally agree. When someone makes the admission, "I am an alcoholic" - it is considered the first step to recovery. So why is the declaration, "I am a homosexual" the beginning of a life of open homosexual behavior? Why can not this admission also be the first step in finding help to turn from this sinful behavior?
In fact, there are now many Christian ministries which provide this help to homosexuals. And, "Many alumni have married and had children - not as a subterfuge, they say, but as a true expression of their newfound heterosexuality" (Ybarra, p.A1).
And finally, it is not just people with the above mentioned "orientations" who are "by nature children of wrath." We are all sinners deserving of God's wrath. And only faith in Christ can deliver us. As God proclaims in John 3:36:
WHO BELIEVES IN THE SON HAS EVERLASTING LIFE;
AND HE WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE THE SON SHALL NOT SEE LIFE,
BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDES ON HIM."
I posted the above article in an Internet Newsgroup and got some very interesting responses. Below is a copy of my reply to these responses. My comments should give the reader enough indication of the contents of the responses to follow the discussion.
Boyfriend: I have an innate sexual desire that has to be satisfied. I find you very attractive, so let's do!
Girlfriend: I have an innate sexual desire that has to be satisfied. I find you very attractive, so let's do!
Together: LET'S DO IT!
Is it proper for these two to have sex since they both desire to do so? No! Why? Because God says so.
The point of the "stories" that opened my article were that morality cannot be determined by our desires, however "natural" we believe them to be. I used the shocking accounts of pedophilia and adultery to simply emphasis this point. Nothing more. It was not a question of the first three "manipulating" the other while the last was "two consenting" adults" but how is morality determined.
Given that there are people who consider the behavior of the "manipulators" to be proper (i.e.. the ones doing the manipulating) it cannot be said that it is "obvious" that their behaviors were wrong.
In the same way, just because homosexuals are supposedly "not hurting anyone" with there sexual behavior cannot be proof that the behavior is right. We simply cannot use what we "feel" is right and wrong as a test of morality.
The only way to know what is right and wrong is for the Creator to tell us. And He has done so, in the Bible. And the Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality and fornication (i.e. pre-marital sex) are wrong.
Moreover, when Jesus completed the Law, He fulfilled it's ceremonial requirements. The moral requirements are still binding. Plus, the teaching that homosexuality is a sin is repeated in the New Testament (Rom 1:26,27).
Does any of this make me a "self-righteous bigot" as I have been called. First, I find it interesting how those who have responded to my article seem to think they know all about me based upon one short article.
To make the point clear, I KNOW that I am a sinner. That is why I need the grace of God to be forgiven. I struggle with sexual passions as much as any other person. But since I am single I know that it is wrong to indulge; and thus, with the grace and help of God, I refrain from sex.
Furthermore, if (or when) I sin I come to God on my knees pleading for forgiveness. And I know He will grant it because Jesus Christ died for my sins. And this does not give me a license to sin, but the exact opposite. Because of the grace of God, He convicts me whenever I sin and leads me to repentance (Heb 12:3-11).
we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say that we have not sinned,
we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us"
For a follow-up to the above article, see A Lesbian Responds.
For another article on homosexuality, see "Homosexuals" in 1Corinthians 6:9.
Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light
Bibliography: Note: All emphases in quotes have been
All Scripture references from: The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.
Allman, William. "The biology-behavior conundrum." U.S. News and World Report, July 26, 1993, 6-7.
American Heritage Dictionary. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1985.
Becker, Margaret. "Never for Nothing." The Sparrow Corporation, 1987.
Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion. Vol. 1. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960.
Kramer, Yale. "Angels on Broadway." The American Spectator, July 1993, 18-25.
Leo, John. "Pedophiles in the Schools." U.S. News and World Report. October 11, 1993, 37.
Louw, Johannes & Eugene Nida. Greek-English Lexicon. Vol. 1. New York: United Bible Societies, 1988.
Ybarra, Michael. "Going Straight." The Wall Street Journal. April 21, 1993, A1, A6.
"But I was Born this Way." Copyright © 1999 by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Light ministry (www.dtl.org).
The above article originally appeared in Darkness to Light
newsletter in 1993.
It was posted on this Web site in July 1996 and updated October 26, 2000.
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