Same-sex attraction is not the same as homosexuality. A person can experience different types of attraction toward another person, whether of the same or opposite sex. Not every form of attraction is necessarily sexual or erotic in nature. Accordingly, experiencing same-sex attraction does not mean that a person is homosexual.
- Same-sex attraction can take several forms – it may not be sexual, such as in an adolescent crush; and may be involuntary – it appears to be something that “cannot be helped”. Innocent same-sex attractions can spring from a normal need for appropriate affection, affirmation from and relationship with someone of the same sex whom one admires. On the other hand, same-sex attraction can also take on a sexual nature.
- Same-sex sexual attractions are not immutable – they can be controlled and/ or changed. This is similar to how a married person can be “unwittingly” attracted to someone other than his/ her own spouse, but may not necessarily start an affair. Engaging in same-sex sexual behaviours or the homosexual lifestyle is clearly voluntary and based on a choice made by the individual. Heterosexuals have thus been known to “turn” homosexual or bisexual (sexually attracted to both male and female) by choosing to act on the same-sex sexual attractions they experience.
- Sexual orientation refers to a person’s tendency to be consistently attracted to persons of the same or opposite sex in an erotic way. A lesser or unconfirmed orientation is sometimes referred to as a sexual inclination.
- Sexual behaviour refers to the actions that a person undertakes in order to satisfy his or her sexual attractions or sexual orientation.
- Sexual life(style) results when a person embraces his or her sexual behaviour and sexual relationships as a norm, e.g., a promiscuous sexual lifestyle.
Homosexual behaviour takes what could have been a harmless same-sex attraction further into an orientation and lifestyle that ultimately define who the person is.
While there are clearly exceptions to the case, research has shown that children who have experienced rejection, abuse or inadequate gender-affirming relationships are at greater risk of becoming confused about their feelings for someone of the same sex. In a study of 942 adults, almost half of the homosexual men (compared to only 7% of heterosexual men) reported molestation by a member of the same sex. In the same study, 22 times more homosexual women than heterosexual women reported molestation by a member of the same sex.1
Indiscriminate and excessive teasing – or even bullying – may push young people to misunderstand their gender identity. This may cause confusion over their sexual identity and orientation especially when innocent same-sex attractions become sexualised during puberty. This may lead them to experiment with homosexual behaviour and eventually embrace the homosexual lifestyle. Healthy intervention is needed to prevent young persons from misunderstanding their need for natural affections as homosexual inclinations to be acted upon.
1. M.E. Tomeo, D.I. Templer, S. Anderson & D. Kotler, Comparative Data of Childhood and Adolescence Molestation in Heterosexual and Homosexual Persons,(Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 2001 October, Vol 30(5), pp535-41.)
Homosexuality goes beyond a private, personal matter or a social issue when it becomes part of a larger political debate. In certain countries, homosexuality has been normalised, promoted and celebrated through an organised, well-funded global political agenda to introduce pro-homosexual laws which will be enforced on all citizens regardless of their religious convictions. Tom Minnery in his book, Why You Can’t Stay Silent talks about how the failure of Christians to speak up will impact our laws, our nation, our family, our faith and our freedom (see Q23).
There is a strong correlation between the view that homosexuality is innate/inborn and the support for same-sex marriage1 – those who believe that people are “born homosexual” will likely classify sexual orientation in the same way as race or gender, and thus argue for equality first by decriminalising homosexual sex, followed by legalising same-sex ”marriage”. The problem is that this addresses the purported origin of homosexuality as espoused by gay rights activists, but not the morality or effect of it. Being born of a sinful nature does not entitle us to sin, to condone, to celebrate and to legalise immoral behaviour, such as harming our bodies through substance abuse.
- The gay agenda challenges the authority of the Bible. In some countries, pastors have been charged under anti-discrimination laws for teaching the biblical truth on homosexuality. In one such case, a pastor in Sweden was sentenced to one month in prison for preaching the Biblical perspective on homosexuality in his church. Although his conviction was eventually overturned on appeal to the Swedish Supreme Court, this is one instance in which anti-discrimination or anti-hate speech laws can be used against professing Christians.2
- The church’s integrity is compromised. It is one matter for practising homosexuals to be comfortable with their behaviour, but professing Christians misrepresent Christ when they don’t identify homosexuality as unbiblical. We need to address how homosexual behaviour is separated from biblical belief when Christians support members in their sin instead of following the biblical command to help their brother/sister-in-Christ towards holiness.
Every Christian is likely to encounter someone who is faced with the issue of homosexuality. When we speak up, it is important to remember that our response can either encourage their healing and walk with God, or push them further away from God and the freedom that they seek.3
Loving confrontation and having to deal with the effects of sin in our lives is unnerving and painful, but necessary for our health and well-being. Left unaddressed, unrepentant sin among believers can also eventually affect the larger body of Christ.
Joe Dallas, The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible
(Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007)