The losing argument many opponents of same sex marriage make in this debate
I think most of us would agree that we are losing the culture war on homosexual marriage. While we await the decisions of the Supreme Court, arguments in public and private arenas continue. And they will continue, regardless of the ruling. Homosexuality has gone from being considered abhorrent, to tolerated, to normalized, to promoted. This is no surprise to many of us, and is merely one of many signs that we are effectively a post-Christian culture.
The major factor, of course, is the relentless march of the human heart towards full rebellion against God. This has been well demonstrated throughout history. But at the same time, we have been making some poor arguments that have not helped our case.
Chiefly this: it is a losing argument to say that homosexual behavior is purely learned, and in that sense completely unnatural. We often fall into this trap of claiming that “no one is born gay.” When we do this, we are committing the error of answering them on their own terms, creating many problems for our position. That statement has elements of truth and elements of an anti-biblical worldview. The easy counter argument is that many of us do not feel attraction towards the same sex, and cannot imagine learning to do so.
It is true, many sinful acts are learned and imitated. People learn from their parents, friends, music, and movies that it’s ok to have casual sex, lie when necessary, and steal when we can get away with it. These certainly have a major influence, and their damage to society is great.
But the fundamental current reality is that we are all sinful by nature. Each is more prone to certain perversions of God’s law and His original intentions for human culture than others. This is why it is a losing argument to say homosexual behavior is purely learned, and in that sense unnatural. It’s not true – it is “natural,” that is, according to our distorted unnatural sinful nature. But so are hatred, jealousy, deceit, adultery, substance abuse, stealing, murder, etc. Some are prone to some sins much more than other sins. We are prone to perform all manner of sins naturally, without needing to learn from anybody else. Kids can learn without any exposure to other kids how to lie, steal, throw tantrums, etc. That’s the “natural” order of things in a fallen world. It is no justification to approve of these acts or think them desirable.
Homosexuality has existed throughout history like any other sin. It generally though was practiced by people who did not identify themselves as strictly homosexuals or gay. It was something they did but would not have been seen as something that made them only homosexual. This is something that argues strongly against the myth of the current cultural idea of being “gay.” Today in other societies around the world homosexual acts are common among people as performed purely for pleasure or convenience. A good example is in Islamic countries, where it can be simpler and much more socially acceptable for a man to have sex with a young man or a young boy. This is a common practice and does not in any way in their society mean they are “gay,” in the same sense as would be viewed in our society. They get married, have children, and otherwise are viewed as normal.
What is different in our culture is the construct of “being gay.” It is created as a way normalizing homosexual acts in the context of Judeo-Christian culture. Even though we are really post-Christian, we still have some remnants of influence, like the notion of marriage. It is true that marriage has far less meaning and less positive influence with current divorce law, but the ideal of soulmates bonded in marriage is still just that, a cultural ideal. Much of our literature, art, and film are dedicated towards finding our “one true love.” Certainly on a case-by-case basis few in our culture live this way, but it is still ingrained in our identity. When a young person feels homosexual desires or performs a homosexual act, they innately feel (and are told) that they are different from heterosexuals, and so must be gay. They are then from that point forward to think of themselves as gay, and the matter is settled. Because of course no heterosexual person would feel or do those things. Nevermind the fact that many who perform homosexual acts also have performed heterosexual acts. This is even the case in our culture, and most certainly is the case throughout history in other cultures.
But in our culture, if you ever are physically attracted to or perform an act, you are gay. You always will be. You just need to find the right partner. If you have done either of these and then get happily married? Sorry, you’re just in denial, in the closet. Are you bisexual? Sorry, you’re just kidding yourself. You’re actually gay. Are you not as masculine in your mannerisms? You must be gay. Do you like the theatre? Gay. This is the lie that we are buying into. It sets up anyone who falls into any of these stereotypes to believe that they must be gay. Certainly anyone who feels attraction to or performs acts with the same sex will, in the context of our culture, believe that they are gay.
The concept of gay “marriage,” just like the concept of being gay, is then an invention of our culture as a vehicle for normalizing what for many may be “natural” feelings or behavior. Those feelings and behaviors go by another name, which is sin. Our natural inclination is to not only commit sin, but seek approval from others for our sin. Some are more prone to some sins than others, but we should not normalize homosexuality, theft, deceit, murder, or any other sin in our society. (We have, of course, normalized all four of those in our society, but that’s a topic for another diary.) We certainly should not promote it and enshrine it in law, as would be the case with same sex marriage.