Today we are confronted with several myths that cloud the truth about homosexuality. In the following section, we will look at some of these myths and evaluate their arguments.
MYTH #1–People are born homosexual.
In recent years, some have claimed that homosexual orientation is biologically and genetically determined in the same way that eye or hair color is fixed. While genetic influences and predispositions may contribute to any unwanted behavior, it is important that we aren’t misled by research alleging that homosexuality is genetic or inborn. A few scientific studies, two in particular, have been trumpeted as the basis for such a claim. Dr. Simon LeVay conducted a study in 1991 on the brains of 41 cadavers. The cadavers consisted of 19 homosexual men, plus 16 men and 6 women presumed to be heterosexual. He reported that a cluster of neurons in a distinct section of the brain were generally smaller in the homosexual men as compared to the heterosexual men. As a result, he hypothesized that the size of these neurons may cause a person to be either heterosexual or homosexual.6
For his theory to be true, however, studies would have to show that the difference in size occurred 100 percent of the time. But even Dr. LeVay’s own study failed to do this. For example, 3 of the 19 homosexual men actually had larger neurons than their heterosexual counterparts. His study also revealed that 3 of the heterosexual men had smaller neurons than did the homosexual men.
Another major weakness in this study is that there is no proof that the portion of the brain highlighted in Dr. LeVay’s study has anything to do with sexual preference. For these and other reasons, it’s evident that LeVay’s study lends no support to the myth that people are born homosexual. Even LeVay himself has retreated from his hypothesis and “deserted his research.”7
The second study was performed in 1991 by Dr. J. Michael Bailey and Dr. Richard Pillard. They examined how widespread homosexuality is among twins and adopted brothers when at least one sibling was homosexual. Among other things, they found that 52 percent of the identical twins studied were both homosexual. From this they suggested that genetic makeup may be the reason so many identical twins were homosexual.8
For their theory to be fact, however, there should never be a case when one identical twin is heterosexual and one is homosexual. It’s genetically impossible since both identical twins share 100 percent of the same genes.9 If sexual orientation is genetic, then both identical twins will always be either heterosexual or homosexual. Bailey and Pillard’s findings of only 52 percent discredits their own hypothesis. In fact, their findings show that nongenetic factors play a significant part in shaping sexual preference.
MYTH #2–Homosexuality is a harmless alternative.
Despite the normal and harmless image often attributed to homosexuality, the facts reveal that, like immoral heterosexual behavior, those involved in homosexual activities pay a sad and tragic price–physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Physically. In addition to the debilitating physical complications common among men who practice homosexual activities, a host of sexually transmitted diseases and infections can also be contracted. Because few are able to maintain “monogamy,” promiscuity rapidly increases the spread of these ailments, which include hepatitis B, anal warts, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, and shigellosis. They cause flulike symptoms, chronic liver disease, severe diarrhea, cramps, ulcers, and even death.
The most familiar and equally dangerous of all sexually transmitted diseases is AIDS. Here in the United States, this killer disease hits mostly males who engage in homosexual acts and intravenous drug users and their sexual partners.10 It’s estimated that 30 percent of all 20-year-old males involved in homosexual behavior will contract or die from AIDS by the age of 30.11
One prevalent emotional price of homosexuality is depression. This is often accompanied by strong feelings of loneliness and guilt, dulled only by alcohol or “one more” sexual encounter. Female homosexual relationships are particularly burdened with extreme possessiveness and jealousy.
While it can’t be seen as easily, the spiritual consequence is the most costly. As with other efforts to find independence from God, homosexuality separates us from the only true Source of life. It gives the illusion that we can survive our disappointing world on our own without the God who longs to give us the free gift of life (Revelation 22:17). But a life without the God of the Bible is a life without real meaning, joy, and love. At best, only a hollow, fleeting imitation can be discovered.
MYTH #3–The sin of Sodom had nothing to do with homosexuality.
Genesis 19:1-8 records a story that occurred just before the destruction of Sodom. Two angels were visiting Lot when the men of the city surrounded his house and began shouting, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them” (Geneis 19:5). Some assert that the Hebrew word yadah, which is translated “have sex with” should be taken to mean “to get acquainted with.” They say the sin attempted in the city of Sodom that night was not homosexuality but a violation of hospitality. They say the men disregarded ancient rules of hospitality by insisting on getting acquainted with or questioning Lot’s visitors.
This claim has serious problems. The fundamental flaw is that the immediate context shows the meaning of the Hebrew word yadah clearly to be sexual in nature. Just three verses later, the same word is translated “slept with,” which Lot used when he offered his virgin daughters to the men of the city in place of the men in his house: “Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them.” (Genesis 19:8).
Lot’s offering of his daughters, as horrendous as it was, makes no sense unless we understand that the intentions of the men of Sodom was sexual rape. Lot had no reason to think the men would merely want to question or get acquainted with his daughters. As horribly wrong as Lot was, it’s clear that he thought the men might be willing to settle for sexually violating his daughters.
It’s true that this story in Genesis 19 is only a condemnation of homosexual rape. But as we will see, it’s an example of what other Bible passages teach: All homosexual activity is a sinful violation of God’s design for men and women.
MYTH #4–Biblical references condemning homosexual behavior do not refer to homosexuality as we know it today.
Some people speculate that the biblical passages indicating homosexual activity as sinful refer to a completely different kind of homosexuality than is practiced today.
For instance, they suggest that Leviticus 18:22, which states, Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable, is only condemning homosexuality associated with pagan religious practices. A similar claim is made regarding the apostle Paul’s comments about homosexual behavior in Romans 1:24-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. Some propose that Paul’s statements referred only to pederasty (sex between men and boys) or prostitution involved in pagan worship. In either case, it is argued that Paul did not have in mind “loving and committed” homosexual relationships.
One of the major shortcomings in this sort of speculation is that there is nothing in the surrounding context of these passages that justifies limiting the meaning of these verses to homosexuality involved with pagan worship or to pederasty. The meaning certainly included such activities, but there’s no evidence to suggest that Paul was referring to these activities exclusively.
Conversely, the context shows, for example, that it’s impossible to restrict the meaning of Romans 1:24-27 to pederasty, given that Paul referred to female homosexuality in the same way as male homosexuality: 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.( Romans 1:26-27).
Furthermore, an examination of the Greek word arsenokoites used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 clearly shows that his intent was to
condemn all homosexual lust and behavior, including what takes place today.
Biblical scholars have long understood the Greek word arsenokoites translated “homosexual offenders” in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and “perverts” in 1 Timothy 1:10 to mean “one who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite.”12 It’s also been demonstrated that Jews in the Greek civilization acquired the word arsenokoites from the Greek Old Testament text of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, which condemns homosexual activity in general.13
It’s evident that Paul didn’t restrict the meaning of this word to certain kinds of homosexual behavior. Even ancient Greek writings used it in a broad sense that would include all homosexual behavior.14 Therefore, according to Paul, all forms of homosexual activity are sinful.
MYTH #5–Homosexuals can’t change.
The Bible plainly states that people can overcome homosexuality. After listing a number of categories that typically characterize unbelievers, including “homosexual offenders,” Paul reminded the believers in the city of Corinth, “That is what some of you were” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Paul witnessed firsthand how the power of God’s mercy and grace drastically changed the lives of people, regardless of their struggles. And God can do the same for anyone today. Before focusing on the godly solutions Paul had in mind, let’s examine how living in a fallen, rebellious world contributes to broken relationships and confusing sexual attractions.
See Part 1: What is Homosexuality?
See Part 2: Common Myths about Homosexuality
See Part 3: How Do Homosexual Attractions Develop?
See Part 4: What Does Homosexuality Provide?
See Part 5: The Root Problem, Repentence and Growth
See Part 6: What is a Friend to Do? & References