Is a person born homosexual or does he have a choice in the matter? On today's broadcast, pastor Robert Lewis tries to answer the question.
Is a person born homosexual or does he have a choice in the matter? On today's broadcast, pastor Robert Lewis tries to answer the question.
Bob: When one of our children comes home with a scraped knee, we get out antiseptic and the Band-Aid and wash the wound and dress it. But some of our children are experiencing wounds in their soul; wounds that parents may never see; and wounds that can open that child up to the possible practice of homosexuality. In fact, Dr. Robert Lewis says some of us, as parents, may be unwittingly contributing to our children's wounds.
Robert: The man or woman who is a homosexual now has probably suffered from some emotional break or deficit in the relationship with a parent of the same sex early in childhood. I know that's true with my brother, and I know that's true with every struggling gay man I have ever met. Do you hear what that's saying? It says how important the home is.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, July 22nd. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. What can we do, as parents, to help our children grow up secure in their sexual identity? Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. I read, not long ago, I think you read the same article, about an experiment that was done – I think it was on an college campus. Students were brought in and were surveyed about their views on homosexuality. Did they feel it was acceptable, unacceptable, how did they feel about it? Then they had these same students sit down and watch a number of episodes of a television series that features a sympathetic homosexual character. It was the HBO series "Six Feet Under." I think they watched 10 episodes of the show. And after watching the 10 episodes, the students were re-surveyed about their views on homosexuality, and there was a 15-percentage-point change in the views of the students after the show was over. Those who had felt uneasy or uncomfortable or felt that homosexuality was wrong – 15 percent of those folks, their views had shifted, had migrated. They were now more sympathetic toward homosexuality.
I think we've seen that happen in the culture over the last decade, where there has been a growing cultural shift in our views on homosexuality and, of course, the challenge with that is, Dennis, that trend has been away from what the Scriptures teach us about God's view on homosexuality.
Dennis: And it has left the Christian community, I think, gasping for breath as we've watched this snowball come rolling off of the mountain, and we feel the momentum that the media has given to the homosexual movement, and we now are watching one of most basic institutions of our nation – marriage – be redefined by less than 2 percent of the population. And we're left wondering, "What do we do with this onslaught of information," and people are coming out, and they're normalizing that which Scripture speaks of as sin, and also saying, "You know what? It's something we were born with. I was born homosexual. I was born with a predisposition to like people of the same sex." And so the average layman, I believe, today, in the pew, Bob, I think he's sitting there – or she is – and they're thinking, "You know what? Maybe it is okay. What's the big deal about this?" And yet, as you look at the Bible, the Bible is very clear and we, as Christians, are to stand for truth in love.
As we've already heard this week, Dr. Robert Lewis shared a compelling story about his brother, an attorney in Houston, Texas, who died of AIDS, who was a practicing homosexual. And this message, Bob, was given in 1994. I referred to it earlier as a FamilyLife Today classic. A great sermon that needed to be dusted off and brought back today just because of the national debate and dialog that is occurring today around homosexuality and same-sex marriages.
Bob: Robert has already addressed, this week, the fact that, in his view, there are three different sub-groups within the homosexual community – the radical homosexual, the group he refers to as "the committed and coping." They're not radicals. They're committed to their lifestyle, but they're really coping with some of the problems that presents. And then the third group is what he called "the hidden and the hurting." Those who would be hiding their lifestyle and would be ashamed or embarrassed and are really hurting as a result of it. And in part two of his message, we're going to hear him address the origins of homosexuality – where does the practice come from? Let's listen together. Here is Dr. Robert Lewis.
Robert: Probably the most powerful myth being propagated today is, "I was born gay." I'm going to say more about that in just a moment, but I want you to know in the start that there is no credible evidence for homosexuality being biologically predetermined. And yet I want you to know, because I've read for months and months on this issue, I've looked at every study that's been made available, and yet not a day goes by when I do not hear this myth being pressed on the American public as undeniable fact.
It all kind of came to a point when I was flipping through the channels, and I landed on C-Span just as a member of the National Press Club was introducing the head of the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and as this gentleman stood at the podium, his first statement to the National Press Club was, "I was born gay." To which he received thunderous applause. And I thought how different that is for the press, who are the very group that we would depend on to ask the hard questions, even when they're not the politically correct questions. "I was born gay."
Our world today is so thoroughly politicized at every level that our world can't handle the truth. We can't handle the truth anymore. [inaudible] are said to be safe when we know, as a fact, they're not. They fail. Abortion doesn't take a human life when every biological fact we have says it does. And now homosexuals are born gay, when every credible study says, "You aren't." Remember the book, "Fahrenheit 451," maybe in high school or college? It's a book about an age in which truth was suppressed from the common man through the burning of books so they couldn't get their hands on the facts. Well, we don't live in a world called Fahrenheit 451, we live in a world called "Fahren-hype 451," where the truth is suppressed with the constant spreading of myths without asking hard questions and getting credible evidence.
Well, that's one myth. A second myth is that 10 to 13 percent of American population is gay, and that figure was used for years and years by the gay radicals to press their own personal agendas, and I still hear that. I still hear that even in educational materials. Perhaps you saw the "Time" cover story that was entitled, "The Vanishing 10 Percent," where they did a much more documented study than the flawed one by Kinsey, and it showed that those who had had a sexual encounter with another man in the past 10 years made up only 2.3 percent of the population. But, further, those who had only exclusively sex with other men in the last 10 years – in other words, they didn't do it because they were in a prison, or they didn't do it because they were bored, or they didn't do it just because they were looking for another cheap thrill – but they were doing it just with other men. According to "Time," 1.1 percent of the population. Not 10 – 1.
A third myth is that homosexuals can't change. In fact, I watched "Good Morning America," where a gay psychologist pointed out, in fact, that it was psychologically cruel to try to change the sexual orientation of a person who was born with that sexual preference. In fact, he went on an made a statement that I think will one day be on the future agenda. He said, "Anyone who tries to change a homosexual should be punished by law for that cruel behavior."
The truth is, a homosexual can change. I'm going to tell you straight up, I have seen homosexuals change. I have been with guys in churches who have gone from one orientation to another, and they've done it successfully. There is still struggle at times, sure. We all struggle; we're fallen creatures. But have they made the switch? Absolutely. The American Psychiatric Association has documented such changes. They're on the books for anyone to look. In one study, Masters and Johnson reported a 71.6 recovery rate when the right ingredients were present. Do you know what two of the strongest ingredients were? Just simply a desire to change and, secondly, that there was a wide range of support from other people in their quest for change.
Now, I want you to know that the central question in all of this debate is what causes homosexuality? I want to come back to that for a moment. Is it biologically determined before birth or is it the result of some environmental conditioning? You know, there are two recent studies that have come out – one by Simon LeVay, the neurobiologist who saw that there was a difference in the hypothalamus of the brain of homosexuals and heterosexuals. Then you had a second study by Dr. Michael Bailey and Richard Dillard, who saw some genetic differences between homosexual and heterosexual. In both of these studies, if you read a lot, you know received wide coverage with the press and, for many people, finally "proved that homosexuality is predetermined biologically and many gay people, the right to say, 'See, I was born that way. It's who I am, and how could you deny me who I am.'"
I think it's important that you know, if you would do your own research, that few have noted the severe limitations of both those studies – only two – at least at present. Or what is most important, that these studies, neither of which, had been accepted by the academic community as valid. There's all kinds of problems with those studies. And so as far as the research is concerned, these studies raise a lot of questions and interest, but they don't prove anything. I've given you a quote by William Byrne and Bruce Parsons from the Department of Psychiatry and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and they say "recent studies postulate biologic factors as the primary basis for sexual orientation, however, there is no evidence at present to substantiate a biologic theory. Critical reviews show the evidence favoring a biologic theory to be lacking."
Now, that's once you get into the academic community. The truth is, credible scientific research now, as well as in years past, continue to go back again and again to the same place as far as saying this is what causes this predicament within persons, in this pool, and these intense feelings, and it is that they have been born out of a hurtful environment early in childhood, not out of a gene or a brain abnormality. I've given you some quotes in that regard over the years. Masters and Johnson – "When dealing with the problems of sexual preference, it's vital that all health care professionals bear in mind that the homosexual man or woman is basically a man and woman by genetic determination and is homosexually oriented by learned preference.
Charles Sacorides says "Homosexuality is not innate. There is no connection between sexual instinct and the choice of sexual object. It's acquired behavior." And then, most importantly, is the study done by Elizabeth Moberly at Oxford University. She says, "A homosexual orientation does not depend on a genetic predisposition or hormonal imbalance or abnormal learning processes but on difficulties in the parent-child relationship, especially in the earlier years of life. The underlying principle is that the homosexual has suffered from some deficit in the relationship with a parent of the same sex."
Now there will be some exceptions to that, most likely, you'll hear. But studies indicate that 80 to 90 percent of gay men have suffered some severe deficits in their relationships with their father emotionally. They felt alienated and cut off, and in trying to deal with that, it created a real psychic wound within men. Some say as much as 75 percent of lesbians are incest victims, and the other 25 percent have been treated so rotten by men that they recoiled in that, away from having to do anything with men. That's why Bieber, a number of years ago came to this conclusion – that a constructive, supportive, and warmly related father precludes, he says, the possibility of a homosexual son. Now, that's what the evidence says from science.
From Scripture, we might ask, does the Scripture teach that one can be born a homosexual? And the answer is no. What the Scripture teaches is that we are born sinners. That's what the Scriptures teach. Which means we are born separated from the life of God and, according to Genesis, as you read it there, and dissect it, we are born with an innate, natural propensity for two things – self-protection and self-promotion. That's how we're born into this world – wanting to protect ourselves and wanting to promote ourselves at all costs, in any way, regardless of morality. And, as sinners, entering this kind of world, with all these choices, we become vulnerable to any and all behaviors that might promote us or protect us, but we are not predetermined to any one particular behavior.
What we are exposed to and how we choose determines all of that after birth. We are born sinners not homosexuals, and that makes us – and I love the words of Dr. Merrill Vincent [sp], who is in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He says "We're all born sinners, which means," he says, I’m quoting him, "But we're all sexual deviants of one sort of another." I have all kinds of immoral pulls on my life every day because I was born alienated from God, and I’m still working through that, even though I am now connected with God.
The truth is, the best bet on homosexuality is summed up, I think, with Elizabeth Moberly's research; that is that the man or woman who is a homosexual now has probably suffered from some emotional break or deficit in the relationship with a parent of the same sex early in childhood. I know that's true with my brother, and I know that's true with every struggling gay man I have ever met. There may be some exceptions. I'm just telling you from my experience. They've suffered some kind of psychic break with the parent of the same sex, and that tells me, do you hear what that's saying? It says how important the home is and how important a constructive, supportive, warm, involved relationship of fathers to sons and mothers to daughters is.
That's why Malachi said, "Unless the hearts of the fathers turn to the children and the children to the fathers, I'll smite this land with a curse." That's why in every society, once it moves from agrarian to more urban and prosperous, and the home breaks down from being domestic to the undomestic, and everybody's on their own wavelength and their own life, and they depart, leaving children alone. It's at that point in the nation's history or the empire's history that suddenly homosexuality, like a plague, breaks forth. Why? Because fathers aren't with sons and mothers aren't with daughters, I believe.
And here is what takes place. You suffer that emotional break and then, as this child moves into adulthood, these psychological deficits go underground, and they become eroticized, bringing on a person who is now a teenager, or he's in his late teens or 20s. These powerful feelings, sexual feelings, now, towards a person of the same sex, which he didn't choose – he didn't choose those, but they've been reinvented within him because of that psychic hurt, and he feels this strong compulsion forward to someone of the same sex, leading him to believe, "I'm a homosexual, and I've always been a homosexual. I was born that way."
But the truth is, he wasn't born that way. He was wounded that way. And to now go on and choose homosexuality and homosexual behavior as a solution is going to even further hurt him and alienate him from the Son of God, the Savior of the world. That's the truth.
Bob: We've been listening together to Dr. Robert Lewis, part 2 of a message called "Understanding Homosexuality." And you've said many times on our program, Dennis, that many of the challenges we face in our culture can be traced back to family, and this is one of those scenarios that, more often than not, when you start digging around and finding out what was going on in someone's family, you can find some challenges, some problems, that may have opened a path for a young man to head down toward homosexuality.
Dennis: Bob, there may be a weak family that leaves a young man or a young woman vulnerable to beginning to fall prey to thinking these thoughts and giving in to these urges and cravings, but there may have also been something that occurred in secret that a parent may have no way of knowing about it. It may have been with a relative or with a total stranger. Those things can wound a child – a young man or a young lady, and the parent, as a mom or a dad, you may think everything is okay.
But there is also, Bob, I think, going to be an increasing problem in this culture, and that is parents are not on the offensive in terms of protecting their sons and daughters from being preyed upon by those who are experimenting. And I want to tell you, if there is something that really bothers me and frightens me for the next generation of teenagers, is what's about to happen in this culture that's about to normalize homosexual behavior at the equivalent that we just experienced over the past 30 years of normalizing sexual experimentation with the opposite sex.
Now, you, all of a sudden, throw open the door of sexual experimentation with the same sex, you're going to see a whole damaged generation, and that's why you, as a mom, as a dad, grandmother, grandfather, you need to be a part of the solution. You need to be building a strong family, a strong covenant-keeping commitment with your spouse and a love that is connected heart-to-heart and soul-to-soul with your son and with your daughter. It is a matter of protecting them from evil.
Bob: One of the areas where I think we've got to be prepared, as parents, is to address, with our children, issues related to human sexuality – what is appropriate, what's moral behavior, what inappropriate, what's immoral behavior. A couple of books that we've got in our FamilyLife Resource Center that can help – one is called "Growth Into Manhood" where Alan Medinger talks about how his growth into manhood was interrupted at a point, and that's what sent him off into the practice of homosexuality for a number of years. We also have a book by Anita Worthen and Bob Davies called "Someone I Love is Gay." Anita is the mother of a son who spent many years as a practicing homosexual. If you'd like to get copies of both of those books, we can include, at no additional cost, the audio CD or cassette of Robert Lewis's message, "Understanding Homosexuality," so you can listen to the message in its entirety.
And we also have a pamphlet we've put together called "Preserving the Family" – a Scriptural guide for your family designed to help you understand God's purposes and intent for marriage and why same-sex marriage does not match up with God's design. This is available on our website at FamilyLife.com. You can actually download the PDF file and print it out yourself, or you can contact us and order the pamphlet in quantity so that you can use it to pass out at church, if you'd like.
There is more information about all of these resources on our website at FamilyLife.com. There are more articles available on our website as well. Again, the site address is FamilyLife.com. You can also call 1-800-FLTODAY, and we've got folks on our team standing by who can help answer questions you might have or make arrangements to have these materials sent to you.
You know, it's important that we continue to have our thinking shaped by what the Scriptures teach on issues like this. In fact, that's one of the reasons that FamilyLife Today exists. We want to be able to provide you with practical, biblical help that continues to effectively develop your marriage and your family in a God-ward direction. We're a nonprofit organization. We depend on contributions from folks like you to be able to do what we do, and we appreciate those of you who in the past have made donations to FamilyLife Today, and you can make them online at FamilyLife.com or you can call 1-800-FLTODAY to make a donation. You can also write a check and mail it to us, and if you need our mailing address, just go to our website at FamilyLife.com or give us a call at 1-800-FLTODAY, and we can pass the address along to you.
Well, tomorrow we are going to hear part 3 of Robert Lewis's message on understanding homosexuality, and we'll understand what we can do, as individual believers and as the church to respond to individuals who have embraced a homosexual lifestyle. I hope you can join us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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