Originally posted by Arthur in the thread The Bible and Homosexuality part 2 on May 9th 2005:
Interesting discussion - to which I would like, if I may, to add a couple of comments on the basis of quite a few years as a practising psychologist:
1. I basically agree with Jason's early point about the article heading. It's the old "building your house on quicksand phenomenon. Of course there are some people who will claim that Christianity is reconcilable with just about anything you care to name. In my experience, however, the "reconciliation" is usually arrived at by abandoning one or more of the key aspects of Christianity in order to make it "fit".
To my mind a central element of this subject is the fact that even after years of searching not a single "scientist" has come up with anything that registers more strongly than "SOME" homosexual people share physiological characteristic XYZ. In other words, there is still NO EVIDENCE of a common genetic/physiological cause for homosexual behaviour.
2. As a psychologist, all the practical evidence that I am aware of *seems* to indicate that homosexual behaviour is just that - behaviour. There is NO evidence I know of (and I HAVE looked) that homosexual behaviour is an unalterable part of a person's being. Indeed, I do not accept that there is such a being as a "homosexual" person - only people who choose homosexual thoughts and behaviour.
3. Which brings us to the question of why anyone would *choose* homosexual behaviour.
Firstly, I agree that it is conceivable that a very few people do have some kind of genetic defect where they are in a "wrong sex" body. However, this is so rare it is virtually irrelevant to this discussion.
More to the point is the fact that homosexuality is closely allied to immaturity. Just choosing to orient your entire identity around having sex, and who you have it with, is fairly immature for a start. Just consider the way self-styled homosexuals try to associate certain characteristics with that form of behaviour, and imagine how little sense it makes if you substitute "heterosexual" for "homosexual":
"Oh yes, she likes pretty dresses - she's a heterosexual you know!"
"This is our son, Colin, he's ever so good at cabinet making - but then he IS a heterosexual!"
When we talk about "choosing" certain behaviour this does NOT automatically mean that the person sat down one day, consciously drew up a list of pros and cons and then made a decision. Far more often than not the "choice" is arrived at "by default". Rather than go into this at length I refer you to Oliver James' book "They F**k You Up" (sorry, but that is what it's called in the UK. Maybe it has a different title in the US, Canada, etc.?)
5. "If it's so easy to stop homosexual behaviour, why do so many 'converted' homosexuals backslide?" There are two reasons, in my experience, though it's a question that really needs dealing with on a person-by-person basis:
(a) Because it's so easy. Since promiscuity is so rife amongst individuals who prefer homosexual behaviour there is no need to go through the various "courtship" behaviours that still predominate amongst heterosexuals. You just go to the meeting place of your choice and pick someone up - no questions asked.
(A number of serial killers have flourished precisely because this attitude made it so easy for them to attract their victims- even in cases where it was common knowledge that there was a "queer killer" on the loose.)
(b) Even more powerful - because an orgasm hits directly on the "pleasure center" in the brain. When you've had a number of years within a certain culture, with virtually "on demand" ability to stimulate your pleasure centre, it can be a heck of a wrench to move to another culture where this level of "pleasure centre stimulation" activity is RELATIVELY uncommon. Like giving up any addiction, the temptation to have "just one more" experience doesn't disappear just because you want it to.
6. It seems to me that Quentin Crisp summed up the essence of homosexual behaviour in this one comment:
The problem is that every homosexual wants a relationship with a "real" man - but any man who would have a relationship with a homosexual, by definition cannot be a "real" man.
Lastly, every person who chooses homosexual behaviour is still a person. I can still respect the person as a person, even though I disagree with their choice of behaviour.
Hope this is of some use