Religion and Homosexuality

Homosexuals around the world face bias and discrimination from the mainstream, they are labelled outcasts and sinners. However, it is not a place of a human being to dub anyone as a ‘sinner’ or an ‘infidel’ just on the basis of his/her orientation and choices. Everyone is entitled to their own choice and way of living. Having said that, this post I am about to make is going to address the very basic question (or may I say allegation) that rises from the ranks of those who claim to be homosexuals. I am not a religious scholar, nor I am a psychiatrist but I would like to take on this claim and try to explain my point of view on this sensitive issue. I would like to emphasize that I am not judging anyone on the basis of their lifestyle and that this post must be read only as an argument towards a claim, I would appreciate if anyone can counter this.

The claim is that homosexuality is not a choice, rather God intended to create (the homosexuals) that way. I for once completely disagree with this statement, it is not because I am straight, it is not because I am religious, but because the claim does not make any sense. Let me explain.

I would like to believe there are many religious individuals among the ranks of homosexuals, I therefore understand these individuals with religious values must believe in God (of whatever religion). Here, I will be using references from the Abrahamic religions (mainly Islam). The mainstream (who hold religious values) use the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah to scare off the homosexuals, for those who are unaware, Sodom and Gomorrah (mainly referred to as the people of Lot) were two towns where people practiced homosexuality openly. However, these people met a tragic end since they failed to repent despite the constant warning of Prophet Lot. The incident has been reported both in the Holy Qura’an and Bible with very harsh wordings (used for the town dwellers).

In the Holy Qura’an, God reiterates the purpose for creating human kind (while mentioning this incident), so that they will multiply and we need no rocket science to conclude that same-sex relationships cannot reproduce. Therefore, the claim that homosexuality is not a choice is baseless. Those who think my conclusion is far-fetched, should consider the fact that the same claim can be made by a pedophile, or certain others who claim to be attracted towards animals.

God is perfect and He has created the perfect beings and these beings are capable of thinking and making choices of their own, adapting to lifestyles and choosing their own paths of life. God has laid down a set of rules (in the form of holy scriptures), in order to guide his creation, educate them on what’s right and wrong and it is up to the human kind, whether or not to take this guidance.

Now that we have established the fact that God in no possible way intends to create homosexuals, the question is why do people choose to be in homosexual relationships. Again, I do not claim to be a psychiatrist but the answer to this question lie in the past of the individual in question. It is conceivable that the individual have had a traumatic experience in which the villain is someone who is a close relative and of the opposite sex. Another possibility is the lack of trust in the opposite gender due to rumors or sexist statements, for example many men claim that women are dumb and the women claim the same about women. It is possible that people who turn to their own gender for comfort may take these statements as facts and develop a certain hatred or fear of being with the opposite sex (in a long-term relationship).

There may be many cases which may lead to an individual to ‘come out of the closet’, one thing is clear, that God is perfect and so is everything that He has created. We humans though, we are misguided, we make mistakes but it is not because God intends us to, but because we do not understand God’s intention.

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About Hasan
A Muslim with a slightly different perspective. A student of history, theology and science.

18 Responses to Religion and Homosexuality

  1. Hasan says:

    @methodus:

    Furthermore Hasan,in some sense, every human is born with deformities. Deformity only means something that is contrary to its proper form and Christianity stipulates that we are all contrary to the manner in which God had created us. Everyone has a sin nature and this is precisely that which Christ came to save us from. Hope this helped.

    Should I extract from this that God has absolutely nothing to do with a human birth? I mean you are admitting that “contrary to its proper form and Christianity stipulates that we are all contrary to the manner in which God had created us”. This is possible only if God has stopped creating humans and the ‘deformed humans’ are creating themselves. If not then we will have to conclude that God is creating humans (who are being created with deformity).

    And if Christian God is infact creating human beings shouldn’t he be fixing the issues with his ‘deformed creation’?

    • methodus says:

      Should I extract from this that God has absolutely nothing to do with a human birth? I mean you are admitting that “contrary to its proper form and Christianity stipulates that we are all contrary to the manner in which God had created us”. This is possible only if God has stopped creating humans and the ‘deformed humans’ are creating themselves. If not then we will have to conclude that God is creating humans (who are being created with deformity).

      Greetings Hasan,

      Your objection overlooks the fact that a human birth is the fruit of a combination of genes from two parents and it is precisely what one inherits that is the imperfect in this equation. Unlike with Adam, God does not create a human being completely out of nothing, rather he takes preexisting ‘material’ provided by both parents and combines and rearranges these to make subsequent new persons—this in fact is basic biology. At this point, your objection becomes untenable. Furthermore, when we speak of God creating someone we really mean to say that God upholds the laws of biology so that a new human being is born. The genetic material in itself has the power to produce new humans, God merely allows that the process to happen and sustains everything in existence. The genetic material in itself has the power to produce a new person (as long as God allows this to happen and sustains its existence).

      And if Christian God is infact creating human beings shouldn’t he be fixing the issues with his ‘deformed creation’?

      Hasan, this has been Christianity’s proclamation since the very beginning (1 John 4:14)! In Christ, God is making everything anew (Rev. 21:4-5) and the imperfection which was brought about by sin will be rendered obsolete for all those who accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and thus return to the true Living God (1 Corinthians 15:35-58). Your objections are all answered within the bible.

      So once again, unlike in Islam, God is not the one creating deformed persons but he has promised to save all those who turn to him. While imperfection is not his fault, in this life he does use a Christian’s suffering for good (Romans 8:28) and yet he has promised us that he will set everything right once again (Isaiah 65:17). It is not his error and yet he has graciously provided the solution. Furthermore, he does not idly watch by while we suffer saying “just wait, i’ll do something in a few thousand years”–no. Rather he himself comes down from heaven to bear the burden of our sin (1 Peter 2:24) and carry our suffering as if it were his own (Isaiah 53:4-5). Once again, Yahweh does exactly what you wish for him to do in the above–in fact, he does even more than what you are asking for (i.e. by actually bearing our very suffering himself). He goes farther than mere promises, rather he gives himself as proof for what he promises to do in the future. Actions speak louder than words.

      • Hasan says:

        Your objection overlooks the fact that a human birth is the fruit of a combination of genes from two parents and it is precisely what one inherits that is the imperfect in this equation. Unlike with Adam, God does not create a human being completely out of nothing, rather he takes preexisting ‘material’ provided by both parents and combines and rearranges these to make subsequent new persons—this in fact is basic biology.

        You should know that I am a firm believer in evolution. Not the Darwinian theory though, but in the light of some archaeological facts and that Quran supports that Humans did indeed evolve from other life supporting materials. Furthermore, if the Christian God does not create humans any more (or anything else other than humans), then I suppose his attributes as a creator should have been revoked or transferred into humans.

        Islam says God is still the ultimate, but when it’s a matter of new life, the actions of His creation do affect that matter (as discussed earlier).

        So once again, unlike in Islam, God is not the one creating deformed persons but he has promised to save all those who turn to him

        From this, I am bound to believe that the Christian God has clearly cut himself off from his creation and only favors those who ‘return to him’. While in Islam, God is always there (as he has been from the very beginning of human life) for every human being (whether deformed, homosexual, crippled etc.).

  2. methodus says:

    Hasan: I fail to understand your point because, if you are suggesting that God is infact the one ‘causing’ these defects into human beings, then not only Islam, but Christian God’s (if He is different) actions will also come into question.

    Does Yahweh purposefully create defected human beings?

    Greetings Hasan,

    I am certainly suggesting that (if the Islamic worldview is true) God is indeed the express cause of at least some birth defects. I should note however, that you do not show my accusation (i.e. of you having committed the fallacy of a false dichotomy) to be wrong. So be that as it may, the first point to keep in mind is that reason informs us that the muslim deity does in fact expressly cause at least some innocent individuals to be born with defects. Given that your counter-argument was based on a logical fallacy, then this point is true without question. Anyway, you do not in fact show that I am incorrect but rather you tacitly accept this and thus claim that this would also place the Christian God in the same position. That is false. Such an objection in no way can be raised concerning the biblical representation of God. In fact, I had linked you to my article within my first post and I deal with the matter (along with other things) there:

    http://godomnipotent.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/allah-and-why-i-am-not-a-muslim-another-look/

    You will recall that you had said the following:

    What you are forgetting is the same will apply to Christian God too, natural disasters kill thousands of ‘Christians’, is that fair? Natural disasters are brought upon nations who go too far in their rebellion. If you can justify the ‘murder’ of the Christians by their own Lord I am sure I can too. Besides, you didn’t answer my questions about deformities in Chiristian families.

    And as such, the article deals particularly with the above. I demonstrate, how this is a problem for Allah but not for Yahweh. If at this time you are too pressed for time to read the entire article, you can always just ctrl + F for your above quote and it will lead you to the section where I explain the Christian understanding of birth defects and natural disasters etc.

    • Hasan says:

      I should note however, that you do not show my accusation (i.e. of you having committed the fallacy of a false dichotomy) to be wrong.

      You are accusing me of fallacy, while there is no proof (even from Qura’an and Hadith) that God is the one who is causing these defects in human beings.

      , the first point to keep in mind is that reason informs us that the muslim deity does in fact expressly cause at least some innocent individuals to be born with defects. Given that your counter-argument was based on a logical fallacy, then this point is true without question.

      So we are jumping to conclusions here are we? If you have proof that Muslim God is the one creating defects, please share with me here.

      In your article you wrote:

      According to Christianity, it isn’t God who brought about natural disasters, deformities, disabilities and the like, but rather mankind. Yet in Islam, this picture is completely reversed. In Islam, it is the Muslim deity who actively brought about natural disasters to consume creation even after he claimed to have forgiven them. – Ibid.

      This is my whole argument, The natural disasters are brought upon by humans themselves, while your article goes on to say that

      deformities do indeed happen because all are sinners and bear the burden of sin within themselves.

      If I take your argument to be true, then Christian God (and pardon me for saying this) is very unjust. For instance, let us assume that all the children born with deformities are infact burdened by sin. But what about those which are healthy? Why wasn’t Hitler born with any deformities? What about the children of dictators, rapists, robbers and other ‘great sinners’? Why are they born healthy and not share the ‘burden of sin’?

      • methodus says:

        You are accusing me of fallacy, while there is no proof (even from Qura’an and Hadith) that God is the one who is causing these defects in human beings.

        Greetings Hasan, I am accusing you of having committed a fallacy because your argument was a false dichotomy, simple as that. The argument you had used to defend the Muslim deity was fallacious and given that it is a faulty argument, it therefore follows that Allah has not been removed from being blamed for at least some deformities. There need not be proof from hadiths nor the Qur’an seeing as simple reason informs us of such. Think about it, there are only three possible culprits for why people are born deformed: parents, the environment, or God (granting his existence). Medical science informs us that neither parents nor the environment can be appealed to for every case of birth deformities and as such reason leads us to conclude that in some cases then, God expressly causes deformities.

        So we are jumping to conclusions here are we? If you have proof that Muslim God is the one creating defects, please share with me here.

        No we aren’t jumping to conclusions.

        This is my whole argument, The natural disasters are brought upon by humans themselves

        In what way are natural disasters brought about by humans themselves? If you do mean that God can and has in some cases used them to punish the guilty (such as in the case of Noah’s flood) then you are indeed correct but Islam would still have a problem seeing as supposedly innocent babies are also killed. If God is just, why is he killing innocents along with the guilty? I speak more about this in the article I had already linked you to and also here: http://godomnipotent.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/vicarious-punishment-and-the-imputation-of-sin/

        If I take your argument to be true, then Christian God (and pardon me for saying this) is very unjust. For instance, let us assume that all the children born with deformities are infact burdened by sin. But what about those which are healthy? Why wasn’t Hitler born with any deformities? What about the children of dictators, rapists, robbers and other ‘great sinners’? Why are they born healthy and not share the ‘burden of sin’?

        It would seem that you have misunderstood the Christian position. The ‘burden of sin’ in this sense does not mean sins done by the children. It simply speaks of our fallen state in general. Christianity teaches that everyone shares in the burden of sin–that is, everyone has a sin nature which makes them imperfect due to the sin of Adam and as such, sometimes this imperfection results in mental disabilities, deformities etc. According to the christian, the world is imperfect—it isn’t how God had created it. When man first transgressed the law of God, sin came into the world (so to speak) and with sin came imperfection. This imperfection runs in the very nature of creation and this is why you, I, or anyone can’t stop sinning or why (in some cases) people are born deformed. In short, everyone bears the burden of sin and in some cases this results in being born deformed. Anyway, your mistake was to think that by ‘burden of sin’ I meant that people are born deformed because of sins they’ve committed and this is false. In fact that would be karma and not the Christian teaching of original sin. Hopefully this cleared up the matter for you.

        • Hasan says:

          Christianity teaches that everyone shares in the burden of sin–that is, everyone has a sin nature which makes them imperfect due to the sin of Adam and as such, sometimes this imperfection results in mental disabilities, deformities etc. According to the christian, the world is imperfect—it isn’t how God had created it. When man first transgressed the law of God, sin came into the world (so to speak) and with sin came imperfection. This imperfection runs in the very nature of creation and this is why you, I, or anyone can’t stop sinning or why (in some cases) people are born deformed

          Ok, if the burden of sin is related to Original sin, then my question remains, why isn’t every human being born with deformities? Why only some? Is not everyone burdened with sin according to Christianity? Where is the justice in that?

          • methodus says:

            This is because original sin does not equal physical deformity but only allows for the possibility of such. I just added this section to my article because of our discussion:

            It now occurs to me that my words can be easily mistaken to imply that, for instance, birth-deformities are due to the sins of the individual themselves and that is false. In fact, Christ repudiated such an idea (John 9:1-3). What I mean by ‘burden of sin’ is our general fallen state due to the sin of Adam. Just as a parent passes down their biological traits to their children, so has Adam passed down his sin nature to his descendants. Everyone possesses this sin nature and this is precisely why neither I, nor you dear reader can say that they have never sinned—in fact, we find it so much harder to do good than to sin. Sinning comes naturally to us while we have to strive very hard to be free from it. Now to return to the point: given that we are all the descendants of Adam, it follows that we have all inherited this sin nature and with sin comes imperfection. It is the case that this imperfection sometimes also manifests itself in the form of birth deformities. This is not because God actively wills for children to be born deformed, but rather because imperfection has become part of the human condition and hence the possibility for cells to replicate imperfectly and for deformities to happen.

            Furthermore Hasan,in some sense, every human is born with deformities. Deformity only means something that is contrary to its proper form and Christianity stipulates that we are all contrary to the manner in which God had created us. Everyone has a sin nature and this is precisely that which Christ came to save us from. Hope this helped.

  3. Hasan says:

    My only concern here, is to clear the name of Almighty God. There is much that is wrong with this world (which is all because of humans), if we blame God for every little thing, then I guess everyone is innocent.

    For instance, there are people who steal, who rob other people, they claim to be ‘created by God’, yet we know from the Holy Scriptures that stealing is bad. But, it cannot be denied it exists in the society. Why I am comparing stealing with homosexuality? Because both have been deemed wrong in the Holy Scriptures. Therefore we cannot justify one and forget the other.

    God has created everything, His creation is perfect, though with the humans, there is a case of free will. I am sure given the right conditions, a homosexual can be turned into a hetrosexual (though again I totally respect the choice of the homosexuals). My sole concern here is that God should not be involved in this as it isn’t His doing that someone is a homosexual.

    • methodus says:

      I certainly have no problem with the fact that you wish to clear the name of God from the charge that he has apparently given homosexuals the sexual orientation that they possess–I absolutely have no problem with that. In fact, I do believe that the Muslim can indeed condemn homosexuality on the basis of reason and their religion (as long as we do not have conclusive evidence that homosexuality is genetic–and no, so far science has yet to discover an actual gene that makes an individual homosexual; so the claim that one is born that way can not be proven conclusively) but as I said before, the particular argument you employ is indeed faulty in this case.

      That said, the real problem is not Islam’s answer to homosexuality (as long as it is not proven that an individual is a homosexual at birth), but rather its answer to birth defects/deformities and the like.

      • Hasan says:

        Birth defects are not caused by God, studies have proven that a parent’s conduct can also affect a child (yet to be born). As you know that cousin marriage is allowed in Islam, which is the primary cause in defected infant births. Elsewhere, alcohol, drugs and other various ‘party acts’ can produce deformities in an unborn too.

        • methodus says:

          Hasan that is a false dichotomy. Once again, your statement presupposes that all birth defects are due to the active participation of the parents and that is factually false. Simply go study the matter and you will learn that not everything is due to cousins marrying each other or alcohol, drugs etc. My point was never that these could not lead to birth defects but rather that not all birth defects are the parent’s fault and the minute that one admits this little fact, then Islam is in serious trouble. So no, you haven’t actually refuted my point–you have merely made me repeat myself.

          • Hasan says:

            Methodus: I fail to understand your point because, if you are suggesting that God is infact the one ‘causing’ these defects into human beings, then not only Islam, but Christian God’s (if He is different) actions will also come into question.

            Does Yahweh purposefully create defected human beings?

  4. methodus says:

    reluctanttraveller says: If God has made everything perfect then, what about inter-sex humans who don’t fit the typical definitions of either male or female? They don’t seem much ‘perfect’ to me. If human are born perfect, then why in Islam, circumcision is performed on male babies?

    Hasan says: I understand where you are coming from, there are many cases of disabled births too, but then again, how can you blame God when people with same genetic material go about making babies? Is it God’s fault when a baby is born with a mental illness? You fail to comprehend that in a much larger picture, it all comes back to humans and their choices.

    Hasan your argument is faulty because it presupposes that every case of disability and deformity is due to some active participation on the part of the parents (eg. the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy or “people with the same genetic material” making babies)–this is patently false and you are aware that I had already brought this up in the following post:

    http://godomnipotent.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/allah-and-why-i-am-not-a-muslim-another-look/

    This point in itself is highly damaging towards Islam and as we have seen, the manner in which you try to mitigate this fails.

  5. Brian Fahey says:

    Hello: The problems with your supposition are manifold. First you base your supposition on religion. Religion is myopic and self aggrandizing. Try and make the same judgment using science and not religion. Science, and more specifically, Psychiatry, have determined that homosexuality is not a choice but a natural occurrence, indeed one in which about 10% of the human population (everywhere) is homosexual.

    Secondly you are not (I assume) homosexual, and so cannot speak for those who are. Again you use religion to back up your claims. A serious error.

    Third you say that Trauma may be a part of the problem, yet it has been demonstrated on several occasions that brothers, separated at birth and raised in different households have both demonstrated a homosexual preference. That tosses out the Trauma theory.

    I personally am aware of a family in which all seven (7) sons were homosexual. Each was separated in the birthing cycle by at least a year. It is no more common for brothers to be homosexual, than it is for them not to be. It is a genetic lottery.

    While religion may be a way to show people how to live their lives, it is NOT science and should never be used to explain science.

    Additional comment on Pedophilia: While there have been many high profile public references to pedophile Priests in the RC church, the fact is that Pedophilia predominantly occurs in Heterosexual NOT Homosexual men and that pedophilia is generally directed at little girls, not boys. It is the Homosexual community that receives the brunt of the negative publicity, and in this I must assume that this sells more newspapers and news-air-time than does heterosexual pedophilia.

  6. Hasan says:

    If God has made everything perfect then, what about inter-sex humans who don’t fit the typical definitions of either male or female? They don’t seem much ‘perfect’ to me. If human are born perfect, then why in Islam, circumcision is performed on male babies?

    I understand where you are coming from, there are many cases of disabled births too, but then again, how can you blame God when people with same genetic material go about making babies? Is it God’s fault when a baby is born with a mental illness? You fail to comprehend that in a much larger picture, it all comes back to humans and their choices.

    As a gay man, I can assure you that I was neither abused by any adult as a child, nor I had any kind ‘disappointment’ from the opposite gender. In fact, I have spent a large part of my life in West, so my homosexual tendencies are not as a result of frustration due to the sexual segregation, as you might expect in Pakistan.

    Again I must repeat that I am no expert on the matter, as to be it is related to an individual’s psychology. I respect your values, but I will reiterate that fact that it is not God’s intention to make you that way, I am no one to ask you to revisit your religious beliefs, but my research has brought me to this conclusion. In no way this post should be seen as belittling the homosexuals, I am just trying to remove the ‘God made me this way’ factor out of this. However, if you would like to extend this debate into religious realms, I will be most pleased to try and convince you.

    Comparing homosexuality with paedophilia is simply absurd. Paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder, while homosexuality is not. You would know that paedophilic tendencies are directed towards minors – children who aren’t mentally mature to give their consent to perform the act. It’s cruel exploitation of children, while homosexual relationships are just like heterosexual relationships, done between two ‘consenting’ adults in their own private sphere – they are not harming anyone.

    I know what pedophilia is, though when you ask someone (who has this disorder) more than often you will hear the same argument ‘God made me this way’. According to you, humans are not perfect (Gold deliberately made them this way) therefore there is no reason to complain for their existence. While I am of the view that humans end up adapting a lifestyle ‘directly’ or ‘indirectly’ by their choices.

  7. reluctanttraveller says:

    If God has made everything perfect then, what about inter-sex humans who don’t fit the typical definitions of either male or female? They don’t seem much ‘perfect’ to me. If human are born perfect, then why in Islam, circumcision is performed on male babies?

    The reasons you have given for homosexuality have not any scientific basis, they’re just mere assertions which anyone can concoct (should have expected better from ‘student of science’). Sexuality is an incredibly fluid and complex trait, involving both genetic and environmental factors. As a gay man, I can assure you that I was neither abused by any adult as a child, nor I had any kind ‘disappointment’ from the opposite gender. In fact, I have spent a large part of my life in West, so my homosexual tendencies are not as a result of frustration due to the sexual segregation, as you might expect in Pakistan.

    Comparing homosexuality with paedophilia is simply absurd. Paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder, while homosexuality is not. You would know that paedophilic tendencies are directed towards minors – children who aren’t mentally mature to give their consent to perform the act. It’s cruel exploitation of children, while homosexual relationships are just like heterosexual relationships, done between two ‘consenting’ adults in their own private sphere – they are not harming anyone.

    The concept of consent is very important one. The acts of necrophilia, bestiality and paedophilia don’t have this element of consent.

    • fragile emptiness says:

      Reluctant traveler:

      your assertion that homosexuality cannot be compared with paedophilia because paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder is a form of logical fallacy called tautology. You have not proved that homosexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. Just like how homosexuals are highly functional animals (humans are animals after all) in society, much like that pedophiles are highly functional and achieved individuals. Sometimes more so. Recently the news of what happened with a football coach in one of the football teams highlights that.

      Regarding the element of consent, you are right that children cannot provide consent in the way an adult could. But who said that consent is necessary in a world where God does not exist and Darwinian evolutionary forces control life and where there is no afterlife? No need for morality.

      http://www.doomedlions.wordpress.com.

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