How Can I Explain the Bible’s View of Homosexuality?
The awards ceremony erupts into a frenzy when two popular actresses greet each other with a passionate kiss! Onlookers gasp in shock, then cheer in support. Gays call it a triumph. Skeptics call it a publicity stunt. Video clips of the kiss will be aired repeatedly on TV newscasts—and elicit millions of hits on the Internet—for days to come.
AS ILLUSTRATED in the above scenario, few events create more media buzz than when a celebrity hints at or comes out as being gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Some people praise such ones for their courage; others condemn them for their debauchery. Between the two viewpoints, many see homosexuality as nothing more than an alternative lifestyle. “When I was in school,” says Daniel, 21, “even straight kids felt that if you had a problem with the idea of homosexuality, you were prejudiced and judgmental.”
Attitudes about homosexuality may differ from one generation to another or from one land to another. But Christians aren’t “carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching.” (Ephesians 4:14) Instead, they adhere to the Bible’s view.
What is the Bible’s view of homosexuality? And if you live by the Bible’s moral code, how can you respond to those who label you prejudiced, judgmental, or even homophobic? Consider the following questions or statements and possible responses.
“What does the Bible say about homosexuality?”
“The Bible makes it clear that God designed sex to be engaged in only between a male and a female and only within the arrangement of marriage. (Genesis 1:27, 28; Leviticus 18:22; Proverbs 5:18, 19) When the Bible condemns fornication, it is referring to both homosexual and illicit heterosexual conduct.”*—Galatians 5:19-21.
“What’s your view of homosexuality?”
“I don’t hate homosexuals, but I can’t approve of their conduct.”
“Shouldn’t Christians respect all people, regardless of their sexual orientation?”
“Absolutely. The Bible says: ‘Honor men of all sorts’ or, as Today’s English Version renders it, ‘Respect everyone.’ (1 Peter 2:17) Therefore, Christians are not homophobic. They show kindness to all people, including those who are gay.”—Matthew 7:12.
“Doesn’t your view of homosexuality encourage prejudice against gays?”
“Not at all. I reject homosexual conduct, not people.”
You could add: “To make a comparison, I also choose not to smoke. In fact, I find the very idea of it repugnant. But suppose you’re a smoker and you feel differently. I wouldn’t be prejudiced against you for your view, just as I’m sure you wouldn’t be prejudiced against me for my view—am I right? The same principle applies to our differing views of homosexuality.”
“Didn’t Jesus preach tolerance? If so, shouldn’t Christians take a permissive view of homosexuality?”
“Jesus didn’t encourage his followers to accept any and all lifestyles. Rather, he taught that the way to salvation is open to ‘everyone exercising faith in him.’ (John 3:16) Exercising faith in Jesus includes conforming to God’s moral code, which forbids certain types of conduct—including homosexuality.”—Romans 1:26, 27.
“Homosexuals can’t change their orientation; they’re born that way.”
“The Bible doesn’t comment on the biology of homosexuals, although it acknowledges that some traits are deeply ingrained. (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5) Even if some are oriented toward the same sex, the Bible tells Christians to shun homosexual acts.”
Suggestion: Rather than get ensnared in a debate about the cause of homosexual desires, emphasize that the Bible prohibits homosexual conduct. To make a comparison, you could say: “You know, many claim that violent behavior can have a genetic root and that as a result, some people are predisposed to it. (Proverbs 29:22) What if that was true? As you might know, the Bible condemns fits of anger. (Psalm 37:8; Ephesians 4:31) Is that standard unfair just because some may be inclined toward violence?”
“How could God tell someone who is attracted to people of the same sex to shun homosexuality? That sounds cruel.”
“Such reasoning is based on the flawed notion that humans must act on their sexual impulses. The Bible dignifies humans by assuring them that they can choose not to act on their improper sexual urges if they truly want to.”—Colossians 3:5.
“Even if you’re not gay, you should change your view of homosexuality.”
“Suppose I didn’t approve of gambling but you did. Would it be reasonable for you to insist that I change my view, simply because millions of people choose to gamble?”
Remember this: Homosexuals, along with most people, have some ethical code that causes them to deplore certain things—perhaps fraud, injustice, or war. The Bible prohibits those behaviors; it also draws the line at certain types of sexual conduct, including homosexuality.—1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.
The Bible is not unreasonable, nor does it promote prejudice. It simply directs those with homosexual urges to do the same thing that is required of those with an opposite-sex attraction—to “flee from fornication.”—1 Corinthians 6:18.
The fact is, millions of heterosexuals who wish to conform to the Bible’s standards employ self-control despite any temptations they might face. Their number includes many who are single with little prospect of marriage and many who are married to a disabled partner who is unable to function sexually. They are able to live happily without fulfilling their sexual urges. Those with homosexual inclinations can do the same if they truly want to please God.—Deuteronomy 30:19.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC IN VOLUME 2, CHAPTER 28
Some girls believe that having sex with their boyfriend will deepen their relationship with him. Not likely! Find out why.
The Bible term “fornication” refers not only to intercourse but also to such acts as masturbating another person or engaging in oral sex or anal sex.
“Deaden, therefore, your body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite, hurtful desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”—Colossians 3:5.
While the conduct of others might distress you, avoid a self-righteous tone. Really, they have the freedom to choose what they want to believe—just as you do.
DID YOU KNOW . . . ?
Some first-century Christians who had engaged in homosexual acts in the past were able to change their unclean ways and be “washed clean” in God’s sight.—1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
If someone says that the Bible’s view of homosexuality is out-of-date, I will say ․․․․․
To make it clear that I disapprove of homosexual conduct, not the people themselves, I will say ․․․․․
What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
● Why does God have the right to impose moral laws on humans?
● How do you benefit from adhering to the Bible’s moral laws?
[Blurb on page 170]
“A boy at school thought I was horrible for rejecting his lifestyle. But when I explained that I was not rejecting him as a person—and when he realized that it wasn’t just homosexuality but all forms of immorality that I disagree with—he began to respect me and even defend me when others raised objections.”—Aubrey
[Box on page 168]
What About Bisexuality?
Although found among both genders, bisexuality seems to be increasingly common among girls. For some, it’s a matter of curiosity. Lisa, 26, says: “When you put something out there in movies, TV, and music that promotes girls kissing girls, teens will be tempted to try it—especially when they do not consider it to be wrong.”
For others, there seems to be a genuine attraction. “I met two bisexual girls at a party,” says Vicky, 13, “and later I found out from a friend that they liked me. Eventually I started texting one of the girls, and I started developing feelings for her.”
Have you ever felt the way Vicky did? Many would urge you simply to embrace your sexuality and come out as bisexual. However, you should be aware that same-sex attraction is often nothing more than a passing phase. That’s what Vicky found out. So did 16-year-old Lisette. She says: “Talking to my parents about my feelings made me feel better. Also, through my biology classes in school, I learned that during the adolescent years, hormone levels can fluctuate greatly. I truly think that if youths knew more about their bodies, they would understand that same-sex attraction can be temporary, and they wouldn’t feel the pressure to be gay.”
Even if your feelings seem more deep-rooted than a short-lived growing pain, realize that the Bible presents you with a reachable goal: You can choose not to act on wrong desires, no matter what they are.
[Picture on page 169]
When it comes to popular opinion, Christians have the courage to walk against the crowd