Nature vs Nurture

The nature vs nurture debate rages on.  Nowhere is it more evident than in  changes in people’s attitudes about homosexuality and their reaction to recent challenges to  traditional  definitions of gender.  It is a muddled world out there. 

The fundamental question is the extent to what particular aspects of our behavior are a product of either inherited (i.e., genetic) or acquired (i.e., learned) influences. Nature is what we think of as pre-wiring and is influenced by genetic inheritance and other biological factors. Nurture is generally taken as the influence of external factors after conception, e.g., the product of exposure, life experiences and learning on an individual.

Despite claims to the contrary by many homosexual apologists, there is no consensus among scientists on the causes of homosexuality.  Experts remain divided as to whether homosexuality has physiological or environmental roots or whether it results from a combination of these factors. Reputable researchers have reported seemingly irrefutable evidence that all humans are born bipotential (capable of either heterosexual or homosexual orientation) and that one’s sexual orientation is primarily established in postnatal experiences.  As one of these scientists expressed it, “heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual preferences unfold during the experiences of childhood or adolescence”, and though “there is some evidence that suggests possible predispositions to erotic preferences. . . such predispositions. . . do not preordain heterosexual or heterosexual preferences; postnatal events can override this influence.” In plain words, this scientist was convinced that a person can become a practicing homosexual solely as the result of environmental/experiential influences, and genes and hormones of and by themselves do not cause one to engage in homosexual acts.

The human historical record also has something to say about homosexuality and homosexual activity.  Homosexual behavior has been observed and reported on throughout recorded history, even during periods when homosexual acts were subject to severe penalties.  Yet a close study of the record reveals that homosexual activity has been much more frequent in some societies, during certain periods of history, and in particular environments. This indicates that homosexual behavior itself may be learned or unlearned, practiced or not practiced,  regardless of whether or not there is an inborn disposition toward homosexuality in some individuals.

Homosexuals tend to be unimpressed by such scientific and historical arguments.  Their own homosexuality is an established fact, and in most instances they cannot attribute their homosexual urges to a conscious choice on their part; therefore, to their way of thinking, it must be inborn. They believe this to be the way God made them.  If so, it follows that any discrimination toward or ill-treatment of homosexuals is highly reprehensible and cannot be tolerated in a civil society.

On the other hand. Bible believing Christians along with orthodox adherents of the other major religious faiths have holy scriptures that teach homosexual behavior to be sinful – a violation of God’s commandments. True, Jesus is never quoted as saying anything about homosexuality, but neither did he speak out against many other activities that we know to be wrong and sinful.  Homosexual behavior is certainly condemned in the Old Testament and in the letters of Paul the Apostle.  The Bible is the Word of God for the faithful, so how can a Christian not condemn it?  And given this dichotomy, how do we learn to live together in peace?   

Gay and lesbian spokespersons often claim that homosexuals make up approximately ten percent of the total population.  This estimate is based on the assumption that homosexuality is an inborn condition and that there are many latent homosexuals (part of the ten percent) among the general population.  This estimate is often promoted by the mainstream media without question or explanation.  The actual number of gays and lesbians among the general population is difficult to determine, but many observers believe that active homosexuals make up no more than two to three percent of the adult population of the United States.  Of course, whatever their numbers in the population at large, the percentage of homosexuals probably exceeds ten percent of the population in some areas of the country (e.g., San Francisco) and in certain influential sub-groups (e.g., the artistic community).

Homosexual activists insist that latent homosexuals in the general population need encouragement and support to learn their true identity and live life in accordance with their sexual natures.   Otherwise, they say, these individuals are socially maladjusted, and the number of suicides among this group is much higher than the norm. In recent years, these activists have become especially interested in identifying school children with homoerotic inclinations, and they have had success in influencing sexual education programs in some states.  Conservative Christians strongly resist this effort.  They insist that sexual predisposition is not strongly established in young children, and activists must not be allowed to indoctrinate them.  

A presumption as to the inborn nature of homosexuality is the strongest argument in the LGBT arsenal as they fight for greater acceptance in the broader community.  But is the argument valid?

Pedophiles also appear to have inborn feelings that cause them to be sexually attracted to children.  On that ground, should we excuse their behavior?

Middle-aged or older men are attracted to nubile young women.  The resulting affairs have destroyed many families.  The attraction appears to be quite natural on the part of the male, so perhaps we should condone these acts of unfaithfulness.  Why bother with marriage?

It is my firm belief that every sane individual, regardless of the orientation and strength of his/her sex drive, has control over his/her actions and is therefore responsible for them.  This belief in control and responsibility is the basis of our laws as well as the unwritten rules of civilized behavior.

Homosexuals should be treated with compassion as human beings and they must be protected from discrimination and harassment.  All people deserve courtesy, kindness, and consideration regardless of their differences, and there is no excuse for violent or destructive acts by persons on either side of the volatile issue of sexual orientation. I am persuaded that many active homosexuals live lives that are otherwise above reproach.  Also, though evidence indicates that most active homosexuals are promiscuous, some homosexuals are in long-term, loving relationships with one other person.  For reasons too numerous to detail, however, the monogamous heterosexual life-style should be preferred and promoted.  Most importantly, it is the basis of traditional family life wherein our children are conceived, born, sheltered, and nurtured.  In the family lies the future of our society, and we must do everything possible to protect it. 

In the final analysis, I believe that most Americans support the concept that a person’s private life is essentially his own concern, a matter between that person and God, so long as that person’s actions do not adversely impact the health and well-being of those around him.  We are all sinners, and there are worse sins than homosexuality. On the other hand, I am also convinced that most of my fellow citizens agree with me that the heterosexual majority must resist efforts by LGBT activists to define homosexuals as a protected minority and impose their own views of sexual morality and acceptability upon our society at large, efforts which, if successful, could do irreparable damage to the American family and to our nation. 

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