A Question On Homosexuality

Before you make judgments about my beliefs, I would like to say that I consider homosexuality to be as sinful as the Bible claims it is.  That is, homosexuality is on par with any other sin mentioned in the same breath in the Scriptures.  To put it another way, the sin I commit on a daily basis is not any better or worse than any sin that a homosexual commits.  We are all human beings and God loves us all the same; nothing I do makes Him love me more, and nothing a homosexual does makes Him love you less.  That is my disclaimer.  So if you’d like to respond to the question I will pose to you, I will discuss it on any level.  However, if you respond with any invented persecution, I will just refer you to this paragraph.

This question requires some explanation, I promise it will be worth it.

The Christian Personal Experience

At the heart of every Christian conversion story, or what we call “testimony”, is a personal experience with God.  No matter how much empirical evidence there is for God, or manuscript evidence for the Bible, the individual becomes a Christian because of a supernatural, unexplainable, personal experience with God.  In fact, most Christians will put it in terms of “knowing Jesus Christ personally”.  This testimony may be fantastic in nature with a report of a miraculous physical or emotional healing or a quieter, but no less profound, subtle realization.

Now, what does the skeptic/agnostic/atheist/non-theist or any other secularist do with this personal testimony?  They discount it immediately of course.  And why shouldn’t they?  They are merely being consistent with the empirical presupposition common in the 21st century modern world.  It is an unverifiable, unrepeatable and unobservable personal experience.  Such things can’t be taken at face value after all, and they certainly do not apply to anyone else besides the one giving the testimony.  The Christian, or anyone giving such personal experience testimony, could be mistaken, fooled or lying and no one would know the difference. 

The Homosexual Personal Experience

In the same way, when a homosexual is asked why they are gay, their testimony consists of something similar to, “I always knew . . .”, “No matter how much I tried to deny it . . .”, “I realized that I was always . . .”, or something of that nature.  Using their personal experience, they tell you that they were born homosexual or that it’s just who they are.  The fact that they are born homosexual isn’t derived from knowledge of their own genetic code (there is no gay gene) and any claim that God created them gay is merely repeating their personal experience assertion.  That homosexuals are born gay is a generally accepted fact, especially in secular circles.

So, my question is . . .

Why do secularists in general accept the personal experience testimony of homosexuals that they were “born gay” and yet reject the Christian’s personal conversion experience with God?  Why do they take the homosexuals’ word for it but reject the word of the Christian?  Why the distinction?

(I ask this question honestly interested in hearing any answer someone can give me, this is not meant to be rhetorical or sarcastic; I am honestly curious)

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38 Comments on “A Question On Homosexuality”

  1. Matt Says:

    Hi Eric. Good question.

    There may be different views on this, but this is mine:

    You’re not comparing apples with apples here.

    On the one side you have the claim of a personal conversion experience with God. That claim is wrapped up with any number of unverifiable claims about the supernatural. While I can happily accept that you believe in your conversion experience, I will not, in the absence of some pretty convincing evidence, accept the claim that it has a supernatural cause.

    Let’s compare this to an individual’s claim about their individual sexual preference. Or more to the point: how long they’ve harboured that sexual preference, because that’s really what the claim that someone was “born gay” boils down to. (This is, of course, leaving aside the work of Dean Hamer in identifying the gay gene – do you know about that?).

    Anyway say, for example, that a gay man tells me that he’s been attracted to other males for as long as he can remember. His view will, quite understandably, be that he was born gay.

    Should I believe him? Well, I have no reason to disbelieve him. There’s no assertion of anything supernatural going on. More to the point, this claim is falsifiable: I can ask his family about it. I can track down people he went to school with and ask them how he behaved at school. If he’s lying it’ll be pretty obvious pretty quickly.

    Actually, it’s no different to someone telling me that they’re heterosexual and always have been. I’ll believe them too until I see some evidence to the contrary.

    But even if you don’t accept someone’s word on their sexual orientation, there’s plenty of objective evidence to support the view that people are born that way.

    In most societies today, homosexuals are a disadvantaged minority. In some societies they are actively targeted with violence. And in some they are even subject to the death penalty.

    If this were just a choice, who would choose that?

    Of course it’s possible that every single gay person in the world has chosen to have those feelings. But isn’t it much more likely, based on the observed evidence, that it’s somehow an intrinsic part of who they are?

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    Matt

    Hey man, welcome back.

    I’m going to use the same points you do to defend the congenital nature of homosexuality, and it’s falsifiability, and apply them to the supernatural Christian conversion story. Then I will respond to some individual points you made.

    “Anyway say, for example, that a gay man tells me that he’s been attracted to other males for as long as he can remember. His view will, quite understandably, be that he was born gay.”

    Let’s say, for example, that a man tells me that he has been addicted to porn since he was in his early teens. As he got into his mid-twenties, it began to affect his relationships and so he sought help from psychologists, hypno-therapists, medications and anything else that was recommended to him. Sure, some of them worked a time, but he always went back to the porn. Then, when he was 36 years old, he went to a Calvary Chapel (shameless plug) on the invite of a friend. The pastor just happened to be speaking on the healing power of Jesus Christ in addictions.

    Halfway through the message he realized, this is it. His porn addiction isn’t a psychological disorder, it’s a matter of sin. He can be free of his bondage to sin through Jesus Christ. He believes in Christ as his Lord and Savior (since he obviously needs saving), and instantly there is this sense of peace and freedom he’s never felt before. From that day forth, not only has he not ever watched porn again, he has had no desire to do so. This was something that none of the natural means of fighting his addiction even came close to accomplishing.

    “Should I believe him? Well, I have no reason to disbelieve him. There’s no assertion of anything supernatural going on. More to the point, this claim is falsifiable: I can ask his family about it. I can track down people he went to school with and ask them how he behaved at school. If he’s lying it’ll be pretty obvious pretty quickly.”

    Asking his family and friends, they confirm not only his addiction to porn, his trouble at school but also his bouts of anger, rage, recklessness and the poor sexual relationship him and his wife have had. Those that were the closest to him, and those who hadn’t seen him in a while, were amazed at the transformation he made over night. Sure, he has his moments, but according to everyone around him, he is a completely different person after that one day at the Calvary Chapel, nothing like the man he has been his whole teenage and adult life. If he had been lying about the change he made after his belief in Christ, it would become pretty obvious. And if he fell back into his porn addiction, it would also become pretty obvious.

    “But even if you don’t accept someone’s word on their sexual orientation, there’s plenty of objective evidence to support the view that people are born that way.”

    Even if you don’t buy that this man experienced a personal experience with the Christian God, there is plenty of objective evidence to support that SOMETHING supernatural happened to him at that Calvary Chapel. Something that all modern methods could not accomplish.

    “In most societies today, homosexuals are a disadvantaged minority. In some societies they are actively targeted with violence. And in some they are even subject to the death penalty. If this were just a choice, who would choose that?”

    In many societies today, Christians are persecuted to the point of death, or at least ridiculed as being brainwashed nincompoops. If they hadn’t had a supernatural experience with God, why would anyone fool themselves or believe a lie?

    “Of course it’s possible that every single gay person in the world has chosen to have those feelings. But isn’t it much more likely, based on the observed evidence, that it’s somehow an intrinsic part of who they are?”

    Of course it’s possible that every single Christian in the world (and man there is alot of them) is fooling themselves and believing a lie, but isn’t it much more likely, based on the observed evidence, that they there is something supernatural about Christianity?

    The purpose of turning your examples around was to show you that, in the same way that being born homosexual is “objective and falsifiable”, so is a Christian conversion story. So, my question stands, why do you choose to believe the homosexual over the Christian?

    However, I have another question for you, and although it’s of the same mold, this one is actually more important. In our previous conversation, you set your standard of belief or adherence to only what you could empirically verify (although that your beliefs are empirically verifiable, and that you can trust empiricism is up for debate). But, here, you’re doing the exact opposite. You are willing to believe the unempirical nature of personal testimony of the friends and family of the homosexual, and the homosexual him/herself. Why do you apply strict empirical standards to Christianity but not to homosexuality?

    “On the one side you have the claim of a personal conversion experience with God. That claim is wrapped up with any number of unverifiable claims about the supernatural.”

    See, right away you assume, a priori, that the supernatural is unverifiable. This is called an anti-supernatural bias.

    “This is, of course, leaving aside the work of Dean Hamer in identifying the gay gene – do you know about that?”

    But see, then we’re going to get into the realm of “how do we know a gene ’causes’ homosexuality?” and the interpretation of evidence, and all the genecists that disagree with him etc. I didn’t want this conversation to go there because it’s besides the point, and takes us down a completely different path.

    “Should I believe him? Well, I have no reason to disbelieve him.”

    Sure you do, the same reason you have to disbelieve the Christian. By applying your empirical presupposition to the personal claim made by the individual.

    “Actually, it’s no different to someone telling me that they’re heterosexual and always have been. I’ll believe them too until I see some evidence to the contrary.”

    This is a very interesting statement on two levels.
    1. There is empirical evidence that people are born heterosexual, the most obvious being the entire reproductive system and how it functions. The fact that you would attempt to compare the two shows the lengths you will go to argue a belief that suits your worldview.
    2. I say “God exists”; applying the standard you just gave to homosexuality, you must believe me until you “see some evidence to the contrary”. You must therefore believe me until you find empirical evidence of “non-God”, and since we both know that’s impossible. . .

  3. Joseph Says:

    If homosexuality were a part of our biological makeup, I imagine we would see it all throughout nature, in all other species. But we don’t as far as I know.

    In any case, it seems to me that homosexuality is a sort of sexual fetish, not unlike heterosexual ones. I’m not sure one should be ashamed of it, nor do I see any reason why one would want to flaunt it or use it for political gain.

    But consider: the very fact that gays use homosexuality for political gain clearly shows that they would *disagree* on the fetish argument. So, they should need to in fact prove that there is a gay gene. If they could do so, then they would have solid ground to stand on with regard to legal descrimination. Otherwise, they have no more legal ground to stand on than would a necropheliac or pedopheliac.

  4. Eric Kemp Says:

    Joseph

    Well thought out.

    “If homosexuality were a part of our biological makeup, I imagine we would see it all throughout nature, in all other species. But we don’t as far as I know.”

    Yea, there is nothing in nature that can be paralleled with human homosexuality.

    “In any case, it seems to me that homosexuality is a sort of sexual fetish, not unlike heterosexual ones.”

    From a Christian standpoint, homosexuality is no different than heterosexual pre-marital fornication, extra-marital adultery or any other sexual sin.

    “I’m not sure one should be ashamed of it, nor do I see any reason why one would want to flaunt it or use it for political gain.”

    Yea, I’m always stumped by that one too. The term “homosexual agenda” really confounds me. And yet, it exists.

    “If they could do so, then they would have solid ground to stand on with regard to legal descrimination.”

    Then the question would become; if a pedophile finds a “pedophile gene” would they be off the hook? Why not? What about a “murder gene”?

    From an evolutionary standpoint, even if a homosexual gene was found, wouldn’t it be considered an unfit, unselected genetic mutation? I mean, Natural Selection wouldn’t select for a trait where no reproduction is taking place would it?

  5. Z Says:

    What rock have you been hiding under? If you do any kind of actual searching, you will find multiple examples of homosexuality in animals.

  6. Eric Kemp Says:

    Z

    Can you give me some examples please? And do you have an answer to my question?

  7. Geroge Says:

    “That is, homosexuality is on par with any other sin mentioned in the same breath in the Scriptures. ”

    I can’t wait for the posting explaining why eating shrimp is sinful.

  8. Shannon Says:

    Hi Eric,

    This is an interesting point you raise.

    The example you use in reply to Matthew’s statement, our poor unfortunate porn addict, is a little flawed in my opinion. This person is suffering from an addition (we’ll call him Pedro for ease of prose), agreed, but was God who cured him? Not knowing the origins of Pedro’s addiction, or why he was turning to porn for comfort, one could argue that the particular brand of spirituality is a moot point. Let’s say Pedro reached rock bottom, with no were to turn, alienated from his family and by chance one day he meets someone, in this case a caring Monk from the local community Buddhist Temple. The Monk reached out to save him from his addition. Our Monk (let’s call him Phoung) spends time with Pedro, teaches him about mediation and respect for all life, and after many months of focus and work Pedro is cured. Would this example then not prove that meditation is just a powerful? There is no evidence that it isn’t but Pedro and Phoung believe it. Just in the same way that you believe that knowing Christ would have the same effect. Now let’s say Pedro was found by a non-religious social worker who worked hard to rebuild Pedro, looked at the reasons for his addition and taught him techniques to survive life without porn, and after many months he is able to go on without porn… same result is achieved as with Phoung and the good Pastor of the Calvary Chapel. The common fact is a caring stranger reaching out to someone in need of care.

    As for gay animals… for every species on earth examples of homosexuality exists…
    http://www.nhm.uio.no/againstnature/index.html
    http://www.livescience.com/animals/061116_homosexual_animals.html

    Of course Science is funding dependant, and not all Governments and Philanthropists are so will to finance studies in sexuality… particularly if it proves homosexuality is a born trait.

    On a side note Eric, hope all is well with your family.

  9. Eric Kemp Says:

    Hello Shannon

    Thank you for your interest.

    “… same result is achieved as with Phoung and the good Pastor of the Calvary Chapel. The common fact is a caring stranger reaching out to someone in need of care.”

    Right, my point isn’t that a supernatural experience is the only answer to Pedro’s conversion story, but only to question how we know it’s not. The correlation I’m drawing is between the subjective, personal testimony of the Christian and the homosexual, why believe one and not the other? But we can go another way with it if you like. Let’s say Pedro says he was healed through modern psychology, while another man Steve, says he was healed through a supernatural experience with God. Why do you, Shannon, believe Pedro at his word but believe that Steve is fooling himself? What’s your criteria that you use to decide?

    As to your gay animals links, I’ll get back to those. On a cursory treatment, I find the evidence lacking, many blanket statements made without much support, but I’ll do the articles justice and fully respond to them when I get a chance.

    “Of course Science is funding dependant, and not all Governments and Philanthropists are so will to finance studies in sexuality… particularly if it proves homosexuality is a born trait.”

    Why not?

    “On a side note Eric, hope all is well with your family.”

    Thank you Shannon, we are well. It was a trying week and definetly a unique experience for us, being first time parents. But God is good (even if I have a hard time believing it sometimes), and He provided for us and brought us through it.

  10. Rob J Says:

    Hi Eric,
    You do raise some interesting questions here, and I will be interested to see how it develops.
    I don’t have much to add, except to comment on this:
    Now, what does the skeptic/agnostic/atheist/non-theist or any other secularist do with this personal testimony? They discount it immediately of course.
    As an agnostic (with admittedly atheistic tendencies), I think you have got me a bit wrong. I can’t speak for other fence-sitters, but for me the Personal Experience is exactly what it’s all about.

    I agree whole heartedly that God can’t be proved using empirical methods. Empiricism is used to measure the natural and God is, by definition, supernatural. It is like using a thermometer to measure the weight of something. (Well, it’s not at all like that, but I’m just saying that if you use the wrong tools to measure something, you can’t then say that that something doesn’t exist, just because it doesn’t show up).

    However, this does not imply that God does not exist.
    The biggest leap of faith an atheist takes is when, upon seeing no evidence for God, he or she states that there is no God. Even Matt agrees that, to reach that conclusion takes faith, not science. (I got him to admit it somewhere on his blog, I’m sure.)

    However, the point I wanted to make was that, given the above, the Personal Experience (or Revelation, as I usually refer to it as) is the most important part of a Christian’s belief. (Remember, I have labelled myself an agnostic). The Christians that I know and respect are ones that I know have, in some way, had this personal connection with their god. I look at them, and I can see that that is something that they feel.

    Now, speaking from personal experience, I have never had that connection. Some, like Pedro in the example, have a “lightning bolt” kind of revelation. Suddenly it is clear, and suddenly it makes sense. Others have a more subtle kind of revelation (a sunset or a baby’s laugh can all be signals of God’s presence). I have never felt that revelation in any way, and when I realised this, as a child, I realised that to call myself a Christian would be a lie. But I also realised, after a time, that just because I can’t say that God exists, does not mean I can say that God doesn’t. To me, this is the best distinction between an atheist and an agnostic.

    So again, when you say that the revelation is something that is disregarded by agnostics, I think you may need to think deeper about what an agnostic really is, and what they believe.

    And, almost as an aside, one difference I can see between your examples of homosexuality and revelation is that homosexuals will often say that they have always known, where as you refer to it, and the examples you have given point to a “conversion”. Not making a point, so much as pointing to a potential answer to your question of how the scenarios differ.
    (I know I said I probably wouldn’t post again, but you know how it is. Sometimes it’s hard to resist.)

  11. Rob J Says:

    Sorry, just read over my post and thought the last bit was a bit ambiguous. Let’s try again:

    …is that homosexuals will often say that they have always known, whereas you refer to the Christian experience as a “conversion”…

  12. Eric Kemp Says:

    Rob J

    A thoughtful response! Well done sir.

    Unfortunately though, I think you missed my point. Which probably isn’t by any lack of understanding on your part, but probably a lack of correct communication on my part.

    Let me explain. I agree with you regarding the wide range on the spectrum that any secularist can fall under (which is why I tried to say “in general”) and I admire you self-reflective, honest opinion on the matter of faith in secularism and the limits of empiricism. However, my point is made in something that you said . . .

    “The Christians that I know and respect are ones that I know have, in some way, had this personal connection with their god. I look at them, and I can see that that is something that they feel.”

    Regardless of wether the homosexual reports they always knew, and the Christian reports a conversion, the point is that you believe the homosexual and not the Christian. That is, you believe the homosexual that they were truly, and honestly always gay, and that such a thing as being “born gay” is a truthful, factual event for those that report it. On the other hand, the farthest you’ll go with Christian, is that you believe they “feel it”. The Christian isn’t reporting a “feeling”, they’re reporting an actual supernatural event. Now, if you chalk the Christian revelation down to “well they feel it” then why don’t you do the same with the homosexual? The truth is, at it’s core, you believe being born gay to be actual and you believe the Christian “feeling” to be tantamount to fooling themselves, on par with any other subjective feeling. Since both are revelation, it’s inconsistent to take one as fact and the other as farce.

    That’s my question, why and how do you choose which is fact, and which is farce? They’re both personal revelation of the same exact mold; a subjective, personal experience that can’t be verified with empirical means. Why the dichotomy?

  13. Rob J Says:

    Again you’re misunderstanding me.
    When a Christian says to me they have a connection with God I believe them. But I can’t believe in God unless I also have that connection. I understand that there is a little bit of contradiction in there (how can I say I believe them if I don’t believe in God?). I don’t believe I am being condescending or patronising, though. I don’t believe that christians are fooling themselves. It is simply that I don’t know. As I said, agnostics are fence sitters. Without that personal experience, I can’t say that God exists. I believe the most important “proof” is someone’s own personal revelation, but it is only proof to them. It can’t be used to convince others of the existence of God. Aside from anything else, people of many different religions have these connections. This makes it a very difficult piece of evidence to use when convincing others,but nonetheless a solid one, when used to understand your own personal beliefs.

    It is entirely possible that God does exist and, therefore, does not want me to believe in him. If so, that’s his choice, but unless I have that experience with him, I can’t honestly believe in him.

    But I was thinking this morning, it’s all very well for me, being an agnostic fence sitter. I am willing to believe anyone, but I think you’re on the other side of the same fence. You don’t believe a homosexual when they say they have been gay since birth but you do believe in the Christian revelation. Can you give your reasons for that?

    The point I believe you were originally making was this (let me know if I’ve misconstrued here, but I think this was it):

    Atheists, who do not believe in the supernatural, are happy to take a homosexual’s point of view when they say that they were born gay, with no empirical evidence whatsoever, and not only believe that individual person, but believe that it is therefore entirely possible for someone to be born gay.
    However, atheists do not believe a Christian when they say that they had a revelation, nor do they believe that such a thing is even possible.

    There is, in your mind, no empirical difference between these two scenarios. I think there are minor differences, but none that glaringly point in one way or another (like I said, the homosexual claims to have always been that way, wheras a christian often talks of a moment, or a conversion or a revelation. Which suggests that they weren’t always a christian. As I said in my original post, this is in no way making a point, other than pointing out a minor difference between the two scenarios, which I think is the food for thought you originally asked for.)

    I guess my question is, why do you do the exact opposite, and believe the Christian and not the gay person?

  14. B Says:

    Well I am back for a bit. Sorry I have been busy but I have been reading and catching up while not responding.

    I like this topic, as I have done research on this for my sexual psychology classes and such. I believe the answer still lies in presuppositions of each person. I believe that people who believe a person is “born gay” and doesn’t believe a Christian who is “converted” is from the wording. For instance people can ask the question differently to Christians; such as “When were you saved?” as aposed to “When did you know you were saved?” (ie. the elect). One wording gives a person a way to see a person able to weave in and out of being a Christian, the other states a fact of always being one but not knowing…..similar to “homosexual” experiences of not knowing they were gay until a certain age. I believe that many people have presuppositions that come with the prior wording, rather than the latter.

    As to animals, most animals can show homosexual tendencies too….but does that make that one gay? This is a completely different question all together. We hear of people being straight for most of their lives, marrying, having kids, and then getting divorced and “knowing” that they were gay. Additionally, we also hear of instances of people having homosexual experiences, but being heterosexual and livng those lives and feeling that temperment. Examples of this are: sexual experiences in jail, the experience of “the down low”, and sexual deviants that use rape (upon whomever including same sex) to show dominance.

    Another question I think is fascinating to me comes to people that call themselves Homosexual Christians. I find it fascinating because there are many different beliefs between the two. My question stems to: “Are you a Christian first, or a homosexual first?” From a Christian perspective there is only one correct answer. When the question is answered correctly then we can see that Homosexuality should always be placed second. Homosexual beliefs should always be trumped by Christian beliefs. When that occurs, a naturally logical question then is “Is homosexuality a form of deviance, especially since it is second to the Christian belief system?”

    Ok, that last part was a bit of a tangent. I hoped I answered your question about presuppostions being an issue. I think if we stated “I was born Christian and always knew it,” then we wouldn’t have an issue.

  15. Eric Kemp Says:

    B

    Good stuff.

    I think you’re exactly right about presuppositions. If God doesn’t exist, or religion can’t be true, or Christ definetly isn’t who the Bible says He is, then the Christian MUST be fooled, self-deceiving or lying, yet the homosexual could quite easily be telling the truth.

    So yea, presuppositions definetly inform us on how we anwer this question. That was kind of my point, actually. People don’t decide that the Christian is wrong for any other reason except they’ve already decided, a priori, that he is. For if we are to take the homosexuals word for it, just because he/she says they’re gay from birth. Don’t we have to take everyone’s word for it? No matter what their “word” is? “I was born a thief!” OK then! We believe you! If we don’t extend our homosexual credulity to everyone else, we’re being inconsistent.

  16. examinetheword Says:

    “homosexuality is on par with any other sin mentioned in the same breath in the Scriptures. To put it another way, the sin I commit on a daily basis is not any better or worse than any sin that a homosexual commits.”

    There is a difference between being a homosexual and someone such as yourself sinning everday. Homosexuality is a sin. Homosexuality is a lifestyle. Therefore their very lifestyle, the way they live, is constant sin. For a Christian who commits sin, that is different. It is “on the same level” as being a homosexual and it being a sin, and yet a Christian’s sin is a blunder, a mess up, a mistake – not something they live to do.

    Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

    We are going to sin, we live in a world full of temptation – but for a homosexual, trhey live in sin; its their life.

    Sorry that this is really not on topic; but I just wanted to point that out.

  17. Eric Kemp Says:

    Examinetheword

    My only point was to say that my sin is no better. Sure, they unapologetically live in their sins, I get that. But just because their lifestyle is a sin, and mine is something that I do on a daily basis (and I reject that it’s always a blunder, it’s quite purposeful and pre-meditated about half the time) doesn’t make mine any less sinful, or less of an abomanation to the Lord. There is no partiality with God, there is no “better sin” with God. The only difference between me and any unbeliever is that my sins are paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ.

  18. Rob J Says:

    It’s good to see that you not only recognise your sins, but also recognise that there is no such thing as a “good sin” and a “bad sin”. I think we could get into all sorts of murky waters if we went down that path.

    This is probably way off topic, but could you expand on The only difference between me and any unbeliever is that my sins are paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ.

    Does Christianity say which sins are covered by the sacrifice? I thought it was more about accepting that sacrifice, and as such, all your sins (up to that point) are somehow absolved. I’m not sure what happens to any sins that are committed after that acceptance.

    I assume it doesn’t mean that, no matter what you do, the acceptance of Jesus into your life means that you will “get in” to heaven. There must be some kind of clause to say that, once you have accepted the sacrifice you agree to continue to be sin free, or at least try to be sin free. Is this not the case? Perhaps I am thinking of this too much like a legal drama. It is one of the fundamental bits of christianity that I have never really understood. But like I say, it’s off topic (possibly good fodder for a new post), so if you don’t want to respond here I understand.

  19. Matt Says:

    Hi Eric,

    Your example didn’t really address my concern, which is that an individual’s word that they have experienced a supernatural event is not sufficient evidence that a supernatural event has occurred.

    Especially when a simple natural explanation will clearly suffice!

    In your example, Pedro’s (thanks Shannon) change of behaviour is easily explainable in terms of finding a supportive community and finding something else (in this case, the doctrine of Christianity) that his mind finds more satisfying than pornography.

    The difference in the homosexual’s claim is that their word is sufficient.

    Their word is all that is required to support their story, because the story is only about them. It makes no statement about any external influence. They are the best, in fact the only, source of information about their internal feelings. So unless you think they’re lying, then that is enough.

    Now, if a homosexual were claiming that their feelings were given to them by the great God Xenu, I wouldn’t accept that explanation, but I would still believe they had those feelings, and I might even believe that they believe the supernatural story. But that’s no reason for me to believe their supernatural story.

    And I’m interested in your statement that the supernatural is verifiable. Can you please explain how?

  20. Eric Kemp Says:

    Matt

    ” . . . which is that an individual’s word that they have experienced a supernatural event is not sufficient evidence that a supernatural event has occurred.”

    I agree with you, it’s not. My point isn’t that secularists should take the Christian at their word, my point is since they don’t take the Christian at their word, why do they take the homosexuals word for it? I understand that the Christian is stating a supernatural event, and that homosexual isn’t. That’s besides the point. Both instances are personal experience testimonies. What an individual is claiming in their personal experience testimony is not my concern here, it’s that some are taken for their word, and others are not, my question is, why?

    “Their word is all that is required to support their story, because the story is only about them. It makes no statement about any external influence.”

    Ok finally, someone attempts to answer my question. Thank you Matt.

    But here’s the problem, let me give you a parallel situation. You also said, “They are the best, in fact the only, source of information about their internal feelings.” Ok, so right now, I’m telling you that I was born attracted to little boys. Twelve years old is too old for me. I was born this way, I’ve always known I was attracted to little boys, and so I’ve always acted upon it. Since I’m the only source of my internal feelings, you can’t tell me I’m not feeling it, and since I have no choice in what I’m feeling, you certainly can’t tell me I’m wrong.

    And I’m interested in your statement that the supernatural is verifiable. Can you please explain how?

    That depends on what you consider verifiable. If you’re going to hold up a supernatural event to the rigors of empiricism, then you’ll always be able to find a naturalistic explanation, even if it’s speculative. However, then you get into the muck of how you know empiricism is reliable and then you must hold your own beliefs of naturalism, materialism and uniformitarianism up to the same rigors of empiricism (they fail by the way). It gets very circular and inconsistent when you want to verify the supernatural using empiricism but can’t verify empiricism using empiricism (much less the other three presuppositions).

    However, if you’re willing to break out of that empirical cacoon, we could have a good discussion regarding the supernatural.

  21. Eric Kemp Says:

    Rob J

    “. . . but also recognise that there is no such thing as a “good sin” and a “bad sin”. I think we could get into all sorts of murky waters if we went down that path.”

    I couldn’t agree more sir!

    “Does Christianity say which sins are covered by the sacrifice? I thought it was more about accepting that sacrifice, and as such, all your sins (up to that point) are somehow absolved.”

    All of your sins, past and future, are covered by the blood of Christ. It’s like this: We have broken God’s Law (The Ten Commandments to name the big ones) countless times. If God were to be consistent with his Justice, Righteousness and Wrath, He MUST rightly sentence all to spiritual death in hell. However, in His Grace, Wisdom and Mercy, He provided a sacrifice for us, His Son, Jesus Christ. Christ, who was without sin, became sin for us, so that God’s Justice and Wrath would be satisfied. So when God sees us, He no longer sees the sin upon our heads, but Christ on the cross.

    “I assume it doesn’t mean that, no matter what you do, the acceptance of Jesus into your life means that you will “get in” to heaven.”

    Nothing you could ever do could nullify Christ’s sacrifice. And, as you can see all around you, Christians can act just as evil as anyone in the world. However, God is not mocked. There are tons of references in the NT where Jesus says something to the affect of, “If you say you love me, but hate your brother, you are lying” and Paul expands and says after he has listed several sins, “Those of you who practice such things will not inherit the Kindom of God.” This is a re-ocurring theme in the NT.

    The idea isn’t that you can lose your salvation, it’s that if you “practice” sin for the rest of your life, did you really ever believe in the first place? Christ promises a change in our minds and wills once we turn to Him as Lord and Savior. If that change NEVER happened, in your whole life, did you really turn to Him? It’s the age old question, a good one, and one that we’ll never have the answer for from person to person.

    Now, Rob, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t applaud me for saying my sin is no better than a homosexuals, acknowledge that there are no “better” sins, and yet expect that someone who commits a murder, even after claiming to be saved, shouldn’t go to heaven. If no sin is better, then there are no sins that are worse. Sin is sin. And if my sins are covered, then my sins are covered, regardless of what I do. But again, if I’m truly a disciple of Christ, I shouldn’t desire to murder, or anything of the sort. Do you see how wonky it gets, and how there is no concrete answer to that question?

    Anyway, good question. And it’s one of the bits of Christianity I’ll never fully understand either.

  22. Rob J Says:

    Eric, I think you’re getting confused in your own arguments.
    I thought the point of this post was to question whether a homosexual is “born that way” or, more to the point, question the people that don’t question that.

    You’re analogy with the pedophile is misleading.

    you can’t tell me I’m not feeling it,
    No, we can’t, and that’s the point. Nor can you say a person is not gay, even though they say they are. In fact in this analogy it would be incredibly dangerous to not believe you. If we were to ignore you when you say something like this, then we would be leaving potential victims open to threat.
    and since I have no choice in what I’m feeling, you certainly can’t tell me I’m wrong.
    This is the bit that confuses the issue. We are not talking about right or wrong here. We are talking about whether someone should be believed when they say “they have always felt this way”. Right or wrong is for a different discussion, one that is still going on in your other post.

    So yes, if a homosexual is to be believed when they say they have always felt this way, then so is a pedophile and so is a heterosexual and so is someone who doesn’t like brocolli. And, to perhaps pre-empt, so is a Christian.

    That doesn’t mean that any of those viewpoints are right or wrong. Each needs to be judged on its own merits.

  23. Eric Kemp Says:

    Rob J

    “I thought the point of this post was to question whether a homosexual is “born that way” or, more to the point, question the people that don’t question that.”

    Not really. My point is that both the homosexual “I was born that way” statement and the Christian “I had a supernatural experience with God” are subjective, personal experience testimonies. Why do the majority of secularists believe the homosexual subjective statement, but not the Christian one? I’m not making a statement with that question, I’m just asking a question. I’m open to the question be satisfactorily answered for me too.

    “In fact in this analogy it would be incredibly dangerous to not believe you. If we were to ignore you when you say something like this, then we would be leaving potential victims open to threat.”

    This statement will become important in a second.

    “This is the bit that confuses the issue. We are not talking about right or wrong here. We are talking about whether someone should be believed when they say “they have always felt this way”. Right or wrong is for a different discussion, one that is still going on in your other post.”

    There are two points of contention, one of them is a misunderstanding.

    1. I’m not disputing that a homosexual or a pedophile, or anyone, hasn’t “always felt this way”. Notice, in my original article that I am asking about being “born this way”. The evidence given for having being born gay may be “I’ve always felt this way”, but I’m questioning why we believe the claim itself. The claim, “I was born this way” is a biological claim. They are literally saying, “I was born to have sex with the same gender” or “I could be nothing else BUT homosexual based on how I was born.” Do you see the distinction I’m making? The subtle but important difference?

    2. Now, building upon point #1, and bringing in your previous statement of “In fact in this analogy it would be incredibly dangerous to not believe you. If we were to ignore you when you say something like this, then we would be leaving potential victims open to threat.”. Now, which one is it? Is the pedophile “born that way” or are their partner’s considered victims? Let me explain.

    The reason the homosexual is given the same rights as the heterosexual is because they were born gay, there is nothing they can do about it, just like the heterosexual, right? It isn’t a “choice” for the homosexual, so who are we to stop them, right? So, back to our pedophile, (let’s call him Chester). In the same way as the homosexual, Chester has no choice but to love small boys, he was born this way, he couldn’t be any other way. Who are we to stop him? Sure, perhaps individual parents wouldn’t want their boy with Chester, but what if there is a boy who wants to be with him? Who are we, as a society, to try and stop Chester from being what he was born to be?

    Let me switch it a bit and ask a similar question as my article. When a homosexual makes the biological statement, “I was born this way”, you say to him, “Yes you were, now go live a good life with your partners”. When a pedophile makes the same biological statement, “I was born this way,” you tell him, “No you weren’t, you have certain feelings, but you must stop and you can’t live a good life, we must stop you from being who you were born to be”. You call his partners “victims” and act like pedophilia should be stopped. Why the distinction? Can you give me a reason besides “because the law says so”?

    “And, to perhaps pre-empt, so is a Christian.”

    Again, you don’t actually believe the Christian. Let me explain: The homosexual and the pedophile claim they were biologically mandated to act the way they do. You believe them. The Christian says he had a supernatural experience with God. You believe he “felt something”, but you don’t actually believe he had a supernatural experience with God. Because if you did, you’d then believe that the Christian God is real, and that He acts among His people. You’d almost be a Christian at this point. So, you believe that the homosexual is actually born gay but only that the Christian believes or feels an experience with God, not that a supernatural event actually took place. Since both are absent of empirical evidence, why choose which one to believe, and how do you choose? THAT is my question.

  24. Rob J Says:

    You’re now choosing to not believe me. I have made my position very clear on what I believe when a Christian talks about their personal beliefs. If you’re going to start assuming that I am saying one thing, but meaning another entirely, then there is little point in having this discussion.

  25. Shannon Says:

    Eric,

    This constant comparison between gays and paedophiles is really offensive, and must stop.

    Paedophilia is one of the most heinous crimes known to our society, and it is not an act of homosexuality. Young girls are assaulted daily and constantly by men, so is this a heterosexual act? So whether or not the individual who commits this crime believes they were born that way or not, whether in a hetro or homo sexual act, under any circumstances is abhorrent. Of course we will not start on the Christian sects that have harboured sexual abuse of minors (paedophilia) and those extreme Christian cult leaders who believe that God wanted them to have sex with a young girl.

    To answer your question as to how do you know who to believe (the Christian or the Homosexual)? You take their experience at face value, you may call it faith. And as long as their life is lived in a way that is productive and does not harm anyone you wish them well.

    I sense Eric that this thought will not be enough for you however, that you ask questions that are not intended for your own education, but to give you a platform for your own.

  26. Eric Kemp Says:

    Rob J

    I have not meant to purposefully disbelieve you and I promise I understand you. When it comes to the homosexuals’ biological statement and the Christian’s supernatural statement my only to point is to point out that you actually believe a homosexual at their word but you don’t actually believe a Christian, because if you did, you’d believe that the Christian God exists.

    But you’re right, we’re probably at an impasse here. It was fun discussing with you and I appreciate your cordial manner regarding this touchy subject. I hope we have occassion to meet again.

  27. Eric Kemp Says:

    Shannon

    I will not respond again to your invented persecution regarding an invented pedophilia comparison. If you would read the first paragraph of the article, and then read the comments again you’d see that I’m merely asking a question in regards to Chester claims of “being born a pedophile”. I’m not comparing homosexuality to pedophilia. I explained the question in my comment and if you’d like to actually respond to it, then go ahead and read it again.

    “I sense Eric that this thought will not be enough for you however, that you ask questions that are not intended for your own education, but to give you a platform for your own.”

    Well, sure I have my own ideas on the subject, but I’m not hiding those ideas. I’ve stated them from the very beginning. But if you’re accusing me of having an agenda and an alterior motive then then only thing I can say is that the question is an honest one that I was pondering and thought I’d put it out on the blogosphere. It’s up to you if you believe me or not, but that’s all I can say.

    “And as long as their life is lived in a way that is productive and does not harm anyone you wish them well.”

    Well that gets into your definition of “harm” and how you know what harms people or not. That’s a conversation for a different time.

  28. Simple Says:

    “Why do they take the homosexuals’ word for it but reject the word of the Christian? Why the distinction?”

    Because we have evidence that Homosexuals exist.

  29. Eric Kemp Says:

    Troll

    Honest question. Why do you come back here? Why do you read the comments and then respond? It’s obvious you don’t want to discuss or form an argument. So why waste your time?

  30. Kate Says:

    Hey Eric – Moderating is for the gutless – not really a fair ‘discussion’ if you don’t post all the responses hey? What was so challenging about my comment that you could’nt post. Maybe I hit a nerve? Or is it simply that its evidence that clearly refutes your claims. Have a great day!!

  31. Eric Kemp Says:

    Kate

    Your comment was the most vehement, vile, insulting and irrational comment I’ve ever recieved on this blog. Seriously. Moderating is for those who wish to discuss rationally. You’re comment was not a “response” it was a rant. I warned, at the beginning of the article, that I’d delete or censor your comment if someone responded with pure insult or feigned persecution. If your comment had contained even a semblance of an argument, I would have censored it and approved it. But there was nothing salvageable. You can disagree with me all you want, but if there is only insult, I will not approve the comment. Sorry.

  32. Kate Says:

    Hi Eric, thanks for actually responding. Very brave!

    Why don’t you post it and let other people decide what they think? If not then maybe you should drop the concept of there being any kind of open or honest debate going on here. My response was no more a feigned persecution than yours.

    I think that if you were really truthful with yourself – you would recognise that this blog is a safety device, and thats cool – because it obviously protects you on some level (kind of like. . .God?!). There’s no shame in that. But it is your own special world – where you don’t really want to be challenged but to control an environment because maybe you cannot control other elements of your beliefe or your life.

    Iit is cheap fpr you to imply that my post was vile becuase I intimated you might be gay. Love is love, rhetoric is a protecton device. How can you ever think you are justified in judging someone who has the courage to put their heart and being on the line and love another?
    If god is so great why don’t you let him work it out.

    Good luck keeping up the self justification. I would imagine its probably pretty hard work.

  33. Eric Kemp Says:

    Kate

    I will not respond to the points you made because there is nothing to respond to. I will let your words prove my argument for me. You want to pick a fight with me, and I’m only here to discuss. However, I will point out the two lies you just told.

    “My response was no more a feigned persecution than yours.”

    I never once said Christians are persecuted.

    “Iit is cheap fpr you to imply that my post was vile becuase I intimated you might be gay.”

    This is a lie. I never said “why” your post was vile, I just said it was.

    Kate, honestly, don’t respond. With every word you prove the vehemence and the insult which got your first post deleted. And any others like it will be deleted as well. If this is truly how you want to behave, then fine, I can’t stop you, but this blog is not the place for it. However, if you’d like to rationally and cordially discuss something, I’m all ears.

  34. Kate Says:

    Eric. I re-iterate. Why don’t you stop censoring, judging others and let God work it out…I am being rational – you just don’t agree! There is no kind of true discussion here, you just post what you want and use rhetoric to protect your belief system. Safe.

    Were these the only two lines you knew how to refute!? I have read a number of your posts and ‘responses’ and you never actually address all the points/ challenges – so I can’t say I am at all surprised here. But why don’t you post the article I linked to?? Why don’t you refute the ‘points’ in that. Why don’t you discuss your ability and apparent right to judge and censor others?

    Gosh, I really got to you hey! I am actually sorry that I have obviously upset you so much.
    But instead of taking two sentences out of my response why don’t you stop being so scared and post it all?

    Be brave! Let other people make their own choices. That is compassion. That is trust. That is love. . .but that is clearly not your kind of Christianity.

    And sweetheart, you just proved my point.

  35. Eric Kemp Says:

    Kate

    Again, since you haven’t formed a rational argument, then only thing I can respond to are the lies and hypocrisy in your comment.

    “Why don’t you discuss your ability and apparent right to judge and censor others?”

    I can censor others on my own blog. . . because it’s my blog. I explained the rules, if you don’t like it. Too bad.

    But also, apparently you’re the only one who can judge. “Let other people make their own choices. That is compassion. That is trust. That is love. . .but that is clearly not your kind of Christianity.” Judgement. “I think that if you were really truthful with yourself – you would recognise that this blog is a safety device,”. More judgement. “Good luck keeping up the self justification. I would imagine its probably pretty hard work.”. Even more judgment. So please, don’t act like you don’t judge. That’s the definition of hypocrisy.

    Also, obviously if the link was in your first comment, I deleted it.

    “But instead of taking two sentences out of my response why don’t you stop being so scared and post it all?”

    Another lie, I approved your whole comment.

    “And sweetheart, you just proved my point.”

    Which is what again?

  36. Kate Says:

    Hi Eric,

    You approved my final comment – not the two with the information that talked about the previous bigoted statements you have made regarding homosexuality. I am judging you, how clever of you to pick that one up! I am judging the fact that you feel justified in censoring others’ words, thoughts and love. If your connection with your God is truly so profound and amazing, you should ‘just know’ that’s not your job. But you don’t do you?

    This is my point and again – by only partially posting the comments you feel equipped to deal with you prove my point. You’re right it is your blog – (such a five year old response – really thats cute! Nya Nya Nya!) but stop playing that there is any kind of open or honest discussion here.

    Relax – I just asked you some questions – you can’t answer them, that’s okay. It’s okay to doubt, be wrong, be human. It’s beautiful in fact!

    It’s not okay to judge someone for their bravery to love another. I don’t know what you are like away from these words – really that is all they are. A defense. But on these pages you are not very fair, open to others ideas or loving.

    I wonder what it takes to make someone who is intelligent, so scared and so bigoted. I would love to hear about your personal relationship with homosexuality, about where your fear has actually come from – it’s not the bible (I think you might find some relevant points made above!)

    That would be brave. It’s not your job to judge Eric – it’s your God’s. You don’t have much faith in him do you? Or are you doing the judging because maybe you know he can’t?

    I won’t reply again, I think what you are doing here is actually trying to convince yourself of your own thoughts. We all do!! I think without the challenges you won’t be able to constantly attempt to re-affirm your position. In all actuality I know you won’t post this but that’s okay. It’s really enough for me to know that you’ve read it.

    Think about the love you have for your son, before you judge another. The person you are judging is someone’s child too. Eric it’s not about ‘rational arguments’. It’s about being a human and feeling. Let it down, let it go – feel it!! Its about loving each and every person in the world no matter what. I think there might actually be something in the bible about that??

    I would say thanks for the debate – but there hasn’t really been one, has there! You have made me more compassionate towards Christians though, so I am very grateful for that. I don’t think I had ever understood how much work it must be. I actually feel a great deal of love towards you right now – no matter your beliefs. Be well.

  37. Eric Kemp Says:

    Kate

    I only deleted your first comment and freely admitted it and told you why. So please, stop lying and trying to make it seem like I’m being dishonest. I’ve pointed out several lies you’ve made, and another one just now, so the proof is in the pudding sister.

    “I am judging you, how clever of you to pick that one up!”

    And yet, you still find it rational to use hypocrisy to make your point? Another place you say, “It’s not your job to judge Eric – it’s your God’s.”. So apparently it’s God’s job and your job to judge. You’re literally equating yourself to God.

    “I am judging the fact that you feel justified in censoring others’ words, thoughts and love.”

    More lies. I censored your vile comment because you violated my rules, rules that were explained to you BEFORE you made the comment. You chose to write a comment that violated the rules, you get censored. It’s not that hard to understand. But don’t try to equate my censoring of your single comment with anything else. “Words, thoughts and love”? What does that even mean? My article was asking a simple question; why do we take the homosexual’s word for it when they say they were biological born gay? Especially when we have no evidence but their word for it? It has nothing to do with stopping homosexuals from “thinking” what they want to think or “loving” who they want to love or stopping them from speaking. So your comment here is more ridiculousness.

    You have not attempted to answer the question in my article. You have merely attempted to judge my beliefs, beliefs that I haven’t even expressed, and give my article meaning and scope that wasn’t in the article.

    “This is my point and again – by only partially posting the comments you feel equipped to deal with you prove my point.”

    More lies. I have fully approved every comment of yours besides the first one, which I fully deleted. You know, if you wanted to show how “bad” a Christian is being, lying is not the way to do it.

    There can only be open and honest discussion with both sides of the discussion are being honest and forming rational arguments. You have done neither.

    “Relax – I just asked you some questions – you can’t answer them, that’s okay.”

    You have not asked me a single question that you wanted an answer to. The only questions you’ve asked were rhetorical, meant for insult, and employed condescending sarcasm when asked.

    ” I would love to hear about your personal relationship with homosexuality, about where your fear has actually come from – it’s not the bible.”

    I would absolutely love it if you could show one smidgen of evidence for your claim that I’m homophobic. Go ahead.

    “Think about the love you have for your son, before you judge another.”

    Love is not license. Just because I love my son, doesn’t mean I’m not going to tell him what God wants for his life. In fact BECAUSE I love my son, I’m going to tell him what God’s Word has to say. Let me get this straight. Because I believe homosexuality to be sinful, therefore I don’t love homosexual people? That doesn’t follow. I can love all people, while still telling them that God’s Word says that their actions are wrong. In fact, because I love all people I am constrained to tell them of God’s Word.

    “Eric it’s not about ‘rational arguments’. It’s about being a human and feeling. Let it down, let it go – feel it!! Its about loving each and every person in the world no matter what. I think there might actually be something in the bible about that??”

    But see, that’s where you’re wrong. This is why you think you can say anything and you’re justified just because you feel it. It IS about being rational. If we’re not being rational, then what is the point of speaking? What if what you’re feeling isn’t rational? Is it right just because you feel it? I do love every single person in the world no matter what, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be silent about what God has deemed to be sinful. In fact, like I’ve said, the opposite is true.

    The Bible says, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I would hope that if I’m acting against the will of God Himself, that someone would love me enough to tell me. And if I don’t listen, and if I hate them for telling me, that’s not their fault and they still loved me the best they could. Your kind of love would have anyone act any way they want to just because theyfeel it, is that really love?

    “I would say thanks for the debate – but there hasn’t really been one, has there!”

    You’re right, there hasn’t been one. From the moment you stepped onto this blog, you didn’t want a debate, you just wanted to berate and insult.

    “You have made me more compassionate towards Christians though, so I am very grateful for that. I don’t think I had ever understood how much work it must be. I actually feel a great deal of love towards you right now – no matter your beliefs. Be well.

    You don’t even understand what I believe. You’ve given me beliefs and goals that I’ve never stated, so keep your condescending compassion to yourself. Honestly, Kate, you have been THE most insulting, condescending, sarcastic, judgmental, hypocritical and dishonest commentor I’ve ever had. No matter what you believe about me, believe that I’m not just saying that to insult, it’s the honest truth. No matter how much everyone else on my blog has disagreed with me, or how insulting they’ve been, and there has been a few, they haven’t been as bad as you. If you want to be able to stand in judgment over Christians, you’re going to have to clean up your tactics a bit.


  38. […] as well as the other scripture, describes, accurately, the politically correct and lopsided, left-winged professor who is so willing to silence his student for speaking out the truth of God! We, as believers, […]


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