January 04, 2017

Gay Q&A

By Hendrik van der Breggen
The Carillon, January 5, 2017

Gay Q&A

Last week The Carillon deemed Steinbach's gay pride parade the 2016 event that's had the “greatest impact” on our community and called for more conversation and understanding.

I submit the following questions and answers with the hope they will be helpful.

1. Aren't you homophobic if you have concerns about homosexuality?

No, a phobia is an irrational fear or hatred of something. It's possible to have reasonable concerns without being phobic.

Logic note: To dismiss someone's arguments expressing reasonable concerns about same-sex sex solely on the grounds the arguer is allegedly homophobic is to commit the ad hominem fallacy (the mistake in reasoning of attacking the person instead of his/ her argument when doing so is not relevant).

2. Are there any reasonable concerns about same-sex sex?

Yes. There are reasonable concerns about medical and mental health. See my column “Is promoting same-sex sex wise?” (see too my critics' objections and my replies).

3. Aren't people with same-sex attractions born that way?

Nature probably plays an important role that varies for different people. But social and psychological factors have a role, too.

Logic note: Being born with propensities isn't sufficient reason for acting on those propensities let alone making them the core of one's identity. I may be born with propensities for greed, incest, or sex with multiple partners, but this isn't enough to justify my acting according to, or identifying with, these propensities. Born that way doesn't mean acting or identifying that way. More reasoning is required.

4. Doesn't science show homosexuals are genetically determined to be gay, like black people are genetically determined to be black, so questioning gay identity is unjust—as racism is unjust?

No, the gay-is-like-black analogy is faulty. Though same-sex desires are not chosen, gay identity is a social construct that involves decisions to embrace/ identify with those desires (so being gay is not wholly determined, unlike race). Moreover, some/ many gays change to various degrees (unlike race). Also, various health concerns are associated with same-sex sex (unlike race). See my column “Is being gay like race?

5. Doesn't Jesus command us to love our neighbours (including gay neighbours)?

Yes. Nevertheless, Jesus also tells us that the moral law continues to stand and He even intensifies it. The moral law includes sexual purity, which limits sex to one man and one woman within marriage.

6. So, what would Jesus do?

Jesus would help and stand with the marginalized and downtrodden, and He would say go and sin no more. Love and truth are not mutually exclusive.

See my columns Jesus and homosexuality,” “The Golden Rule,” and “Love versus platitudes.”

7. Are there resources for people who have unwanted same-sex sexual attractions?

See these books, too: Wesley Hill, 
Washed and Waiting, Mark Yarhouse,  Homosexuality and the Christian (in Steinbach's Jake Epp Library).

8. Are there resources that address the Bible and homosexuality?

Yes. See these books: Kevin DeYoung, What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? and Joe Dallas, Speaking of Homosexuality (in Steinbach's Jake Epp Library).

Also see Wesley Hill's video Homosexuality: A Christian View.

9. But I've viewed Matthew Vines' YouTube video and read his book—isn't Vines' pro-gay biblical revisionist view the way to go?

No. Vines is a bright Harvard undergraduate student, but he has no academic credentials and his arguments are unsound.

Read or view the following:

○ Ed Neufeld's essay “Homosexuality and Gay Marriage in the Bible: A Response to Matthew Vines” (Dr. Neufeld is professor of New Testament at Providence Theological Seminary).

○ Matthew Vines' video debate with Michael Brown (Brown's PhD is in Semitic languages): Can you be gay and Christian?  (See too Brown's follow-up article.)

○ Preston Sprinkle's “Review of Matthew Vines, God and the Gay Christian (Sprinkle has a PhD in New Testament).

I hope the above Q&A furthers Steinbach's 2017 conversation and understanding concerning gay-related topics.

Note to critics: Please study the above articles etc. (and my replies to critics) before offering criticism. Thanks.

(Hendrik van der Breggen, PhD, is associate professor of philosophy at Providence University College. The views expressed in this column do not always reflect the views of Providence.)

Further reading:

Same-sex marriage



Al Hiebert said...

Thanks for this, Hendrik. Well done as usual.
Let me add to your suggested resources:
Robert A. J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics his PhD dissertation (in Steinbach's Jake Epp Library), Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: Expanded Edition and Mark A. Yarhouse PsyD,Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends.

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

Thanks Al. Those are good additions to the resource list.