Did CMI use a bad argument against homosexuality?
Published: 5 May 2012 (GMT+10)
CMI’s Dr Don Batten responds to Thomas M. from the United States, who writes:
Greetings and blessings to all those at CMI. I read with interest Dr. Batten’s article, Hermaphrodites and homosexuality. It occurred to me that there is a flaw. Dr. Batten states: “Say a person was born with a gene that made them a kleptomaniac. Would that mean that we should legalize / legitimize stealing? Hardly … Just because someone has a natural bent to do something does not mean that society should accept their behaviour.” Dr. Batten naturally presupposes that homosexuality is a sin (that translates to a crime in his examples), which is a presupposition he does not share explicitly share with his “opponent”. The opposition would justifiably respond (given they don’t believe homosexuality is a sin): “Well people are born with a gene for heterosexuality or blue eyes and neither of those are considered morally wrong or illegal. They don’t need to be rehabilitated or “fixed”. Why homosexuality? In your examples an actual material crime is committed where there’s a victim, whereas consensual sex between two adults is victimless and actually beneficial from the perspective of the participants. So I don’t see how your example about a gene that causes manifest criminal behavior that harms society has any thing to do with a gene that causes eye color, height, gender or sexual orientation, for that matter.” Do you see? Dr. Batten’s argument requires that the opposition accepts as true that homosexuality is as much a sin and crime as robbery, rape or murder. If his experience is anything like mine, I don’t think he’ll get that concession even if his opponent is harboring that belief privately. As far as this argument’s utility in debate, I think it needs to be tightened or else not used. With kindest regards, Tom
CMI’s Dr Don Batten responds:
Thanks for your comment, but I think that you have misunderstood or misstated the argument, which only deals with the claim that if homosexuality has a biological basis then it must be considered morally acceptable.
The question of stealing being legal/illegal or hurts someone else or doesn’t is irrelevant. The point is that merely because some behaviour might be ‘innate’ (have some organic basis) does not make it morally acceptable. That is, morality is not determined by a person’s predilection for a particular behaviour.
Let’s put the argument into a formal syllogism:
Premise 1: Behaviours that are biologically based are moral.
Premise 2: Homosexuality has a biological basis.
Conclusion: Therefore homosexual behaviour is moral.
Now if both premises are true, this is a sound argument. Of course premise 2 has not been proven to be true (and finding a genetic basis is hardly likely because natural selection would select against such a trait, tending to eliminate it). But is premise 1 true? We can take the approach of reductio ad absurdum to show that premise 1 is false:
Premise 1: Behaviours that are biologically based are moral
Premise 2: Kleptomania (or cannibalism, or …) has a biological basis
Conclusion: Therefore kleptomania (or cannibalism, or …) is moral.
Note that whether it hurts anyone, or is illegal, has nothing to do with this argument.
However, the notion that homosexual behaviour does not hurt anyone is very questionable. Need I mention the lives cut short by AIDS? Or the debilitation caused by other sexually transmitted diseases and bodily traumas that are common amongst homosexuals? I personally know of young men whose lives have been nearly ruined by homosexual men preying on them. Yes, they ‘consented’, so by the homosexual activists’ criteria, it was all OK? Not at all! One ended up on drugs to try to numb the emotional pain. Thankfully he has now come out of it and is now married with kids, but it has left a black hole in his life that he sorely regrets. Suicide of homosexual men is a huge issue, largely because they live in a society that has lied to them about the true nature of homosexuality (‘you were born like this so there is no way out, even if you want out’). This destroys any hope of a different life.
Furthermore, the social acceptance of ‘gay marriage’, following the radical homosexual agenda, is resulting in the persecution of Christians and others who do not accept this behaviour (a loving African husband and wife couple in the UK had their long-term fostering of needy children terminated because they would not endorse the gay agenda). This has deprived children in need of loving parental care from having that care. What about children being born into homosexual arrangements (by IVF, etc.)? This denies a child the right to a mum and dad (sociological research is unanimous that children do by far the best with a mum and a dad). And what about the parents of a child caught up in homosexuality? What of the emotional pain they will suffer, often blaming themselves for something that they might have done to cause their child’s behaviour? And they will never have the joy of grandchildren. Victimless? Homosexual behaviour is destructive to a just and caring society (it is not just what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms, even if that was ‘OK’).
The other issue is ‘what is sin?’ God clearly says that homosexual behaviour is unacceptable, in both the Old and New Testaments (as is all promiscuity; that is, sex outside of the marriage of a man and a woman; Exodus 20:14; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, Matthew 5:28, 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; Ephesians 5:3, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17). If we are to reject God’s standards, in the end there will be no standards at all (see Medical ethicists promote infanticide, for example). That is what we are increasingly seeing. Someone might want to define morals according to whether it hurts someone else (as you relate). But on what basis is it ‘wrong’ to hurt someone else? ‘Who said?’ Sadists don’t think it is wrong. Sociopaths have no compunction about hurting others if it furthers their own agenda. If we are just a compilation of atoms banging around, where do such moral judgments come from? It’s all up for grabs.
Hi just wondering if you could clarify a few things for me?
Firstly the point you make about how homosexuals DO cause harm to other people through the transmission of HIV. This is true in the case of gay men, but what about gay women? I can not find studies that say that this is true in the case of lesbians.
Also the bible only ever mentions that sodomy is a sin and that relations between men is a sin. Homosexual women do not engage in sodomy?
These arguments are only relevant to half of the gay population?
Also the argument of
All things biologically inherent are moral.
Homosexuality is biologically inherent.
Homosexuality is moral.
You argue that premise 2 is incorrect so the premise is incorrect. I have read many peer reviewed academic articles that say there is scientific evidence that homosexuality is biological and that it may be a behavioural adaptation in relation to an over growing population.
So this would make the conclusion true, since both premises are true?
Unless you feel premise 1 is untrue and that all things biologically inherent are NOT moral.
If you do, then there would also be a conflict in the following argument.
All things biologically inherent are NOT moral
Homosexuality is biologically inherent
Homosexuality is NOT logical
That sounds fine until you apply the same rule to...
All things biologically inherent are NOT moral
Heterosexuality is biologically inherent
Heterosexuality is NOT moral
Well, that confuses things?
It seems morality and formal logic can clash somewhat?
The Bible is clear that lesbian relationships are also part of the sinfulness of people in rebellion against God, along with male homosexual practises:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. [emphasis added]
The Bible calls male homosexual behaviour an 'abomination'. Bible commentators recognize that this refers to something that is against the created natural order. Clearly, two women were never meant to be partners as this cannot lead to procreation; it is against the created order (Adam and Eve, not Genevieve and Eve), so it is also an abomination.
The health consequences do seem to be far less severe (as comparing verses 26 and 27 above would suggest also), but the other marks against it are similar.
You say: "I have read many peer reviewed academic articles that say there is scientific evidence that homosexuality is biological and that it may be a behavioural adaptation in relation to an over growing population."
There were some early papers, written by male homosexual researchers, which argued that there was a 'gay gene', but these studies were later debunked. If there was any genetic basis to homosexual behaviour, the gene would die out of the population due to lack of procreation (you have to breed to pass on genes to the next generation).
If this was a behavioural adaptation due to overpopulation, then there would be a clear correlation between population density and the level of homosexual behaviour; I am not aware of any such correlation suggesting causality. Furthermore, this is a soul-destroying idea that dehumanizes homosexuals, making them into nothing more than animals driven by instinct.
Your 'logic' fails at a fundamental level, that's why it became confusing. The antithesis of the premise "All things biologically inherent are moral" is not "All things biologically inherent are NOT moral" but "Not all things biologically inherent are moral", which I demonstrated is true by a reductio ad absurdum argument.
There is no clash between sound formal logic and morality.
Interesting article and comments. I work in a field where there's lots of homosexual females (corrections officer). I tell them that God is not interested in making anyone "the world's greatest heterosexual/family man or woman" or "the world's best religious person" etc., but His goal is to conform us into the image of His Son Jesus.
'Did CMI use a bad argument against homosexuality?' Thank you for publishing & for the excellent response, which I fully agree, …. repent … yes … the Law is Love written on our heart, which God searches … without Love, law is nothing … written on stone, and we don’t want any to crawl back into that, we walk by Faith, in the Spirit, in the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who fulfilled the Law, every jot and tittle, even unto death on the cross, becoming sin for us … and the Law was broken, and the veil of the temple rent in twain, for the Man Jesus who knew no sin was illegally put to death and that same Law, the Word of God, had to release Him through the Power of His Resurrection, in Whom we walk forever and ever, amen … that I may Know Him …. and everything else is not worth the paper it’s written on.
I have seen for myself what homosexuality does to a person, and I have heard it from various people who (by the grace of God) have escaped that lifestyle. Homosexuality is not an "orientation" -- it is a life-dominating sexual addiction. It is NOT "victimless" in any sense, and anyone who claims that it is merely shows their own denial or ignorance.
What I see missing in the argument/article is that which is written in Genesis 1:26: Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness ..."
Indeed, at least three people are harmed in the equation of homosexuality, the two individuals and God Himself.
Homosexuality is sin, all people sin, all people are sinners, emphasis on ARE, and all that are saved are saved by Grace, emphasis on ALL & ARE! Who today kept the first commandment, who today did not fall short of the Glory of God, who today walked in the Spirit, operated entirey by Faith, just without lust, without sin...I'm tired of souls being targetted, judged, condemned, of self righteous hearts, Jesus came to save, not condemn and His Grace is sufficient for all, always!
Agree +++. However, teaching about sin is necessary (why else does the Bible teach so much about it?) so that the hearer knows of his/her need for forgiveness in Jesus via repentance. But such teaching always must be given as 'one sinner to another', with the ever-present realization that "but for the grace of God there go I". Our ultimate goal must always be salvation, not condemnation.
Thank you for posting this, you've helped my understanding on the situation. I've been in countless debates about this and I think this will help me argue the fact that homosexuality is wrong even when not based on Christian morals, but the morals produced by society.
Ok, so's here's more to the story. A research into the devastation of countries that became sexually perverted, I.E.Sodom... Rome,and the United Kingdom, especially England just to name a few. God doesn't take it lightly. As Billy Graham once said, "If God doesn't judge America, He'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah". First, the Bible, Mention of God, Jesus, and Christianity has to be frowned upon in society. Where there are no Godly morals, then each person in society must decide for themselves what is morally right. Last Word, "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes". Judges 21:25. Sound like any country you know of? Hopefully, where there is a king, also comes the enforcement of rules and moral laws. HOPEFULLY.
A widespread repentance, turning to God for forgiveness is needed, not a despot to impose morals from above. The Spirit of God writes his standards on our hearts. The freedom of western societies has been built on this, but its widespread abandonment, which you ably describe, will result in either anarchy or acceptance of state tyranny to preserve 'law and order'. Francis Schaeffer wrote of this.
Indeed, some compromising priests say that the Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality but the practice of homosexuality, forgetting that in the Bible, desiring to do something is the same as actually doing it.
The Bible does not say that thinking of doing something is the same as doing it, a fairly common misunderstanding. Jesus said,"But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28).
Indeed, in the worldview of evolution from almost nothing to homosapien species, there is no hope for a different life for those who ended up in having a gene by natural selections (gene culling) and mutations (gene copy mistakes) for homosexuality. In this worldview there is no standard for moral. Genes keep homosapien in bondage in this worldview. What a gene dictates now may not be the same in future. Even moral evolves in this worldview.
Christ Jesus is the Lord over all these genes. He is able to set any human being, right from the first Adam, free from the bondage of selfish, homosexuality… genes.
Underlying Thomas' argument is an Enlightenment proposition summarized by Lester Crocker:
"There existed in the eighteenth century a widespread desire to equate the moral with the physical world...." What was desired above all was, "total integration of man in nature, with refusal of any transcendence, even though it was admitted that his more complex physical organization gave him certain special abilities and ways of thinking. The important thing, as La Mettrie, d'Holbach, and others made clear, is that he is submitted to the same laws; everything is response to need — mechanically, some added, like a tree or a machine. Man merely carries out natural forces — without any freedom whatsoever — in all he does, whether he loves or hates, helps or hurts, gives life or takes it." (Monsters from the Id, E. Michael Jones, p. 5, 7)
In his influential "History of Jacobinism," Abbe Barruel commented:
"With Voltaire, man is a pure machine; Frederick the Great maintains..."I know that I am an animal organized, and that thinks; hence, I conclude that matter can think, as well as that it has the property of being electric." La Mettries' "man-machine, or his man-plant, only caused the Sect to blush from the open manner in which he had said what many of them wished to insinuate." (ibid, p. 6, 7)
The Enlightenment was in effect a diabolical effort to murder God the Father and obliterate His order of being, allowing for reality to be replaced with escapist fantasy: the cosmic machine and soulless machine-man, fully caused and determined by unseen forces of nature, with Newtonian physics as its guide."
(citations from "Rev. 18:3: evolution...primordial heresy as the science of becoming God" L. Kimball, Renew America)
‘Dr. Batten naturally presupposes that homosexuality is a sin (that translates to a crime in his examples), which is a presupposition he does not share explicitly share with his “opponent”.’
CMI has always been upfront that their starting point is the Bible. I think it is important to realize that one of CMI’s feedback rules is that the person thoroughly searches the site to see if the question or argument has already been answered. Assuming that the person followed the feedback rules, he should know that CMI’s ultimate authority is the Bible. And it is pretty common knowledge that homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible. If the person didn’t follow the feedback rules and look into CMI’s beliefs, well, then that is his fault, not CMI’s. But, in my opinion, Dr Batten didn’t have to explicitly share his view that homosexuality is a sin since it is well-documented on the site that the Bible is CMI’s starting point; there are certain things that can go unsaid because they are obvious.
Well written Don. The issue before us in Australia is not just about accepting gay marriage, but it's about what comes next. Our lawmakers unfortunately, tend to listen to the loudest voices not the quietly contented majority. The homosexual community rages against the failures of normal marriage yet seem to want that exact same right themselves. Confusing to say the least. But more disturbing is the rights of the children that will be completely trodden underfoot if gay marriage is approved. On one hand the gays tout skewed research showing that the children of homosexual parents do just as well as normal kids, but on the other hand they howl about the bullying that these poor kids suffer. Well you can't have it both ways, now can you? Which is it to be?
Just wanted to ask your view on a particular matter in the last paragraph of this article re 'what is sin' and whether homosexuality is explicitly labelled that in the new testament. I know it may be somewhat off point with the thrust of the article but it would be a big help to my understanding and potential reliance on a particular aspect of the argument for/against homosexuality as sin.
I've heard it argued that Jesus never explicitly spoke 'against' or about homosexuality and that the new testament generally seems, if not silent, then 'quiet' on the point, (other than what seems a pretty clear exposition by Paul in Romans 1). However, I've contemplated the fact that Jesus himself refers to Sodom six times (Matthew x3, Mark x1 & Luke x2). There is also Paul (Romans 9:29), Peter (2Peter 2:6), Jude (Jude 1:7) and Revelation 11:8 where Sodom is referred to.
At first blush, the reference to Sodom suggests to my mind homosexuality. This may, rightly or wrongly, be remnants of a past cultural bias ingrained from my youth. However, is that an assumption based in fact and of substance to sustain an argument for homosexuality being defined a sin in the new testament? And if so, does the fact the mere reference to Sodom in the new testatement carry with it all the inferences and 'sins' without having to state the obvious details of the sin. In short, can it be said that homosexuality was clearly a sin and 'stated' as such in the new testatment by reference to the most notorious example of it.
If my assumption about Sodom is not correct, then perhaps you could provide some guidance on the nature of Sodom and Gomorrha's sins. ( I realise it would've been more than just homosexuality).
Thanks Don. Keep up the great work.
You will find this answered here: Response to ‘gay marriage’ article objections. In summary, any sex outside of (male-female) marriage is sin, which of course includes homosexual sex. Furthermore, Paul used an unambiguous, specific term: "In 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, Paul actually used a most unusual word, αρσενοκοίτης arsenokoitēs, meaning ‘male who has coitus with a male’ (Greek αρρήν/αρσήν arrhēn/arsēn = male)." (from the cited article).
I would like to add that the statement "Homosexuality is not a sin." Absolutely must be wrong. Briefly: Morality can only come from God->The Bible is the word of God->The Bible says that Homosexuality is immoral. It is either the case that Homosexuality is immoral or that there is no such thing as morality (no God). Either way, the original proposition is false.
Therefore, it is entirely acceptable for Don to "naturally presuppose that homosexuality is a sin." The criticism against Don isn't itself logically coherent by any standard.