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Alan Chambers on “Biology”

Jim Burroway

June 19th, 2007

Gay rights advocates have long pushed the argument that homosexuality is inborn, either through genes, prenatal hormones, or other biological mechanisms. There’s the assumption that if homosexuality is inborn, then it is proof that people can’t change. It is also understood that when someone believes that homosexuality is inborn, then that person is more likely to accept gays and lesbians as equal members of society. Conversely, anti-gay activists have almost uniformly denounced the biological evidence, preferring instead to blame parents and other childhood experiences for their children’s outcomes.

When Exodus president Alan Chambers appeared yesterday on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, he talked very briefly about whether homosexuality was inborn. In that segment, we heard him say:

Certainly we are body, soul and spirit. And a part of being body I believe is wrapped up in genetics and biology and things that are inborn.

This echoes what yesterday’s Los Angeles Times reported:

Chambers and other Exodus leaders talk deliberately about a possible biological basis for homosexuality, in part to explain that no one can turn a switch and flip from gay to straight, no matter how hard they pray.

In Alan Chambers’s 2006 book, God’s Grace and the Homosexual Next Door, he discusses the possibility of a biological origin. In it, he answers whether homosexuality is “completely genetic.” At this point in 2006, he didn’t think so, but he asked what if it were true:

Would that mean that genetic predispositions to behavior are the sole determinant of behavior? For instance, there is reportedly a genetic link to alcoholism. Yet people overcome that battle every day. I know many men and women who once were in bondage to alcohol and now live in freedom from that addiction. The same with drugs, lying, stealing, you name it.

The truth is we are all fallen creatures: genetically, physically, emotionally, sexually, and in every other way imaginable. So even though there is currently no proof — despite numerous studies conducted over the past 50 years — that homosexuality is genetic, let’s suppose that one day such proof is found. What then?

… I wrestled with this question during the early days of my healing and determined that if a gay gene was discovered, it would not alter my course — homosexuality is still not an option.

It has always been naive to think that discovering a “gay gene” or other biological explanations would suddenly bring all the debates to an end. Alan Chambers, like Albert Mohler is anticipating the possibility that the day many come when the evidence becomes too hard to ignore. I personally doubt that such a day will come, but if it does, don’t count on them changing their minds and becoming our allies.

Comments

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John
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

It’s not changing their minds that is a concern. They know perfectly well that if a “gay gene” were found that public sentiment would shift in support of gays.

Bruce Garrett
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

It has always been naive to think that discovering a “gay gene” or other biological explanations would suddenly bring all the debates to an end.

I’ve been saying this for years: nobody doubts that race is genetic and hereditary and that hasn’t made the slightest impact on racism, nor softened a single racist’s heart.

Emproph
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

“In Alan Chambers’s 2006 book, God’s Grace and the Homosexual Next Door”:

“Would that mean that genetic predispositions to behavior are the sole determinant of behavior?”

My desire to love and be loved, INCLUDING physically and sexually is reduced to “behavior” alone. A strawman setup for the following:

For instance, there is reportedly a genetic link to alcoholism. Yet people overcome that battle every day. I know many men and women who once were in bondage to alcohol and now live in freedom from that addiction. The same with drugs, lying, stealing, you name it.”

Now it’s easy to see how my human desire to love and be loved is equal to abusing my body and intentionally harming others.

-Spoken like a true moral relativist. I wonder if there’s a “genetic predisposition” for that?

quo
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

I note that no one seems to be anticipating the possibility that the day may come when the evidence that homosexuality isn’t determined purely by biological factors will become too hard to ignore. If that happens, will gay activists change their minds and decide that religious conservatives were right all along?

John
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

I note that no one seems to be anticipating the possibility that the day may come when the evidence that homosexuality isn’t determined purely by biological factors will become too hard to ignore. If that happens, will gay activists change their minds and decide that religious conservatives were right all along?

We don’t have to wait for a hypothetical future about this because this is what the best research is saying right now. My personal answer would depend upon whether you were asking about moral or civil concerns. The former is the purview of religious belief while the latter is not. It is the latter that I am interested in regardless for homosexuality has not been shown to be pathological or detrimental to society.

Jim Burroway
June 19th, 2007 | LINK

Actually, quo, I do believe that the best evidence suggests that homosexuality isn’t necessarily determined purely by biological factors. That is, in fact, what the best research suggests. And no, I don’t believe that it means that religious conservatives were right all along.

Many of you probably missed it, but I wrote about that possibility last January back when this site’s readership was much smaller. Maybe I should reprise that post again sometime.

Emproph
June 20th, 2007 | LINK

Quo said:

I note that no one seems to be anticipating the possibility that the day may come when the evidence that homosexuality isn’t determined purely by biological factors will become too hard to ignore. If that happens, will gay activists change their minds and decide that religious conservatives were right all along?

Absolutely.

At the precise moment absence of evidence is officially determined I will formally announce to the world that I DO NOT EXIST.

quo
June 20th, 2007 | LINK

Jim, if you don’t think that sexual orientation is purely biological, then specifically which other factors do you think are involved?

Jim Burroway
June 21st, 2007 | LINK

Quo,

I already covered that ground in this article. More specifically, all of the factors, whether they be biological, environmental, childhood experiences, genetics, etc., are as individual as the particular individual. It’s impossible to generalize.

But more importantly, and this was the whole point of the article that I refer you to, I believe it is a false debate. Our rights and our standing in society are not dependent on whether we are born gay or made gay. Please read in All We, Like Sheep? for a more complete explanation.

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