Thursday, July 2, 2009

About God, homosexuality and animals!



Sometimes I read something that is meant to be serious but is so utterly nuts that I just have to say so. My husband pointed me to a piece in the SFGate titled “Confirmed God is slightly gay: Just ask the animals. As soon as they stop having all that sex.” It is by Mark Morford.

My husband hoped I would write about the article.

I really didn’t want to but then I read one of the articles Morford linked to. The linked article with one paragraph destroys Morford’s whole thought.

Starting with a book, And Tango Makes Three about two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who mated and when given an egg successfully hatched and raised the chick, Morford writes insultingly awful about Christianity and is eloquent about homosexuality.

His thesis is that since there is homosexuality in most animal groups and since animals including humans are parts of nature and since God is by many understood to be nature then God insists on all kinds of sexuality. So the implication is get with it everyone!

Morford is honest to a certain degree. He admits that life is not only pleasurable but also bloody. Yet he also implies that animals are happy about being homosexual. Morford emphatically writes:

“This, then, is what science appears to be trying to tell us, has been telling us, over and over again: Nature abides no narrow, simplistic interpretation of her ways. Nature will defy your childish fears and laughable behavioral laws at nearly every turn. God does not do shrill homophobia.”

One of the two articles he links to is in Live Science and is entitled “
Same-Sex Behavior Found in Nearly All Animals,” The staff that wrote the piece comes to their conclusion by quoting Nathan Bailey “a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Riverside.” They write:

"'Like any other behavior that doesn't lead directly to reproduction — such as aggression or altruism — same-sex behavior can have evolutionary consequences that are just now beginning to be considered,' Bailey said. 'For example, male-male copulations in locusts can be costly for the mounted male' and this cost may put evolutionary pressure on the locusts, he said. As a result, a larger number of males may secrete a particular chemical that discourages the mounting behavior, he added.”

So—that really says it all.

But I will go further. Morford doesn’t think much of Christianity so this is not addressing his screed, but a Christian should know better. We answer to a different God. We don’t answer to a god that is sexually capricious as well as red in tooth and claw. Deviant sexually based in a morality that is itself based in nature will eventually come with all the other deviant behaviors found in a fallen world.

A society that bases its morality on nature will in the end surrender all to nature. That was the problem with ancient Israel’s neighbors. Their nature religion not only led them to religious prostitution, it required the throwing of children into the fiery arms of Moloch. If we look to nature for moral guidance we will cast away our true humanity which is found in Jesus Christ.
If the world wants to follow the animals in their sexuality, gently but fervently shout at them. Pray for them. Tell them of the transforming grace of Jesus Christ.

11 comments:

Toby Brown said...

Yes! Nature is a poor guide.

But these people know this. Radical evolutionism led to the wonderfully kind concept of eugenics. We all witnessed what happens when an all mighty state puts that into practice.

Nature leads us also to selfishness: protect your own. And this is what the collectivist secularists claim to be against.

Let's use a better guide: reason based on God's revealed character and will.

Andrea said...

I'm sorry, but what's next? Should we all stand in line with the Lemmings?!? Where do these 'naturalists' draw the line and recognize that as humans we have higher reasoning powers than the animals? We were created for more than just raw instinct.

If I read your blog correctly, I assume that in it's simplest form, Morford's article is suggesting that because an action happens in nature, we humans should follow the example. Youch!

My fondest memory of childhood was when we were raising cats. I loved watching the mommas give birth. Each kitten sliding sliding into the world covered in the slimy coating that had protected it for so long in its' mother's womb. The momma cat would selflessly clean each kitten of this coating down to the soft new belly, leaving nothing behind for us to do but watch.

Do you remember the one momma we had who always needed our help to care for her kittens. She never knew when to stop cleaning them, and almost injured a few. Without our help, she probably would have killed her babies.

Even in this one instance, how can it be said that nature is perfect and we should follow in its directives?

Andrea Hightower
Sacramento, CA

Viola Larson said...

Toby, amen!

Andrea the cats are excellent examples. And I had forgotten about the cat washing thing.

Pastor Bob said...

The most curious thing I see here is that if one believes in a traditional form of of evolution homosexual behavior is an evolutionary dead end. If one's central goal is to have offspring and so make sure one's genes are passed on to the next generation then homosexual behavior seeks to make sure one does not pass one's genes on.

Of course modern science makes it possible to do both.

Bob Campbell
Sharon Hill, Pa

Anonymous said...

I'll throw my two cents in:

If homosexuality were an evolutionary dead end, it would not exist.

These studies show that claims that homosexuality is "unnatural" are incorrect. Homosexuality is in fact quite natural.

Biology is messy, folks. It is not digital. Everything is in a continuum. The human mind likes to see patterns and make classification rules and name things this and that. But nature doesn't care about all that. It is constantly producing as many and as varied variants as it can, constantly experimenting, constantly morphing, constantly seeking to occupy every nook and crony of the world with life.

And its all quite wonderful, I think. It is hard to describe it as "fallen". I think it is as wonderful as it was always meant to be.

Tom
KC

Viola Larson said...

Tom,
Nothing that you have written, can be classified (see I have a human mind too) as Christian whether you believe in evolution or not. Why do you suppose the human mind was created to see patterns or make classification rules, etc.?

And why do you prescribe personal traits to nature, such as caring. Nature is impersonal but God is personal. It is God who gives life and says how we should be rather than how we insist on being.

I still remember a tornado ripping through my farm as a young child-I don’t think that was how the world was meant to be. I don’t think death was meant to be and some day, as John Donne so eloquently put it, death will die.

God made the world good but humanity sinned and all fell. Jesus Christ will restore it. “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it , in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”(Romans 8: 19-21)

And perhaps if we keep studying nature we will find that although there is homosexuality in nature that it is also a form of its fallen-ness. Surely the case of the beetles and their homosexual rejecting secretions is a case in point. We once owned a female goose that kept trying to mount the chickens. Why? Because two dogs came into our property and killed her mate. That has to do with nature’s fall in so many ways.

Christ came to redeem us from our sinful ways and eventually all of creation will experience freedom from sin.

Anonymous said...

Hi Viola,

I think you are mixing science and religion. Not a good idea, since it makes a mess of both. Science studies nature. The bible is not a science book, and it does not explain nature except in a richly metaphorical and occasionally poetic way.

I don't know if or why the human mind "was created" to see patterns or make classification rules. From an evolutionary point of view those skills clearly give it a leading edge in hunting, planting, fighting, etc. Humans have relatively weak bodies but compensate nicely with their strategic minds. But in so doing it also makes mistakes, often interpolating, extrapolating, and projecting that which is not there.

"I don’t think death was meant to be..."

Well, the evidence is that death is essential to life. First, without the dynamic plowing under of plate tectonics, the whole planet would have been dead long ago. It drives volcanoes, mountain forming, earthquakes, river forming, ocean currents, weather patterns, all essential ingredients to forming life in the first place.

And one thing we know about life from the birth of the very first cells. They must and have always died. And to this day, with very few exceptions, the life of one cell implies the death of another.

So if this is not what was meant to be, then life itself was not meant to be. Whatever "meant to be" means.

And if this is not good, or if man's sin made it fall, or somehow changed things, then it had to have been retroactively. But it is a universal observation both in faith and in science, that the present does not cause the past.

I think perhaps this doctrine of the fall, of man's fall, of him causing nature's fall, I think this teaching has run its course. It no longer serves to better understand nature, and it no longer serves a useful purpose in guiding Christian ethics either.

However the Second Law of Thermodynamics does agree nicely with the claim in Romans that nature is enslaved to corruption, in the sense that everything in nature runs downhill and eventually stops. Unless God intervenes, Death is inevitable.

But I don't think it has anything to do with a so called "fall". That is the way it has always been, starting with the Big Bang, some 4.5 Billion years ago.

Tom
KC

Pastor Bob said...

Tom

Many species and traits are evolutionary dead ends. Some are gone and some still exist. Some that exist just don't know it yet.

An example and no, I don't recommend the means of extinction: the American Passenger Pigeon. Extinction happened because they were hunted out of existence. That is one method of extinction: predators destroy a species. There are many others.

As to the question of whether homosexual desires is a preferred trait one would have to first prove that such desires are genetic, proof that is currently lacking.

And yes, I agree: biology is messy varied and wonderful. God does seem to love variety. But biological traits, at least in humans, are not always good. Which of course brings us back to the great question of the philosophers: how does one determine the good? My choice is the Bible. As Toby Brown said, Nature is a poor guide.

Bob Campbell
Sharon Hill, PA

Anonymous said...

Dear Rev Campbell,

This is a strange comment:

"As to the question of whether homosexual desires is a preferred trait one would have to first prove that such desires are genetic, proof that is currently lacking."

I don't understand why you say that. All sexual desire is genetic. Not only in humans, but in nearly all of the animal kingdom, suggesting that it evolved a very long time ago and is buried very deep in our genetic microcode. We have no choice in the matter. When puberty hits, those hormones start raging, and all of it is way beyond our control. Some get it worse than others. And so is the gender for which the sexual attraction fires up. The only surprise would be if somehow the attraction was always for the gender that has opposite external sexual organs. There is so much more to the chemistry of sexual attraction than the external sexual organs that developed in the womb. There is no indication that any of it is a matter of choice, any more that we can choose the sexual organs we get born with.

I for one was born with male organs and have been strongly attracted to women even before puberty. Not a homosexual cell in my body. But I never had a choice in the matter. It's just the way I was born.

"how does one determine the good? My choice is the Bible."

Is it really?

Would you agree then to carry out the penalty proscribed for teenage insubordination as called out for in Deut 21:18-21? Would you call it good, since it comes from God, and it is in the Bible, and it is explicitly given as a means to get rid of evil?

Or do you perhaps actually have a different standard?

Tom
KC

Pastor Bob said...

Tom

I would agree that sexual desire is in the genes. It is in its most basic form the desire to reproduce. Whether homosexual desire is genetic or not is a different question. The various studies that I've read are inconclusive. There are proponents for genetics as cause, hormonal changes in the womb and then a raft of theories that suggest it is somehow related to life experience. My personal guess (and I have no scientific data to back this up) is that there are probably multiple causes sometimes in one person sometimes different individual causers in others.

As to my reference to the Bible I think that dominant themes should affect our reading of particular passages. Although I will admit that at least some of the laws in the Torah were in effect at some point in history including the one you mentioned. I think it is the root on which the parable of the prodigal son was based. see Kevin Bailey for a good exegesis of the parable.

Bob Campbell
Sharon Hill, PA

Anonymous said...

Dear Rev Campbell,

I believe that's Kenneth Bailey.

What he should really be famous for is describing the structures of Hebrew literature. It really changes the way you read the Bible.

Dominant themes... That is an interesting approach. So how do you do it? Count all the passages that lean one way, then count all the passages that lean another, and go with the majority?

Depending on how you count there are no more than 8 verses in the whole Bible that are used to condemn homosexuality.

Jesus picked just two verses to tell his disciples how to read the whole five books of the Law.

And the doctrine of original sin is based on a loose interpretation of just one verse in the whole bible.

I do tend to agree on dominant themes. Be forewarned though. It will likely make a liberal out of you.

Tom
KC