Subject: homosexual marriage
From: Sean Ho <seanho@seanho.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 22:21:34 -0800
Hi Sean!

How are you doing?  I'm doing fine.  I was just wondering of what your
opinion on homosexual marriage and relationships is.  I've done
researching through the Bible and I've found verses that tells us to
never agree with homosexual marriages.  For example: My sister looked up
a site and it was explaining that 'God created Adam and Eve, not Adam
and Steve'. I've also learned that Dr. James Dobson, he's a psychiatrist
in the U.S and talks in a radio station called Focus on the Family, just
in case you don't know him, he is a very good servant of God and i know
that he is totally against homosexual relationships.  But when I tell my
friends that homosexual relationships are bad, they tell me that some
are DNA Mutations.  I really hope you can get back to me concerning this
subject.  Thanks a lot! 

 
You ask a very good question, and I'm glad you've already done some
research in the Bible!  The question of homosexuality is a controversial
one, and we first need to define what we mean by homosexuality.

Temptations are one thing, and everyone can get tempted by lust, whether
homosexual or heterosexual.  This is just because of our sinful nature
inside of us.  It's how we respond to temptation that's important -- do
we let it stay in our hearts and become sinful thoughts, or do we flee
from temptation like the Bible tells us to?  Some secular psychologists
will say, "see, you get tempted by homosexual lust, so you must be
homosexual!" -- but we are not defined by our temptations or even our
thoughts, but by our Creator.

Some vocal gay activists point to certain studies which claim a
correlation between stated sexual orientation and some biological or
genetic characteristic.  One of the first and most widely quoted such
studies was done in 1991 by Simon LeVay on a tiny portion of the
hypothalamus in the brain, on deceased bodies.  What is not often
mentioned is that he only studied 41 cadavers, almost all male, and
nearly all the ones who were presumed to be homosexual also had HIV.
There is also the question of how he determined which people were
classified as homosexual -- it was just according to how the people
classified themselves.  There have been other studies since then, but I
have not found any that are statistically convincing.  For more details
I recommend the excellent website of Exodus International ministries:
	http://exodus.to/content/view/41/87/

The Bible claims very clearly that our Creator designed sex to be only
within the safe haven of marriage, and He defined marriage to be one man
and one woman for life -- yes, "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!"
(that quote is by Ken Ham).  Many of the debates today about homosexual
marriage boil down to who defines what marriage is.  If marriage is a
man-made institution defined by our democratic government, then the
public can vote to change it according to the majority opinion, and this
has already happened in Canada.  On the other hand, some opponents of
gay marriage appeal to "traditional marriage", but this is also not a
good argument, because traditions can change, and just because something
is a tradition doesn't necessarily mean it's right.  But the Bible's
claim is that marriage is defined by our Creator, so we don't have the
right to change its definition.

Lastly, there is the question of how we should reach out to someone who
is struggling with their sexual identity.  It is important that we don't
judge or condemn people, nor label them as "that gay guy".  Lust is sin,
to be sure, but it is a sin that we all struggle with: none of us is
immune to temptation.  For those struggling with sexual identity, we
have found that oftentimes what was missing was a healthy father figure;
and although we can't redo someone's childhood, we can try to provide
some Biblical male mentorship.  Many times, though, what people need is
just an open, welcoming, loving, accountable group of friends who are
praying for each other and spurring each other on to become more and
more Christlike.

This is an important issue, and I'm glad you're asking about it and
diving into the Bible!  See you next week (9Mar)!

in Christ,
Sean
Subject: homosexual marriage
From: Sean Ho <seanho@seanho.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 22:54:30 -0800
Hi Sean,

I just received your e-mail.  So does that mean that homosexual people don't
have genetic mutations?  They're just influenced by society?  Please answer
these two questions!! I am trying to tell my friends that it's not genetic
mutations...but they somehow don't believe me!

Thanks a lot! 
Hmm, well first, what do we mean by "homosexual people"?  The Bible's
claim is that none of us were created to have sexual relationships with
people of the same gender, so in that sense there are _no_ people that
were designed to be homosexual.  But certainly people can be tempted,
and some people may be more susceptible to temptation, due to lack of a
healthy father figure, influence from society, etc.  But that doesn't
mean that they should give in to those temptations.

On the issue of genetic mutations: mutations are just mistakes made in
the normal copying process of DNA which happens all the time as our
cells divide and grow.  We all have mutations of various sorts (yes,
we're all "mutants"!).  Every type of cancer is due to mutations, as
well as many diseases -- in fact, there isn't a single mutation we know
of that is beneficial in the long-term for the person.  It is common
nowadays for people to blame a lot of things on genetics.  There may be
some correlations between genetics and predisposition to certain
behaviour, but ultimately we each need to take responsibility for our
actions, and not just blame everything on our genes.  Even if there
_were_ a mutation that caused people to be more susceptible to
homosexual temptation, that still would not make it right, because the
standard of right and wrong is set by our Creator in His original
design, and mutations are degradation away from that original good design.

Don't despair if your friends won't listen to you at first: the real
underlying issue is who decides what is right and wrong for our lives.
If your friends believe that our government decides, or that a few
scientists (who themselves are biased) decide, or that we each decide
for ourselves what is right and wrong, then they won't accept the
Bible's claim that no amount of mutation will make homosexual marriage
right.  But if we know that the God of the Bible is really the Creator
of our physical universe and of our bodies, hearts, minds, and spirits,
then we have this assurance that He sets the standard for what is right
and wrong.

I encourage you; keep on standing firm in the faith, with all
grace!  We cannot argue others into believing, but when they see our
calm reason and unshakable faith, that gentleness and grace will itself
be a powerful testimony to them of Christ's reality.  "True gold fears
no fire" -- the truth stands up to questioning.

in Christ,
Sean

-- Sean Ho, Ph.D. == Assistant Professor == Computing Science / Math (604) 513-2121 x3209 == seanho at seanho.com == http://seanho.com Trinity Western University == 7600 Glover Rd == Langley BC V2Y 1Y1