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I've always wondered why homosexuality is a sin. The most common argument I hear though is that "They can't procreate and be fruitful, which is an integral part of God's design for us". But I notice a few things wrong with that claim:

  1. Assuming that homosexuality being a sin is taking about the act, wouldn't doing anything other than having sexual intercourse be a sin? It seems that by that definition anything that doesn't result in procreation is a sin. The act of homosexuality does not prevent someone from being able to procreate, so what is the problem?

  2. If the "lifestyle" of homosexuality is a sin for that reason, why isn't abstinence a sin as well? Like homosexuality, abstinence is a sure fire way to ensure that you're never fruitful and populate the earth as is God's plan. That being said, if someone said that abstinence was a sin, I'm sure most Christians would laugh.

The whole "fruitful" thing is the only plausible explanation that I can think of for why homosexuality is a sin. The above are things that I've never really understood, and as someone who was raised Christian all her life, I really don't want to believe that I was taught something that is completely ungrounded and unfair. Thanks for reading my question!

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closed as not constructive by Andrew, ryan, David Stratton, wax eagle Aug 3 '12 at 18:27

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I have no idea who you are talking to to hear "they can't be fruitful" as the most common argument against homosexuality, but it's not anyone who knows anything about Christian theology. –  DJClayworth Aug 3 '12 at 14:31
    
The entire basis of this question is off. Homosexuality is a sin because it is using something - the power to procreate - for means which don't lead to the intended outcome. Abstinence however is the act of not using that power for any outcome. Also men have been commanded to do all sorts of things so saying that anything that isn't sexual intercourse is a sin is just.... ignorant. Sorry if this seems harsh but this question is really low quality and assumes some huge logical fallacies. –  ryan Aug 3 '12 at 16:53
    
How is a homosexual act using the power to procreate? If it does not have the power to procreate, how is it using said power? It seems to fall under the same category as sexual acts other than intercourse. And what I am saying is that to say homosexuality is wrong on the grounds that it does not result in procreation is contradictory--because it would imply that anything that doesn't result in procreation is a sin. What sets homosexuality apart from any other act that does not result in procreation? And I challenge you to find fallacy in such a question. –  allycatgirl Aug 3 '12 at 17:02
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Hi allycatgirl, and welcome to C.SE! It sounds like you might be new to the study of Christianity, and I just wanted to encourage you to continue to read, question, and learn. Bible study can be fascinating, as it includes the disciplines of theology, history, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and much more -- and does so in a framework informed by concepts like compassion, justice, forgiveness, and mercy. Cheers. –  Philip Schaff Aug 3 '12 at 20:58
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It looks like your question has been closed. You might want to rephrase it into a format that fits better with the site's format, such as, "Are there any Christian traditions that teach that abstinence is a sin?" The reason that homosexuality is considered a sin in explained in another C.SE response. –  Philip Schaff Aug 3 '12 at 21:04

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

I think you've given a very good argument why it's implausible to theorize that homosexuality is a sin because it does not produce children. I agree: that line of reasoning doesn't hold up.

But that's not the only conceivable (no pun intended) reason why the Bible would say that homosexuality is a sin.

The easiest answer would be to say, "it just is, just like all others sins are sins because they just are". Why is murder a sin? It just is. People often answer, "because it hurts another person". Okay. So hurting another person is a sin? Why? What makes hurting another person a sin? All you've done is push the question back a step.

You could say that there's a general principle in the Bible that sex is good and beautiful within a marriage between a man and a woman, but wrong in any other case. Thus pre-marital sex is a sin, adultery is a sin, beastiality is a sin, and homosexuality is a sin.

Why is sex outside of marriage wrong? We could, I suppose, discuss the health problems and social problems and emotional problems it causes. Just like we could talk about the economic problems that would be created if murder was allowed. But again, that just pushes back the question. Are veneral disease and broken homes "bad"? Who says? Why? Again, all you've done is push back the question. At some point you have to say that some things are good and others are bad because they just are.

It appears that in general, things that God forbids as sins do in the long run hurt the people who do them or those around them. Murder obviously hurts the victim, and violent people have a tendency to meet violent ends themselves. Adultery destroys relationships and broken homes hurt children. Etc. But I'd be very cautious about saying that that's the entire reason why God forbids something.

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"Pushing back the question" is a good thing, in that it makes us think about things. For example, 5 whys approach. That absolutely doesn't mean that you have to conclude "some things are good and others are bad because they just are" - that means you just stopped thinking / asking. Re broken homes; I'm not saying they are ideal, but: they can often be less harmful to all than two people staying in a fractured, broken and unhealthy relationship, just "because of the kids" –  Marc Gravell Aug 3 '12 at 6:00
    
So what negative side effects does homosexuality have? Who gets hurt from that? –  allycatgirl Aug 3 '12 at 12:07
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@allycatgirl the point of the answer is that it has at least the same negative effects as any other extra-marital sin. All sexual contact outside of marriage is prohibited. Homosexuality is singled to out in scripture, but mainly just to make sure we understand it is included as part of that larger list. Of course, the next step is talking about homosexual marriage. But that's like asking why you can't make orange juice from an apple: you're missing a key ingredient. You could make apple juice and call it orange juice, but that doesn't make it so. –  Joel Coehoorn Aug 3 '12 at 14:28
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@Jay what (to alexcat) a warped thing to say. I personally know many homosexuals leading happy fulfilled loves with a dedicated partner, and I know heterosexuals "putting in about", getting into trouble, etc. you are picking contrasting extremes of each. The truth is more complex: there are good and bad in every category you can think of. Indeed, it is not unlikely that the non-acceptance by society has contributed to the inability of many to form lasting relationships. In the uk there have been well over 50k civil unions in the last few years: that suggests stable relationships are not rare –  Marc Gravell Aug 5 '12 at 19:00
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@allycatgirl Well, it's not very much of a scientific debate. Homosexual men make up 1-2% of the population, but 61% of AIDS cases. 74% of the women who have AIDS have had sex with men who were bisexual or were IV drug users. To the extent that anything can be proven in medicene, I think it's pretty well established that AIDS is spread primarily by homosexual sex and IV drug use. And if you're going to debate the health effects of homosexuality activity as an argument against moral criticism, then it is very pertinent. –  Jay Aug 7 '12 at 5:16

I think that the easiest answer is that homosexuality is "unnatural" (cf. Romans 1). Now, before someone tries to correct me and say, "it happens in nature all the time," I am not talking about "nature" in the same sense you might turn on the Discovery Channel and watch flying shark vs flying crocodile. After all, rape is something which is found in a number of different species and I would also call that "unnatural". No, "nature" in the Romans 1 sense has to do with how man and woman were created, how they were "from the beginning" (cf. Matthew 19).

When God created Adam and Eve, he created a mystical pairing whereby both parties partake in a supernatural act of self-gift (Paul calls it a "profound mystery" in in Ephesians 5). It is a pairing which is so profound that their bodies are actually designed to fit together and complete each other — so profound that the two become one flesh (Genesis 2). Not only that, but one of the primary results of this act is the creation of life (John Paul II basically said that sex is where we are the most like God in that we freely choose to create life).*

Homosexual acts are unable to properly demonstrate this pairing. While there may be love (and perhaps profound love, in a sense) between two individuals, if they are the same gender they are not compatible. It is not in their combined natures to unify that way.

I suppose someone might try to say, "So, it isn't in their nature, why is that wrong?" Well, is it in your forehead's nature to pound nails into walls? If you try, you will very quickly find that acting against your forehead's nature will cause you not a little bit of pain. Similarly, using any part of your body in a way which deviates from the original intent will prove damaging, even if that may not be the most obvious at the time.


* I think it is important to note that while it is one of the primary results of intercourse, children are not the point of sex. Using sex exclusively for the purpose of having children and divorced from the unitive and self-gift aspects is still placing the other as a means to an end.

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Is it in the "combined natures" for a happy heterosexual couple to "unify that way" knowing that one or both partner(s) is infertile? –  Marc Gravell Aug 3 '12 at 5:58
    
So you're using the word nature with your own, personal, idiosyncratic definition. Your argument is basically: homosexuality is unnatural™; unnatural™ things are immoral; therefore homosexuality is immoral. This reasoning strikes me as circular. –  TRiG Aug 3 '12 at 11:32
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@TRiG Either we say that Paul is wrong and that homosexuality is natural, or we say that the word natural in Romans 1 has to do with divine/ontological nature and not what you see on the discovery channel. –  Ignatius Theophorus Aug 3 '12 at 11:50
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@MarcGravell Children are an occasional byproduct of the unitive act, not a necessary one. But, even assuming infertility, that does not necessarily mean infertility (see Abraham & Sarah or Zechariah and Elizabeth) –  Ignatius Theophorus Aug 3 '12 at 11:53

The question seems a bit problematic from the very beginning. If doing something is wrong, why isn't doing nothing also wrong? Or why isn't "not doing it" wrong? Just because God forbids one thing does not mean He mandates another.

The answer to the question really lies in why anything at all is wrong. There is a moral law, and it is not subjective, but objective. The Moral Lawgiver defines what is right and wrong. Sin is anything that is contrary to His purposes or plan.

The Bible states that God created one man and one woman for one marriage at the very beginning. That is the precedent that He set. He affirms later that this was, indeed, His plan and purpose, and that homosexuality in particular is contrary to that.

We can also observe a specific design inherent in men and women. They were designed for each other, but it is fairly obvious that women were not designed for women, nor were men designed for men.

Adultery is also contrary to the pattern and precedent and purpose in marriage, and God identifies that as sin as well.

So, homosexuality is a sin, not just because it cannot produce offspring and heterosexual relationships can. Homosexuality is a sin because it is contrary to God's specific design in marriage for one man and one woman, His purpose and plan for sexual fulfillment, and His establishment of the family.

Abstinence, on the other hand, is actually required until a person enters into marriage, so it certainly is not wrong.

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So that brings me to the question, what defines "sex"? Obviously the Bible has never strictly defined what sex is, so it seems that many people have made their own ad hoc assumptions about it. But, without getting into gritty details, my understanding is that sexual intercourse as the Bible defines it is between a man and a woman. Therefore how does homosexuality fall under the category of sex, such that doing it out of wedlock is adultery? And how can you compare it to sex between a man and a woman? –  allycatgirl Aug 3 '12 at 12:20
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@allycatgirl I don't compare it to sex between a man and a woman. The Bible does that. Romans 1. –  Narnian Aug 3 '12 at 12:29

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