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Think Christianly

Think Christianly: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another Jesus Tomb Discovered?

We have seen this before....NT scholar Darrell Bock weighs in here.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Rationality and the Gay Marriage Question

Hunter Baker, author of the helpful book The End of Secularism, has written a thoughtful post on this issue. Here are the basic contours of his argument and then you can read the rest at his blog.

"Thinking in terms of what is rational and what is not, I would like to set forth what I think should be considered a rational account of why marriage should remain a male-female arrangement.  My own view might be different in important ways from this one, but I am trying to present something that is non-religious in nature and which I think should be capable of being accepted as rational by any person.  Note:  “rational” does not mean that it convinces you.  It merely means that you could see the argument as a position a person could hold without being, basically, crazy.

So, here is one rational account of why marriage should be confined to opposite sex couples.  As you read, keep in mind that you need only find the account rational (i.e. not crazy) rather than truly persuasive.

Men and women are obviously complementary in nature.  This is not a matter of holy writ.  Without the man and the woman, it is not possible to produce children.  Without the ability to produce children, the political community has no future whatsoever.  It will die out like the Shakers, who chose celibacy.  This interest in the future is clearly a political interest since the political community emerges from families.  Families form villages.  Villages form towns.  Towns grow into cities.  And so on.  Male-female marriage is the basis of the political community.  For that reason, it is obviously rational for the political community to take an interest in affirming, sustaining, and protecting male-female marriage.   
Same-sex pairings are not procreative.  The answer will come back that many heterosexual marriages are not procreative.  That is true, but the marriage is still rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and the complementary sex act.  The man and woman share an intimate relationship based on the way their bodies are made to fit together.  You could say God made this design.  You could say it emerged from evolution.  Regardless, it is clear that the male sex organ and the female sex organ work in harmony in a way that the male sex organ and a non-sexual male organ do not.  This biological fact is the reason for the long existence of marriage between men and women.  Marriage would not exist without it.   
Homosexuality was once considered a disorder.  Looking back on those who thought so, can we say with great confidence that their conclusion was invidious or irrational?  Or was it to some degree a reasonable position to take considering that the desire to engage in sexual stimulation (not intercourse as that is impossible) with members of the same sex is highly atypical for human beings and, biologically speaking, does not make sense?  And there is little question of that.  Biologically speaking, the act of a man attempting to have sex with a man or a woman having sex with a woman makes no sense at all.
There are a number of atypical behaviors to which some human beings appear to be predisposed.  We do not need to make a list, but I am sure we can agree that such behaviors exist.  Our reaction to these atypical behaviors is mostly to accept without having to positively affirm.   
Given these realities, it is not surprising at all that the history of marriage has been the history of men and women marrying each other.  Marriage is a direct consequence of the biological complementarity of the sexes.  While we should not positively inhibit same-sex pairings, we should not give those pairings the same status as male-female marriage.

Based on what has been written above, is it clearly irrational for the government to favor the traditional and biologically sensible form of marriage?  One might characterize these remarks as insensitive or unpleasant or out of fashion, but would it be fair to say that they are irrational?  One may easily disagree, but would you regard these remarks in the class of comments claiming the moon is made of green cheese?  Could you not easily say, “I disagree with what this person has said, but it is a rational  reason to oppose gay marriage.  If I have a vote on the matter, I will cast my vote against this position.”  To do THAT, to cast a vote in favor of gay marriage, is a fundamentally different exercise than to do what courts have done by simply ruling that the person or institution opposing gay marriage is irrational...." (read the rest at his blog)

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Friday, February 24, 2012

My Interview on the Frank Pastore Show Now Available (KKLA - Los Angeles)

Had a lot of fun with Frank talking about what it means to Think Christianly and why it's reasonable to believe that God exists in an age of science. You can listen here.

Find out more about the Frank Pastore show here.

The books I mentioned were Think Christianly and Is God Just a Human Invention?

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

No one has the right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body

I you? Watch this video and I'd love to hear your thoughts:

When it comes to abortion, there's only one issue that matters...learn what that is here

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Real Christians Don't Have Doubts...Do They?

“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.”--Tim Keller

What we don't want to do is leave doubt unaddressed. I expand on this further in my article Is it Ok to have doubts?

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do Social Issues Matter Anymore in Politics?

Jay Richards and James Robison argue yes, they do.

"We're told that the 2012 election is all about jobs and the economy. So-called social issues such as marriage, abortion, and religious freedom have been moved to the back burner.

Don't count on it. Social issues will also figure prominently in the coming months. President Obama has made sure of that.

The most obvious example involves the recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rule mandating that religious organizations provide health insurance that covers sterilization, contraception and drugs that induce abortion. Only the most zealous pro-choicers think people should be forced to fund abortions, even when they have moral objections to them. Not surprisingly, the mandate has sparked uproar.

In response, the president has now offered a "compromise." Instead of employers paying directly for services to which they are morally opposed, HHS will mandate that their insurance carriers provide them "free of charge."

Birth control pills, IUDS, and abortion-inducing drugs aren't free, however, so the insurance companies will offset these costs with higher premiums (even though the mandate will supposedly prohibit this). This accounting gimmick does nothing to resolve the moral problem. The New York Times admitted as much in its headline, "Rule Shift is Concession to Obama Allies," not, in other words, to opponents.

The President may have provided cover for a few allies on the religious left, such as Sister Carol Keehan,
but the US Bishops aren't buying it. In fact, rather than divide Christians over contraception, Mr. Obama has helped unify orthodox Catholics, evangelicals, and even many civil libertarians. They rightly see the HHS mandate as an attack on religious freedom. ObamaCare was already an affront to freedom itself. Now it has a sharp anti-religious edge to boot.

Forced coverage for abortion drugs? Check. Attack on religious freedom? Check. For the culture war trifecta, all we need is an attack on marriage.

In 1996, President Clinton signed the bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It protects states from being forced to recognize same sex "marriages" performed in other states. President Obama claimed before he was elected that, as a Christian, he believed marriage was between a man and a woman. As soon as he took office, though, we learned that his view is "constantly evolving." It evolved fast, since the Justice Department..." (read the rest of this article)

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Are you in need of some good news today?

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”—Heb. 4:14-16

"Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them."--Heb. 7:24-25

Praise be to our great God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ!

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Has the Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered?

New Testament scholar Dan Wallace weighs in on this:

"On 1 February 2012, I debated Bart Ehrman at UNC Chapel Hill on whether we have the wording of the original New Testament today. This was our third such debate, and it was before a crowd of more than 1000 people. I mentioned that seven New Testament papyri had recently been discovered—six of them probably from the second century and one of them probably from the first. These fragments will be published in about a year.

These manuscripts now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts (all fragmentary, more or less) from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, more than 40% of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.

It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century. If this is true, it would be the oldest fragment of the New Testament known to exist. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934. Not only this, but..." (read the rest)

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This Week's Controversial Question: Are Homosexuals Going to Hell? (The Answer May Surprise You)

Alan Shlemon continues his weekly guest series: "The answer to this question is easy. Yes, they’re going to hell. Homosexual behavior is offensive to God. But guess what? Liars are going to hell too. So are gluttons, drunkards, and adulterers. Do you see a pattern here? Everyone is going to hell.

There’s nothing special about people who engage in same-sex intercourse. Whether you go to heaven or hell has nothing to do with the kind of sin you’ve committed. It’s about moral culpability. Guilty people deserve to be punished and innocent people go free. That’s a basic principle of justice.

The problem with this question is its unspoken assumption: homosexuality is the worst sin. Or, at least it’s really, really bad. Some people think it’s so bad that it’s almost unforgivable. Violators go directly to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Of course, homosexuality is not the worst sin as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. There’s no special rules that govern how to levy punishment on homosexuals.

Perhaps rephrasing the question would help: Can people with same-sex attractions (SSA) go to heaven? Yes, they can.  Even if they’ve engaged in homosexual behavior, it’s still possible to be pardoned for their actions. This is no different than people who are selfish, steal, or commit adultery. All these crimes can be forgiven. People who commit them can be pardoned from the punishment they deserve.

Even though that’s good news, believers are still berated for their moral stance: “You think homosexuality is a sin? How can you say that? You are so mean and intolerant!” Ya, I get that…I don’t like it either. But Christians didn’t make up that rule. God did. It’s like yelling at the DMV employee for failing your driving test. He’s just telling you the rules of the road. He didn’t make them up. Blame someone else.

Besides, it’s not like God is pointing the finger just at homosexuals. God’s an equal opportunity judger. Some people who went to church last Sunday will be in hell. Some people who study the Bible will be there too. Why? Those people have also committed crimes that render them guilty. And going to church or reading the Bible doesn’t earn them a pardon.

We don’t get to make the rules for reconciliation. God does. So being a “good person” doesn’t matter. Seeking to be “sincere” is irrelevant. Trying to be “true to yourself” won’t help. It’s God’s kingdom: He’s the King and it’s His domain. He decides the terms for acquittal.

He also shows no partiality towards whom He pardons. A churchgoer has no advantage to a homosexual. Each has an equal chance at forgiveness no matter what they’ve done.
As I wrote in a previous post, God is willing to grant us “a pardon for our bad behavior….We can accept the pardon and go free or pay the penalty ourselves. It’s our choice. That means a man or woman can live a lifetime of homosexual behavior and still be acquitted.”

Although it sounds too good to be true, people who are exonerated know it’s anything but easy. The process involves an important trade: we give God a lifetime of allegiance in return for a pardon. That means we’re no longer the absolute arbiter of our life. Rather, we hand over that privilege to the judge who negotiated our freedom.

Fortunately, the judge is good and looks after us. He knows that even though we’re absolved from our crimes and freed from our punishment, justice has not been completed. Our guilt has been lifted, but needs to be placed on another. So, the judge makes arrangements with a willing substitute to bear the blame: His next of kin.

The substitute is agreeable to trade his innocence for our guilt even though a transaction like that isn’t normally allowed. In this instance, however, the substitute is able to make the trade because the judge sanctioned the deal. It’s also fair because He’s willing and He’s willing because He’s family. It’s a family affair.

Who wouldn’t take a judge up on that offer? Who wouldn’t be grateful to his next of kin for His trade? God has done everything possible to keep people out of hell. Some people just aren’t willing to accept the terms.

I’m not here to tell you who is going to hell or not. That’s not the point of this post, nor is it for me to decide. That’s God’s job.

But one thing we know, everyone is guilty, including me. There’s no special sin that damns some people to judgment while others get off easier. Therefore, everyone deserves to be punished. That includes homosexuals and heterosexuals (even metrosexuals). They might not be responsible for the same crime, but they’ll all get jail time because they’re guilty. That’s the bad news.

But everyone – even homosexuals – is given the same exact chance to avoid punishment. The same offer is made to everyone under the King’s domain, no matter what their offense. That’s why it’s called the “gospel” – it’s good news."
Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Have we already lost the battle?

"When Christians are willing to reduce religion to noncognitive categories, unconnected to questions of truth or evidence, then we have already lost the battle."* Please reread that last sentence. You see, if Christianity does not rise to the level of being true or false then it has been removed completely from the cognitive realm. If something can't be false, then it can't be true either. And rational investigation or justification fly out the window too. If we in the American church don't get this and teach it to the next generation, then Christians will be increasingly marginalized in a secular culture. But worse still, this unbiblical notion will sap us of our confidence to live as if Christianity were actually true because confidence and knowledge go hand and hand. I go into more detail on how this plays out in our lives and in the broader culture here.

*Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth.

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Eric Metaxas Speaks At The 2012 National Prayer Breakfast: A Bonhoeffer Moment

In case you missed this or haven't seen it yet, you really owe it to yourself to watch this video. Eric's talk begins 35 mins in (on the C-SPAN video below) and ends with him leading the 3,500 assembled (including the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State) in singing “Amazing Grace”. This may be the most important 30 minutes you spend today.

As Eric says, this is a Bonhoeffer moment. As Christians, we need to lovingly, yet with full conviction stand for religious liberty, the freedom of conscience, traditional marriage, and the protection of all human life.

Here are two first steps. First, get informed and add your voice to the the more than 500,000 people who have read and signed the Manhattan Declaration. And then share it with others on Facebook, Twitter, and by email.

Second, please take 60 seconds and sign this petition to the President and let him know that you want him to stand for religious liberty.

Chuck Colson and Timothy George on this issue in Christianity Today.

Read Eric Metaxas' New York Times bestselling book on Bonhoeffer:

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

(Part 8) Answering the Toughest Questions About Homosexuality with Alan Shlemon

Alan answers this week's question...If homosexuality is observed among animals, doesn’t that mean it’s natural for the human population?

The first “museum dedicated to gay animals” opened in 2006 at the University of Oslo (Norway). It was called Against Nature? An Exhibition on Animal Homosexuality and claimed to prove that animals develop “long-lasting [gay] partnerships.” The creators hope to “de-mystify homosexuality among people” and debunk the belief that gay sex is a “crime against nature.”[i]

Lesbian star, Rosie O’Donnell, makes a similar claim that “In every animal kingdom and every species, 10 percent of the population is homosexual,” and that’s “a fact of nature.”[ii] (You can see my response to the claim that 10% of the human population is gay here).

The argument is that since animals engage in homosexual behavior that is instinctual, it must be natural for them and, consequently, natural and moral for humans since they are animals too.

There’s something wrong with this line of reasoning. In fact, a simple question composed of a two-letter word gets right to the heart of the problem: So? Even if animals exhibit homosexual behavior, so?  What does that prove? It proves nothing. Do advocates of this view really want to say: Because animals engage in X behavior, therefore X is natural/moral for humans? This claim is literally absurd. Here’s why.

There’s a Latin term in logic called reductio ad absurdum that means “reduction to the absurd.” At Stand to Reason we call it “Taking the Roof Off.” It’s a simple way to disprove a claim by showing that it leads to an absurd conclusion. In fact, I’m confident you’re already know this tactic.

Imagine a father asks his daughter, “Why did you start smoking?” She answers, “Because all my friends were doing it.” The father’s response is obvious: “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?” Notice the father’s reasoning. He accepts his daughter’s rational, for the sake of argument, and then asks himself a question: If I apply my daughter’s rationale to jumping off a cliff, that would mean she’d jump of a cliff too. But that’s absurd! That means her rationale is also absurd. And then he asks a question that exposes the absurdity of her thinking. That’s reductio ad absurdum.

With the claim about animal homosexuality, this tactic works equally well. The rationale for the argument is that if animals engage in a behavior, it must be natural and moral for humans do it too. Let’s apply that logic to some other animal behavior: cannibalism. Animals eating their own kind has been observed in over a thousand animal species. Following the logic of the view would mean that cannibalism is natural and moral for humans. But that’s absurd! And so is the rationale that led to that absurd conclusion.

Indeed, animals engage in all sorts of selfish, violent, and primitive behaviors that humans would almost universally categorize as immoral. That’s why taking moral cues from the animal kingdom is absurd. Yes, humans are an animal of sorts, but we’re more than that. We are rational beings with a capacity for free will and a rich intellectual life. To reduce our behavior and relationships to instincts, stimuli, and urges ignores a major component of human nature. I like how Richard Umbers puts it:

Homo sapiens is an animal, but not merely an animal. We have a lot in common with parasitic worms, but there are some differences, too. Our bodily nature is subject to intellectual direction. A human being unites the intellectual and the corporeal, what is rational and what is animal. We get a distorted picture of man when we focus on one aspect to the exclusion of the other. They can never be separated.”[iii]

When humans have conflicting instinctive reactions, our intellect can reason between them and determine the most expedient or moral course of action. Animals, however, behave according to their strongest instinct given what they see, smell, hear, taste, and perceive. These natural impulses aid in their protection, survival, and reproduction.

But internal or external stimuli can cause their instincts to clash or get confused, leading to unusual behavior. Sometimes a cat will kill his kittens. Unlike females whose strong maternal instinct protects her babies, the predatory instinct of a tom cat can confuse his offspring for prey. Are his hunting impulses natural? Yes. Can they be misdirected? Sure. Should we declare filicide or cannibalism as natural or moral for humans? No.

The same is true for allegedly homosexual acts among animals. Their sexual drive and instinct to mate is extremely strong and can be confused. When animals are in heat, they release pheromones that trigger an instinctual behavior by males. According to an expert in the field, this inborn impulse is so strong, that it can “instigate a frenzy of mounting behaviors. Even other females who aren't in heat will mount those who are. Males will mount males who have just been with females [in heat] if they still bear their scent…And males who catch wind of the estrus odor may mount the first thing (or unlucky person) they come in contact with.”[iv] I’ve even seen a dog mount a couch. One might have good taste in sofas, but I doubt it’s so good that your dog is sexually attracted to it. The poor pooch is confused.

Plus, sexual activity among animals is known to be used for purposes other than reproduction. Although humans can express themselves by speaking, writing, gesturing, and a multitude of other ways, animals are limited. Consequently, they are known to use sexual behavior to express a range of sentiments: social dominance, aggression, avoiding conflict, and many other emotions. That’s why many researchers think it’s naive to impose a human understanding of homosexuality onto animal behavior.

“Properly speaking, homosexuality does not exist among animals.... For reasons of survival, the reproductive instinct among animals is always directed towards an individual of the opposite sex. Therefore, an animal can never be homosexual as such. Nevertheless, the interaction of other instincts (particularly dominance) can result in behavior that appears to be homosexual. Such behavior cannot be equated with an animal homosexuality. All it means is that animal sexual behavior encompasses aspects beyond that of reproduction.”[v]

But we can’t infer homosexuality when a male chimpanzee mounts another male any more than we can infer sofaphilia when a dog mounts your couch. Yes, I made up the word “sofaphilia.”

Animals behave according to their instincts. That’s appropriate. When humans do the same, we don’t applaud them. Instead, we often put them in jail. That’s because humans have the capacity, and therefore the responsibility, to use principled self-restraint when their instinctual response is to act like an animal.

[iv] Jacque Lynn Schultz, C.P.D.T. at A short bio on Jacque Lynn Schultz can be found here:
[v] Antonio Pardo, "Aspectos médicos de la homosexualidad," Nuestro Tiempo, Jul.-Aug. 1995, pp. 82-89; as quoted in Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, “The Animal Homosexuality Myth,” at

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Chuck Colson, J.P. Moreland and others are saying about the release of Think Christianly...

"As someone who has devoted many years of ministry to teaching Christian worldview. I am thrilled to see dynamic and faithful worldview leaders like Jonathan Morrow stepping to the fore. Think Christianly, in a compelling and accessible way, equips Christians young and old to engage the culture winsomely, intelligently, and with confidence.”

- Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship
and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview

"Think Christianly is a remarkable and important achievement. Written in an interactive and accessible style, it covers an exhaustive range of topics. Indeed, I know of no other book like it in this regard, and it it now the first book to which to turn for learning the specifics of how to think Christianly."

 - J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, 
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University,
 and author of The God Question 

"We Christians love to lob rhetorical grenades at the surrounding culture from the safety of our holy huddle. What’s far more difficult—and effective—is to engage the issues of our day with intelligence, moral clarity, and biblical wisdom. That’s exactly what Jonathan Morrow does in Think Christianly. Morrow has a knack for elucidating complex ideas and applying timeless truth to contemporary topics. He’s also done a fine job of gathering top Christian thinkers and presenting their ideas on issues ranging from the role of the Bible to bioethics. Think Christianly is a significant addition to the faith and culture conversation and a readable primer for church leaders. It belongs in the library of every thoughtful Christian."

 - Drew Dyck, Managing editor of Leadership Journal
 and author of Generation Ex-Christian: 
Why Young Adults are Leaving the Faith…
and How to Bring Them Back (Moody, 2010)

 Every generation of Christ-followers lives at the intersection
 of faith and culture; now it's our turn...

I'm convinced that the Bible doesn't make us choose between cultivating a thoughtful faith and demonstrating radical love in our world. Yes there is much moral and spiritual confusion today and that brings with it it's own share of challenges. But it also presents us with some amazing opportunities. So let's learn to think Christianly and embrace these cultural moments. Let's engage!

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Monday, February 6, 2012

The Media’s Abortion Blinders and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation Controversy

Ross Douthat's Op-Ed yesterday in the New York Times is worth a read. Here is an excerpt from the article in which he mentions several uncomfortable truths you won't hear reported on in the media.
"In the most recent Gallup poll on abortion, as many Americans described themselves as pro-life as called themselves pro-choice. A combined 58 percent of Americans stated that abortion should either be “illegal in all circumstances” or “legal in only a few circumstances.” These results do not vary appreciably by gender: in the first Gallup poll to show a slight pro-life majority, conducted in May 2009, half of American women described themselves as pro-life. But if you’ve followed the media frenzy surrounding the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation’s decision — which it backpedaled from, with an apology, after a wave of frankly brutal coverage — to discontinue about $700,000 in funding for Planned Parenthood, you would think all these millions of anti-abortion Americans simply do not exist. From the nightly news shows to print and online media, the coverage’s tone alternated between wonder and outrage — wonder that anyone could possibly find Planned Parenthood even remotely controversial and outrage that the Komen foundation had “politicized” the cause of women’s health....." (more)

Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

(Part 7) Answering the Toughest Questions About Homosexuality with Alan Shlemon

Next challenge in our series with Alan Shlemon: "Since 10% of the U.S. population is gay, we need to just learn to get along and be more tolerant."

It’s often said that if you repeat something loud enough and long enough, people will begin to believe it. Such is the case with the claim that 10% of the population is gay. Though it’s commonly believed, the figure is rarely questioned.

The media only contributes to the problem. It seems like every movie and television show includes the obligatory gay character(s). It’s no surprise, then, that American perception of the prevalence of homosexuality is skewed. A Gallup poll in 2002 found that Americans estimated the percentage of homosexuals to be 21.5% of the population, a startling number that would even shock pro-gay advocates!

The origin of the 10% statistic is from a 1948 book by Alfred Kinsey called Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Kinsey concluded from his research that “10 percent of the males are more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.”[i]

But just who are “the males” in Kinsey’s research? It turns out that his sample population contained a high percentage of convicted criminals, sex offenders, and male prostitutes. To no one’s surprise, many researchers were critical of his conclusions since his test subjects didn’t represent the broader population. The American Statistical Association blasted his sampling procedure the same year his book was published. One of their committee members, Princeton mathematician John Tukey, wrote, “A random selection of three people would have been better than a group of 300 chosen by Mr. Kinsey.”

Clearly the 10% figure isn’t credible, but accurately estimating the homosexual population can be elusive. One problem is how you determine who is “gay.” Do only lifelong homosexuals fit the definition? Should people who have had a single homosexual encounter be included? Does someone who experiences homoerotic dreams count? How one defines “gay” affects the prevalence estimate.

But even with this problem, many studies give a lower estimate than the touted 10% Kinsey figure. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a group that’s affirmative of homosexuality, found only 2.3% of 3,321 males reported homosexual contact in the previous 10 years.[ii] A later study of 93,311 women in the Archives of Family Medicine found only 1.4% ever had sex with another woman as an adult.[iii]
Most recently, however, was a UCLA study by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity that incorporated and analyzed data from previous prevalence studies. Gary J. Gates, the author of the study and a Distinguished Scholar at the UCLA School of Law, found 1.7% of the adult population identified as either gay or lesbian.[iv]

You’d think that now that the 10% figure has been debunked, pro-gay groups would apologize for the misrepresentation and offer scientifically defensible estimates. But they don’t. Instead, they admit they knew the figure was inaccurate, but used it to advance their cause anyway. Tom Stoddard, former member of the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, said, “We used the figure…to create an impression of our numerousness.”[v]

Jill Harris, of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, said “I think people probably always did know that it was inflated.  But it’s a really nice number that you could say, ‘one-in-ten,’ and it’s a really good way to get people to visualize that we are here.”[vi]

In an Oxford University Press publication, Bruce Voeller admitted that he “campaigned with gay groups and in the media across the country for the Kinsey-based finding that ‘We are everywhere.’ And after years of our educating those who inform the public and make its laws, the concept that 10 percent of the population is gay has become generally accepted ‘fact’…As with so many pieces of knowledge and myth, repeated telling made it so.”[vii]

Regardless of the actual percentage of homosexuals in the population, it’s not relevant to our obligation to “get along and be more tolerant.” Even if there were only ten homosexuals in the country, it would still be virtuous for Christians to tolerate (in the accurate sense of the word) them. The number is irrelevant for that purpose.

But tolerance shouldn’t be our goal. Christians shouldn’t aspire to treat homosexuals the way the secular culture treats them. We fail if we do. Instead, we should treat them better. That doesn’t mean we advocate for gay rights or pitch their agenda. It just means we love them better than they’re loved by the world. That’s the first step in transforming our relationship with them for the sake of transforming their relationship with God.

[i] Alfred Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1948), 651.
[ii] John O.G. Billy, et al., “The Sexual Behavior of Men in the United States,” Family Planning Perspectives, Alan Guttmacher Institute, March/April 1993.
[iii] Barbara G. Valanis, et al., “Sexual Orientation and Health: Comparisons in the Women’s Health Initiative Sample,” Archives of Family Medicine, 9:843-853, September/October 2000, pp. 844.
[iv] Gary J. Gates, “How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender?” The Williams Institute, April 2011.
[v] “How Many Gays Are There?” in Newsweek, February 14, 1993.
[vi] “Gay Rights, Special Rights,” Jeremiah Films, Inc. 1993; quoted in Mike Haley, 101 Frequently Asked Questions about Homosexuality, (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2004), 178.
[vii] Bruce Voeller, “Some Uses and Abuses of the Kinsey Scale,” Homosexuality, Heterosexuality: Concepts of Sexual Orientation, (Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 35-36.

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