One of the Christian teachings that secularists strongly reject is the teaching that human beings are born sinful. In fact, some secularists have advocated that Family Service agencies find parents guilty of child abuse if they tell their children that they were born sinners. Muslims might also reject this idea, because they teach that the child of a Muslim father is born Muslim.
Right now, there is energetic disputation between the LGBTQ community and Christians who consider homosexuality sinful, because the LGBTQ advocates declare that they were “born that way.” They believe that the fact they were born with gender confusion or with sexual orientation toward their own gender means that God made them that way. (That is, if they believe God is the Creator.) The conversation has in many instances been completely sidetracked from the real issue by the question of whether gender identity or sexual orientation is a congenital trait.
The fact is that this issue can be resolved easily for a Christian. It cannot be easily resolved for people who reject the existence of God and/or the authority of the Bible. Christians know that human beings are fallen, sinful creatures from birth. That means that a person who is attracted to the opposite sex is, nevertheless, a sinner. It also means that a person who is attracted to the same sex is, nevertheless, a sinner. Sexual orientation, a politically contrived term with a politically contrived definition, is irrelevant to the fact that someone is a sinner. Every human being is born sinful. The definition of sin is disobedience to God. A sinner is a person who practices disobedience to God. A sinful person has the trait of being disobedient to God. Every person ever born is born with that trait, regardless of whether that person also has the trait of homosexual orientation. These traits have nothing to do with DNA. They are about human nature, a spiritual quality expressed in the bodily life of a human being.
Some people do wish there were a heritable trait that could explain homosexuality, but no evidence of such a thing has been found. Whether one attributes the design of living things to God or to chance, the way sexuality functions in living things decrees that any organism which acts on a homosexual attraction will not produce progeny and therefore will not pass on any of its traits to any new generation. If a whole generation of organisms were homosexual, the organism would become extinct. Whether one believes that the origin of heterosexual attraction is God’s will or nature’s drive, the fact is that a homosexual organism is the origin of its own demise.
However, the DNA argument is actually irrelevant to the conversation. The energy of the discussion is rooted in the fact that people who claim to be homosexual do not want homosexuality defined as sin. They want homosexuality to be viewed as one of many different sexual orientations, and they want all sexual orientations to be considered normal.
The Bible stands firmly in the path of such a view.
The Bible simply and clearly says that homosexuality is sin. It also says that all people are born sinful. It does not say that every person is born attracted to the same sin. The Bible names many sins, but the root of each of them is the same: rebellion against God. Sinners believe that God has no right to tell them what to do. Sinful people born with a sexual attraction to people of the same sex are no more sinful than people who are born with a propensity to steal anything not nailed down. Both people reject God’s right to tell them that the things they like are sinful. The Bible calls stealing a sin. Adultery and lying are both named sins in the bible. The human race, however, has a history of explaining away these sins and all the others. Homosexuality is no different.
What is the answer, then, for someone born attracted to the same sex? That sin is one of many that shape sinful human nature, and God has an answer for it: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned” (John 3:16-18 ESV).” Despite God’s declaration that homosexuality is sin, he loves people so much that he does not want homosexuals to be destroyed. He wants them to live.
The value of this offer is not restricted to life after death, either. As many sinners saved by grace will attest, it is a great blessing to confess to God that they are sinners and then receive his gracious forgiveness and healing. It is good to let go of sin and live for Jesus. In this life! Here! Now! The sins of a lifetime go away forever when any sinner confesses his sinful nature and receives Christ into his heart. Life in the here and now is better immediately and better thereafter.
Many secular thinkers mistakenly believe that people who tell others about Jesus are trying to bribe them to believe with the promise of heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. Heaven is a wonderful reward for someone who loves and serves Jesus, but it would be endless torment for someone who rejects Jesus. In fact, it has occurred to me that the worst possible thing that could happen to an unrepentant sinner would be for that person to be condemned to live in the heavenly throne room for eternity.
People who advocate for the LGBTQ lifestyle are, according to the Bible, advocating for a life lived in rebellion against God. They want to be justified, because, they say, they are born that way. Recently a young man, openly gay and openly Christian, explained why that argument does not hold water. He said, “As someone who is attracted to the same sex, I assure you, it is not a choice. Rejecting God’s call to repentance and instead embracing sinful desires is a choice.” He is saying that being “born that way” does not excuse the behavior that arises from the sinful desire. How does he dare to make this statement? He was born with the sinful desire, but he has confessed that desire and given it to God. He lives with the battle against homosexual attraction the same way alcoholics live with the battle against alcohol and liars live with the battle to speak truth. He lives with the same battle every human being faces: the battle to accept the sovereignty of God in his life.
This is the real battle. No human being naturally wants anyone or anything to be sovereign over him. Every human being wants to be free to do anything that occurs to him. The fact that humans want freedom is not the root problem, however. The root problem is that people naturally choose to do destructive things. Everything God calls sin is destructive to human beings. God gives humans freedom, and, when they misuse it by choosing death instead of life, he lets them have death. It breaks his heart, but he allows it, because freedom is his gift to them. Only when they use their freedom wisely, choosing to stop listening to self and its self-serving choices, only when they choose to deny self and choose Christ, can he bless them with real life. Everyone is born sinful, but nobody need suffer the destruction of sinful choices. God wants us to use our freedom to choose life. The apostle Paul points out where that choice leads when he writes, “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV). We are all born sinful, but God has beautiful plans for us anyway. All we need to do is to choose to follow Christ, not self.