Author Topic: Religion (Potentially sensitive)  (Read 20236 times)

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2007, 01:38:13 PM »
amen ookla.

I admit to there being some genetic influence, but when you take a case study of a man who was *not* abused or traumatized but realized he felt more attracted to men than woman, who was then later able to change his attraction, well... that makes it literally impossible for homosexual attraction to be genetically predestined in all cases.

That doesn't refute that *some* homosexuality is genetically determined. But I find it absurd to take the stance that it isn't. The "why would I choose this" argument is a fallacy. People choose behaviors all the time that can ultimately be very poor over a long period of time. The argument also trivializes what is meant by "choosing" to be homosexual. No one is suggesting that one day people wake up and think "oh, I'll be gay from now on."

Armadius

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2007, 05:04:06 PM »
You're right, Ookla. Sorry for the misunderstanding. This all has to do with the meaning-of-life debate, which I don't really care to get into now. But from the perspective of someone who doesn't necessarily believe in an afterlife (call it "Heaven", if you want), I've only been given one life, and it's my intent to make the best of it that I can. I'm not quite willing to risk having a miserable life on Earth for the (possibly very slim) chance of having a better life after I die.

As to your point about changing sexuality, yes, it is possible to change sexual practice, and this is where the difference between homophilia and homosexuality comes into play again. But think of it this way - me trying to deny my sexuality a few years ago didn't make me straight; it just made me delusional. And I do know some people who have undergone counseling to change their orientation - even some who think it worked - but I don't believe it's possible to change a sexuality so easily. People can be convinced that being homosexual is wrong, and as I said, their desire to change may override their natures, but wishing something doesn't make it come true, and trying to pretend otherwise does, in my view, qualify as a delusion.

And SE, I'd actually be quite interested to read this study you mention. Is there any chance I could see it?

In the end, it's all individual perception - nobody can know for certain someone else's orientation. As such, any study on the matter is relatively ineffectual; the participant could be one of the cases I've mentioned where a desire to be straight overrides the perception of reality.
"Beauty is a form of Genius - is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of our world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned." - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Skar

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #32 on: January 19, 2007, 06:49:30 PM »
Seems to me that one's sexuality is entirely a matter of perception.  As discussed earlier, the defining characteristic seems to be: Who do you fall in love with?  Who do you lust after?  If these things change, one's sexuality has changed.  Thus if someone thinks it worked, it worked.  Calling them delusional is exactly as rational as calling me delusional for thinking that I'm hetero or calling Armadius delusional for thinking that he's gay.

Just a thought.
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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #33 on: January 19, 2007, 07:27:38 PM »
I read the study in a book called Breaking the Cycle of Compulsive Behavior.  I can't remember the author right now, but I own the book, so I can look it up later.

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #34 on: January 19, 2007, 09:05:29 PM »
Quote
but that relies entirely on the belief that there is an equation to complete
And I fully believe that equation exists and is the reason, I understand other's don't, but it's all I need.  Nor do I feel the need to have to prove myself or disprove your beliefs or views, I'm very confident in my beliefs and they're not something I feel I have to defend because I don't care what other's think of me because of them.
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Ladithien

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #35 on: January 19, 2007, 11:25:06 PM »
I'd like to pipe in briefly that I am very impressed with this discussion.  I sat and read through the pages out of sheer delight that a religious conversation of such sensitivity could occur without the trainwreck quota.

I also find the explication of the Mormon faith (and Brandon's beliefs in particular) intriguing.  I have never met anyone, surprisingly enough, who is a Mormon, let alone multiple people.

Just my two cents.  :)

MsFish

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #36 on: January 19, 2007, 11:49:13 PM »
This is the most civil controversial thread I've ever seen on this site.  Well done, everyone. 

I've always found the nature-nurture debate a little futile in all it's forms.  I'm not just referring to homosexuality here, but all traits where this debate is popular.  I have severe depression.  Some people say it's a chemical thing (inborn).  Some people say it's a behavioral thing (learned).  I actually disagree on both counts, because I think both play a part.  I was born with a propensity for depression, but it is the experiences I have encountered that led that inborn trait to manifest. 

I wonder if it might not be the same in homosexuals, though I obviously don't have enough experience to say.  Perhaps there is something inborn that is then brought out by experiences or environments.  Then, homosexuality would not be *caused* by not having a father figure or by being abused, but it might be brought out by either of these situations, or by entirely different environmental things entirely. 

Overall, I think the focus needs to be on being respectful of other people's choices of lifestyle.  If I tell other people how they can or cannot live their lives, I run the risk of losing my own freedoms.  There are many people who would marginalize Mormons, just as there are many people who would marginalize homosexuals.  I think we need to protect people's choices to do as they wish, as long as they aren't interfering with the basic rights of other people.

Also, Armadius, thanks for bringing this up.  I hope you stick around the forums in the future.  You *are* very articulate for a sixteen year old--or for a person in general for that matter.  Welcome.

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amyface

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #37 on: January 20, 2007, 12:46:26 AM »
Just a little thing,

I'm a Catholic straight scientist who has no problem at all with homosexuality (as long as the emotions are true and not slutty, which is also how I feel about heterosexuals).

I was recently in a genetics class and the gay gene question was brought up. My professor read a study in a peer reviewed journal that was looking for a gene. They couldn't find any genetic connection but they did find evidence that there were higher levels of estrogen in the utoris in males that was linked to homosexuality. There wasn't a specific cause for the increase found but it was thought to be a random occurance unrelated to any genetic predisposition. My point is that they have found a real medical, scientific reason behind male homosexuality. This was a very recent discovery and is now in furthur stages of research but I found it very interesting. They didn't find any similiar links to lesbien women though.

I could ask my professor if she could find the specific journal article if anyone is interested.

This is a very interesting, respectful and well put discussion! I'm liking it!
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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #38 on: January 20, 2007, 02:16:13 AM »

Are you saying that it's possible for someone who knowingly rejects the Mormon gospel to go to Heaven, regardless of their religious leanings?

I realize that Brandon already partially answered this, but he left out something that I feel should be mentioned, namely, the sons of Perdition. In Mormonism we believe that the people that have had the truthfullness of the gospel manifested them by the spirit, and believed it, and taken the covenants in our church associated with it, and then chose to reject it and follow Satan will be...well, I'm trying to think of a good way to say this, but the only thing I can think of that really does it justice is the actual scripture itself. It's in the Doctrine and Covenants, which is a book of some of the major revelations that we believe were given to Joseph Smith before he was killed at Carthage. It also contains the Official Declarations 1 and 2. Declaration 2 has already been referenced, which is the one where blacks were finally aloud to be given the priesthood. But I digress; I'm going off on a tangent.

The scripture is Section 76:31-36 which can be found here towards the middle of the page.

It outlines our belief that the only people that will actually go to hell, besides the devil and his angels, are the ones who rejected Christ after knowing fullwell that is the Saviour, which in our church would be somewhat akin to a general authority leaving the church and actively trying to destroy it. At least, thats my take, since we aren't actually told how far into the church you have to be before it would apply if you left. Personally the scripture is rather strong, and it ingrained itself pretty hard into my memory, particularly verse 33, which is why I mentioned it at all.

And that is my addition to this discussion for now.
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Armadius

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #39 on: January 20, 2007, 02:38:23 AM »
Oh, boy. I'll handle this person-to-person.

Skar - I'd like to agree, because then it would be easier for people who want to change to do so. But sexuality has a physical, chemical basis; as such, if it's at all decided simply by perception, it cannot be entirely so. When I address Amyface's point, I'll add more to this thought.

SaintEhlers - I'll need to see if I can find that somewhere. If you could get me the author's name, I'd be grateful. Do you remember if it was very dense, dryly scientific writing, or was it something that I'd be able to read and comprehend the first time through?

Spriggan - That's completely fine and, frankly, I'm not asking you to defend them or to argue with me. This was started simply as a question about why you believe what you do, not to attack you for your beliefs. More people in the world should be so confident in what they believe; it would solve a lot of problems.

FMP - I appreciate you bringing that up. Always glad to have more assurance that, if I am wrong, I'm not going to hell because of it. Thanks for the addition!

Ladithien - Glad to know you're enjoying it! ^_^

MsFish - I think the nature/nurture debate tends not to get anywhere because there is no certain answer (yet); the success of a debate relies entirely on one party's willingness to change its stance. But, of course, due to the lack of convincing evidence in this case, I doubt anybody's viewpoint has been significantly altered.

I haven't honestly been thinking enough about other examples of the nature/nurture debate, actually. I've always sort of figured that depression has a chemical basis because there are medications that, purportedly, fix the chemical imbalance that's speculated as the cause. But then again, I'm in no position to judge it, being that I don't have it.

I don't really think homosexuality is the same way, though it very well could be. There's been no explanation of what factors or experiences lead to the development of latent homosexuality. All theories that have been put forward have a lack of evidence supporting them or a substantial amount of evidence against them, in my opinion.

I agree, we should all endeavor to live in harmony with each other, but the first step to attaining harmony between two disagreeing people or parties is understanding one another's views.

Also, I do plan to stick around. Thanks for the compliment and warm reception!

Amyface - I think I may know what you're talking about. There was an article published fairly recently in a newspaper's magazine (I can't remember if it's the New York Times Magazine or the Boston Globe, sorry) that's probably a watered-down version of what you're referencing. I may be misunderstanding it, but the general gist of the article was that there's a hormone that affect a baby's development while it's still in the womb. If this hormone isn't present or isn't in sufficient amounts, the "switch" for heterosexuality may not be flipped, and the baby may be homosexual. I'll see if I can find the article.

The reality is that there are a lot of studies to support each side. One of my friends, a student in Arizona, told me about a couple of studies (I believe unrelated) that suggest homosexuals process pheremones the same way the opposite sex does. So, according to this, I process pheremones like a woman, whereas my friend Julia processes them like a man. I've read dozens of other studies suggesting a variety of things, but I'm trying not to bring them up for fear of sounding... uhm... pompous? That's not the right word, but I hope you know what I mean. I like to rely on my own thoughts and opinions, not the largely inconclusive studies of other people.

Again, glad you're all enjoying this!
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2007, 03:49:07 AM »
Quote
I'm not quite willing to risk having a miserable life on Earth for the (possibly very slim) chance of having a better life after I die.
I should mention that no one in our church intends anyone to have to live a miserable life and hope for something better afterward. Or, well, yeah, life isn't expected to be easy—it's expected to be full of trials to overcome—but we believe that everyone will be better off during this life by following the commandments than by not following them.

Of course, exactly how not acting on homosexual attractions is supposed to keep you from being miserable is not something I've looked into.

One of the most central principles we believe in is what we call agency—basically, free will, self-determinism, etc. We have the ability and the responsibility to choose how we react to stimuli.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2007, 03:52:14 AM by Ookla The Mok »
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Armadius

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #41 on: January 20, 2007, 05:30:59 AM »
Oh, I didn't mean to insinuate that you wish displeasure upon anybody. I'm sorry if it came out that way. But for my life to be complete and happy, I feel all aspects of it should be... celebrated? That might not make much sense. I'm exhausted right now, so excuse me if any of this isn't lucid. Anyway, I believe that my life (not necessarily everybody's, but mine) can't be fulfilled unless I celebrate the sexual and romantic aspect of it. As such, ignoring this part of my life would lead to it being more miserable than I'd like it to be. I appreciate the fact that life is full of challenges that are designed to make us better people, but the challenges that face me aren't in overcoming what some consider to be perverse urges; rather, I look on it as a test of my patience and willpower - the former because I get a lot of flak for being gay, and I feel I'm obligated to do my best to ignore it; and the second because tremendous determination is needed sometimes to prosper and get along with my peers despite social stigmata.
"Beauty is a form of Genius - is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of our world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned." - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #42 on: January 20, 2007, 05:50:23 AM »
I have been following this thread closely, because it hits so close to home. My family, on both my mother and father's side, have been LDS for generations. My husband and I were married in the temple, and we raised our kids in the LDS faith. Our only daughter is gay. It was a hard adjustment (though, in hindsight,  not entirely a surprise) when she told us. It occasioned hours of tears, prayers, and soul searching on my part, trying to come to terms with something for which I had no frame of reference. She was miserable during her high school years because she was trying to hide and deny her same-sex attraction.   I think one big reason she had such a hard time is that this is not a popular topic of discussion at church. The only thing she really knew was that the church teaches that homosexuality is wrong, and she had no real understanding of the distinction between the feelings and acting on the feelings. She thought she was a horrible, evil person for having feelings over which she had no control. My heart aches for her every time I think of what she was going through and the anguish she experienced. I truly wish that I had been observant enough to realize the turmoil she was in, and that I had been there to help her through it. She eventually chose to leave the church and pursue a gay lifestyle. We treat her and her partner the same as we treat our son and his girlfriend--they are welcome in our home at any time, they attend many of our family get togethers, but we ask that they respect our feeling and beliefs when they are in our home.

I firmly believe the principles that Brandon and other church members have explained on this thread. My daughter is a beautiful child of God that has a particular temptation to work through. It has to be her decision how she reacts to the feelings that she has. My responsibility is not to judge her, but to let her know that I love her and will accept whatever decisions she makes in her life. We have many frank discussions and she knows that the thing I want most is for her to be happy.

Armadius, I know this is not in line with your beliefs, and I hope I didn't say anything to offend you, but I thought maybe you would like to hear from someone with a little different perspective on the topic.
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The Lost One

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #43 on: January 20, 2007, 05:57:55 AM »
At the risk of being offensive, I wish to add some of my own observations on the subject.

A professor I once had asked if homosexual behavior was a benign behavior.  In the class discussion that followed, many students seem to presume that there was nothing bad that could occur from homosexual behavior.  The professor then raised some controversial points. He first mentioned that homosexuality is only benign if restricted to a small minority of the population because homosexual individuals don't contribute to replenishing the population, and with the US fertility rate dropping below the critical 2.1 rate, having social acceptance of homosexual behavior may bring long-term ramifications to social and economic problems associated with population decline.

That was an argument that took many students by supprise but then the professor (in a break from his ultra-liberal persona) raised a more startling argument.  He mentioned that over 90% of those with HIV and AIDS in America are homosexuals. In addition, the homosexual community tends to suffer from significantly more STDs than heterosexuals.  He said that it is now estimated that over one million Americans have died from HIV and AIDS that was initially brought to the United States through the homosexual community.  

While I don't consider these arguments to be definitive, I will suggest that there is a case for homosexuality as being a behavior that is not benign and even harmful to society. This may sound a bit homophobic but I think it needs to be considered and not rashly dismissed.

Also, I would like to mention one thing about homosexuality being genetic. I really thing that arguing over whether homosexuality is a genetic is pointless.  Sexual behavior is generally engaged in by choice. Whether someone has a genetic disposition to make that choice does not negate that it is a choice. Those who persist in claiming that homosexuality is genetic seem to be searching for an excuse for their own behavior. I personally feel that too many people try to blame their behavior (good or bad) on genetics. Whether it is someone claiming that they committed a crime or Donald Trump gloating about his wealth, I can't stand it when people blame their behavior on genetics. Genes don't determine everything (and you don't have to be an identical twin like me to know that). Save blaming genes for things like heart disease, diabetes and down syndrome and stop using it to explain behavior.

Finally, I will mention that I've have friends with homosexual tendancies. While I don't agree with their choices, I still repect them as individuals and as good people.
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Armadius

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Re: For Brandon - Religion (Potentially sensitive)
« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2007, 07:55:56 AM »
Dragonfly - I'm glad to get another perspective on it, especially that of a parent. I'm always interested to hear exactly what my parents may have gone through/may be going through; neither has religious objections to my orientation, but regardless, I imagine many of their reactions may have been similar to yours.

Speaking of parents with gay children, if any of you are interested, there's a fantastic memoir entitled The Family Heart that chronicles a mother's experience with her son coming out. The mother is not particularly pious, either, but if you're intrigued by this thread, I'd certainly suggest reading it. It ranks among my favorites.

The Lost 24 - The professor you mention is, as far as I know, mistaken. There is no evidence to suggest that social acceptance of homosexuality will cause an increase in the number of homosexuals. In fact, just to bring this back a little bit toward Brandon, I made the connection between homosexuality and the Shaod when I first read Elantris; both "strike" at random, regardless of one's station. Gay parents are no more likely to raise gay children than straight parents are; in fact, the first gay children must, quite obviously, have come from a straight couple.

Also, the observation that homosexuals do not contribute to replenishing the population is an incorrect one. Many gay males become sperm donors, and lesbians are no less fertile than heterosexual women. While the means may not be conventional, homosexuals do still contribute to the population. Though, to be honest, the world hardly needs more people in it right now; it sounds callous (and to some of you, probably anti-family) but the simple fact is that we live in an overpopulated country on an overpopulated planet that is rapidly being stripped of the resources necessary to continue supporting its inhabitants. Also, one cannot "restrict" an oritentation; activity, perhaps, but the same-sex attraction still remains, whether or not society recognizes it. I request that you not speak of it as you would an epidemic; I find that trivializing and insulting.

Furthermore, whoever it was that presented this information to you grossly overestimates the number of gay men with AIDS. It's true that the first cases of AIDS in the U.S. were found in the gay community, giving rise to nicknames such as "gay cancer", but shortly afterwards, several cases within heterosexual people were found.

In a 2004 study (I may have the year wrong), the CDC estimated that of all cases in the United States, 48% were due to male-to-male contact, and 7% were due to male-to-male contact and intravenous drug use. This leaves 45% of different causes, divided as follows: 27% male-to-female contact with intravenous drug use, 16% male-to-female contact, and 2% of other causes, including blood transfusion, birth with infection, and other unknown or unidentified causes. As for other STDs, could you find a study suggesting gay people are more susceptible? All sexual contact carries risks, which a) can be avoided using proper precautions, and b) should be assessed by interested couples, not outside parties; while I appreciate your concern that homosexuals not be infected with AIDS or other STDs, I'll thank you not to imply that I shouldn't be allowed to engage in whatever sexual activity I choose simply because of the largely avoidable health ramifications. In short, what I do behind closed doors is not likely to affect you or your well-being.

Also, I think I've explained already that I'm not referring only to the choice to engage in same-sex sexual activity when I say "homosexuality". I'm also referring to the (I believe genetically determined) predisposition to same-sex attraction. Yes, the choice to engage in sexual activity is just that - a choice. However, the inclination towards same-sex attraction is not, in my mind. Frankly, I get very annoyed by people who use genetics as an explanation for behavior, primarily because it's scientifically incorrect in most cases. However, please don't draw a parallel between homosexuality and avarice or criminal activity. I'm not saying the behavior is genetic; I'm saying the inclination is.

EDIT - If you want a better understanding of the beginning of the AIDS pandemic, I suggest viewing the 1993 HBO film, "And the Band Played On".
« Last Edit: January 20, 2007, 08:00:43 AM by Armadius »
"Beauty is a form of Genius - is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of our world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned." - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray