Can you be born gay?
For the vast majority of conservative Christians, the answer to this question would be a resounding, “No.” However, are we looking at the whole picture? Are we considering the whole counsel of Scripture in our response to homosexuality or just resorting to using verses out of context to make our arguments?
First of all, we need to remember who we are in creation and who we have become in Christ.
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. – Galatians 5:16-17
Indeed, I was guilty when I was born; I was sinful when my mother conceived me. – Psalm 51:5
These are just a couple of references teaching us about our sinful, fallen nature. Anyone with a toddler can verify that even little children are bent toward selfishness and pride. One way I like to think about it is that we have been born with an addiction to sin. It’s one thing for me to be tempted by cocaine. Technically, cocaine is a temptation for me because it is a sinful activity available to me that I could choose to do. However, for a cocaine addict, that temptation is altogether different. Adam and Eve were the only ones with the ability to live in sinless perfection. We don’t have that choice. For them, sin was available and possible and therefore a temptation. For us, it’s like a child being born with a drug or alcohol addiction because of the actions of their parents. I’m not saying that the sin is literally passed hereditarily or that Adam is a figurative head. That is a different discussion. What we must remember is that we are all born with a predisposition toward all kinds of sin, including sexual sin.
This means that we have natural, instinctual desires that are sinful. Heterosexual men and women still commit much sexual immorality and have natural desires that are full of sin. You do not have to teach a child to be selfish. It just comes naturally. Two of the most common arguments for homosexual behavior will be, “I was born this way” and “The animals do it, so it must be natural.” Unfortunately, Christians all to often resort to the argument, “You were not born that way. You choose to be that way.” Certainly, practicing homosexuality is a choice. None of us were born having premarital sex, either. However, the desire to have sex with random people is still very natural. It’s what we do with those desires that cause us to commit sin. However, same-sex attraction can absolutely be natural. But we cannot forget that natural and instinctual do not equal good.
But these people blaspheme anything they don’t understand. What they know by instinct like unreasoning animals—they destroy themselves with these things. – Jude 10
Little do most Christians know that the Bible even speaks to the animal argument! Sure, animals do all kinds of awful things naturally. If we reexamine the Genesis account, we will find that all creation was corrupted by the Fall. Men, women, animals, and the land. This also reminds us that just because something grows from the ground does not make it good, but that is a sidetrack. Therefore, the better response to the statement, “I was born this way” is “Yes, you were. Can I tell you why? Can I share some of the things I was born with that Christ has redeemed me from?”
Often, our responses to issues like this are poorly thought out and not rooted in biblical theology. Instead, our own sinful instincts kick in and cause us to commit sin in our desire to share truth. Truly, all responses to sin become much easier when we understand the whole story of Scripture.