"Homosexuality is a choice"
Homosexuality is one of three sexualities (but see 'spectrum' under the "How To Say" menu button). Someone's 'sexuality' is their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation refers to whether someone prefers and is sexually aroused by their own gender (homosexuality), by members of the opposite of their gender (heterosexuality), or by both equally (bisexuality). Someone's sexuality is NOT a choice. Being gay, bi, or het, is a bit like being left-handed, ambidextrous, or right-handed. And someone's sexuality is just as fixed as their handedness. If a het guy is in an all-male prison, and he has sex with another man, it does not make him gay, he will still be het. Just like a left-handed person using their right hand to do something does not make them right-handed. Religious parents trying to make their son het is just as ridiculous, pointless, and damaging as trying to make a left-handed person right-handed. Being left-handed or right-handed is not a moral issue. Equally, being gay, bi, or het is also NOT a moral issue.
To carry the analogy further - for religious parents to tell their teenager that god loves the heterosexuals more than the gays, is as bad and ridiculous as saying that god loves right-handers more than left-handers. Saying "okay you're gay but you shouldn't have sex with another boy" is as stupid as saying "you're left-handed but you shouldn't use your left hand". That would be like saying "don't fall in love or have sex with anybody the rest of your life". What a hateful mentality such parents would have, and most people in developed countries would consider that child abuse. If you have such parents our advice is to find friends that are not prejudiced. See the "Life" videos on this website where boys will tell you how they found friends that made them feel strong inside.
When someone uses the word 'choice' they are usually meaning in the context of homosexuality. The trouble with the word 'homosexuality' is that it can mean two different things - homosexual orientation, and same-gender sex. If used by a religious person quoting bible verses they are probably thinking in terms of having sex. This is because there are no references in the bible to homosexual orientation. Indeed there are no references to homosexuals. Because the contributors to the bible in the middle east were as ignorant of gay people existing as they were of polar bears existing - they thought that same-gender sex was the aberrant behavior of heterosexuals. So for religious people 'being gay' is a choice because they think of it as an activity, and in that sense 'having sex' is a choice, unless you are being raped. Just educate them that in today's normal english 'being gay' means having a gay sexual orientation, it does not mean having sex. That 5% of the population are gay and another 5% are bisexual. And that sexual 'orientation' is not a changeable thing (see next argument), and therefore not a choice.
Once they concede that gay people exist and that their sexual orientation is not a choice then you can simply educate them that for a gay man to make love with his same-sex lover it is a choice and it is the RIGHT choice.
"It's only a preference, you can change"
It's actually not a preference you can change. Sexual orientation is sometimes referred to as 'sexual preference'. This does not mean that it is in any way fluid, or changeable, or alternating. Even if a bisexual has a boyfriend one year, and a girlfriend next year, it does not mean they have changed their sexual orientation. They have been bisexual all along. Being gay is a bit like being left handed. Someone prefers to use their left hand for things, but they are not going to become right handed tomorrow. And you can explain the stability of your sexual preference this way.
"Gays can't have kids"
Well of course gays do have kids, and you can see many examples of gay couples with kids on this website by selecting the 'Parent Videos' button on the main menu. A male couple can come together with a female couple and 'pass the cup'. This phrase refers to passing semen from one or both of the male partners to the female couple who impregnate themselves, or just one. The main point about this method of fertility is that it shows that no heterosexuals are required. Indeed that no heterosexuality is required. And the child can be for the male couple or the female couple.
Another and very frequent method a male couple use is to have an egg donor and separate surrogate. Neil Patrick Harris and his partner used this method, see the 'Parent Videos' button on the main menu. The couple can of course adopt, either internationally or domestically. Other ways of bringing a child into a same-sex relationship may be that one or both of the parents are bisexual or was a closetted gay guy and already has children.
"It's Adam & Eve not Adam & Steve"
Genesis is of course a silly fable made up by the chauvinist jews of the middle east trying to explain how the human race, as well as the rest of the animals on the earth, came about. It's ultimate chauvinism in Gen 2:23 saying that woman came out of man rather than men come out of women, is a total disrespect of women. Of course the correct answer to this argument is that Genesis is rubbish made up by ignorant people and that the human race evolved from great apes and other ancestors around two million years ago.
But you can humor the gullible person who puts this argument to you by stating that it is far more likely to be "Adam & Steve". You can state with scientific honesty that it is possible to clone a person from a rib. Genesis 2:21-22 says that god took a rib from Adam and made Eve out of it. Get the gullible person to google for "dolly the sheep". They will discover for themselves that it is possible to make a whole animal, from somatic cells of a donor. (Somatic cells, like ribs, are non-genetic cells.) The process is called cloning, and the clone is an exact copy of the donor. This means that since the donor, Adam, was male then the second person on earth would have also to be male. Hence it was Adam & Steve, not Adam & Eve.
"The bible says ..."
Genesis 19 is about Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities which were burned down by two men who fled to Lot's house. His house was still in Sodom but maybe on the outskirts. They were pursued by the townsfolk who wanted to know who they were. Nowhere in the story does it say anyone was homosexual, but the story has become known as a condemnation of gays by god. Lot later gets drunk and has sex with both his daughters on two successive nights Gen 19:36. This incest appears to be condoned in the bible which just goes to show what an immoral book it is.
Leviticus in the old testament has two references condemning homosexuality: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." (Leviticus 18:22) and "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 20:13). In biblical times, same-sex behavior was primarily seen as happening between adult men and adolescent boys (masters and servants), via prostitution, and by men who were married to women. This is why it was against jewish law, and that is all Leviticus is - the jewish law of the time. It is not a prescription for mankind as a whole. The jews were ignorant of sexual orientation, or even the love, commitment, or faithfulness of gay men.
All the above was written in the old testament. But in Hebrews Chapter 8 god says "forget all that, here's a new covenant". By that he is referring to the New Testament. So all christians and jews should ignore the old testament anyway.
Romans 1:27-32 is said by Paul, not by Christ or god. And Paul made a whole list of things for which a person would deserve death, not just passions between men. But a list including, but not limited to, gossiping, envy, insolence, and foolishness. So next time you whisper to someone that you envy your neighbor's car, or shout at another driver because you foolishly cut him off, you should then be put to DEATH, according to Paul. So by this you can determine how much respect we should have for Paul's ideas!!
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." Many scholars think that Paul is arguing against grown men having sex with adolescent boys and/or against men who are forced into the non-dominant position. Of course, these ideas are clearly related to the idea of gender held in the ancient world: men were superior to women, and it would be shameful for a man to act like a woman. So Paul is generally against people having sex - unless of course they are JEWS. He says if they are JEWS then they are JUSTIFIED to be drunk, and fornicate, and commit adultery, and abuse themselves, see 1 Corinthians 6:11.
Anti-gay prejudiced religios will often cite Matthew 19 verses 4 and 5 as if Christ had said something against gay people, but he did not. These verses are: "And he answered and said unto them, 'Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female?', and said, 'For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.' (Well we'll overlook the mistranslation of the word 'cleave', which obviously means separate not join.) 'One flesh' means having sex. But when you take it in context you see Christ was just saying "Try not to divorce".
In Matthew 19 (according to Matthew) Christ is asked a question about divorce. Some Pharisees asked Christ "Can a husband, for any reason, put away his wife?". Christ said words to the effect of "No, unless it is commanded so by a higher power such as Moses or for the sake of fornication, he must leave his parents and have sex with his wife, that's what he married her for." Christ DID NOT SAY that a man who is not married to a woman should have sex with her. So Christ was given the situation in the question that the man is already married to the woman. So his answer was certainly NOT "lead a heterosexual lifestyle". Symbolic stories in those days were not a statement of reality, they were made just for a purpose. The 'adam and eve' story was not to say that a marriage should be one man and one woman, but an attempt at an explanation of how the human race came about. Hence it used heterosexuality. But it certainly was not an advocation of heterosexuality over homosexuality, and certainly not a rebuke of male coupledom or female coupledom.
"But the bible also says ..."
It says a gay couple were married and loved each other very much. Although prejudiced people conspicuously forget about this story. After David slew Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, he fell in love with Jonathan, son of king Saul. And they were married, 1 Samuel 18. David and Jonathan's love for each other grew, 1 Samuel 19-20. 1 Samuel 20:30 Saul's homophobia was revealed (David was the son of Jesse, a Bethlehemite). 1 Samuel 20:40-41 David and Jonathan made love, and renewed their vows, 1 Samuel 20:42. Chapters 21-23 Saul pursued David to kill him. Chapter 24 David captured Saul in a cave and could easily have killed him but spared him. And Saul finally saw David's grace and made him king.
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