Saturday, January 21, 2017

Born This Way: Making Sense of Science, the Bible and Same Sex Attraction by Steve Morrison

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I wanted to read this book because of the ongoing debate surrounding the legalisation of same sex marriage in Australia. I wanted to think about what I believe and why, and how I can be prepared to explain that. I know that I have had good teaching from people I respect on this issue. But that doesn’t mean that it is easy to respond to the same sex marriage debate when I know that this affects real people who have suffered real anguish and rejection. I know that not supporting the changes to the marriage act is seen by many as judgemental and a denial of human rights. In his book Revolutionary Sex William Taylor quotes Germaine Greer who as saying that “Human beings have an inalienable right to invent themselves.”[i] I know that in the past, Christians have been quick to judge and slow to show love and understanding.
But as I have been reminded by a great preacher this past week, all people are under God’s judgement. If God is who He says He is, and if I have accepted His word and His rule over my life, then I need to listen to what He has to say about every part of life. And I need to keep speaking the truth in love.

Who is this book for? This book is helpful for Christians who want to understand what science and the Bible have to say about Same Sex Attraction.  Morrison has looked at the science and he deals with lots of Bible passages that are relevant to the issue. He is clear that science does not have all the answers. But he presents some evidence that is compelling. He urges the reader to put what they have been told about the experiences of others to one side while they look carefully at the Bible and see what God says that He intends for his creation. And he reminds us that we are to love those we disagree with.

Morrison explains the way that ‘tolerance’ has changed in today’s world. Tolerance once meant listening to another perspective and disagreeing, but now it seems to mean that you are intolerant if you do not agree with my way of seeing the world. Christians see the world as created by God, but today we live in a society where most people do not. So Christians are called homophobic when they do not support homosexual relationships and homosexual marriage as natural. Morrison rejects this label being used so broadly. He also rejects irrational or violent reactions to homosexuality. But he feels that it is actually the opposite of tolerant to attach the label of homophobic to everyone who express a differing point of view. And he reminds us that we need to “love and accept each other as human beings”.

But why look at science? Science has been so elevated that many people might expect it to be able to give us all the answers concerning the whys and wherefores of Same Sex Attraction. But it can’t. Morrison says that Science can experiment and observe but it can’t answer ethical questions. There is limited scientific knowledge in this area, and scientists can manipulate studies to push their own agenda. Morrison has looked at a range of scientific studies that were interested in finding out whether Same Sex Attraction is genetic. The science seems to say that, contrary to popular opinion, the genetic component in same sex attraction is minor at best. And that raises the question of same sex attraction being a choice. In my next post we will look at how Morrison applies the Bible and where we go to from here.

I have also been reading William Taylor’s book ‘Revolutionary Sex’ and have appreciated his insights on how differently Christians should view sex, “Our culture has made an idol out of sexual intimacy and suggests that we cannot be truly fulfilled unless we express our sexual desires. The Bible teaches otherwise.”[ii] He reminds us that the Christian community ‘needs to ensure that our churches are not homophobic.’[iii] And he reminds us that all of us are ‘flawed in the area of sexual conduct or thought.’[iv]

Because of the personal nature of this issue, and because of the hurt and rejection that Christians have caused in the past, it is important that Christians today are informed and able to respond in a loving and considerate way when it comes to same-sex attraction. It won’t always be seen as loving, but the Bible equips us to understand the world that we live in, and tells us how we are to live in the light of Christ’s rule over our lives. So I recommend reading Steve Morrison’s book and praying for wisdom, love and courage.

[i] William Taylor, Revolutionary Sex: How the good news of Jesus changes everything, (10 Publishing, 2015), p. 2
[ii] William Taylor, Revolutionary Sex: How the good news of Jesus changes everything, 10 Publishing, 2015, p. 64
[iii] William Taylor, Revolutionary Sex: How the good news of Jesus changes everything, (10 Publishing, 2015), p 65
[iv] William Taylor, Revolutionary Sex: How the good news of Jesus changes everything, (10 Publishing, 2015), p. 4

About this month's contributor, Rachael Collins
Rachael Collins is a Jane Austen fan who often finds it amusing that she is married to Mr Collins who is indeed a minister. Rachael enjoys gardening, drinking tea and moving house every two years. In between planting a new church in Marsden Park, she really hopes to read a lot of books this year.

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