Romans 1 and the origins of homosexuality?



I’ve always wondered if the causal link made by St. Paul between paganism or idolatry and the development of homosexuality in Romans 1 is universal or merely specific to the context of his letter.

[quote=Romans 1:22-29]Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.** For this reason** God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.** And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct**.

Do we take from this the idea that people have same-sex attractions because of worship of self and worship of idols prior to the development of homosexuality? I find this very interesting, but also very worrying, because of my own struggle with this problem.


A few comments:

(1) Paul says that this is ONE cause of same-sex sexual behavior. He doesn’t say it is the only cause of such behavior, and he certainly doesn’t say it is the only cause of homosexual attraction.

(2) In my experience, most people develop same-sex attraction in childhood/late-childhood, though some people acquire it later. I doubt that God is punishing children with same-sex attraction. (And note the phrase “God gave them up to dishonorable passions”. It sounds like the passions were already there, and not causing sin, but then God did something that allowed them to start acting on these passions.

(3) In my own experience, my first sexual sins had nothing to do with same-sex attraction. Could these sins have had a causal role in forming my same-sex attraction? I doubt it, but it’s possible. I’m not sure why this matters, though – a temptation is a temptation, however the temptation arose.


Beware anybody selling THE cause for anything in human soul and behavior. We’re complicated critters. As noted above, St. Paul is merely repeating the wisdom that sin begets more sin, not describing the overriding cause of one particular kind of sin.

And for the record, don’t let anybody tell you that sinful inclinations toward homosexual lust is any worse than anybody else’s sinful inclinations. We all got 'em which is why we all needed a Savior!


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