Christian extremism does not conform to the world
that we live in. It never has.
Dan Delzell, a writer for the Christian Post, has authored: Unwanted same-sex attraction and free will. “Free will,” philosophically, is the opposite of predetermination. Mr. Delzell has an addiction to baloney.
In religious terms, “free will” is often used as a device of convenience. It attempts to explain why a supposedly omnipotent god cannot guarantee outcomes that coincide with whatever some cleric assures us is “God’s design for [something].”
Some years ago, the most prominent anti-gay theme revolved around the contrivance that they were not objecting to homosexuality. Uh uh. Nope. Homosexuality is behavior. The objective was, apparently, to concede that sexual orientation is innate but having gay sex is a choice.
Rational people understand that the Bible reflects the times in which it was written. Gay sex was prohibited because, in biblical times, it was only known as an act occurring between a patrician male and a slave boy.
Christian extremists, in contrast, believe that the Bible is the “literal and inerrant word of God.” Apparently God changed his mind about the consumption of pork around 50 CE. Furthermore, around the same time, God also changed his mind about a requirement for males to undergo some painful surgery if they chose to convert to Judaism or Christianity. But I digress.
If one concedes that variances in sexual orientation are the deity’s plan then that brings up a question for the literalists: Did the god create gay people in order to frustrate them? To make them miserable?
The more prevalent theme these days is that some form of conversion therapy or pray-away-the-gay offers the alchemy to convert people from gay to straight. Therefore, “sexual orientation is a choice.”
“… according to Dan Delzell, our romantic attractions are comparable to craving chocolate brownies when we are dieting.”
Some desires people experience are wanted, while others are unwanted. People choose to act on certain desires for various reasons while rejecting other desires. Human beings are free to make their own choices based on their beliefs, values, goals, etc.
Some people experience same-sex attraction, but not everyone chooses to act on that attraction. Some people eventually choose to reject this desire because it conflicts with their beliefs.
Wayne Besen, a well-known LGBTQ activists, used to say something to the effect that ex-gay people are ex-gay until we catch them in a gay bar.
Furthermore, let’s take a convenience sample. There are about 37,000 Catholic priests in the United States. Half of them are sexually active.
I wonder why anyone expects gay people to fare any better than those priests. After all, those men are committed to celibacy. They take a vow.
Furthermore, Delzell’s understanding of sexual orientation is simplistic. Sexual orientation is not binary. Sexual orientation is a continuum with heterosexual and homosexua at the extreme ends. Therefore, there are varying degrees of what Delzell calls “same-sex attraction.”
Delzell has an attraction to the simplistic:
Man is not a robot. He does not have to act on every impulse he experiences. We get to choose which longings to act on, and which ones to reject and replace.
No one chooses to have same-sex attraction, but everyone gets to choose how to respond to their personal inclinations. This includes desires in every area of life, which extend far beyond our sexuality.
“They do not study their victims because it will only prove that, over time, most people revert to their innate sexual orientation.”
Thus, according to Dan Delzell, our romantic attractions are comparable to craving chocolate brownies when we are dieting. It’s all rather silly. Moreover, it is profoundly unrealistic.
It’s all chocolate ice cream vs. vanilla:
How should I respond if I want to get even with someone who has wronged me? What if I desire to return a kind act with another kind act? What should I do if I become upset when seeing an injustice take place? We can accept or reject the various longings we experience every day. And we can work to replace certain desires with preferable desires.
First of all, sexual orientation is not like anger management. Our romantic attractions are at the core of who we are. Secondly, we do not “replace certain desires.” If we choose celibacy, the desire remains the same. Only the response changes.
Delzell is arguing that ignoring some putz who angers us is comparable to a choice to be celibate. That is preposterous.
And on that note, Delzell offers what he thinks is evidence:
Here are the stories of 18 people who have all dealt with unwanted same-sex attraction. These particular individuals are making daily choices aimed at circumventing this particular desire with a preferable mindset. Every human being is free to choose which desires to replace, and which desires to embrace.
The link is to the Changed Movement which is part of the cult-like Bethel Church.
More importantly, it is evidence of nothing. Bethel Church has oodles of money. Let me know when they fund a long-term longitudinal study published to a reputable academic journal employing robust peer review.
These propagandists of conversion therapy never study their effectiveness. They do not study their victims because it will only prove that, over time, most people revert to their innate sexual orientation. There are exponentially more ex-ex-gays than ex-gays.
“Imagine the shit load of money I could make if I claimed to have converted to Christianity and that I were no longer gay.”
There is a more basic question: Why should someone deny who they are in order to conform to religious doctrine? Furthermore, 18 people is not a very compelling sample.
Moreover, in their conversion they have been showered with approval. They have also been conditioned to be ashamed of being gay. We have no idea of how true their assertions are. They, sure as hell, are not going to admit that they are secretly gay. That would attract shame and acknowledgement that they “failed” at something.
Moreover, those 18 people made a choice to propagandize their supposed conversion. That is really shameful. They are promoting something that is going to damage the vast majority of people who buy into their BS.
Furthermore, some of those 18 people — like Mario L. Furlow — have turned their supposed conversion into a business.
Laura Perry has written a book which is avidly promoted by Christian outlets. So has George Carneal. Maria Kristina Barton is receiving the attention that she craves. Jay A. Santiago is now a “Christian vocalist.”
“Mr. Delzell doesn’t want to understand sexual orientation. To do so would create an enormous religious conflict. These are folks with closed minds.”
Those are just some of the 18 that I could uniquely identify. It would be virtually impossible for any of them to publicly announce that they are still gay. Imagine the shit load of money I could make if I claimed to have converted to Christianity and that I were no longer gay. Moreover, I would sure get a great deal of approving attention.
Dan Delzell further trivializes sexual orientation:
God created you with free will. Your desires do not have to define you. Instead, you get to define yourself according to the desires you choose to pursue. And you get to choose the information you feed into your mind, which will often result in one kind of “fire” or another.
That presupposes that we are defined by our sexual orientation. Only in extremist religious circles is that true. I always felt defined by business experience. My late partner was defined as a publicist. Our sexual orientation was always incidental to who we are or were. Our occupations have a strong effect on our social lives. Your mileage may vary.
Some people are defined by their hobbies. Others are obsessed with certain sports teams. They can tell you, year by year, how many saves Mariano Rivera had or Jeter’s batting average.
Mr. Delzell doesn’t want to understand sexual orientation. To do so would create an enormous religious conflict. These are folks with closed minds:
The yearnings you currently experience may not be governing your life three months from now. A lot will depend upon what content fills your mind between now and then, and how you respond to the particular desires you experience.
Only a religious extremist believes that our sexual orientation “governs” our lives. His view is to deny that we are much more than our sexuality. Hell, by about 324 BCE a gay man ruled the known world.