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Homosexuality Worldviews

Homosexuality Worldviews
Mark L Chase
School of Behavioral Science, Liberty University
Author Note
Using published scholarly textbooks and articles, this paper examines how a
controversial topic like homosexuality can produce different conclusions when viewed
through different psychology-Christian worldviews.
Keywords: Levels of Explanation Viewpoint, Integration Viewpoint, homosexuality
Homosexuality Worldviews
Few topics generate as much controversy as does homosexuality, especially
when it comes to religious views. While the United States is considered to be generally
secular, with significant acceptance of sexual diversity and orientation, religious
viewpoints continue to inform much of society's dispute about the topic (Carlstrom,
2020; Moon, 2014). Though many feel religious views only serve to encourage
stereotyping and conflict, it is, in reality, a key to understanding the relationship of
religion and secularism in the United States. According to Rosentiel (2007), "American
secularism is derived from the strength of religion, not from its weakness" (p. 3).
The secular public is known for taking either a pro-gay or anti-gay attitude
towards homosexuality, whereas Christians view homosexuality as either "born gay" or
a "sinful choice." While this binary opposition simplifies defending a particular
worldview, it turns out that beyond the dichotomy lies six religious perspectives that are
more constructive in separating out the all-important moral questions from the secular
viewpoints of sexual orientation. While beyond the scope of this paper, the six religious
views begin with "God hates Fags," followed by "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin," "We
Don't Talk About That," "They Can't Help It," "God's Good Gift," and "Godly Calling"
(Moon, 2014). Each perspective has its own belief about same-sex attractions and
sexual behavior based upon interpretation of what Scripture says and God's good
creation. But as Carlstrom (2020) points out, "revisionism is a modern invention which
aims at distorting biblical verses to make them say the opposite of what they contain"
(p. 34). Hence, understanding, reality, and epistemology are subjective, based on one's
worldview. As will be discussed in the next section of this paper, psychology-Christian
viewpoints are also mainly based on subjective constructs and are not immune to
revisionism. Different conclusions can easily flow from the same facts based on
perspective, epistemology, and interpretation.
Levels of Explanation View & Homosexuality
The levels-of-explanation (LOE) view is the most secular approach to
understanding science and psychology within a Christian context. Psychological science
and faith share the beliefs of humility, skepticism, and psychological inquiry; therefore,
both can co-exist in the same space. LOE views the disciplines of physics, chemistry,
biology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and theology all on equal footing, each
providing a perspective from which to study and conceptualize human nature,
functioning, distress, and God's world (Myers, 2010). Myers (2010) stresses that "the
multilayered ways of looking at a phenomenon enables us to build bridges between
different perspectives" (p. 52). The epistemologies from all the disciplines guide
empirical research, though the Bible is excluded to avoid misinterpretation and
worldview differences. LOE is the only psychology-Christian template or viewpoint that
excludes the Bible as a source of knowledge and wisdom.
Based on the scientific methodology utilized in the LOE view, empirical research
without direct regard to Scripture, Myers (2010) makes a strong case that
homosexuality is a biological/genetic disposition, not a moral choice or failure, that has
long been the go-to explanation. Moon (2014) refers to this perspective as "They Can't
Help It," which lies between a homonegative and homopositive societal perspective.
Perspectives, both individual and societal, tend to either minimize or bring into the
spotlight underlying moral and ethical issues. In this example, we see a moral issue
swept under the rug in favor of science and scientific findings. In the forthcoming
discussion, we explore precisely how merely changing a perspective changes an
Integration View & Homosexuality
The integration view (IV) is the second most secular approach to understanding
science and psychology within a Christian context. IV values science and research but
dualistically since scientific truth is God's truth. According to Jones (2010), "Scripture
does not provide us all that we need in order to understand human beings fully" (p.
101); hence psychological science and research fill in the blanks to understand better
human nature, functioning, and distress. Biblical truth is foundational to an IV
approach, as is paying attention and asking questions when conflict arises between
credible psychological science and one's Christian faith, integrity, and convictions.
Jones (2010) provides an excellent discussion on utilizing the IV approach in his
dialogue about homosexuality. Recall, IV is mindful of both science and God's word,
with the latter being the starting point. Six passages in the Bible account for
homosexualities' sinful nature: Genesis 19:1-29, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13,
Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 (Moon, 2014). Upon a
thorough understanding of Scripture, we discover homosexuality itself is not a moral
issue; instead, it is the voluntary homosexual act (Jones, 2010). The inaccurate
information is an excellent example of revisionism and distorting reality to fit society's
perspective. We next look at the science that both supports and contradicts Scripture to
gain an understanding of why differences exist. In Jones's (2010) example, we see that
the empirical research itself was faulty, resulting in a Type One error.
Additionally, when the empirical study was reproduced, and new findings were
released, society was not interested as it had already gotten the desired answer of
biological/genetic disposition. Never the less, the moral issue of homosexuality
remained just as it did before considering science in the equation. Moon (2014) refers
to this perspective as "We Don't Talk About That," which also lies between a
homonegative and homopositive societal perspective.
The primary reason why Myers (2010) and Jones (2010) arrived at different
conclusions, even though both are Christians, is based on the psychological scienceChristian methodologies each employed to analyze the issue. Jones (2010) used an
additional source of knowledge, Scripture, and asked questions and investigated more
when differences existed between the status-quo and Christian reality. Society believes
what it wants to believe, not necessarily what it should believe, even when science or
God's word says otherwise.
Carlström, C. (2020). "God's word does not change as trends do" – contemporary
discourses on homosexuality in Swedish Christianity. Theology & Sexuality,
26(1), 28–44. https://doi.org/10.1080/13558358.2020.1790988
Johnson, E. L. (2010). Psychology & Christianity: Five Views 2nd Ed. IVP Academic.
Jones, S. L. (2010). An integration view. In Johnson, E. L. (Ed.), Psychology &
Christianity: Five Views 2nd Ed. (pp. 101-128). IVP Academic.
Moon, D. (2014). Beyond the Dichotomy: Six Religious Views of Homosexuality. Journal
of Homosexuality, 61(9), 1215–1241.
Myers, D. G. (2010). A level of explanation view. In Johnson, E. L. (Ed.), Psychology &
Christianity: Five Views 2nd Ed. (pp. 49-78). IVP Academic.
Rosentiel, T. (2007). Religion and Secularism: The American Experience. Pew Research
Center Religion and Public Life.