2. Born Again – Testimony

How sweet did it suddenly become to me to be without the sweetness of trifles! And it was now a joy to put away what I formerly feared to lose. For thou didst cast them away from me, O true and highest Sweetness. Thou didst cast them away, and in their place thou didst enter in thyself–sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood; brighter than all light, but more veiled than all mystery; more exalted than all honor, though not to them that are exalted in their own eyes.

– The Confessions of Saint Augustine

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound), That sav’d a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.

– John Newton

From the earliest of my days, I recall pondering the meaning of my life and the world I lived in. My mental and emotional faculties had not yet fully developed, but there was a sense in me that there was something more, something bigger than my immediate environs. Perhaps it was my mom, a woman who was exploring her nascent and ambivalent Christian faith, who instilled in me this sense. In contrast, my dad was an agnostic who viewed the Christian faith and people with suspicion and pity. Consequently, I was not raised in the church, though my mom would occasionally take us to either a Protestant service or a Catholic mass. I was, however, taught the morals of my traditional parents, including integrity, loyalty, and the value of family. In all this, I somehow became acquainted with the notion of a god who ruled the universe and would determine my immediate and eternal future, though the notion was largely formless. One developing idea was that God would judge me according to how my “good” deeds compared with my “bad” deeds. I also had a sense that sacrifice was involved in knowing God. I would ask myself, “if God asked me to throw myself into a fiery lake, would I?” My surprising answer had been “yes”. Despite my ideas of judgment and sacrifice, I felt that this God I did not know so well somehow cared for me. I also pondered my own and my loved ones’ mortality. It didn’t make sense that I would cease to exist at some point, and the thought of my own death and the death of my loved ones filled me with terror. I found comfort in an ill-defined sense that there was a higher power who would rescue us from death.
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1. Born This Way – Reflections (Theology)

For in thy sight there is none free from sin, not even the infant who has lived but a day upon this earth.

– The Confessions of Saint Augustine

It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M, Just put your paws up, ’cause you were born this way, baby

– Lady Gaga

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, I wrote about how same sex sexual attractions first appeared in my life and about the origins of same sex sexual attraction from a scientific perspective.  Personal experience and science suggest an interplay between genetic and environmental causative factors, most of which the homosexual person has little control over.  For the Christian, however, the origins of homosexuality must also be understood from a spiritual perspective.  While I will examine the morality of homosexual acts (namely sex between people of the same sex) in detail in a later post, I will assume that such acts are contrary to God’s will for the purposes of this post.  The focus of this post will be on why being “born this way” is entirely consistent with the belief that homosexual acts are sinful.
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1. Born This Way – Reflections (Science)

Whence could such a creature come but from thee, O Lord? Is any man skillful enough to have fashioned himself? Or is there any other source from which being and life could flow into us, save this, that thou, O Lord, hast made us–thou with whom being and life are one, since thou thyself art supreme being and supreme life both together.

– The Confessions of Saint Augustine

No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track baby, I was born to survive.

– Lady Gaga

The issue of the origins of homosexuality is controversial, to put it mildly.  In my last post, I shared how same sex sexual attractions first manifested in my own life.  In this companion post, I will discuss the origins of homosexuality from a scientific perspective.  This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive review that I might write for a medical journal but will instead be conversational and comprehensible (hopefully!) for those not trained in this area.
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1. Born This Way – Testimony

“Hear me, O God! Woe to the sins of men!” When a man cries thus, thou showest him mercy, for thou didst create the man but not the sin in him. Who brings to remembrance the sins of my infancy?

– The Confessions of Saint Augustine

I’m beautiful in my way, ‘Cause God makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way. Don’t hide yourself in regret, Just love yourself and you’re set, I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way.

– Lady Gaga

I was not an ordinary child, by most accounts.  I was the second offspring of a traditional couple overjoyed to bring their first and only son into the world.  Perhaps my older sister, a mere toddler at the time, was jealous of their affection for me.  I’m told she would poke at my infant eyes, much to the alarm of my proud parents.  Thankfully, there was no permanent ocular injury, and my eyes are perfectly fine to this day aside from some myopia that I can’t in all fairness blame my sister for.  My parents were both young professionals, and we lived in a pleasant urban home, the four of us with occasional pets of varying genus.  The earliest memories from my toddler years are mere snapshots of moments and emotions.  The comfort of being held by my mom, the thrill of running and often falling, overlooking a hill and the civilization below, the fear of hearing my parents argue.  I was an inquisitive and precocious child.  There was nothing I could not tear apart, not merely for the joy of smashing things that many boys appreciate but more for comprehending how things worked.  I was also a reflective child.  Even as a toddler, I was sensitive to my own and others’ thoughts and feelings.
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0. Introduction

This, then, is the fruit of my confessions (not of what I was, but of what I am), that I may not confess this before thee alone, in a secret exultation with trembling and a secret sorrow with hope, but also in the ears of the believing sons of men–who are the companions of my joy and sharers of my mortality, my fellow citizens and fellow pilgrims–those who have gone before and those who are to follow after, as well as the comrades of my present way.

– The Confessions of Saint Augustine

In this, my very first blog post ever, I feel like I have so much I want to say.  A lifetime’s worth of experiences, thoughts, and feelings regarding faith and sexuality that have largely been left unsaid.  But all in due course.  Instead, let me convey what I hope this blog will be about.

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