Homosexuality: Science, Politics, and Religion
Scientists have not yet been able to establish which genes, hormones, or neural structures are responsible for homosexuality. Mere theories and statistics would never conclude anything in favor of the hypotheses concerning homosexuality unless studies are performed at the biological scale. Even after so many struggles in the field of science, nothing still proves that homosexuality is genetic. What has been proven, however, is that there exist more chances of sexually transmitted disease among homosexuals as compared against heterosexuals. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided a factsheet stating those men who have sex with men (MSM) among all races continues to be the risk group most severely affected by HIV infection. MSM accounts for nearly half of more than one million people living with HIV in the US (48 percent, or an estimated 532,000 people).
Homosexuality is defined as sexual behavior among people of the same gender. Mostly, male homosexuals are called gays, while female homosexuals are referred to as lesbians. In recent years, homosexuality has been a complicated subject of study in fields of science, politics, and religion. Whereas science continuously tries to prove that homosexuality is not a disease but rather something natural, religion on the other hand remains firm that homosexuality is an immoral act. The politicized science behind the uprising of homosexuality cannot boast of convincing results in favor of this behavior, and scientists working in this field are well aware that the conclusion to this study has still a long way to go. Before we study the Islamic views on homosexuality, let us look into the biological and psychological studies conducted.
Most scientists are studying whether or not homosexuality is natural; these studies attempt to discover if homosexuals are born with such an inclination, or if they develop this behavior during the course of their environment. These studies are mostly statistical and theoretical, and based on two parallel theories for the cause of homosexuality – the biological theory and the psychosocial. The biological theory proposes that genetic factors, hormones, and neural structures are the root causes, whereas the psychosocial theory states the social environment is the main triggering factor. And apparently, there exist little scholarly consensus regarding which sex differences are due to biological factors and which are due to one’s social life and environment.
In regards to whether homosexuality is natural or not, many theories have been put forward. One journal article (in the Archives of Sexual Behavior) cites the phenomenon where some children develop childhood gender non-conformity. In this phenomenon, children fail to conform to gender-related issues. For example, a girl is termed as a “tomboy” who demonstrates more masculine traits, while a boy is generally referred to as “sissy” who prefers to play with dolls rather than playing outdoors and exhibits more effeminate behavior. Various related studies are merely statistical in which all homosexuals perform self-reporting, whereas one study included the self-reports of homosexuals, heterosexuals, and those of the mothers of these people.
The studies show a high incidence of homosexuals arising from gender nonconformity since childhood. But, the irony of the study is that it itself questions the credibility of the reports of the mothers and homosexuals, claiming it to be a retrospective bias because of the knowledge of mothers already knowing their children’s homosexuality before recalling the childhood behavior. Another interesting observation on the same study says that within homosexual samples, maternal and self-ratings of subjects’ childhood gender non-conformity failed to correlate significantly among themselves. More definite research is needed in order to prove that gender non-conformity could be interpreted as complete evidence to homosexuality, and such ideas have been considered absurd by one study. (Journal of Gender Studies)
Another greatly researched parameter of scientists is the study of twins in Australia possessing identical genes in order to find what might be the cause of sexual differences in homosexuality and heterosexuality. Conclusively, twins brought up in the same environment since birth but with sexual differences later on in life is an area of great controversy regarding the cause and effect of homosexuality. The limitations of the study were the insufficient number of homosexuals in the survey of the twins. (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) In another similar survey of twins recently from Sweden, the results are only statistical and show that the individual specific environment affects the sexual preference of homosexuals. (Archives of Sexual Behavior) If homosexuality is environmental, as only statistically shown by a recent study of twins in Sweden, this would help us provide a solution that the environmental factors can be changed again to change the sexual orientation from homosexuality to heterosexuality.
Therefore, scientists have not yet been able to establish which genes, hormones, or neural structures are responsible for homosexuality. Mere theories and statistics would never conclude anything in favor of the hypotheses concerning homosexuality unless studies are performed at the biological scale. Even after so many struggles in the field of science, nothing still proves that homosexuality is genetic.
What has been proven, however, is that there exist more chances of sexually transmitted disease among homosexuals as compared against heterosexuals. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided a factsheet stating those men who have sex with men (MSM) among all races continues to be the risk group most severely affected by HIV infection. MSM accounts for nearly half of more than one million people living with HIV in the US (48 percent, or an estimated 532,000 people). Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 279,000 MSM with have also died with AIDS. (CDC Factsheet 2010) If scientists still do not agree to term homosexuality as a disease, they cannot reject the fact that other diseases are being spread due to this behavior.
With gays believing that the soul of the person is more important than the physical being, this belief itself provides many answers that homosexuality is actually a disease. Assuming the physical body is actually not important, then what is the reason for them to deviate from natural tendencies and indulge in physical behavior with the same sex? If the soul is what matters, what is the reason that they cannot satisfy their souls with the opposite gender nature has provided them with?
Matter of Free Will
The first basic thing is to make it clear in one’s mind – one was not born a gay or a lesbian. These deviations are simple illnesses of the soul, mind, and body that arise with time. Homosexuality can be cured through free will and by reflecting upon the physical capabilities God has provided mankind with. Instead of giving in to weak desires caused by some vague thoughts, believing in oneself by using proper intellect and determination is the solution. One should remain humble and thankful to God for all His bounties and remain in constant fear of His wrath.
Homosexuality in the Qur’an
Homosexuality is neither a contemporary issue nor a recent phenomenon; rather, it has been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an as well. The Qur’an condemns homosexuality when the people of Prophet Lut (peace be upon him) deviated: “When We sent Lut, he said to his people, ‘What! Do you commit the indecency which none in all the nations had committed before you? Look at you! You approach the men lustfully instead of approaching your women! No, you are a people who have exceeded the limits.’ The only answer of his people was that they said, ‘Expel them from your city, surely they are a people who seek to keep themselves clean!’ So We delivered him and his followers, except his wife; she was one of those who tarried behind. We sent upon them rain. See now the nature of the consequence of the evil-doers!” (7:80-84)
The Qur’an further states: “His people came rushing; they had grown accustomed to their sinful acts. He said, ‘O my people, it would be purer for you if you take my daughters instead. You shall revere God; do not embarrass me with my guests. Have you not one reasonable man among you?’ They said, ‘You know well that we have no need for your daughters; you know exactly what we want.'” (11:78-79)
God then punished the people by destroying the city: “So when Our punishment came upon the people of Lut, We turned the city upside down and showered them with stones of baked clay, one after another.” (11:82)
The Final Argument – Challenge this Logic
After studying a few scientific explanations on homosexuality that tried to prove it is natural, let us now look into an interesting argument. Everything that exists in nature and the environment is self-sufficient, proving that nature has all kinds of facilities for its products to survive, multiply, and keep progressing. All of us know that when we mix any two things from nature in a correct and appropriate way, we get a new natural product. For example, after sowing various kinds of natural seeds on fertile soil or land, we get natural products of different flowers, trees, or grains. One cannot get these products by sowing these seeds on a table or chair, or any other surface. Soil cannot grow a particular kind of plant from itself alone; both the seeds and the soil are complementary.
Analogous to this is the example of the man and the woman. One cannot survive without each other. Both of them need to unite to produce a baby and retain the human race, and this is the ultimate truth of reproduction, it is what nature has provided us with. The impossibility of reproducing and sustaining humanity through homosexuality is the final and undisputable proof of how unnatural this behavior really is.
Editor’s Note: For suggestions on how to deal with homosexuals in society, see Confronting Homosexuality.