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December 30, 2014

Comments

Why would someone even want to change their sexual orientation? Just because of social stigma, I guess. I don't know whether sexual orientation can change, but one thing is for sure - society's attitudes can definitely change. They are changing all around us right now.

"Society's attitudes" can change as much as we want, but here's something that can not: REALITY.

I wonder if we need to define what we mean by "change"?

I'm overweight - I struggle with the sin of gluttony.

Despite fully knowing that I am called to treat my body as a temple, I frequently fall short.

I fight the battle daily. I don't think I will ever "change" ... that is, I will always fight the battle with food.

The difference between my situation and homosexuals is that 1) I acknowledge my need to do battle, and 2) I continue to 'fight the fight'.

I think "change" means acknowledging the errors in our behaviors and attitudes and subsequently taking steps to change our behaviors and attitudes.

Using that sense of the word "change", I am convinced homosexuals can indeed "change".

I can't change the fact that I'm almost pathologically introverted, but normal human existence requires social interaction which is difficult, sometimes even terrifying, for me. I can either hide away in my house and shun the world or I can go out and force myself to be social, despite my aversion to it, because it's the best thing for me. There lots of things about being human that we "can't change", but that doesn't mean it's always acceptable or healthy to embrace those things. I didn't ask or choose to be introverted. It's something (among many others) that I need to learn to deal with.

Besides, even if a person cannot change their orientation that doesn't mean that God cannot change it if he so wills. We are new creations in Christ. It's not easy and God may choose not to change that aspect of the old nature, but by saying "I can't change that" and giving up we shut down any opportunity for him to do so.

I'm curious. What would the challenger make of the individual who after 50 years of life 'discovers' that he is gay?

Didn't that person change from being heterosexual to being homosexual? Or was he always homosexual and had repressed it for two-thirds of his life? How could you even tell which is the case? Or is it possibles for straights to become gay, but impossible for gays to become straight?

How do we know that there aren't many people who are homosexual who just need to 'discover' that they are heterosexual? How do we know that it isn't the case that all homosexuals are like that, even the ones who 'discover' that they are gay late in life? How do we know that they aren't all just a 'discovery' away from being straight?

The fact is that homosexuality is a habit, nothing more. Like many habits, it is difficult to shake. Like many habits, especially those that are marked as addictions, it many have long term repercussions in a person's life, and the craving to slip back into the habit may never be fully removed.

There is zero evidence that homosexuality is anything other than a habit, perhaps an addictive one. Even a claim of biological difference between gays and straights doesn't show that it is anything but a habit. I imagine that all habits, especially those we label as addictions, have some biological component. It would not surprise me that compulsive nail-biters are genetically different from those who never get sucked into that habit.

Certainly the fact that numerous individuals have slipped back into homosexuality is no evidence that it isn't just a habit. That's just evidence that it is exactly like almost every other habit humans can form.

First, I want to know what this person means by sexual orientation? How are they defining that term? And then, how do they claim it is determined?

To simply make the claim that because some people leave and return to a gay lifestyle assumes certain things to be true. Need more information on what this person is claiming.

There are two ways I would approach this.
1. I'd want to know more about the "facts" that the challenger has referenced. Antidotal evidence is irrelevant; for each one who reverts to homosexual activity, I may be able to point to another who has been living for years as fulfilled convert to heterosexuality.

2. If I presume that the facts are well documented and support the assertion that change is impossible, this is also irrelevant. I assume that the challenger's assertion is that because the person cannot change, he/she cannot be expected to obey the scriptures commandment against homosexual sex. In other words, the Bible places an unreasonable burden on someone to put aside what comes naturally to her/him. The Bible calls everyone to abstain from what comes naturally to us. We are all sinners and want to do many things that are prohibited. Heterosexual sex has biblical restrictions placed on it and so does theft, murder, gluttony, cowardice and lots of other activities. Thankfully, the power of the Holy Spirit living in the Christian gives us the ability to change and to resist those things that are otherwise hard to do - to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy.

Don't the L and the G have a hard time saying they cannot change given their alignment with B and especially T?

"Why would someone even want to change their sexual orientation?"

Because they've been regenerated unto newness of life by the Sovereign, Saving Lord, and they recognize the repugnance of their sin in the light of God's Holiness, and they realize their responsibility to live their lives accordingly, and they discover their new-found ability through God's Grace to do so!

Your testimonies are wonderful;
therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it imparts understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for your commandments.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as is your way with those who love your name.
Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
Redeem me from man's oppression,
that I may keep your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your servant,
and teach me your statutes.
My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your law.—Ps. 119:129-136

In a word, they have repented and believed in Christ! Praise God for His saving power to change dead sinners into living worshippers!

Alan Chambers was the president of Exodus, the largest and most well known ex-gay ministry. In 2013, Exodus closed down and Alan admitted that he had never met anyone who had successfully changed their sexual orientation. And he admitted that he did not believe it was possible to change a person's sexual orientation. Alan had everything to lose by admitting this. It was the end of Exodus and the end of his career. So due to the consequences of what he was admitting, its very likely that what Alan was saying was true. My first question is, considering Alan Chambers' years of commitment to "change", what did he do wrong that prevented his sexual orientation from changing, and what did he do wrong in helping others that prevented the people he knew through the ministry from changing their sexual orientation?

Also, John Paulk used to claim that he had changed his sexual orientation. He even was on the cover of Newsweek as an example of a homosexual becoming heterosexual. Yet in 2013, he also admitted that his sexual orientation had never changed. How can we tell the difference between the John Paulks who claim to have changed their sexual orientation, but in reality haven't, and the people, if any, who truly have successfully changed their sexual orientation?

Alan, for the people that you know who have successfully changed their sexual orientation, what did they do that Alan Chambers and John Paulk didn't?

Alan, do you consider a person a former homosexual who has bisexual attractions, meaning has both opposite and same-sex attractions, but who abstains from same-sex behavior and marries a person of the opposite? The reason I ask is that Christopher Doyle, a leader in what is left of the ex-gay movement, used to admit that he had both opposite and same-sex attractions when he was with PFOX but now that he has taken a sort of leadership position in the movement has now identified as a former homosexual.

Sexual attraction is a subjective experience. It is not possible for me to observe an individual and determine where there sexual preferences lie. Because of this, the only available data regarding a person's sexual orientation, and its shifts or lack of shifts, is from their testimony.
Given this, the "'former homosexuals' [who] have gone back to living gay lives" only tells you that an individual who claimed sexual preference A, stopped claiming sexual preference A for a time, and began claiming sexual preference A again. Any conclusion regarding that individuals actual sexual preference is conjecture.
It seems to me that the best conjecture to make, on average, is that the individual's claims to sexual preference are accurate representations of their current state. So, they had A, stopped having A, and had A again, and therefore changed. If one does not agree that is the best and would instead prefer to overlay their pet socio-political agenda over the available data, then it is equally justifiable (though less socially acceptable) to claim that there are no homosexuals, just self deceived heterosexuals with other justifications for inventing claims of homosexual attraction.
In short, if you undermine the testimony of former homosexuals, you equally undermine the testimony of current homosexuals (and heterosexuals, and bisexuals, and asexuals...) essentially the only data for sexual preference available is nullified, and any argument based on sexual preference data is empty.

"
I'm curious. What would the challenger make of the individual who after 50 years of life 'discovers' that he is gay?

Didn't that person change from being heterosexual to being homosexual? Or was he always homosexual and had repressed it for two-thirds of his life? How could you even tell which is the case? Or is it possibles for straights to become gay, but impossible for gays to become straight?

How do we know that there aren't many people who are homosexual who just need to 'discover' that they are heterosexual? How do we know that it isn't the case that all homosexuals are like that, even the ones who 'discover' that they are gay late in life? How do we know that they aren't all just a 'discovery' away from being straight?

The fact is that homosexuality is a habit, nothing more. Like many habits, it is difficult to shake. Like many habits, especially those that are marked as addictions, it many have long term repercussions in a person's life, and the craving to slip back into the habit may never be fully removed.

There is zero evidence that homosexuality is anything other than a habit, perhaps an addictive one. Even a claim of biological difference between gays and straights doesn't show that it is anything but a habit. I imagine that all habits, especially those we label as addictions, have some biological component. It would not surprise me that compulsive nail-biters are genetically different from those who never get sucked into that habit.

Certainly the fact that numerous individuals have slipped back into homosexuality is no evidence that it isn't just a habit. That's just evidence that it is exactly like almost every other habit humans can form.

Posted by: WisdomLover | December 30, 2014 at 07:21 AM"

This is just plain ignorance. Sexual Orientation is the type of body you are attracted to. "Habits" are things like smoking, always eating meals at the same time.

People don't "discover" they are gay at 50, they are stopping fighting themselves on the subject and facing facts about themselves.

There is actually considerable evidence that sexuality is biologically based with elements of nuture, there is zero evidence that people "choose" to be gay at puberty or any other point in life.

Those who have "slipped back" to being gay, show that they were never changed to begin with. Alan Chambers, John Paulk, John Schmid and a number others who have left the "ex-gay" movement state that it was all about religion and that the techniques used by the "ex-gay" groups didn't work and did more damage to the people they were used on.

Sexuality is a complex part of being human, it is also a spectrum. It's wrong to use the power of the state to enforce the prejudices of religion on a minority.

I would first ask what exactly they mean by "sexual orientation".

Aside from that, why would the fact that some people "have gone back to living gay lives" therefore prove that it's impossible for anyone else to change? There DO exist former homosexuals who have completely changed.

The fact that even one such person exists destroys the claim that homosexuality is inborn like eye or skin color and can never be changed!

(That's why the pro-homosexual side always has to deny that such people even exist. "They were never REALLY homosexuals to begin with" is their claim. What else can they possibly offer in response?)

I remember a fellow named Michael Johnston. He was in a commercial in the late 90's claiming that he had changed his sexual orientation. Even had his own ministry. While at the same time, he was having anonymous homosexual sex with other men and not telling them about being HIV positive. With so many people claiming change, and then later getting found out, why should we believe that a homosexual can be changed into a heterosexual?

Mo,
Definition is key. The problem is defining sexual orientation. It's also not so easy to dismiss the biological portions by saying "one person reversing direction" makes it a lie. There are plenty of left handed people who can use their right hand equally the same as their left, but are considered left handed. They're are people who were abused who have shifted from considering themselves gay to going heterosexual after time. However the number of people who have tried to change and have failed does indicate a strong biological component.

Again sexuality is complex, there are both biological and environmental components to it. One person making a change doesn't effect those factors at all.

So much confusion here. As several have brought up, we need to make sure that "sexual orientation" is clearly defined in order to talk about whether, and how often, it changes. It can't be reduced to a habit, or there wouldn't be celibate gay virgins. I know several and am a bi virgin myself. "Orientation" usually just refers to a person's pattern of sexual attractions, regardless of how the person responds.

The existence of a person who experienced orientation change does not in any way imply that everyone can experience such a change if they really want to. It's entirely possible that the same orientation may have different causes for different people, for example.

One of the primary sources cited to argue that people's orientation sometimes changes is the Jones & Yarhouse study. Yarhouse recently wrote the following about interpreting his study: "To suggest that all people who experience same-sex attraction have to achieve dramatic shifts as a testimony to the power of God will be unnecessarily divisive, a poor model of pastoral care, and a sure way of driving people out of the church altogether." (http://spiritualfriendship.org/2014/12/16/on-the-expectation-of-change/).

The argument stated here is a form that seems so weak as to be almost a straw man. The relevance of people who once claimed orientation change and no longer do is in the fact that they generally report having never really experienced change. This is true even for some people I know who are pursuing chastity through celibacy or marriage to a person of the opposite sex. This happens often enough to cast doubt on a lot of people's testimonies. It doesn't show that such changes are impossible, but it does show that they may not be as common as testified. On the other hand, I know several people who have experienced some degree of change, even maintaining relatively healthy marriage despite having once felt no heterosexual attraction. I believe they're honest because they're people I've gotten to know. On the other hand, every single one I know personally reports a nontrivial amount of same-sex attraction that continues.

So I don't think we can conclude that no one ever experiences any degree of change, but it is thoroughly unfounded to claim that every gay person can experience change at the level of orientation.

@ Scott

"Mo,
Definition is key. The problem is defining sexual orientation. It's also not so easy to dismiss the biological portions by saying "one person reversing direction" makes it a lie.


It's not just one person. There are many. And they are always dismissed.

"However the number of people who have tried to change and have failed does indicate a strong biological component."

"Indicates" and "proves" are two different things. The claim is always that homosexuality is inborn and therefore cannot be changed. That is the claim. And there's never any evidence provided for it.

Whether sexual orientation can change or not is a red herring. Mankind's propensity to sin in general doesn't change either. Doesn't mean we throw out all the taboos.


@ Leo

"With so many people claiming change, and then later getting found out, why should we believe that a homosexual can be changed into a heterosexual?"

With so many people claiming change - and staying changed - why should we believe a homosexual cannot be changed into a heterosexual?

The claim of the 'homosexuality is inborn and therefore unchangeable' side is just that - a claim.

This is just plain ignorance.
Oh!!! That explains it! If only I'd known!
Sexual Orientation is the type of body you are attracted to. "Habits" are things like smoking, always eating meals at the same time.
But smoking has nooothing to do with having the urge to smoke.
People don't "discover" they are gay at 50, they are stopping fighting themselves on the subject and facing facts about themselves.
So when they use words like "I didn't know I was gay" or "I hadn't found out yet that I was gay", they really have no idea what they're talking about.

I'm glad you know them better than they know themselves Scott.

There is actually considerable evidence that sexuality is biologically based with elements of nuture[sic], there is zero evidence that people "choose" to be gay at puberty or any other point in life.
So the gay individual actually is without a will when they engage in their first or subsequent sexual encounters. There is actually zero evidence of the presence of a will in gay people at those times.

I didn't know, but then, I am plain ignorant.

You don't think that there might be a biological predisposition to smoking or drinking? Because, unlike the baloney that passes for evidence among the pro-gay lobby, there actually is real evidence for that.

For all that, smoking and drinking are still habits.

So even if there were good evidence that homosexual cravings and predispositions are inborn, it does not follow that homosexuality is not a habit.

Those who have "slipped back" to being gay, show that they were never changed to begin with.
And alcoholics that fall off the wagon show that they never changed to begin with? An insult to all sober people who work hard at maintaining their sobriety.
Sexuality is a complex part of being human, it is also a spectrum. It's wrong to use the power of the state to enforce the prejudices of religion on a minority.
Nice use of buzzwords, but what does that have to do with the challenge?

On a related point, what if my complex sexual orientation (that I am powerless to change) gives me the urge to have sex with unwilling partners? I guess the state shouldn't use its power to prevent that.

It's wrong to use the power of the state to enforce the prejudices of religion on a minority.

This seems rife with contradition.

On the other hand, if we are claiming the sexual orientation is merely the type of body you are attracted to, then you are opening the doors for a host of so-called "attractions". But, if we are saying this is just a biological function, then we have removed personhood from the equation and have eliminated any argument dealing with with the original objection posed.

The argument comes down to definition but in so doing, implies an intrinsic value on a human being. But if we are dismissing an objective standard that says human beings were created in a certain fashion for X purpose, then what the LGBT community is arguing for ceases to be relevant.

So, what one may call prejudice [which I believe fails to be justified as such] may simply be an objective definition of human sexuality based upon the standard given by that which endows rights in the first place. This is the point, I think, that is always missed by the LGBT community.

Mo,
The claim of thousands of people changing to hetero is crap. There may be some who decide religion is more important. All of the "ex-gays" that I'm aware of all "professional" ones who make a living trying to "de-gay" people.

There was a study done a couple of years ago that wanted to find out just that, The authors contacted as many "ex-gay" orgs as they could find. They were only able to get barely one hundred people to participate in that study out of the "thousands" claimed to be "cured" by those groups. So sorry, with all of they "ex-gays" who went back to gay. Your side is the one that has NO facts to back up your claims.

Remember Exoduus, Love Won Out and other similar orgs have shut down due to the failure to complete their primary missions. Even Marcus Bachmann does not offer a complete "cure".

@ Scott

"The claim of thousands of people changing to hetero is crap."

Can you show me where I gave any particular number?

When you're done giving me that evidence, please tell me how you came to your conclusion.

That's as far as I read. My experience has been that people love to throw out a wall of text, but when they're called to give evidence, they ignore it and waste the other's person's time. I simply don't have a lot of time to waste. If you provide the evidence I requested, this shows me you're interested in having a serious discussion. If not, then I won't waste my time (or yours) any further.

I'm also curious about Alan Chambers and the closure of Exodus. How does Shlemon explain Alan Chambers? Chambers is still married to a female, but he says that he does not believe that sexual orientation can be changed. And he claims that he never met anyone through Exodus who had successfully changed their sexual orientation. Chambers is no gay rights advocate. Why would he make the claims that he did if he wasn't being honest?

And I think we cane take way with the closure of Exodus that at least a large majority of people who spend many years attempting to diligently change their sexual orientation fail. Can Alan Shlemon speculate on this? Does Shlemon believe that these people didn't submit to Jesus enough or didn't try hard enough through therapy?

It seems to me that defining "sexual orientation" is a straw dog. We are either in compliance with the biblical mandate of "one man and one woman", or we're not. God established the design when He made man, male and female, and at the end of Genesis chapter two, He defined how they were to live out their relationship, "..and the man shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh".
Throughout biblical history God makes plain that any sexual behavior other than the original relationship, as defined in Genesis, is forbidden, it is sin.
The question is; can those who engage in sinful behavior stop, and comply with God' standard? They can if they are truly born again. Paul tells us in Romans Chapter 6, verse three, that our very nature is changed by the immersion(baptism)into Christ. In verse six, he tells us we are no longer slaves to sin; we can change. 1Cor. 6:20, "For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God with your body." Do we think God is so cruel as to give us a command that we can't obey? I don't think so! "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold new things have come."(2Cor. 5:17)
As I understand the Scriptures, everything hinges on whether you are truly born again. We are empowered by the Spirit of Christ who dwells in us and are able to resist our sinful desires. Romans 8:9, "However you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him".
Really, we need to decide whether to worship the living God, or the god of our sexual appetites; idols. The Bible has the answers, man made philosophies are shifting sand.

Mo,
You are correct in that you did NOT put a number in your comments. I brought that in as the "ex-gay" organizations used numbers in their advertising. You just use the phrase "people claiming change" with nothing to back it up.

As someone above mentioned, the Jones and Yarhouse study, which was unable to find that people had experienced change in their orientation. The authors tried to find people the "ex-gay" organizations said they had helped with that issue and did not get numbers of people wanting to share their experience in changing.

I'm not sure what evidence you're looking for. The fact that a serious study on the subject was unable to find evidence of orientation change, the collapse of a number of major "ex-gay" organizations, poster people for being "ex-gay" disavowing those conversions and various medical psychological and medical organizations condemning so-called "conversion therapy" as harmful. Gay is a normal part of the human sexual spectrum. So to speak to the challenge, no it is not possible to change orientation.

Wisdomlover,
Equating being gay with being alcoholic, rapists and pedophiles is both insulting and wrong. Abuse of a chemical substance and abuse of power have nothing to do with basic sexuality. Alcohol and tobacco are items that can be strongly addicting to some and not by others. Our bodies have a basic need for touch and our hormones give us a drive to reproduce. Gay people acting on their first encounters are NO different than other teenagers exploring their sexuality.

Again, considering how incredibly homophobic our society is, it is quite possible for people of both genders to spend years fighting against their natural orientations. And I do know people who have come out in the 40's and 50's and even older. In virtually all of those cases, those people were happier and more comfortable with themselves as human beings after accepting their orientation. They were able to cope with the mess the change causes in their relationships and move forward. Insulting them by saying they using false phrases like "I didn't know I was gay" shows a deep misunderstanding of people trying to figure themselves out.

If gay people who want to have and enjoy sex is a "habit", what do you call a heterosexual couple who want to have and enjoy sex?

To answer the challenge, no I don't think it is possible to change orientation. There are people who are more flexible in their orientation who enjoy both genders and there many who are heterosexual and homosexual.

@ Scott

If there's even ONE such person who was once homosexual and now is not, it puts an end to this claim that homosexuality is inborn like eye color or skin color.

Those who make that claim are the ones who need to provide evidence for it. But the only thing I ever see done is saying things like: "The claim of thousands of people changing to hetero is crap."

That's just mocking the other side. It's not giving evidence of your side's claim.

To put things in mathematical terms, we're getting "there exists" and "for all" confused. There are a small number of people who have apparently experienced some level of change in orientation. For example, I know a handful who have experienced a shift from exclusively homosexual to bisexual. The Jones & Yarhouse study actually did find a few of these people in their sample. However, this is not the norm. Most people do not experience this sort of change, even when they attempt it. And it's difficult to say if anyone's shifting orientation actually resulted from their attempts to change it, since some level of fluidity appears to happen spontaneously for some people.

I don't see how a "there exists" claim practically means that people can just change their orientation. Perhaps for most people it is pretty inborn, even though there are others who may be homosexual for different reasons and might experience some degree of change. Sexuality is complicated and not fully understood.

I just wanted to commend Alan Chambers. To me he is a very brave person to have tried to help so many people with SSA. He has been treated very poorly by some militant SSA activists, and it's hard to believe he was able to stand up to that kind of continual pressure and stress. I don't know how he was able to endure it.

It's not like every person who has overcome their SSA is jumping up and drawing attention to themselves. Why would they? And, why would anyone 'out' them given the cruelty they would have to endure from some militant SSA activists? But, those who have overcome their SSA are out there and not to be denied. In fact, one thing militant, agenda-driven SSA's should admit is that they have driven many who have overcome their SSA into the closet (The Southern Poverty Law Center is suing JONAH, for example). Those of you who deny this fact need to do some research/read books that help you better round out your knowledge base(more than likely you will not find any books on the subject of healing from SSA in your local library, but you will find lots of pro SSA books there). I saw Mr. Chambers get unjustly verbally attacked by the pro SSM side during the Berkeley Symposium on Same Sex Marriage (YouTube). The fact that so many SSA activists are so concerned about those with SSA being bullied, on the one hand, but then turn around and bully anyone who dares to defend the rights of those seeking healing from SSA, on the other hand, is very telling.

There are small groups out there that are still helping those with unwanted SSA and others who help with reparative therapy who have had to go underground in California because of the anti-reparative therapy law SB-1172. It has been found that therapy given to young people under the age of 18 who have not had any significant SSA sexual experience is very effective. But, of course SB-1172 makes taking a CA child under 18 to reparative therapy illegal, even if it is with a very experienced therapist with a proven track record. So, now parents cannot even make that decision for their children. I would urge you to read up on this.

If even one person is helped, we should not give up helping those with unwanted SSA. Why? Because it is hypocritical and intolerant to not support those with unwanted SSA. If we need to be tolerant of those who embrace their SSA, then we need to be tolerant of those who do not and are seeking help. Tolerance goes both ways. We cannot give in to the bullying.

If you would like to hear the candid and insightful views of a Christian man healing from SSA, please watch this video of Russell Moore speaking at ERLC.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqs2IDwD-SI

I think Mo directly answers the challenge since in the question, never is defeated with one positive.

Thanks to Susanne for your input, did a quick search, the substance of your post checks out, and your logic is sound...and your passion and compassion comes through.

Last, I think that what Scott is arguing for really is changing the rules. Example:

"Our bodies have a basic need for touch and our hormones give us a drive to reproduce. Gay people acting on their first encounters are NO different than other teenagers exploring their sexuality."

So what he argues for is that the rules be changed so that what God's word has clearly called a perversion and sin, should now be reclassified as non perversion/non sin...in order that those who engage in that behavior may be...in his words:

"In virtually all of those cases, those people were happier and more comfortable with themselves as human beings after accepting their orientation.
Bolding mine

Well, if there is no God, and He didn't speak, all things are permissible...but He Is and He did speak.

Mo,
Alas, sorry again saying one person who converts, while fudging definitions of sexual orientation, homosexuality and even bisexuality, does NOT in anyway disprove anything about homosexuality have biological roots. There are plenty of gay people out there, the ones I know state that they always knew they were different and that they were attracted to their own gender. It's your assertion that being gay is something someone acquires like the ability to read, walk or twiddle one's thumbs. You've not offered a single reason as to why people are gay at all. So if your hypothesis is true, how do people become gay?

And again, you still haven't offered up any examples of people who HAVE ACTUALLY successfully converted from gay to straight. You just keep asserting that people change. So provide some evidence for your assertion that people change and what causes homosexuality in the first place.

Scott, here are a few examples for you:

http://peoplecanchange.com/
http://suchweresomeofyou.org/
http://testpathvoc.weebly.com/
and one from the Mormons:
http://www.ldsvoicesofhope.org/voices.php

Studies show around 3% of the heterosexual population once considered themselves homosexual or bisexual, these are not people who have been through treatment programs or ministries, rather they are people who experimented with romantic attachments with same sex people and later decided they preferred romantic relationships with the opposite sex. If that three per cent number is accurate there are more people who once considered themselves homosexual than currently consider themselves homosexual (about 2% of the population as a whole). (stats from an article on narth.com from a review of Neil Whitehead's book "My Genes Made Me Do It!: Homosexuality and the Scientific Evidence", a number of other articles at Narth discuss how homosexual tendencies develop in adolescence and have little linkage to genetics).

The "always knew the were different" trope is endemic to humanity. I knew I was different from the other kids around me. I knew they didn't see the world the same way I did. It's widely understood by therapists (even those who consider homosexuality perfectly fine) that gays read their later sexuality back into their pre-sexual childhood. Pre-puberty most humans are "attracted" to (as in: want to be friends with) kids and adults of their own sex and consider opposite sex kids "gross", "icky", or "full of cooties". Generally it is those kids who have poor or abusive relationships with kids and especially adults of their own sex that in puberty morph that desire for same sex friends into a sexual attraction to same sex people. Then they interpret their sense of "different-ness" as a defense against their recognition that their post-puberty sexual tendencies don't fit their biology, the cultural norms built on complimentary sexuality, and their religious backgrounds that recognize sex outside of Natural Marriage as immoral.

"Homosexuality" itself is a term with a very flexible and uncertain definition that is in flux psychologically, politically, and culturally and that make defining "gay" and "ex-gay" very difficult.

Some other testimonies of ex-gays you can google, if you'd like:
Core Issues Trust (UK)
Courage
Desert Stream Ministries
First Stone Ministries
Homosexuals Anonymous
International Healing Foundation
Restored Hope Network
North Star International (mormon)
One By One
True Freedom Trust (UK)
PFOX (Parents and Friends of ex)
Witness Freedom Ministries (African American)

I challenge the question, too, as it does not define the development of sexual orientation.
First I would like to look at sexual orientation based on my understanding:
If both hetero- and homosexuality are natural like the colour of your eyes or hair or skin, i.e. something we are born with, no homosexual can become heterosexual or vice versa. A leopard can’t change his spots.
If sexuality is soley based on some kind of a decision-making process, conditioning and childhood rearing, yes, logically reversability and changeability must be possible.
Conditioning and upbringing also involve decision-making, not on the child's part, but on the parents' and on society’s part. Parents are supposed to follow God's laws and teach their children to follow God's laws. Part of which is to hate all sin, but to love the sinner. (Telling someone that you do not approve of their behaviour is very different to telling someone that you do not respect their humanity).
If the development of a person’s sexual orientation is both genetic make-up and based on outside factors, logically a person still should be able to choose how to live his or her life as no predetermination has taken place. Thus, reversability and changeability both would be possible at least to a certain degree.
Every person possesses so-called feminine and masculine traits. Which I guess is why we can (not must) go each direction: heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.
A boy who plays with dolls or who likes to wear dresses doesn’t have to become gay. Same as a girl who plays wih toy cars and loves to climb trees: she doesn’t have to become lesbian. Although the latter is referred to as a tomgirl and these parents generally are not concerned about sexual orientation unlike with the former.

Sexual experimentation in general is encouraged in Western society. Everything that makes you feel good is acceptable. That doesn’t make it good for your soul. Drugs make you feel good, too, but are not necessarily good for you. Whether to indulge in sexual experiments or not is a personal choice. God has given us a free will – we can choose. In fact, we must choose.

From a Christian point of view, I believe, it is very simple: there are two laws, the one of the world and the one of God. God despises homosexual behaviour as it does not follow His design for mankind. Homosexuality is a sin. Through the death of Jesus Christ the Old Testament has been fulfilled (not nullified). We are still accountable for our conduct. And we are all sinners. The good news is that every sin can be forgiven (apart from one- compare Matthew 12:31).
If you don’t believe in God and/or in having an eternal soul, then there is no need to heed either. If you do believe in having an eternal soul, you’d better take care of it. If you believe in God, you believe in choice and change.

Brad,
I am an atheist and a humanist. Religion may have been good for humanity at one time, but now it is something we need to outgrow. As humans, we can rationally and easily figure out ethics and morals without any imaginary being dictating rules to us. Using the rules of a bronze age tribal group in a world with where we are destroying the only planet that can sustain us is stupid. Rational rules about sexuality and relationships are easy and we humans are not "one version fits all".

"what he argues for is that the rules be changed so that what God's word has clearly called a perversion and sin, should now be reclassified as non perversion/non sin...in order that those who engage in that behavior may be...in his words:

"In virtually all of those cases, those people were happier and more comfortable with themselves as human beings after accepting their orientation.
Bolding mine
Well, if there is no God, and He didn't speak, all things are permissible...but He Is and He did speak."

It is religion that causes people to live in hiding and in pain. Humanists advocate for common sense rules regarding human sexuality and relationships. The "all things permissible" is crap. No one in the humanist community advocates for that. Using the power of the state to discriminate and make gays 2nd class citizens is wrong. There is NO one version of Christianity in this country. With the gains in same sex marriage in the country, Christians are now exporting their hate of gays to Africa and Russia.

Before I left religion, we used to sing a song with lyrics "they will know we are Christians by our love", now the version should be "we will know they are Christians by their hate". It's time to move on from ancient prejudices and hatreds and accept people as they are.

I would think that the fact that SO many former homosexuals have NOT returned to their former gay life style, would be one of the points to be made in countering this challenge as it puts the onus on the individual instead of painting with the broad 'demographic' brush used by this challenge. By using the word 'numerous' it gives the impression that most former homosexuals do revert back to the gay lifestyle, which is difficult to prove considering that many former homosexuals are afraid to make their past gay-lifestyle known to others, not to mention the numerous testimonies from former homosexuals and the support groups, whether religious or therapeutic, that have are active in the public realm. I found the following article to be of interest on this topic and I'm including it here in case it is a helpful contribution to the discussion: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/us/ex-gay-men-fight-view-that-homosexuality-cant-be-changed.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Also, the word 'impossible' is self-refuting in this challenge--it states the 'numerous' which implies that not all former homosexuals revert back to their former gay lifestyle. If it was impossible, then every former homosexual would inevitably revert back to being homosexual--the challenge in flawed on a number of points.

I wanted to include one more comment in relation to my previous post regarding the reasons that former homosexuals do not want to make their former gay lifestyle known to others. This is from "Peter LaBarbera, who is the President of Americans for Truth which is a organization which counters the homosexual agenda. Peter LaBarbera stated the following regarding Christian ex-homosexuals who reported being transformed by the power of God:
“ Another factor from my experience as a close observer of the “ex-gay” phenomenon is that many former homosexuals do not linger in “reparative therapy” programs, or participate in them at all. They attribute their dramatic and (relatively) rapid transformation to the power of God, and likely would not show up in a study of this kind. In fact, these “unstudied” overcomers would appear to be the most successful ex-homosexuals because they’ve moved on with their lives — as “reborn” Christians move on after overcoming any besetting sin." http://www.conservapedia.com/Overcoming_homosexuality

Lane,
Sorry, but you putting "Porno Pete" and "Conservapedia" in the same post put in to negative number's in terms of credible contributions to this conversation. Neither of those are considered anything but things to point and laugh at by those outside of the conservative end of the spectrum.

"I am an atheist and a humanist. Religion may have been good for humanity at one time, but now it is something we need to outgrow. As humans, we can rationally and easily figure out ethics and morals without any imaginary being dictating rules to us. Using the rules of a bronze age tribal group in a world with where we are destroying the only planet that can sustain us is stupid. Rational rules about sexuality and relationships are easy and we humans are not "one version fits all".
And
"The "all things permissible" is crap."

Well Scott, now we know the world according to you [although it was easily assumed already].

These two quotes tell of the irrational worldview you claim is so superior to a bronze age tribal group because in fact you are arguing that all things are permissible when you make morals and ethics subjective.

You should hang around here a little and let your worldview be probed...then see how coherent it is.

Brad,
With there being thousands of versions of Christianity in the world, none of which agree on the role of women in society, how to deal with gays and gay rights, abortion, science and whether or not shrimp are an abomination. It's not the humanists that are using subjective morals and ethics.

I enjoy reading and checking out opinions and ideas outside of my own. It's a great way to learn and understand my fellow humans beings. I still find homophobia and prejudice against gays to be irrational and stupid, especially since it's always religiously based.

Susanne,
Sorry but the moment you used "SSA Activists", NARTH and calling conversion therapy "helpful", you lost me. NARTH is nothing but a bunch of homophobes trying to justify their prejudices. No one but anti-gay people uses the term SSA. Human sexuality is a full spectrum of orientations and describing gays as diseased, broken and wrong will not solve a single problem. Conversion therapy is damaging to people. I find it fascinating that if I was to propose it for changing people with homophobia, you would be all up in arms about it.

When there are no longer stories like Leelah Alcorn and other suicides of young people due to bullying, then it won't be necessary to keep pointing out the stupidity and irrationality of homophobia.

@Scott

1 - Homophobia is not always based on religion. China has the world's largest population and quite strict anti-homosexual policies in place.
The vast majority of the population agrees that a promotion of gay rights or homosexuality is neither productive towards a nation’s mental health, natural or morally acceptable (my experience in over 5 years of working there).

2 - There seems to be an issue with the distinction of respectful, personal disapproval of an opinion or action and contempt or distate for another human being or life. The first is referred to as freedom of expression, while upholding the other person's human dignity, the second is a form of hate and neither in line with God's commands nor the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

3- The question was whether you think sexual orientation can change or not. Most users replied to this question with questions and attempts of explanation concerning the definition of sexual orientation, examples of public figures or groups and of course as well statements of personal experience and opinion. Relative to this question, homophobia constitutes only a minor part of the issue at hand.

Scott,

Back in the early 1970's the APA caved into political pressure and took homosexuality off its list of disorders. No new science was presented and all other points of view, including any psychosexual developmental research, was deemed to be bigoted. There was no science behind this decision. It was all POLITICAL. NARTH is doing research on the psychosexual development of homosexuality and it has every right to do that based on the NON-scienfic, political stance of the APA and related organizations. I'm glad it is doing it and has not cowed to biased, political pressure. Yeah, SCIENCE!

You are calling NARTH an organization of homophobes? What do you base this on? I've followed them. Listen to one of Julie Hamilton's videos describing psychosexual developmental theories on homosexuality and you'll see that she's nothing but compassionate. Her brother is gay and she loves him dearly. One of the former presidents of NARTH spent 40 years in San Francisco serving homosexuals. So, no way do I buy your talking points statement that they are homophobic.

I notice you kept asking Mo to give you examples of people who have healed from their SSA. There are many examples. In Richard Cohen's book "Gay Children, Straight Parents: A Plan for Family Healing" (which is a very compassionate book written by a man healed from his SSA) there are two whole pages of lists of books and resources that help those with unwanted SSA. That list includes books written by former SSA men and women.

I already gave a link to Russell Moore's candid and insightful views of a Christian man healing from SSA speech at ERLC.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqs2IDwD-SI

Why would anyone want to help an individual with unwanted SSA? Is that what you're asking? Shouldn't we be telling all people with unwanted SSA that they shouldn't fight it and should give in? See the answer given by Russell Moore in the link above.

People with SSA have had a wide variety of experiences and therefore not all of them want their SSA. Maybe they were abused etc. There are lots of reasons. Read some of these books and you'll see some possible reasons they may have developed SSA tendencies. Human beings are complex and since we are higher order thinkers we can make mental work-arounds for ourselves. Don't doubt it.

I agree with Angel.

Scott,

"No one but anti-gay people uses the term SSA."

Sorry, I missed the memo that people who use the term Same-Sex Attracted, SSA, are homophobic. Since when?

So, if the term SSA is now deemed "anti-gay", or in other words, homophobic, you're calling not only NARTH homophobic, you're calling me homophobic. WOW!

You're obviously running out of intellectual steam or are getting intellectually lazy, if you're relying on calling people names to get your point across.

Scott, your intolerance is showing.


Susanne,
NARTH has used the "research" of discredited Dr Paul Cameron, who was kicked out of 3 professional associations for unethical research.

Would that be the Richard Cohen of the "beat the pillow with a tennis racket while yelling mother"? Sorry, no credibility there. And he helped with the anti-gay people like Scott Lively who went to Uganda to help with their "Kill the gays" law. Strike 2 on him.

NARTH, JONAH, Richard Cohen and Peter LaBarbara have ALL received money from Lively, who is being sued by Sexual Minorities Uganda for his involvement in the Ugandan anti-gay bill.

To me all of that points to people who are not interested in gay people as people but to convert, change and repress them.

Sorry, Suzanne. No one on the what you call"SSA Activist" side uses that terminology. It's an invention of those who don't want to accept the reality that homosexuality is a normal part of being human, that there is nothing wrong/broken/damaged about being gay. There are always those who have difficulty accepting who they are and they are welcome to follow their own path. Conversion/reparative therapy is still abuse.

The use of the word "homophobia" obviously strikes a nerve. It's meant to, it's a nasty thing. Have you ever read Dr. Evelyn Hooker's study where she took the same number of straight men and gay men, matched them in demographics, administered the same tests to them and had other people judge the mental health of the entire cohort. The study showed that there was NO difference between the two groups. It's been done a number of times since. This was the basis to remove homosexuality from the APA list of disorders. It was science, like you said. However professional organizations are political as well as professional, so that involves internal politics.

The facts show that a vast majority of the opposition to gay rights and gay marriage in the United States is religious. It's still irrational and stupid.

Suzanne,

How do you explain what Alan Chambers said when Exodus, the world's largest ex-gay ministry shutdown? He said that he does not believe sexual orientation can be changed and that in all of the years he was involved with ex-gay ministries, he had never seen anyone who had successfully changed their sexual orientation. Did he say all of this because gays had a gun to his head? For many many years Alan Chambers wouldn't even admit that he was still same-sex attracted. Why would he feel the need to hide this? John Paulk was on the cover of Newsweek as an example of someone who had changed his sexual orientation. He used to speak at Love Won Out. Check out this YouTube video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqiw2om7IuU

And then read an article by him in politico in 2013 where he says that everything he was saying back then was a lie.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/life-as-ex-ex-gay-paulk-108090.html

Every major medical and psychological association says there is no evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. And then with the collapse of Exodus, how can you not have doubt that sexual orientation is fixed? Why is it so important to you to maintain the lie that gays can choose to become heterosexual? Why?

"It's still irrational and stupid."
Says the interlocutor who uses ad homenim dismissals as his main tactic, ignores met challenges, and then asserts...asserts...asserts with no attempt or promise of proving by legitimate argument that the opposition ought to take his opinion seriously.

Scott, you'll have to up your rational [since that is what you are calling it] game to be taken for more than a ranting atheist. As it is, I see no compelling logical/reasonable argument to think otherwise.

You'll have to deal with substantive argumenatation to earn the descriptive modifier/adjective rational instead of just claiming yourself to be so.

Brad,

What challenges?

Mo's lame answer, how one convert disproves biological origins. That's easy. One atheist disproves the existence of any god.

Suzanne had nothing but the ex-gay communities assertions. She had nothing on origins for homosexuality besides discredited ideas of abused children, by who their parents, siblings, neighbors. The organizations she referenced are more based on religion, than on science.

Angel's long winded answer was conjecture with no facts.

All you offered was "God's Rules don't argue". I'm not which version of Christianity you're part of, so I'm not sure if you get your answers direct from God or if it's by email. If God speaks is it in English, Aramaic, Hebrew? What's his voice sound like? Are you even aware of the Hooker study?

So, sexual orientation is biological and in most people unchanging. There are those people like bi's who are attracted to both genders in varying intensities. Those who change maybe bi's who have decided they want to be heterosexual, there's not a way to know in a forum like this. Transgenders find themselves with there sexual identity in conflict with their bodies. There rational, based on facts we know about human sexuality.

I'm not seeing anything else offered by anyone here is anything other than "gay is bad, God doesn't like it".

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