Human Sexuality Part 3: Environmental and Behavioural Factors in Homosexual Identity

gay-couple

In 1973, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer led a movement within the American Psychiatric Association (APA) which successfully removed homosexuality from the psychiatric manual of mental disorders (DSM). This was a key step in the efforts of gay and lesbian activist groups in promoting a society-wide impression that homosexuality was normal and not a disease. This decision, however was not made due to new clinical evidence, but because of the growing popularity of the homosexual lifestyle, and consequent pressure applied by gay and lesbian associations. The APA is not a scientific organization but a political one. It consequently makes its decisions based on outside pressures such as financial needs, public outcry and political pressuring[1]. For the entirety of the DSM’s pre-1973 existence, homosexuality was deemed to be a reversible behavioral disorder. A view based on extensive clinical data, not political correctness. Some would argue, however, that the DSM is not the place for listing homosexuality, as it does not technically qualify as a mental illness. The working definition for mental illness amongst mental health professionals is something which impairs one’s ability to function normally at work, home or at play. Homosexuality alone does not produce this phenomenon.

 

For the large part of the 20th century, homosexuality was consistently linked to several non-biological factors. Firstly, many homosexual men have a background of abuse. Often, it is in the form of sexual abuse from a male aggressor[2]. This statistically predisposes them to developing a homosexual identity in adulthood[3] [4]. Sexual abuse is an especially potent form of psychological and physical abuse. When thrust upon a child who has yet to develop sexual cognizance, identity confusion sets its roots quite deep. Normal, non-victimized children often experiment with sexual identity roles. Dressing in women’s clothes, playing the wife role in a game of “playing house” and other scenarios are a common and normal part of achieving sexual maturity that do not in and of themselves develop into a strictly homosexual lifestyle[5]. When accompanied by sex abuse, however, same sex fantasy and actual practice become more permanent, rigid fixtures, replacing the naïve role playing14. Considering that up to 30% of male sex abuse victims remain silent throughout their life due to profound humiliation, it is no wonder that this statistic is underreported even within the gay community[6]. Also, the family dynamics of gay men are likely to include a physically or emotionally absent father figure. This creates an unnatural desire to gain acceptance from other male role models. It is highly unlikely for a male child to find a successful father figure outside the family nucleus. Over time, as puberty introduces sexual urges, physical intimacy is mistaken as a normal continuation of the youth’s desire for male peers[7].

The following excerpt is from “The Complex Interaction of Genes and Environment: A Model for Homosexuality” by Jeffrey Satinover, M.D. It describes the common evolution of many homosexuals’ sexual identity. It provides a broad overview of the proper perspective of gay men and women which will allow us to sympathize with their condition and be more effective in communicating with them.

It may be difficult to grasp how genes, environment, and other influences interrelate to one another, how a certain factor may “influence” an outcome but not cause it, and how faith enters in. The scenario below is condensed and hypothetical, but is drawn from the lives of actual people, illustrating how many different factors influence behavior.

Note that the following is just one of the many developmental pathways that can lead to homosexuality, but a common one. In reality, every person’s “road” to sexual expression is individual, however many common lengths it may share with those of others.

(1) Our scenario starts with birth. The boy (for example) who one day may go on to struggle with homosexuality is born with certain features that are somewhat more common among homosexuals than in the population at large. Some of these traits might be inherited (genetic), while others might have been caused by the “intrauterine environment” (hormones). What this means is that a youngster without these traits will be somewhat less likely to become homosexual later than someone with them.

What are these traits? If we could identify them precisely, many of them would turn out to be gifts rather than “problems,” for example a “sensitive” disposition, a strong creative drive, a keen aesthetic sense. Some of these, such as greater sensitivity, could be related to – or even the same as – physiological traits that also cause trouble, such as a greater-than-average anxiety response to any given stimulus.

No one knows with certainty just what these heritable characteristics are; at present we only have hints. Were we free to study homosexuality properly (uninfluenced by political agendas) we would certainly soon clarify these factors – just as we are doing in less contentious areas. In any case, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the behavior “homosexuality” is itself directly inherited.

(2) From a very early age potentially heritable characteristics mark the boy as “different.” He finds himself somewhat shy and uncomfortable with the typical “rough and tumble” of his peers. Perhaps he is more interested in art or in reading – simply because he’s smart. But when he later thinks about his early life, he will find it difficult to separate out what in these early behavioral differences came from an inherited temperament and what from the next factor, namely:

(3) That for whatever reason, he recalls a painful “mismatch” between what he needed and longed for and what his father offered him. Perhaps most people would agree that his father was distinctly distant and ineffective; maybe it was just that his own needs were unique enough that his father, a decent man, could never quite find the right way to relate to him. Or perhaps his father really disliked and rejected his son’s sensitivity. In any event, the absence of a happy, warm, and intimate closeness with his father led to the boy’s pulling away in disappointment, “defensively detaching” in order to protect himself.

But sadly, this pulling away from his father, and from the “masculine” role model he needed, also left him even less able to relate to his male peers. We may contrast this to the boy whose loving father dies, for instance, but who is less vulnerable to later homosexuality. This is because the commonplace dynamic in the pre-homosexual boy is not merely the absence of a father – literally or psychologically – but the psychological defense of the boy against his repeatedly disappointing father. In fact, a youngster who does not form this defense (perhaps because of early-enough therapy, or because there is another important male figure in his life, or due to temperament) is much less likely to become homosexual.

Complementary dynamics involving the boy’s mother are also likely to have played an important role. Because people tend to marry partners with “interlocking neuroses,” the boy probably found himself in a problematic relationship with both parents.

For all these reasons, when as an adult he looked back on his childhood, the now-homosexual man recalls, “From the beginning I was always different. I never got along well with the boys my age and felt more comfortable around girls.” This accurate memory makes his later homosexuality feel convincingly to him as though it was “preprogrammed” from the start.

(4) Although he has “defensively detached” from his father, the young boy still carries silently within him a terrible longing for the warmth, love, and encircling arms of the father he never did nor could have. Early on, he develops intense, nonsexual attachments to older boys he admires – but at a distance, repeating with them the same experience of longing and unavailability. When puberty sets in, sexual urges – which can attach themselves to any object, especially in males – rise to the surface and combine with his already intense need for masculine intimacy and warmth. He begins to develop homosexual crushes. Later he recalls, “My first sexual longings were directed not at girls but at boys. I was never interested in girls.”

Psychotherapeutic intervention at this point and earlier can be successful in preventing the development of later homosexuality. Such intervention is aimed in part at helping the boy change his developing effeminate patterns (which derive from a “refusal” to identify with the rejected father), but more critically, it is aimed at teaching his father – if only he will learn – how to become appropriately involved with and related to his son.

(5) As he matures (especially in our culture where early, extramarital sexual experiences are sanctioned and even encouraged), the youngster, now a teen, begins to experiment with homosexual activity. Or alternatively his needs for same-sex closeness may already have been taken advantage of by an older boy or man, who preyed upon him sexually when he was still a child. (Recall the studies that demonstrate the high incidence of sexual abuse in the childhood histories of homosexual men.) Or oppositely, he may avoid such activities out of fear and shame in spite of his attraction to them. In any event, his now-sexualized longings cannot merely be denied, however much he may struggle against them. It would be cruel for us at this point to imply that these longings are a simple matter of “choice.”

Indeed, he remembers having spent agonizing months and years trying to deny their existence altogether or pushing them away, to no avail. One can easily imagine how justifiably angry he will later be when someone casually and thoughtlessly accuses him of “choosing” to be homosexual. When he seeks help, he hears one of two messages, and both terrify him; either, “Homosexuals are bad people and you are a bad person for choosing to be homosexual. There is no place for you here and God is going to see to it that you suffer for being so bad;” or “Homosexuality is inborn and unchangeable. You were born that way. Forget about your fairytale picture of getting married and having children and living in a little house with a white picket fence. God made you who you are and he/she destined you for the gay life. Learn to enjoy it.”

(6) At some point, he gives in to his deep longings for love and begins to have voluntary homosexual experiences. He finds – possibly to his horror – that these old, deep, painful longings are at least temporarily, and for the first time ever, assuaged.

Although he may also therefore feel intense conflict, he cannot help admit that the relief is immense. This temporary feeling of comfort is so profound – going well beyond the simple sexual pleasure that anyone feels in a less fraught situation – that the experience is powerfully reinforced. However much he may struggle, he finds himself powerfully driven to repeat the experience. And the more he does, the more it is reinforced and the more likely it is he will repeat it yet again, though often with a sense of diminishing returns.

(7) He also discovers that, as for anyone, sexual orgasm is a powerful reliever of distress of all sorts. By engaging in homosexual activities he has already crossed one of the most critical and strongly enforced boundaries of sexual taboo. It is now easy for him to cross other taboo boundaries as well, especially the significantly less severe taboo pertaining to promiscuity. Soon homosexual activity becomes the central organizing factor in his life as he slowly acquires the habit of turning to it regularly – not just because of his original need for fatherly warmth of love, but to relieve anxiety of any sort.

(8) In time, his life becomes even more distressing than for most. Some of this is in fact, as activists claim, because all-too-often he experiences from others a cold lack of sympathy or even open hostility. The only people who seem really to accept him are other gays, and so he forms an even stronger bond with them as a “community.” But it is not true, as activists claim, that these are the only or even the major stresses. Much distress is caused simply by his way of life – for example, the medical consequences, AIDS being just one of many (if also the worst). He also lives with the guilt and shame that he inevitably feels over his compulsive, promiscuous behavior; and too over the knowledge that he cannot relate effectively to the opposite sex and is less likely to have a family (a psychological loss for which political campaigns for homosexual marriage, adoption, and inheritance rights can never adequately compensate).

However much activists try to normalize for him these patterns of behavior and the losses they cause, and however expedient it may be for political purposes to hide them from the public-at-large, unless he shuts situation and feel content.

And no one – not even a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool, sexually insecure “homophobe” – is nearly so hard on him as he is on himself. Furthermore, the self-condemning messages that he struggles with on a daily basis are in fact only reinforced by the bitter self-derogating wit of the very gay culture he has embraced. The activists around him keep saying that it is all caused by the “internalized homophobia” of the surrounding culture, but he knows that it is not.

The stresses of “being gay” lead to more, not less, homosexual behavior. This principle, perhaps surprising to the layman (at least to the layman who has not himself gotten caught up in some pattern, of whatever type) is typical of the compulsive or addictive cycle of self-destructive behavior; wracking guilt, shame, and self-condemnation only causes it to increase. It is not surprising that people therefore turn to denial to rid themselves of these feelings, and he does too. He tells himself, “It is not a problem, therefore there is no reason for me to feel so bad about it.”

(9) After wrestling with such guilt and shame for so many years, the boy, now an adult, comes to believe, quite understandably – and because of his denial, needs to believe – “I can’t change anyway because the condition is unchangeable.” If even for a moment he considers otherwise, immediately arises the painful query, “Then why haven’t I…?” and with it returns all the shame and guilt.

Thus, by the time the boy becomes a man, he has pieced together this point of view: “I was always different, always an outsider. I developed crushes on boys from as long as I can remember and the first time I fell in love it was with a boy, not a girl. I had no real interest in members of the opposite sex. Oh, I tried all right – desperately. But my sexual experiences with girls were nothing special. But the first time I had homosexual sex it just ‘felt right.’ So it makes perfect sense to me that homosexuality is genetic. I’ve tried to change – God knows how long I struggled – and I just can’t. That’s because it’s not changeable. Finally, I stopped struggling and just accepted myself the way I am.”

(10) Social attitudes toward homosexuality will play a role in making it more or less likely that the man will adopt an “inborn and unchangeable” perspective, and at what point in his development. It is obvious that a widely shared and propagated worldview that normalizes homosexuality will increase the likelihood of his adopting such beliefs, and at an earlier age. But it is perhaps less obvious – it follows from what we have discussed above – that ridicule, rejection, and harshly punitive condemnation of him as a person will be just as likely (if not more likely) to drive him into the same position.

(11) If he maintains his desire for a traditional family life, the man may continue to struggle against his “second nature.” Depending on whom he meets, he may remain trapped between straight condemnation and gay activism, both in secular institutions and in religious ones. The most important message he needs to hear is that “healing is possible.”

(12) If he enters the path to healing, he will find that the road is long and difficult – but extraordinarily fulfilling. The course to full restoration of heterosexuality typically lasts longer than the average American marriage – which should be understood as an index of how broken all relationships are today.

From the secular therapies he will come to understand what the true nature of his longings are, that they are not really about sex, and that he is not defined by his sexual appetites. In such a setting, he will very possibly learn how to turn aright to other men to gain from them a genuine, non-sexualized masculine comradeship and intimacy; and how to relate aright to woman, as friend, lover, life’s companion, and, God willing, mother of his children.

Of course the old wounds will not simply disappear, and later in times of great distress the old paths of escape will beckon. But the claim that this means he is therefore “really” a homosexual and unchanged is a lie. For as he lives a new life of ever-growing honesty, and cultivates genuine intimacy with the woman of his heart, the new patterns will grow ever stronger and the old ones engraved in the synapses of his brain ever weaker.

In time, knowing that they really have little to do with sex, he will even come to respect and put to good use what faint stirrings remain of the old urges. They will be for him a kind of storm-warning, a signal that something is out of order in his house, that some old pattern of longing and rejection and defense is being activated. And he will find that no sooner does he set his house in order that indeed the old urges once again abate. In his relations to others – as friend, husband, professional – he will now have a special gift. What was once a curse will have become a blessing, to himself and to others.

 

Now that we better understand the genesis and dynamics of gay sex identity, we come to our final consideration. It is note worthy to look at statistics surrounding the homosexual community. Movies, music videos and television comedies have painted a clear picture of the gay man and woman: happy, intelligent, cheerful, commonplace and generally satisfied with his or her life choices. Yet, a sober, un-manufactured portrait of this same community also exists, and this text will list them in point form:

  • Young homosexual men and women have a pronounced tendency to contemplate suicide[8].
  • Homosexual men are 3 times as likely to commit suicide[9].
  • Alcoholism is a fatal chronic illness affecting the lives of 20 to 30% of the homosexual population[10].
  • Studies have found that 35% of lesbians had a history of excessive drinking, compared to only 5% of the heterosexual women in the sample[11].
  • Approximately 30% of lesbians and gay men are addicted to drugs.[12] The facts show that the homosexual community constitutes a high-risk population with regard to alcoholism and drug abuse.
  • Homosexuality is marginal lifestyle that is practiced by an extremely minor segment of the population. Relying upon three large data sets: the General Social Survey, the National Health and Social Life Survey, and the U.S. census, a recent study in Demography estimates the number of exclusive male homosexuals in the general population at 2.5 percent, and the number of exclusive lesbians at 1.4 percent[13]. Alfred Kinsey is responsible for his 1948 study which created the 10% myth when he polled a mainly prison-population and sex offender sample group.
  • Gay families (via adoption or artificial insemination) would create purposely fatherless/motherless families and ensure a dysfunctional environment[14].
  • Until the AIDS epidemic forced a more monogamous tendency in the gay community, it was not atypical for gay men to have several hundreds of partners in their lifetime[15].
  • Another large survey found that only 7% of male homosexuals had been in a relationship that had lasted more than ten years[16].
  • In a 6-month long daily sexual diary, gay men were averaging somewhere around 110 different sex partners per year[17].
  • Between 17% to 54% of “gay” men continue to practice high-risk sex post-AIDS, suggesting an addictive, abnormal drive[18].
  • A 1948 sex survey revealed that 28% of homosexual men and 1% of lesbians admitted to sexual relations with children under 16 while they themselves were adults[19].
  • The Los Angeles Times surveyed 2,628 adults across the U.S. in 1985. 27% of the women and 16% of the men claimed to have been sexually molested. Since 7% of the molestations of girls and 93% of the molestations of boys were by adults of the same sex, about 4 in 10 molestations in this survey were homosexual[20]. Considering the fact that gay men make up approximately 2-3% of the population, they are incredibly overrepresented in the child molestation circle (3% performs 40% of the sexual abuse!).
  • In 1990, The Journal of Homosexuality produced a special double issue devoted to adult-child sex, which was entitled “Male Intergenerational Intimacy.”  On page 133, one article said many pedophiles believe they are “born that way and cannot change.”  Another writer said a man who counseled troubled teenage boys could achieve “miracles…not by preaching to them, but by sleeping with them.”  On page 162, the loving pedophile can offer a “companionship, security, and protection” which neither peers nor parents can provide.  On page 164, parents should look upon the pedophile who loves their son “not as a rival or competitor, not as a thief of their property, but as a partner in the boy’s upbringing, someone to be welcomed into their home…”  On page 323, a British university professor writes: “Boys want sex with men, boys seduce adult men, the experience is very common and much enjoyed.” And finally on page 325, a professor of social science at the State University of New York said he looks forward to the day when Americans will “get over their hysteria about child abuse” and child pornography[21].
  • A 1985 study of 1109 lesbians reported that slightly more than half of the respondents indicated that they had been abused by a female partner[22].
  • Homosexual males are at least 30 times more likely to contract HIV. Anal intercourse, receptive and insertive, second only to oral copulation as the most practiced homosexual behavior, has been identified as especially conducive to HIV infection[23]. The reason is due to the delicate and highly vascularized tissue in the anus. Transmission of body fluids therefore is extremely facilitated.
  • Homosexuals have been the principal recipients and transmitters of the AIDS virus – 70% of all AIDS cases have occurred in homosexual men; in some states and in Europe, the percentages are even higher[24].
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), homosexual men are a thousand times more likely to contract AIDS than the general heterosexual population[25].
  • Researchers estimate that nearly half of the 20 year old men currently engaging in sodomy will not reach their 65th birthday[26].
  • The risk of anal cancer increases by nearly 4,000% for men who have sex with men. The rate doubles again for those who are HIV positive.  A Michigan homosexual newspaper admits there is no such thing as “safe sex” to prevent this soaring cancer risk. Condoms offer only limited protection[27].
  • Homosexual men face a significantly higher risk of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, anal cancer, gonorrhea and gastrointestinal infections as a result of their sexual practices[28]. It is not difficult to understand why fecal-oral route disease would be spread significantly when two men engage in intimate contact which includes anal penetration.
  • Women who commit sex acts with other women face a significantly higher risk of bacterial vaginosis, breast cancer and ovarian cancer than heterosexual women34. The predilection for breast and ovarian cancer is most likely due to null parity (no pregnancy throughout their lifetime), a known genesis of cancer in women.

 

 What now?

A thoughtful discussion on the rehabilitation of a homosexual person is beyond the scope of this text. Remember, although the views presented here place a very negative light on the homosexual lifestyle, they are not meant to bring intolerance or negativity to the homosexual person. Gay brothers and sisters are caught in a storm of circumstances, ranging from possible biological tendencies all the way to extremely turbulent personal lives. They are not simply “choosing” one lifestyle over another. It is true that they can choose to be rehabilitated, but as Christians, we must be sensitive to the difficulties inherent in this process. Homosexuals genuinely experience urges that heterosexuals do not. They suffer from a specific sin and must be treated, in part, as victims — although never at the price of forgetting to remind them that a choice to exit the lifestyle exists… and is theirs to make.

 

The information presented in the preceding pages are for the sole purpose of educating the Christian man and woman to articulate their biblical beliefs in a loving and open minded manner. Nothing is more exciting than to see the truth of our Scriptures in light of extensive research and discussion. God’s Word holds the Wisdom by which we should guide our lives. If one doubts this, the solution is simple. Difficult but simple. Take a long, careful observation of your world (such as we have in this paper) and the evidence itself will compel you to lend unprecedented credibility to the Written Word.

 

Mental knowledge is by itself useless. 1 Corinthians chapter 13 reminds us that without love our voices are “clanging bells”. No one needs a lecture on how terrible their sin is unless they have first been shown the total love of Christ. Regardless of our sexual orientation, we all stand shoulder to shoulder in God’s eyes. Sin is sin, and we are ALL equally sinners. This is hard to believe at times. But nonetheless, it’s true.

 

Hopefully the information you now possess will allow you to understand your Christian stance on homosexuality without feeling bigoted or like a victim of “blind faith”. God Bless you.


[1] On Monday, May 19th, 2003 in San Francisco, at a symposium hosted by the American Psychiatric Association, several long-recognized categories of mental illness were discussed for possible removal from the upcoming edition of the psychiatric manual of mental disorders. Among the mental illnesses being debated in the symposium at the APA’s annual convention were all the paraphilias–which include pedophilia, exhibitionism, fetishism, transvestism, voyeurism, and sadomasochism.

[2] Bell, A. P., Weinberg, M. S. & Hammersmith, S. K. (1981a) Sexual Preference: Its Development in Men and Women. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press / Der Kinsey Institut Report über Sexuelle Orientierung und Partnerwahl. München: C. Bertelsmann

[3] WM King  “The etiology of homosexuality as related to childhood experience and adult adjustment” Ed.D.  thesis, Indiana U. 1980.

[4] George Rekers, Ph.D., The Formation of a Homosexual Orientation, (New York: Lexingtion Books, 1995), p. 21

[5] http://www.leaderu.com/jhs/rekers.html

[6] W.C. Holmes and G.B. Slap, “Sexual Abuse of Boys,” JAMA, Dec. 2, 1998, p. 1859.

[7] http://narth.com/docs/pieces.html

[8] Suicide and Homosexual Youth. Harvard Mental Health Letter.  Dec 1998 v15 i6 pNA.

 

[9] 31. Remafedi, G., Farrow, JA., and Deisher, RW. Risk factors for attempted suicide in gay and bisexual youth. Pediatrics, 1991;87(6): 869-875.

[10] Ziebold & Mongeon, 1982

[11] Saghir, 1970; Lewis, 1982

[12] Rofes, 1983.

[13] Dan Black, et al., “Demographics of the Gay and Lesbian Population in the United States: Evidence from Available Systematic Data Sources,” Demography 37 (May 2000): 150.

 

[14] studies by ardently pro-gay researchers (see American Sociological Review, April 2001) show that children in homosexual-led households are more likely to experiment sexually, break gender norms, and identify as homosexual or bisexual than kids raised in more traditional homes.

[15] Pollack, M. ” Male Homosexuality,” in Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times, ed. P. Aries and A.Bejin, pp. 40-61, cited by Joseph Nicolosi in Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality (Northvale, N.J., Jason Aronsons Inc., 1991), pp.124-25.

[16] K. Jay and A. Young, The Gay Report, (New York: Summit, 1979), pp. 339-40.

 

[17] Corey, L. and Holmes, K.K., ” Sexual transmission of Hepatitis A in homosexual men,” New England Journal of Medicine, 1980; Vol. 302, pp. 435-38.

 

[18] Whitehead, NE., Whitehead, Bk., Submission to the Justice and Law Reform Select Committee on the Human rights Commission Amendment Bill 1992 ( Lower Hutt, New Zealand: Lion of Judah Ministries, 1993 ).

 

[19] Gebhard, P.H. and Johnson, A.B., ” The Kinsey Data: Marginal Tabulations of the 1938-1963 Interviews Conducted by the Institute for Sex Research,” NY: Saunders, 1979.

 

[20] Los Angeles Times, August 25 & 26, 1985

 

[21] “Male Intergenerational Intimacy: Historical, Socio-Psychological, and Legal Perspectives,”  The Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 20, Nos. 1&2, 1990.

 

[22] Gwat-Yong Lie & Gentlewarrier, “Intimate violence in lesbian relationships: Discussion of survey findings and practice implications,” (1991) 15 Journal of Social Service Research 46, The Haworth Press

 

[23] Coates, Randall A., et al., ” Risk Factors for HIV Infection in Males Sexual Contacts of Men with AIDS or an AIDS-related Condition,”  The American Journal of Epidemiology, 1988, Vol. 5, no. 4.

 

[24] W. Heyward and J. Curran, ” The Epidemiology of AIDS in the U.S.,” Scientific American, October 1988, p. 78

[25]The HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Division of HIV/AIDS, January, 1992, p. 9. .

 

[26] International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol 26, 657-661, “Modelling the Impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual Men.

 

[27] Between the Lines, “Anal Cancer and You,” Sept. 29, 2000.

 

[28] Medical Institute of Sexual Health, “Health Implications Associated with Homosexuality,” 1999.

 

Human Sexuality Part 2: Is Homosexuality Genetic?

homosexuality

Genesis of Homosexuality

How does a person become gay? Is it genetic? Is it a learned behavior? Or perhaps it is a mixture of the two? In order to solve this puzzle, let us look at five major studies performed by non-Christian, secular scientists on the biological origin of sexual orientation. Therefore, bias encountered in the data is decidedly devoid of any, and all Christian bias.

Study 1:
Simon LeVay, (1991), “A Difference in Hypothalamic Structure Between Heterosexual and Homosexual men”, Science, vol. 253, pages 1034-7

In this study, neurobiologist Simon LeVay studied 41 cadavers: 6 heterosexual females, 16 heterosexual males and 19 homosexual males.

hypothalamus

coloured portion is hypothalamus

Apparently, all 19 homosexual cadavers were the victims of the AIDS virus. Simon stated the the INAH3 portion of the brain’s hypothalamus (responsible for controlling sexual appetite, anger, body temperature and sleep) was on average 2 to 3 times larger in heterosexual males than in homosexual men.

 

Evaluating the data:

All 19 homosexual cadavres had AIDS. Only 6 of the 16 heterosexual men died of the disease. Please note that human testes tend to shrink in late term AIDS victims. Since gonadal (testes) hormones are known to regulate the size of several hypothalamic nuclei in animals, it may be that the change in size of testes causes hypothalamus shrinking.  Therefore the disease effects of AIDS cannot be excluded as a cause for the differences in the brain tissues of LeVay’s cadavers. In other words, abnormal hormone levels in AIDS patients could be to blame for the differences found in the hypothalamus, NOT sexual orientation. It is also important to note what LeVay himself wrote concerning his famous 1991 study:

“It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work. Nor did I locate a gay center in the brain.”

Furthermore researchers who reviewed LeVay’s work have questioned his ability to determine which of his cadavers were the homosexual men and whether or not drugs use accounted for the observed changes.[1] Of more minor importance is that LeVay is an active homosexual who founded the Institute of Gay and Lesbian Education, which is significant seeing that the ambiguity of his results were strong enough to overcome even his own obvious bias.

 LeVay (1993) also pointed out that in rats, a particular hypothalamic nuclei (in this case, the medial pre-optic nucleus) is highly susceptible to levels of certain hormones in the blood.

Medial Pre Optic Area in rats

Medial Pre Optic Area in rats

He states that during a critical period of development lasting from a few days before birth to a few days afterwards, altered hormonal levels affect the size of the pre-optic nucleus. Before or after this period, changing hormonal levels has absolutely no effect on the nucleus size.

This indicates that hormonal factors may have an impact in the size, shape and development of brain tissue. This would include nuclei (in this case, in the hypothalamus) that have effects on sexual behavior. Such evidence does create a potential for natural factors (mother’s drug use, diet, etc…) to have impact on brain structures that influence sexual appetite.

 Take note though, the tissues affected by the above-mentioned hormones controls several things, not simply sexual behavior. Sleep, hunger and emotions are just some of the other factors that are influenced NOT controlled by nervous tissue. And before we concede that these changes would inevitably lead to the homosexual lifestyle we need much more evidence than an isolated sample of tissue size changes in rats. We need behavioral observations that demonstrate homosexual effects by specific hormonal changes in rats and then in humans. This has not been shown. Furthermore, this example is not genetic but physiological. In other words, the tissues were altered after conception, not by conception. Do not forget, however that even if homosexuality were found to have biological triggers, the negative effects of this lifestyle would still benefit from rehabilitation.

 Also of interest is a study of male rams that displayed almost purely homosexual preferences. They were found to have hypothalamus sizes and chemical activities equivalent to their female counterparts and different from their heterosexual male peers[2]. If such studies could be reproduced en masse, it would make a convincing debate for the biological genesis of homosexual behavior. However, there are serious problems with using the ram study because within the ram population, fierce combat ensues to establish a small class of dominant males. The “losers” then form a fringe group in which “situational homosexuality” occurs much like human male prison populations.[3] When dominant rams are killed off by hunters, battle or natural means, the fringe group rams once again jostle violently for heterosexual access as the new dominant rams. This renders their formerly homosexual behaviour temporal and only as a means of dominating other frustrated bachelor rams to form a hierarchy within that subpopulation.[4] It must also be noted that the prolonged behaviour of suppressed rams may itself cause changes in brain tissue[5] [6] and therefore the ram study loses its potency.

 

Study 2:
Laura S. Allen and Roger A. Gorski
, (1992), “Sexual orientation and the size of the anterior commissure in the human brain”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A., vol. 89, pages 7911-7202

 After examining 200 autopsied brains, Allen and Gorski found that a bundle of neurons called the Anterior Commissure (AC), was larger in women and gay men than in heterosexual men. There is no known sexual regulation function of the Anterior Commissure, yet the differences may have cognitive impacts that could conceivably affect sexual desires and perceptions.

commissural_white_matter1318054374100

Evaluating the data:

Of first importance is the fact that the AC has no known relationship to sexual behaviour. Second, some of the women’s AC’s were up to 3 times larger than those of other women subjects within the same patient pool. It was only when averaging the findings that a general trend was found showing a larger AC for women than heterosexual men. If a small variation in the number, size and volume of a small packet of neurons can make the radical transformation of a straight man into a gay man, what occurs when there is an even larger variation in this same packet between two women? If this brain matter really had such a powerful and highly specific effect, should we not then see an extremely profound spectrum of sexual (and possibly other) behavior between women who posses AC’s 3 times the size of their female peers? Yet this has not been observed. We therefore know that sexual behavior variations cannot be attributed to this small portion of neurons that range so wildly in size and number without any sexual effects in women.

Also, 27 of the 30 homosexual men had AC’s whose size was within the range of those of the 30 straight men. Thereby nullifying the research’s explanatory power[7]. Furthermore, an under-reported 1988 study found precisely the opposite: men had larger AC’s than women[8].

Also of importance is that AIDS may have played a part in tissue size and weight as the disease is known to affect brain matter.

Study 3:
Bailey, J.M., Pillard, R.C., (1991) Archives of General Psychiatry,  48:1089-1096.

Researchers Bailey and Pillard interviewed 56 homosexual men who had identical twins, 54 homosexuals who had fraternal twins and 57 homosexuals who had adoptive brothers. Of this sample, 52% of identical twins shared their homosexuality with their twin brothers, compared to only 22% of fraternal twins and 11% of adoptive brothers. baby-twinsThe conclusion was that genetics had an impact on the likelihood of someone’s sexual orientation.

Evaluating the data:

The high predilection for homosexuality was at least in part due to the fact that the twins involved (both fraternal and identical) grew up together. Family and life experience most likely influenced the homosexual development. In the end, there is no way to distinguish what percentage their environment or what percentage their genetics played in developing their homosexual behaviour. Note the fact that 11% of adoptive brothers were gay. This is higher than the national average, providing evidence that the familial environment was perhaps a strong influence in homes which ended up producing gay individuals.

However, the strength of this research is that identical twins (whom share the EXACT same DNA) are two and a half times more likely to be gay then fraternal twins. Yet, if genetics were the sole cause of homosexuality, why would 48% of men who are genetically identical to gay men not be gay? The answer is that clearly, homosexuality is not 100% genetically fixed. But perhaps it is significantly influenced by genetics. Environmental circumstances can exact very strong pressure, but they do not seal, or inescapably destine a person the way genetics do (and even genetics are open to epigenetic phenomena). Which would explain how two identical men, who are essentially clones of each other can end up reacting differently (free choice) while truly living the exact same experience (both in their family life and in their genetics). In the end, this study proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that homosexuality is at best, 52% genetic. This is a generous estimate seeing as most (if not all) pro-gay researchers believe environment is a more important contributor to sexual orientation over and above genetics.

 

More importantly, a 14,000 person identical twin study (as opposed to 56 in this study) in Australia found the number of identical twins who shared their homosexuality was 39%.[10] Therefore, the actual genetic impact on sexual orientation is still an unknown and inexact figure. On a final note, familial causes of homosexuality are obviously not responsible for 100% of what renders and individual gay. If it were, then closer to 100% of brothers (identical, fraternal or simply brothers) would be gay. The answer must therefore lie outside both nature and family nurture (see next section on nurture).

 

Study 4:
D.H. Hamer et al, (1993) Science, 261:321-7

In studying the genetics of gay men who had gay brothers, Hamer found that such people had an excess of gay relatives on the mother’s, but not the father’s, side of the family. Reasoning that this might indicate that sexual orientation might be linked to the sex determining X chromosome on the 23rd pair of chromosomes (inherited only from the mother) Hamer conducted a linkage analysis to determine if any DNA markers on the X sex chromosome would be inherited along with the supposed gene for sexual orientation.

Evaluating the data:

In 33 of 40 pairs of gay brothers he found such a marker near the tip of the long arm of the X chromosome, in a location called Xq28, an area that contains several hundred genes. Hamer recently replicated this finding in a new set of families (S. Hu et al., Nature Genetics, 11:248, 1995).

 

gay-geneEvaluating the data:

The first objection is that 7 of the 40 specimens did not show this marker. Therefore  homosexuality does not require these genes and is not purely genetic (even if this marker were strongly associated with sexual orientation, we have not yet even understood its function, nevertheless proven how it could cause as radical an effect as homosexuality).

More notable is that a study by George Ebers contradicts the X linkage theory. A group led by George C. Ebers, a professor of neurology at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, has failed to replicate Hamer’s findings in a study that is currently being submitted for publication. “We’ve been collecting families that have more than one gay person for five years, and we’ve gone through something like 400 pedigrees,” explains Ebers. “In those [families] there is really no support for the idea that male homosexuality is X-linked. The DNA tests that were done didn’t even support Dean’s idea a bit. There wasn’t even a trend toward increased sharing of haplotypes down there at Xq28.”

Recently, Hamer’s research has been cast into doubt not only by arguments over his interpretation of the data, but also by allegations of scientific misconduct. According to a front-page article by John Crewdson in the Chicago Tribune (June 25, 1995), an anonymous former member of Hamer’s lab has alleged that Hamer engaged in selective presentation of data in his 1993 Science paper. Crewdson reported that an investigation has been launched by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Study 5:
Meyer-Bahlburg, et al (1995). Prenatal estrogens and the development of homosexual orientation. Developmental Psychology, 31, 12-21.

Women who were exposed to a synthetic form of estrogen known as DES while in the womb, were found to fantasize about same sex pairing more often than women who were not DES-exposed.

 

Evaluating the data:

Questionnaires about thought-life are less than scientific. Furthermore, the women who were found to be gay were mostly bisexual. And many were bisexual in thought not deed. Therefore they did not constitute a positive, strictly gay tendency (in actual lifestyle) as a result of DES exposure. The researchers themselves agreed that the study was not strongly conclusive.

Exposure to atrazine (a common weedkiller) increased hermaphroditic offspring in a group of male Xenopus frogs[11].

It is important to note that the condition of hermaphroditism does not inescapably make its human victims bisexual or even gay. Hermaphrodites are usually predominantly male or female looking (in facial and body features) and vary in sexual orientation from purely heterosexual to strictly homosexual. However, these studies do bring up interesting observations that could point to a partly biological influence in sexual behaviors. If exposure to substances such as atrazine were strongly linked to homosexuality, than geographic areas where such chemicals were used would be shown to produce large numbers of homosexual men and women. This has not been shown.

Concluding thoughts on the Argument for Natural Etiology of Homosexual Behaviour

Well, the above evidence is amongst the most widely reported by persons and groups that are in favor of legitimizing the gay lifestyle. It is amongst the strongest proof (if not the strongest) of a genetic or biological cause of homosexuality. Yet at its very best, the evidence is inconclusive. None of the above quoted studies constitute a straightforward case in favor of biology being the sole cause of homosexuality. There may be, at best, a hormonal influence on sexual behavior. But built-in gay programming is still a hypothesis on which the jury is out and the evidence not in. Furthermore, the sheer genetic propensity for an action in no way renders it desirable, healthy or free from the rigors of rehabilitation. We would not excuse someone who is “naturally” angry if they hit their spouse or killed someone.

Neil Whitehead, PhD adds some perspective on biology and behaviour:

“For perspective, it is valuable to compare genetic contributions to homosexuality with the question – is a girl genetically compelled to become pregnant at 15? Her genes might give her physical characteristics that make her attractive to boys [and her attracted to boys]- but whether she gets pregnant will depend greatly on whether her community is Amish or urban, conservative or liberal, whether they use contraceptives, and whether the parents are away for the evening….. …..In this, homosexuality proves to be no different from such unrelated behaviors as violence, being extroverted, or getting divorced. All may be influenced by genes, but not overwhelmingly determined by them.”

Suicide hotline workers have attested to the negative effects the gay-gene myth has had on homosexual teens who are on the brink of taking their lives. From the teen’s perspective, if there is no way out of the lifestyle which has made them so miserable, death becomes a welcomed repose[12]. If there is even a chance that homosexuality is behavioral, it would be advantageous to these desperate teens.

Some have cited the occurrence of homosexuality in the animal world as evidence of its “naturalness”. Unfortunately for proponents of this view, we also observe that many things exist in the animal world that we (thankfully) do not imitate. Tomcat mothers will sometimes respond to the shrill voice of their young by killing them. This is due to their inability to voluntarily switch their “kill small prey-instinct” to their “play-instinct”, and end up confusing its young for their dinner. Cannibalism is also epidemic throughout the lower vertebrate and invertebrate world. Instinctual glitches prevent members of the same species from recognizing their peers as non-enemies.[13]

Also, non-human animals have greatly simplified cognition. Therefore, one behavior is often repeated in a myriad of occasions. Dogs bark in the same manner to express different emotions. And many animals use sexual stimuli to express non-sexual emotional urges. An example of this is the Bonobo chimp tribes. Bonobos react to intense emotions such as intimidation and fear by dispelling them through sexual acts. In one study, a foreign object (in this case a cardboard box) was introduced into a cage full of Bonobos. The anxiety caused by the unknown stimuli immediately increased sexual contact by most of the Bonobos present. When a weaker Bonobo attempted to play with the box, a stronger Bonobo would intervene. To prove submission and ease tension, the weak Bonobo mounted the other or engaged in scrotal rubbing. In effect, it is reasonable to conclude that the use of sexual behavior is to substitute for higher order functions such as “smooth talking” or other strictly human tactics these monkeys are incapable of performing.[14] As a result, a belief in genuine animal homosexuality is unwarranted by any evidence presented thus far.

So the question then becomes: what causes homosexuality? If biology cannot account for the full spectrum of homosexual development, non-biological factors are next in line in our investigation. Is there, in fact, proof that a person’s circumstances, environment and up-bringing, not biology, are the single strongest factors in forming a homosexual identity and lifestyle? Stronger, indeed, than any known genetic cause?

Please see Part 3 in our Human Sexuality series to see the discussion on behavioural and environmental influences for homosexual lifestyles.

 


[1] P. Billings and J. Beckwith, “Born Gay?” Technology Review, July 1993, p. 60. Paul Billings, M.D., is the former chief of the Division of Genetic Medicine at California Pacific Medical Center in Palo Alto, California and is now head of Internal Medicine at the Palo Alto Veteran’s Administration Hospital; Jonathan Beckwith, M.D., is American Cancer Society Research Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

[2] Charles E. Roselli, John A. Resko, Fred Stormshak, Hormonal Influences on Sexual Partner Preference in Rams, Archives of Sexual Behavior, Volume 31, Issue 1, February  2002, Pages 43 – 49

[3] Fisher,A; Matthews,L (Date not cited). http://www.cabi-publishing.org/bookishop/readingroom/0851003974/ch8.pdf

[4] Shackleton,DM (1991): Social maturation and productivity in bighorn sheep: are young males incompetent? Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 29, 173-184.

[5] G. Gabbard, “Psychodynamic Psychiatry in the ‘Decade of the Brain,'” American Journal of Psychiatry, 149, no. 8 (1992), pp. 991-98.. This study found that infant monkeys who are repeatedly and traumatically separated from their mothers suffer more or less permanent alterations in both blood chemistry and brain function.

[6] R. Post, “Transduction of Psychosocial Stress into the Neurobiology of Recurrent Affective Disorder,” American Journal of Psychiatry 148, no. 8 (1992), pp. 999-1010.

[7] http://narth.com/docs/bioresearch.html

[8] S. Demeter et al., “Morphometric analysis of the human corpus callosum and anterior commissure,” Human Neurobiology 6 1988), pp. 219-26.

 [9] Bailey, JM; Dunne,MP; Martin,NG (2000): Genetic and Environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. J. Pers. Social Psychology 78, 524-536.

[10] Bailey, JM; Dunne,MP; Martin,NG (2000): Genetic and Environmental influences on sexual orientation and its correlates in an Australian twin sample. J. Pers. Social Psychology 78, 524-536.

[11] http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2002/04/15_frogs.html

[12] Judith Halberstam and Ira Livingston, eds., “Posthuman Bodies,” The Advocate, July 1997, pp. 135-147

[13] http://narth.com/docs/animalmyth.html

[14] Frans B. M. de Waal, “Bonobo Sex and Society,” Scientific American, Mar. 1995, pp. 82-88, http://www.songweaver.com/info/bonobos.html.

If a thought is not a thing… then what is it?

Mr_Pipo_thoughts.svg.png

Thoughts are things.

As in, they exist.

But they are not made from stuff. So… what are they?

Look outside and count the trees lining the street. You just used thoughts to generate a number. But where is that number? It’s not painted on the trees just because you counted them. Maybe the number is in your head? Where in your head? If I — heaven forbid — cracked your skull open and went looking for that number, I’d be disappointed to only find nerves and chemicals. Alas, no number. But, you accurately counted the trees using basic math. Yet there is no physical proof of the math being done.

But those numbers do exist, or else, what the heck do we mean by numbers? And how come they — when accurately used — allow us to build machines and predict the movement of planets and stars?

Greek philosophers came up with the word metaphysics. It meant “beyond” physics. They placed morals, math and geometry in that realm. Plato used the example of geometric shapes to show that we all know of things that are in the metaphysical realm and not in our physical realm. You can draw a shape in the sand, but it is an imperfect version of the image in your thoughts.

Case in point: the square. Elementary students know what a square is. Four straight lines connected at right angles:

square

Interestingly, true squares only exist k2-5in the realm of our thoughts and not in the physical world. Proof of this is that you have never seen a perfect square. This would require four perfectly straight lines connected at exactly 90 degrees in each four corners. But even with modern pixel screens and computer generated squares, if you zoomed in enough, you’d notice irregularities. Straight lines on a word document are actually imperfectly aligned pixels (see illustration). The reason we know this pixelated line is imperfect is that we know — in our mind’s eye — what straight looks like, even though we can’t find it anywhere in the universe. But where is that perfect square if it’s nowhere in the physical universe? And if we were ever to perfectly create a straight line or a shape, we would only have done so after meticulously following the blueprints in our minds, not copying a physical form.

All this to state that there is an entire universe out there that is not made up of atoms. It does not get old or rusty. Yet we access it every day when we think. These thoughts are not perusing the physical world with our 5 senses, it is perusing an immaterial world of truths that exist nowhere except that “other” world.

Thoughts are things, but not made up of matter.

The “other” world is real. Very, very real.

The Problem of Information

pseudogene_full_3155369670-6One thing that is often overlooked when discussing biology is: information.

Biology IS information. Without the blueprint of information (i.e.: DNA) and tens of thousands of little micro machines doing specific jobs there would be no giraffes, humans or crabs. There wouldn’t be any dandilions, roses or even bacteria. All of these are made up of the same materials that we find in the crust of the earth. Dirt, rocks and mud have all the same molecules as me and you. We could build an elephant with the ground under our houses.

But therein lies the rub for atheists. We would have to intelligently BUILD biological life out of the materials around and under us. Because without intelligence, machines are not built. Planes and tanks and bicycles are also made from materials we find on — or in — the earth. But bikes don’t pop out of the ground magically. Only as the result of human intelligence and effort.

“But, there’s your error, plants DO sprout out of the ground…”

No, they don’t.

If you put a seed in the ground, the cells of the seedling get to work. Micro machines grab ingredients from the surroundings and build additional cells according to the blueprint of information already in the seed. In short, you need a of batch of machines and a ton of information in order to grow a plant. It does not pop out of dirt.

Neither do bugs or llamas.

Every plant or animal or germ we know comes from another of its own kind. And invariably, all of these biological “systems” are run by information, machines that can read information, machines that build or carry things and structures that house all of these in a carefully chemically balanced fluid.

Even children understand that information comes from minds not mud.

Therefore, when it comes to life on earth, information — for the atheist — is a problem.

1_4

 

An Embarrassing Event?

donald-henry-pee-wee-gaskins-all-people-photo-u1

Donald “Pee Wee” Gaskins

Donald Henry Gaskins had been beaten and neglected as a child and had been in and out of court to face several burglary, sexual and physical assault charges throughout his life. Then he graduated to raping a twelve year old girl and killing at least 8 people. On September 6, 1991 he was executed by electric chair in South Carolina.

On March 1, 1932 Richard Hauptmann snuck into the bedroom of a 20 month old infant and kidnapped him. He left a note to the boy’s famous and wealthy father, Charles Lindbergh, demanding $50,000 for the return of the child. The money was delivered but the baby was never returned. A couple of weeks later the infant’s lifeless body was found in a nearby field, apparently dead from a blow to the head.

Hauptmannmugshot2

Richard Hauptmann

Richard Hauptmann was later arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby boy. Court proceedings for Hauptmann were called the “Trial of the Century” due to the heinous nature of the crime. Hauptmann was dubbed by the press as the “most hated man in the world.” On April 3, 1936, Hauptmann was strapped into the New Jersey State Prison electric chair (dubbed “Old Smokey”) and executed.

Ted Bundy confessed to at least 30 murders across seven states in the U.S. during the 1970’s. His crimes were so horrendous that they redefined the notion of human depravity. Bundy not only killed his victims but often engaged in sex acts with them post mortem.

famous-people-who-died-of-electric-chair-u3

Ted Bundy

He even decapitated several victims and kept their heads as souvenirs. This degree of vicious perversion is usually not even found in horror cinema.

Bundy escaped while on trial in Colorado. He was recaptured in Florida some time later after committing more murders in a college dorm room. His trial and sentencing led to his January 24, 1989 execution in the electric chair.

All of these criminals were executed by electrocution. There is nothing glamorous about the electric chair. No one boasts about a family member that was put through this procedure. As we can see, the unsavory characters that are put through this type of death penalty are not beloved members of human society. Often their crimes are so dreadful that it is sickening to contemplate. first-electric-chair-Auburn-NY-photo-International-News

This is where Easter can come into a new focus. Easily the most beloved and revered figure in all of history, Jesus Christ is a man who was, like the murderers mentioned above, killed by a state execution. Yet even the dreadful criminals in our modern times received better treatment than Him. The method by which Jesus was killed was even more gruesome and obscene than the electric chair. He died a death more loathsome than Ted Bundy’s.

Today the Christian cross is a classic symbol of righteous triumph. Yet during Jesus’ generation it was a grotesquely slow and painful method of execution that was reserved for the bottom of the barrel criminals. In comparison the electric chair is a sanitary and dignified death penalty. Crucifixion on the other hand took several days of slow suffocation in which the criminal was exposed in public — often in the nude — and could be jeered at, spat upon and continually mocked until death overtook him due to kidney or heart failure. It was so depraved that Roman citizens were forbidden to be crucified, no matter their crimes.

Perhaps it is easier now to understand the shock of Peter and the disciples when Christ told them that He had to die by crucifixion. Imagine our disgust at having our beloved mentor be put through the same treatment as the 3 criminals mentioned at the beginning of this post. Imagine early Christians using the symbol of the electric chair to happily remember their Teacher. And now, imagine the likeness of electric chairs on every church roof throughout history, or millions of necklaces with electric chair pendants around the necks of grandmothers, fathers, pastors and people attending church.

elecric chair necklace

What a strange and gruesome thought. Yet the cross is much more grotesque and unsophisticated. The only reason the symbol of the cross is palatable to Christians is that it is not the end of the story. No fan of John F Kennedy commemorates him by wearing a rifle necklace. Nor do friends, family and admirers celebrate the day Harvey Oswald shot him (Nov. 22, 1963). Yet the day of Christ’s execution is labelled “Good Friday” and Easter weekend is the single most important Christian holiday.

Absolutely none of this makes sense without the Resurrection.

The Resurrection makes the cross a symbol of the death of death itself. The victory of Life over death. No longer is even as gruesome an execution as crucifixion able to overshadow the size, brightness and power of the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The conquering of the grave has inoculated crucifixion and turned the day of Christ’s execution into a Good day. On that day our death and judgment was cancelled.

Permanently.

Praise God for that. Take a moment to really thank Him.