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Homosexuality And Religion
Very few subjects have the potential to be as divisive as sexuality. Every society has some sort of restriction regarding the sex act even if they are the most liberal on the planet. This has been especially apparent in terms of the way that people whose attractions are toward people of the same sex have been treated. Some of the most vigorous opposition to them has come from religious communities. This essay seeks to look at the history of that religious discrimination, the science behind homosexuality and the diversity of possible gender identities.
It may be easy to believe that acceptance of homosexuality is at an all time high but a balanced view of history will show that there have been peaks and valleys in this trend. Some religions have included deities in their pantheons that have engaged in homosexual acts and entire societies have flourished that viewed male homosexuality as either a rite of passage or a matter of course. Written records are often from a different cultural context which makes this easier for modern people to ignore.
Brain imaging technology has shown differences between the brains of heterosexual and homosexual people that suggest that their feelings are not a matter of choice. Even before this discovery the Psychology community had already come to the conclusion that homosexuals were not ‘ill’ but could live productive lives and contribute to their societies just as well as heterosexuals. While many religious groups have seen this evidence as inadequate, some have taken it as a reason to reinterpret their doctrines to welcome people who are openly gay.
It is common to think of gender as binary but there are actually several variations that occur not just in the expression of sexual identity but in sex itself. In the human and animal kingdom, there are inter-sex individuals that are born with traits of both sexes. This prompts the view that sex is naturally a spectrum. In that case, people who believe in a deity must acknowledge that he or she is capable of creating people and animals that may not be male or female in the ways we are used to defining those words. This can happen both physically and or mentally and if that deity is omnipotent, they are not accidents.
Most major changes in acceptance take time. The civil rights movement ended decades before apartheid and racism still persists. Similarly, it will take time for homosexuals to be judged by something other than orientation.