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June 18, 2008

Science Proves Homosexuality Biologically Based – Can Being Gay Or Lesbian Still Be A Sin?

What if homosexuality really is biologically based and therefore something inborn, not something learned or adopted? Would this change the negative halakhic (Jewish legal) view of homosexuality?

I ask this question because a new study just published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences seems to have proven homosexuality…

… to be just that – biologically based:

…The researchers used MRIs to determine the volume and shapes of the brains of 90 volunteers—25 straight and 20 gay members of each sex. They found that the straight men and gay women had asymmetrical brains; that is, the cerebrum (the largest part of the brain, which is responsible for thought, sensory processing, movement and planning) was larger on the right hemisphere of the brain than on the left. In contrast, they found that women and gay men had symmetrical cerebrums.

The team next used PET (positron emission tomography) scans to measure the blood flow to the amygdala, that part of the brain controlling emotion, fear and aggression. The images showed how the amygdala connects to other parts of the brain, giving them clues as to how this might influence behavior. They scanned subjects' brains when they at rest and did not show them photos or introduce other behavior that might have been learned.

They found that in gay men and women, the blood flowed to areas involved in fear and anxiety, whereas in straight men and lesbians it tended to flow to pockets linked to aggression.…

How should halakha (Jewish law) view homosexuality in light of this?

I think there are several options:

  1. Nothing changes. The Torah is eternal. Science is wrong.
  2. Nothing changes. The Torah is eternal. Science is correct but people must learn to control their desires. A person could be born with the genetic predisposition to rape or steal. We would not therefore remove rape and theft as crimes.
  3. Everything changes. Being genetically programed from birth to be attracted to the same sex is not the same thing as rape or theft. Rape and theft are sins against other human beings. Homosexuality is a bein adam l'makom sin, a sin between man and God. It is much more akin to a ritual violation than a crime. Now that we know gays and lesbians have no real choice, that they act out of genetic compulsion, homosexuality should no longer be a sin.
  4. A lot changes. While we cannot rewrite the Torah we can rewrite the halakha. Treat homosexual behavior as something to avoid. But, if the temptation is too strong and a person gives in to his (or her) desires, so be it. If God chooses to punish, God will punish – we will not do so ourselves. I believe halakha generally does not recognize ones (compulsion) as an excuse for things we would call psychological or emotional in nature. But it does recognize ones for physical compulsion, and one could make the case that having brains that are physiologically and physically different (the findings of the new study) counts as physical ones. If so, gays and lesbians would not be culpable for their actions – as long as those actions were bein adam l'makom, between man and God, in nature, something homosexuality certainly is.

In the not too distant future, the science involved will be much more definitive, and Orthodoxy won't be able to dodge the issue any longer. (Of course the same holds true for Fundamentalist Christianity, Islam, etc.)

Here's how I think the Orthodox Jewish world will react when that day comes:

  • Extreme haredim (like Edah HaCharedit and most hasidic groups): #1.
  • Slightly less extreme haredim (like Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Lakewood and its affiliates): #2.
  • Modern and Centrist Orthodoxy: #2 publicly, #4 privately when counseling gay and lesbian Jews, but only if #2 has already clearly failed. (This is similar to how they already deal with issues like Noah's flood, the Tower of Babel, etc.)
  • Left wing Modern Orthodoxy (Yeshivat Chovvevei Torah, for example): #4 publicly, #3 privately.

So? What should be done now? In your mind, does that differ from what should be done as the evidence gets even clearer?

Either way, what would you do? How would you pasken (decide the law) if you were a rabbi?

If I were the gadol hador, the leading rabbi of the generation, I'd rule #4 – and then I'd keep working to find a way to rule #3.

Scientific American report on the study.

[Hat Tip: Concerned.]

Comments

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The issue is more complicated. There is a continuum. Most people do not fall at the ends of the continuum but in the middle. Most people are free to choose. Some are not. The gemara talks about one whose need for sex is overwhelming and suggests all sorts of ways for dealing with it. At the end, it suggests that when all else fails, he should go to a town where no one knows him and hire a prostitute, then go back and get on with his life.
Homosexuality cannot become an acceptable public lifestyle, because too many people who are not at the end of the continuum, who can choose, will have their choice influenced by making it acceptable, Judaism believes that an individuals happiness is only a small part of the meaning of life. God's will and the good of the Nation Israel are major parts of the equation. The only position I can endorse is don't ask don't tell. To paraphrase Napoleon, to the homosexual as an individual I offer everything, but as a homosexual, I can offer nothing. I do not want to know what people, gay or straight, do imtheir bedroom. If they insist on telling me what I do not want to know, I cannot view them as halachic Jews.

You must remember that the science in this field, like any other politically correct area, is very skewed.
For example, homosexuality used to be listed in the DSM-IV (the American Psychiatric Association guidelines) as a mental illness. What process led to its removal? At a meeting of the APA, the chairman asked for a show of hands for "How many people think we should take it out?"
Now, you may agree that homosexuality shouldn't be listed as a mental illness but to affect a change in THE definitive guidebook to the diagnosis of mental illness by such a method is scandalous. Bring out studies. Show the evidence. None of that happened. But no one complained. It wasn't politically correct.
This study is more of the same. It's well known that if you want to get funds to study how homosexuals are anatomically or physiologically distinct, you will get them from any liberal university. If you want funds to show that it's an aberration and that, fundamentally, homoesexuality is not a normal variant, no one will give you a penny. And if you do get private funding, no one will publish your study.
So don't read too much into this. Studies like this have been popping up since the early 1990's when PET scanning first came into vogue and they've all be disproven after the fact.
Your no. 2 option is the most reasonable except you have to remember that Torah is not up against science, but rather against the ideology of Scientism.

Whatever halachic opinions pan out (and I am not knowledgeable enough to opine on this), I hope the ruling leads to toned-down rhetoric and less sinat chinam. Whatever the ruling is, Gays are not trying to rebell against God by being homosexual. They are just being themselves. (Specific behavior is another issue, apart from inclination).

Garnel brings up a good point. Science is supposed to be objective, but as a human activity it is not free from ideology. Therefore, I have a problem with the current crop of mocking neo-Atheists, who make a pseudo-religion out of science.

However, I have no problem with deep geology, astrophysics, and evolution, per se. The facts are the facts. Even the Rambam said (correct me if I'm wrong) that if the Torah seems to contradict a known fact, you should take that passage allegorically.

But the facts are not the Truth. There are no facts in Shakespeare; Bohemia has not a seacoast. But there is some Truth in his plays and sonnets. Where are the facts in a symphony, a Beatles song, or a great painting? And there is much more Truth in Torah. Scientism would have you believe that this bleak, material world is all there is. Maybe they are right. I sure hope not.

If there is more to more in heaven than is dreamt of in Natural Philosophy (science), what is the Torah trying to tell us by prohibiting male anal sex, if there is indeed a biological basis to the desire?

I don't see how Orthodox Judaism as a coherent ideological movement adopts #4 if you truly mean "rewrite"--that is closer to left wing Conservative--unless you meant "reinterpret" or had an explanation that could, within Orthodox terms, differentiate between norms that could not change and those that could on the from-Sinia-from-rabboniim axis

Garnel, if you look at the study instead of doing a Limbauesque ignorant rant, you would see the following:

Gay men and straight women share some characteristics in the area of the brain responsible for emotion, mood and anxiety, researchers said on Monday in a study highlighting the potential biological underpinning of sexuality.

Brain scans also showed the same symmetry among lesbians and straight men, the researchers wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The observations cannot be easily attributed to perception or behaviour," the researchers from Sweden's Karolinska Institute wrote. "Whether they may relate to processes laid down during the foetal or postnatal development is an open question."

A number of studies have looked at the roles genetic, biological and environmental factors play in sexual orientation but little evidence exists that any plays an all-important role. Many scientists believe both nature and nurture play a part.

Brain scans of 90 volunteers showed that the brains of heterosexual men and homosexual women were slightly asymmetric with the right hemisphere slightly larger than the left, Ivanka Savic and Pers Lindstrom wrote. The brains of gay men and heterosexual women were not.

Then they measured blood flow to the amygdala -- the area key for the "fight-or-flight" response -- and found it was wired in a similar fashion in gay men and heterosexual women as well as lesbians and heterosexual men.

The researchers added that the study cannot say whether the differences in brain shape are inherited or due to exposure to hormones such as testosterone in the womb and if they are responsible for sexual orientation.

"These observations motivate more extensive investigations of larger study groups and prompt for a better understanding of the neurobiology of homosexuality," they wrote.

In other words: They make no claim whatsoever that this must be an innate tendency. If anything, they stress that they don't yet know the reasons. All they did was compare brain neuroanatomy and circulation to straight people of the opposite gender and report objective observations.

There is no political motivation, statement or allusion other then that which you inferred based on your own disdain for pure research which doesn't confirm your RW political biases.

Slightly less extreme haredim (like Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Lakewood and its affiliates): #2.

Your division into #1 and #2 is wrong. They are both "science is correct when it doesn't conflict with Torah".

YL: a philosopher once asked where even is the song in a Beatles song? Is it the music that was in Lennon and McCartney's heads as they composed it? Is it the physical grooves or bits and bytes in the LP or the CD? is it the sound waves? what we hear when we put on Can't Buy Me Love? The sheet music? Everytime I look deeply at "facts" my own head starts to swim.

Paul: Interesting post. As Yeats once wrote:

O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

"Among School Children"

(Kolko's favorite poem?)

I don't think the science and the halakha contradict each other. Science suggests that the predilection for homosexuality is a natural occurrence; halakha merely forbids the behavior. Halakha also forbids attacking people or getting angry, but a violent or short temper may also be a natural occurrence. We all have different inclinations-- some healthy, some less so. If nobody had any inclination towards forbidden behaviors, there would be no point in forbidding those behaviors.

Listen. If a gay person could take a pill and suddenly become straight, would he earn the Schar (reward) for being Kovesh Es Yitzo (overcoming his desires)? Does someone who takes a mood stabilizer to manage manic episodes get the same credit as someone who overcomes his tendencies only after years of psychotherapy and hard work?

So on the flip side, why does it matter if the source of behavior is physiologically based or not? Perhaps because then we can say that someone who is able to overcome his lusts and desires gets much more kudos because he's fighting against his wiring and not just his personal choices.

I know my hedonistic desires for lustful pleasures are pretty strong - are they wired in or just my personal desires? Either way, I a faithful to my spouse and abstain from porn despite my unbelievable desires (like a dowsing rod to lake Erie).

Considering Shmarya's preoccupation with this topic I think it's relevant question whether he struggles with homosexual desires himself.

2 very important points here
1. science has also found that people with red hair are more prone to violence then others. does that mean murder is ok if u have red hair?
2. it only changes things if you believe the torah wasn't given by G-d. if you believe that then there is no good reason to "update the law" and to allow homosexuality.. however the whole point of the torah (and judiasm in general) is that it came from G-d, in which place nothing changes its what G-d said and its the rule of law. or do we know better? otherwise what's the whole point of having a religion?

Rabbi DW,

The Gemara you refer to about the prostitute is not to be taken literally as explained by the Maharsha and other commentaries. The point of the Gemara is that while the man burning with desire is changing into the "prescribed" black clothes that must be worn to travel outside his home city, he will come to the realization that he is planning a grave sin and will repent before setting forth. The Gemara never gave permission to copulate with a forbidden woman. The Gemara is only prescribing a whole rigamarole so that the guy will come to his senses.

I don't see why #2 and #4 are inconsistent and why #4 is considered a rewrite. Like every other bein adam l'makom, if the participant truly had not ability to avoid those actions then presumably he will not be punished. While I agree that homosexuality is biological, I somehow doubt whether a person has absolutely no ability to avoid acting on his predisposed desires. Will God punish or not punish an individual based on the level of his desire? I assume so, but only God really knows.

The real issue is should Homosexuality be treated any differently than, say, violating the Shabbat? There are many desires that cause someone to violate the Shabbat as well.

--Considering Shmarya's preoccupation with this topic I think it's relevant question whether he struggles with homosexual desires himself.--

In personal practice Shmarya has already adopted option #3.

YL: and so, do we have a choice--we dance!

"In Elul 5562, Rebbe Nachman moved from Zlatipolia to Breslov (Bratzlav, Ukraine).
Upon entering the city of Breslov, Rebbe Nachman came to make Kiddush (santification by means of a blessing) on wine and the wine spilled onto the ground. He poured another cup, and blessed it. Afterwards, he said "today we ... captured the city of Breslov by means of clapping hands and dancing".

or


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVLsETDwfWQ

"In the not too distant future, the science involved will be much more definitive"

Thanks for writing that, you openly displayed your bias there.

This 'science' is baloney, junk science. Like the studies sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry that all their drugs are great with no side effects. Political pressure of the homosexual lobby is behind alot of this so-called science, let's be honest about it.

Science Proves Homosexuality Biologically Based

No chiddush there. Pedophilia is also biologically based. Estimates range from 1%-5% of the population that have this "biologically based" desire. Should we rewrite the laws of statuatory rape? Should NAMBLA be considered a respectable organization? I am not suggesting that homosexual acts be outlawed in the U.S. (although they do pose a danger to society through the spread of HIV and AIDS). However, there is certainly no need to revisit the halacha or reinterpret the Torah in this regard. Every person is given nisyonos and by fighting our innate desires, we humans, Jews especially, separate ourselves from other creatures. Alfred Kinsey once wrote that 95% of the American population engaged in deviant sexual behavior. He also said that sexual promiscuity was "normal". If 95% of the population is engaged in doing something, it must be "normal" and hence it must be biologically based. However, that does not make it legal and moral.

mazel tov. some random rabbi I never heard of misinterpriated gemarah. is that supposed to be unusual? just like any other law (torah, us constitution, nevada law) its only applicable if u read the "legislative intent" and commentaries (such as the supreme court, state courts and rashi)

TORAH will never change, as we say in Ani-Mamen, The torah prohibits this type of an act, so no matter what scientist prove is irrelevent, as some have proven that circumsiion is unhealthy.. even though we have been doning this since abrahmas time, even questioning this with the type of article you bring is the chilul hashem of the tech-world

Where is this Gemora that talks about someone who is pre-occupied with sex and suggests going to a different town and finding a prostitute?

Steve: Where is that Rov who will give me a heter?

Yochanan, I don't think I know a Rov who will give you a heter... Do you happen to know where that Gemora is? I'd be interested to see it.

I don't see how this would change torah. It would be the same as saying if someone is a psychopath , then it's ok for him to murder as it's part of his biology and he was born with it.
All this means is that people who are homosexual have something out of the norm and for some it is hard to fight that, but that doesn't mean you should make a song and dance about your sexual tendencies.
Although i do not think that those who are homosexual should get married as it isn't fair on their spouse, i think they ought to be getting help just like the psychos get help and the sociopaths get help.

The gemara is in Kiddushin 40a. Here is my loose translation:

Rabbi Ilai the Elder said: If a person sees that his desires are overpowering him, he should go to a place where nobody recognizes him, dress in dark clothing and cover himself in darkness and do as his heart wishes, without desecrating the name of heaven (hashem) publicly.

I wanted to add that the chassidim who attend John School in New York take this gemara too literally. They insist on dressing in black when they patronize prostitutes and attend this reform school, even though it causes chillul hashem rather than preventing it. These days they need to dress in white and shave their beards to prevent chillul hashem.

B"H
In another study last year scientists were able to :
Scientists Make Fruit Flies Gay, Then Straight Again

By Robert Roy Britt

LiveScience.com


While several studies find homosexuality in humans and other animals is biological rather than learned, a question remains over whether it's a hard-wired phenomenon or one that can be altered.

A new study finds that both drugs and genetic manipulation can turn the homosexual behavior of fruit flies on and off within a matter of hours.
click here and scroll down to read more
http://pilegesh.blogspot.com/2007/12/scientists-make-fruit-flies-gay-then.html

To Archi Bunker,
The gemara says what it says. If you want to misinterpret it, I have a whole batch of At Scroll "biographies" that you will enjoy. As far as Shmarya, on a previous posting Shmarya refused to deny that he was sleeping with barnyard animals, despite being given many opportunities to do so.
Getting back to the point, The great majority of us have heterosexual urges, and as shomrei mitzvot, during two weeks a month we have no way of satisfyung these urges. There are many men who do not get married until they are in their late 30's or older. All joking aside, thereare Catholic Priests who do take their vows seriously and refrain from sex all their lives. Despite what teenage boys tell their girl friends, in the entire history of man, no one has died because he did not have sex.
Is the sexual urge very powerful? You bet your bippy it is. (I am showing my age). Can we defeat it? If we try. And if we fail once, that does not mean that we should stop trying.

Steve: You know I was kidding about the heter. Unless you really do know a Rov... (LOL)>

http://www.bio.net/bionet/mm/bioforum/1999-April/029199.html

The loves that dared not speak its name is now the love that just won't shut up and get out of the public's face.

"Among School Children"

(Kolko's favorite poem?)

I'm so glad that I wasn't eating or drinking anything when I read that, or it would have ended up sprayed all over my monitor!

You've been on a roll lately!


The entire concept as whether or not there is any genetic aspect to being Gay or Lesbian is totally irrelevant as far as Torah or Halacha is concerned.

It may only make people feel better if they are secular Jews or Goyim but as far as Torah and Halacha is concerned it is pointless to even think about it.

Forget about Gay and Lesbian.

What if a person is a Strait Heterosexual?

Is Heterosexuality Genetic?

Yes, Heterosexuality is definitely hardwired but the point is SO WHAT?

The Genetic aspect of Heterosexuality does not matter at all, whatsoever, as far as Torah is concerned!

Torah has just as many limitations on acting on that sexual urge anyway - so obviously the cause of the urge - be it strait or Gay or lesbian must be controlled anyway, so that fact that it has generic origin is 100% totally irrelevant.

Everyone agrees that Heterosexuality is hardwired, yet Torah will forbid any Heterosexual sexual act for people who are not married or if the women is a Nidda.

Many Heterosexuals never get married and Heterosexual sex remains a lifetime Prohibition although they are hardwired for sex according to all opinions.

So see that being hardwired in any sexual direction - regardless of orientation - is totally irrelevant as far as what is permitted or remains 100% off limits forever for th person who is so hardwired.

Looking for any genetic aspect - be it true or false - is climbing up the wrong tree - there is no point in searching for this because there is no logical reason why it should make any difference either way.

It certainly doesn't make any difference for Heterosexuals.

All Heterosexuals have no choice to be heterosexual and yet they must control that sexual impulse the majority of their life.

Even heterosexuals who are Happily Married in the most Kosher way, must control their hardwired sexual urge the majority of their married life (including controlling the perfectly natural urge to masturbate and extramarital affairs and even lewd thoughts and even looking at other women that are not dressed 100% according to the laws of Torah Tznius) and while the wife is a Nidda (50% of the time) and or when the wife is otherwise not immediately available at the moment in time, of a man's, perfectly natural genetic impulsive heterosexual urge.

The Genetics of Heterosexuality still restricts Heterosexual sex 99.99% of the time, when any man could want to have sex and for some men (who are not or even if they could not, get married) it is restricted 100% of their lifetime anyway.

It is true, that you can argue, that at least a heterosexual has "a way out" to arrange for an Kosher Sex, if married and the minority of the time when his wife is not Niddah or otherwise occasionally "not in the mood" when sex is prohibited even for heterosexuals.

But the above is irrelevant because as you can see, there are exceptions, when a thousands of Torah abiding Heterosexuals Jews are prohibited form ever having any sex at all, ever in the lifetime.

As you see, since Torah does not permit any exception, to permit illicit sex, for the 10's of thousands of unmarried Heterosexual, Torah abiding, Jews, (including those who had never married, the married who's husband ran away, the agunas, the divorced, and the widowed - if not remarried) there is no reason to expect preferential treatment for any other type sexual orientation.

Torah says that all sexual urges regardless of orientation has to be controlled amongst all orientations regardless of which and irrelevant if hardwired or not.

Thanks, PPP.

Considering Shmarya's preoccupation with this topic I think it's relevant question whether he struggles with homosexual desires himself.


Considering your preoccupation with Smarya's sexuality, it appears that it's relevant to question whether you stuggle with such desires yourself, too.

I am not suggesting that homosexual acts be outlawed in the U.S. (although they do pose a danger to society through the spread of HIV and AIDS).

So do heterosxeual acts, by the way. AIDS is not a "gay disease."

You bet your bippy it is. (I am showing my age).

That's my SWEET bippy to you.

(Too young to catch Laugh-In first time around. Made up for it when it was rerun.)

I think the point is that, while I do not think that any torah observent jew can deny that homosexuality is a sin, the question is So What?
There are many sins in the torah, and I do not see the same level of vitriol spewed agains someone who is mechallel shabbat, or who cheats on taxes. Someone who is a homosexual sins, but not a sin greater or less than someone who does a hundred other things, yet only homosexuals are ostracized to such a degree. Some of you will say that they flaunt it in our face and that is what you find objectionable, but isn't that a reaction to being vilified for so long? Genetic or behaivoral doesn't really seem to enter into it.

Shlom,

If someone is mechalel shabbos brazenly and publicly, then the severity of his sin is equal to one who engages in homosexual behavior, in that both are stoned and are chayavei krisos. You cannot compare the severity of these sins to one who cheats on his taxes, unless he's a frum public figure. Since we do not have the death penalty today, we can only warn them and help them do teshuvah. Hate the sin and not the sinner. The problem is when these people parade in our holy city, Jerusalem and brazenly declare that they engage in such behavior. To me it's like when the Syrian-Greeks sacrificed a pig on the altar. Besides, it is contemptible when such a parade is held in any city in the world, similar to public nudity, sex shops and prostitutes on the corner.

interesting as a hot-button issue, a more interesting gender question since less minoritarian and with greater practical scope would be why Orthodox still maintain that women can't be rabbi's or participate in public aliyahs

To Shlom,

Torah outlaws desecrating the Shabbos as it outlaws, many other sins.

But there is a difference in how G-d relates to Homosexuality verses other sins.

It is not an invention of sociological conditioning that Homosexuality is disgusting.

It was G-d words in the written Torah, BIBBLE, (the same Old Testament, Bible that non-Jews believe in, too), says that Bestiality, like Homosexuality are disgusting and an Abomination.

G-d in the Torah, did not say that Chilul Shabbos is disgusting and an Abomination.

If anyone is Gay and is offended by the fact that G-d equates Bestiality being on the same level of disgust, just as Homosexuality, his issue is with the same G-d who created all the genetics and the same G-d who crated the human ability to engage in Bestiality, the same G-d created the genetics of Homosexuality and many other disgusting genetic Abominations, according to Torah.

A Homosexual does not feel that his act is disgusting and an Abomination.

Those who practice Bestiality, they also don't feel they are doing anything disgusting, as a matter of fact they love it.

If the Old Testament, the Torah says that G-d says that Homosexuality is disgusting and an Abomination and if society agrees with G-d on that opinion, you can't blame people for feeling the same feelings which G-d feels about Homosexuality.

I don't believe homosexuality is a choice barring experimentation by choice.

People are born with the disposition to like men vs women.

Logically it could be sinful because they're not procreating but otherwise I think it's not a sin.

To a homosexual being with a women is disgusting like it is for a heterosexual to be with a man.


Shmayra,

What would you say to someone who is against gay marriage because he/she claims that it is a slippery slope ? Meaning, what would stop someone years from now advocating incestual, polyamorous or polygamous marriages ? Should all marriages be accepted as long as 2 (or 3 or 4 etc) condescending adults agree ??

Would the advocates of gay marriage agree that all these other "unions" should be accepted as "marriage" ?

Simon,

I know that you don't feel that homosexuality is disgusting but G-d disagrees with you, in his Bibble.

Who gets to decide, what is Disgusting and what isn't?

Everything which you feel is disgusting, you can always find someone else who feels that your disgust is his delight.

There are countless sexual deviant behavior that most people would agree is disgusting yet those who practice bestiality don't feel it's disgusting, either!

How about having a:
"BESTIALITY - PRIDE", DAY, PARADE!

There are infants who's diapers falls off, occasionally and they EAT SHIT, they eat their own shit, and they are absolutely delighted with the taste, texture and experience, (until mom finds out what happened).

What anyone feels is disgusting or not, is subject to very great variations and errors in judgment.

I don't think that any mass murderer who mutilated and ate their victims flesh, I don't think they ever thought that what they were doing was disgusting, (at the time), rather they were thoroughly ecstatic and totally delighted and enjoyed it very much.

Human beings are prone to very big errors in judgment, about what they feel is right and wrong and what they enjoy and what they find disgusting and what not.

Who know better what is disgusting and what is not disgusting? You, or the G-d who created you and all the genetics we speak of?

G-d says that Homosexuality is disgusting, period.

Scott, the caveate at the end of the the gay study article is very important. For scientific evidence you need a much larger sample that is randomized. You need to take people who do not tell you what their sexual orientation is and see if you can predict it based on these observations.

The findings of this study just may be by chance and not predictable which is the problem of all studies with small samples which are not randomized and do not have a proven known standard for what is normal.

G-d

I hear your comment and what's disgusting is certainly subjective.

To me it is also disgusting and I'm not in favor of gay pride parades, celebrations, or gay marriage, etc....

However I still feel though Hashem says it's an disgusting he didn't say we should treat them worse than any other sinner among Israel.

There's plenty of sins going around but people don't go crazy about them.

Go figure?


So we can talk about all these issues and forget to talk about the individuals who live under these situations. For those of you that are hard hearts and pundits I realize this will go right by you because halacha must often include heart and sensitivity not flippant put downs using errant hidden hatred and meanness toward others in giving replies here.

As an aside I wonder how you are gonna do if one of your children grows up and tells you they are gay.

Make clear btw there is distinction in halacha between gay and lesbian.

Okay we have another interesting provocative study that does point in the direction of the biology of gays being different. Fine process it but at the same time remember how difficult it is for in particular gay kids live in this social nightmare. Gay jokes, gay bashing, and pointed, off-the-wall comments fill school hallways and conversations. Words like faggot and fag or simple joking comments such as “That’s so gay” are prevalent.

To make matters worse, everywhere gay kids turn, they regularly hear — even from their parents — that being gay is bad. They deduce that if you are gay, you’d better keep it a secret.

But secrets are dangerous. Sexual secrets are especially toxic, and they can become deadly. The isolation gay teens experience is extremely profound and dangerous — their life is a secretive living hell that often includes depression and suicidal ideation. Gay teens, or kids who think they are gay, have a need bordering on desperation. . But too often, we give either give negative signals or, worse yet, openly express hatred toward gay people. Make no mistake about it. Gay kids “in the closet” are tremendously at risk. Most parents and adults have such a hard time dealing with kid’s sexuality anyway, that I wish there were something I could say to make this issue in particular easier

We also bully and silence families by our by cultural shame. Put bluntly, gay teenagers are dying because of negativity and silence. It is time we stop being manipulated by slogans and by people who demonize children.

History has taught us enough lessons about what happens when we label others “defective.”


So if you stay hardline the undertow here is that being gay is deviant and evil. All I can do is warn you not to alienate and not have your feet facing the door loaded up from stomach to mouth to brain with aveiros you have slammed on gays ,and others. These comments go hand in hand with other aspects of sinas chinam.

No matter where you stand on these matters unless you are in level 1- which is not level of halacha at all and lets not kid ourselves period.

Level one halacha is administered by men who live by doctrine over person. Who use and manipulate language and even lashon hakodesh to keep their hate and power on their court..They manipulate the language to fit their needs and bring no justice is blind to answering anything. Much like even extreme politics and news today. Studies are not quoted but bias is the thematic.

But for the rest of us…I pose that when we talk or speak about these matters we stay off being so halachically clinical… We speak here of peoples lives not some codex of halacha found under shailos uteshuvos. This here be real people and real people deserve sensitivity .

There is no issur of being friends with gays, having a gay person to Shabbat or pesach or welcoming into your social circle and for sure never looking and thinking..gosh I am such a good yid I have gays to my home.

Gd forbid you even think or have a hirhur about that. Being gay is just different and flat out way harder than imagined. Gays do not hustle others and little kids for sex. Those are heterosexual or homosexual deviants folks.

Gays in our society to day are targets of violence, attack and murder.

We yidden ought to know who leads and condones these attacks and ought to nod our head in the familiarity of all that evil …hell it has been the calling card we have received for centuries. We cannot live in any society that dehumanizes anyone period.



B"H

"G-d says that Homosexuality is disgusting, period.

Posted by: Who decides "What is Dusgusting" | June 18, 2008 at 04:02 PM "


Look in Yechezkiel (Ezikiel) 22:11 (see http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/16120/showrashi/true/jewish/Chapter-22.htm the word toeva - abomination (same word used in regards to homosexuality in Vaikra (Leviticus) is used in regards to adultery and incest.
PS. On this subject see also a free translation of the Rebbe's talk on Purim farbrengen 5746 "Rights or Ills" http://www.sichosinenglish.org/essays/46.htm

Wanting to have multiple sex partners has a biological base and most married people have these urges. It is still prohibited. Homosexuals have to control their urges just like I,(a married man) must control my urges. Some people's urges are stronger then others. Tough luck. I really want bacon but I don't ever eat it. Having an urge for bacon doesn't make it Kosher. On the other hand, what people do behind closed doors is there own business but I don't have to say it's OK.

Why is this even a question? Since the FIRST contemporary rabbinical discussions I read more than 15 years ago (and it was already an ongoing discussion by then), there was the open discussion of biological basis!!! This is not news, nor is it inherently a challenge. Especially because there is biological basis for virtually ALL sexual behavior!! The fact that a great number of mammals and birds engage in bizarre PANsexual friskiness (including rape, etc), only strengthens how distinct human societies are, and all the more so the Jewish derech, in emphasising how LESS animal-like we should be. This, in a halachic discussion that ALREADY INCLUDES biological basis as a possibility!!

I can't emphasise enough that essentially ALL sexual behaviors are evidence in animals. The western notion that all kinds of things "just aint natural", wherever it came from, is patently false. There's nothing 'especially natural' about homosexuality - and that's a point AGAINST those who want to privelege it. In THAT way, is like every other sexual drive. BTW, the Kinsey institute lowered it's percentage of the male population who are gay to something like 2-5%, after acknowledging that Kinsey used non-representative demographics to achieve is popular "at least 10%" figure (he used prison populations, etc..). his determination that "children are sexual beings" (something I've seen Chabad authors speak of, along with general "of course"ness about Kinsey, to justify their 'seperation' chumras), included 'research' done by convicted pedophiles, and occasionally 'data' from those engaged in ongoing abuse. all this is online.

++Pedophilia is also biologically based.++

I genuinely wonder why people still make this lame argument when the difference is pretty freakin' clear to anyone rational:

One action has a victim - the other does not.

Another adult can consent - a child cannot. Period.

What would you say to someone who is against gay marriage because he/she claims that it is a slippery slope ? Meaning, what would stop someone years from now advocating incestual, polyamorous or polygamous marriages ? Should all marriages be accepted as long as 2 (or 3 or 4 etc) condescending adults agree ??

Using the same logic, we should outlaw all heterosexual marriages because they are a slippery slope to gay marriage.

You cannot carry outside your home or eruv on Shabbat. Should we outlaw carrying inside your home and eruv because carrying there is a slippery slope?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As for many of the other comments, people are born this way. It is not a choice.

What most commenters seem to have missed is my point about homosexuality being a bein adam l'makom sin, not a bein adam l'havero sin. It's between man and God, not man and man.

Every other example brought in the above comments involve sins between man and man: between a man and a child who cannot consent, between a man and an animal who cannot consent, etc.

And that makes those arguments moot.

The fact that science should confirm that homosexuality is biologically based does not pose a theological problem. I do not even need the scientific dissertations. The fact that animals exhibit homosexual behavior should be an indicator that the same issue might exist in humans. All I can say is that some people have harder nisyonot than others and G-d is the only true judge.

Pedophillia is also a problem that is biologically based. Regardless of what the torah says (it is definitely assur), we as a society have zero tolerance for it.

The big question that is usually asked is in regards to the dichotomy of the tora's expectations on sexual morality and the fact that G-d created homosexuals to be who they are. Nobody asks this question regarding pedophiles.

At one point not only was socially acceptable to marry one's sister, it was also halachicly permissible

Ariel writes: "I know that you don't feel that homosexuality is disgusting but G-d disagrees with you, in his Bibble."

What is the "Bibble"? Can I buy on Amazon?

Yudel writes: "Gay jokes, gay bashing, and pointed, off-the-wall comments fill school hallways and conversations. Words like faggot and fag or simple joking comments such as “That’s so gay” are prevalent."

As a teacher I can corroborate that statement. There are some kids who are out of the closet in my school despite those comments. But I am sure there are many others living in quiet desparation. I don't ask a student what God s/he worships (if any), or what their orientation is. We are all sinners of one sort or another, so I love them equally (Not physically, God forbid!). I believe in the "bibble" but I am not a one man Sanhedrin.

Prostitution is also a victimless crime but is still illegal, and is still a sin. Far more men have the urge to solicit prostitutes than to have gay sex. One can also argue that consensual sex with a 15 yr. old should not be considered statuatory rape, but it is, and it should stay that way. I never suggested that homosexuality should be outlawed in the U.S. However, the argument that it's biologically based, and therefore the halacha should be revisited, is ludicrous. Victimless or not, biologically based or not, it is still morally reprehensible and is a severe sin.

Steve: Prostitution is not victimless. Most hookers are addicts, and are in a form of sex slavery. Only a small minority of high priced call girls are perhaps not victims.

What about bestiality? Edward Albee wrote an award winning play called Sylvia, or The Goat about, yes you guessed it a man and his goat. Boston Legal had a two parter about the wife who wants to divorce her husband because he is having sex with a cow? The Supreme Court way back when, ruled Polygamy illegal. The Mormons had to stop.
On the halachic fron, unless you see people having sex in public, there is nothing that can be done halachically as we do not believe people who confess to crimes. EIN ADAM MEISIM ATZMO RASHA. So if we see someone being mechalel shabat, but someone tells us that he is gay, or even marches in a gay pride parade, the mechalel shabat is in a worse halachic position as we SEE him sinning. We have no evidence at all of homosexuality unless we see it.

++Prostitution is also a victimless crime++

Uh....no.

But ReAL nice try, steve -- real nice try.

++One can also argue that consensual sex with a 15 yr. old should not be considered statuatory rape++

Yes - pedophiles argues that all the time, but the fact is that the law says otherwise.

++However, the argument that it's biologically based, and therefore the halacha should be revisited, is ludicrous. ++

Why? The rabbis argue that if you are built in such a way that you HAVE to eat on Yom Kippur, then eating on Yom Kippur is NOT sinful. Then seem to accept biological hardwiring as fact - what is your difficulty?

++it is still morally reprehensible and is a severe sin++

If you feel that way, then I suggest you not do it, but I am curious - do you even know what EXACTLY is prohibited in Leviticus and how that compares to what homosexuals actually do?

++but someone tells us that he is gay, or even marches in a gay pride parade, the mechalel shabat is in a worse halachic position as we SEE him sinning.++

Not unless two qualified witnesses actually SEE the man putting his penis into the anus of another man - and tell him to stop because it's a violation of Torah. Simply seeing someone march in a parade OR simply tells us he is gay is not enough because (as you said) "as we do not believe people who confess to crimes"...

....oh, and you DO realize you contradicted yourself?

++Victimless or not, biologically based or not, it is still morally reprehensible and is a severe sin.++

So, may I assume that because you are of the opinion that victim or victimless is irrelevant that you believe that regardless as to whether or not the "participants" of gay rape should be subject to the same punishment?

Why don't you educate us on "what homosexuals actually do"? Your defense of male gay sex that is clearly forbidden and that is labeled as an "abomination", is more of an abomination than the act itself. You insist that prostitution is not "victimless"? I don't think that most prostitutes are victims. Nevertheless, most heterosexual married men are "hardwired" and desire other women. I don't see you protesting the Torah prohibiting extra-marital affairs. There is a plethora of Craigs list ads for swinging frum couples. Should the halachos of eishes ish be revisited to accomodate such alternative lifestyles? Why not? These people are clearly hardwired and its all consensual fun. It's about time that you and all gay apologists realize that you can't have it both ways. Either you believe in the Torah which states that homosexuality (the act) is an abomination, or you don't believe in it. Stop trying to rewrite what is clearly and unequivocally written.

++I don't see you protesting the Torah prohibiting extra-marital affairs. ++

It doesn't - as long as the 2nd woman isn't married.

++Stop trying to rewrite what is clearly and unequivocally written.++

You have admitted - you have no idea what IS written, so.......

I have never heard any Rabbi, Orthodox or other, claim that homosexuality is a sin. I have heard of Orthodox (and some of the old-school Conservative) Rabbis claiming that homosexual acts are sinful.

Same as te rest of us regard sleeping with someone elses spouse instead of our own. Being tempted to do so is not a sin. Doing so is a sin.

Rebitzman, read what I said. I did not contradict myself. I said that since people commit homosexual acts in private and can be mechallel shabat in public, we have no halachic basis for imputing homosexuality to anyone, while we can say that someone is a mechallel shabas if he sees it.

>In the not too distant future, the science involved will be much more definitive, and Orthodoxy won't be able to dodge the issue any longer. (Of course the same holds true for Fundamentalist Christianity, Islam, etc.)

I reply: Well Shmarya I see your deathless fundamentalist secularism is still with you.:-) We all know Science never changes.
(Steady State Theory, Big Bang, Inflation Theory etc...oh wait a minute!)

Here's the deal. Life is NOT genetic determinism. Genetics may make you predisposed toward certain behaviors but it is not destiny. Environment also has a role to play & human free will. A person may have a genetic disposition toward alcoholism BUT not every person with said disposition become an alcoholic. Persons may have a genetic disposition towards homosexuality but logically & scientifically it can't be absolute otherwise natural selection would have breed it out of the gene pool millennia ago.

God's Law still stands.

We all know Science never changes.

Only people who know absolutely nothing about and have zero understanding of science believe this or believe that scientists claim this.

Science advances by change and falsification.

It's RELIGION'S job to have all the true answers and never change.

++Rebitzman, read what I said. I did not contradict myself. ++

Uh let's see:

"as we do not believe people who confess to crimes"

"but someone tells us that he is gay, .......... as we SEE him sinning."

Yep - that's a contradiction.

Now let's assume that somebody suffers from ADHD and is very impulsive. Impulsively he attacks and beat the S___ out of you. Would you sue him for damages or would you accept that you can't sue his genes.
Better yet, AND THIS IS THE REAL QUESTION. suppose for a minute that you are this attacker. Would you say, hey I am not responsible because I have ADHD, or would you repent all your life afterwards? I sure hope the latter.

A person may have a genetic disposition toward alcoholism BUT not every person with said disposition become an alcoholic.

All that means, Jim, is that, once exposed to alcohol, the person has a very high chance of addiction. It does NOT mean the person spends his entire childhood and early adult life trying to score booze that he has never tasted.

On the other hand, all humans have a sex drive. That holds true whether they have ever had sex or not. (As any 13 year old boy about that.)

That drive is strong, primal and cuts to the core of what we are.

Homosexuals have the very same drive we do, with one difference – they are attracted to men, not women.

So the drive exists and remains even if the homosexual never has sex with a man or never has sex at all.

This is a far different case than someone predisposed to addiction.

Now let's assume that somebody suffers from ADHD and is very impulsive. Impulsively he attacks and beat the S___ out of you. Would you sue him for damages or would you accept that you can't sue his genes.
Better yet, AND THIS IS THE REAL QUESTION. suppose for a minute that you are this attacker. Would you say, hey I am not responsible because I have ADHD, or would you repent all your life afterwards? I sure hope the latter.

Again, homosexuality is a SIN bein adam l'makom, between man and God, NOT between man and man.

The case you bring is a sin bein adam l'havero, between people. There is a victim who is damaged and a man who did that damage.

The two cases are in no way comparable.

It's RELIGION'S job to have all the true answers and never change.

Baloney. That's only what the Fundamentalists (of all religions claim). You aetting up a straw man for religion, just as Jim set up a straw man for science.

Now, if you will excuse me, as a Levite I have to prepare the incense mixture for the Temple. Oh, I forgot. We daven in a shul now.

KUDOS....YEP THEY MISSED YOUR POINT
This is fascinating how all the boys are so worked up and so nervous about gays.
------------------------
What most commenters seem to have missed is my point about homosexuality being a bein adam l'makom sin, not a bein adam l'havero sin. It's between man and God, not man and man.

Every other example brought in the above comments involve sins between man and man: between a man and a child who cannot consent, between a man and an animal who cannot consent, etc.

And that makes those arguments moot.

--------------------------

What i find even more interesting is the lack of any humanity in most comments. Gee guys we are sure afraid of caring and fear being sensitive. We worry over something that does not effect us.

....worries about gays doing something to others ...this is the under tow.

Not a word here about the basic fact that gay men do not hit on straight men period.

You got to figure in the beis medresh at least 10% or even 5% whatever bochruim are gay.

Tell us about your experience with your gay chavursa and what happened to you in learning. How did you keep him off you?
The public wants to know.

And the survey is......................

Scientific research programs can progress through years without the means to empirically verify them and even end up proposing theories that are inherently non-verifiable, such as the "many worlds" interpretations of string-theory--even scientists can be moved by "faith"

Yudel writes:
This is fascinating how all the boys are so worked up and so nervous about gays.

My theory is that chareidi culture is homoerotic. They get nervous, just like football players/fans get nervous at the obvious subtext.

Let's see; Dancing with men, men going to mikveh, metziztah bepeh, exaggerated facial hair, not associating with women in any way. Maybe there are others to add to the list.

B"H
Rebbe says:


Essays
Other Essays
"Rights Or Ills"
Published and copyright © by Sichos In English
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Publisher’s Foreword
The persistent problem of the so called Amendment to "Local Law 2" has been plaguing some people for several years. Although this problem has much wider national and international ramifications, the New York version of this problem has taken on a strange political hue.

During the Purim Farbrengen (gathering) of 5746, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shlita, addressed this issue. He touched upon the fundamental problem, its social, emotional and health risks, its psychological manifestations and its actual threat to society and individuals.[1]

At the same time, the Rebbe suggested clear-cut remedies and proposed a humane therapeutical approach, which takes account of the seriousness of the problem and still remains cognizant of the important aspect of self-respect and self-esteem of many men and women.

Finally, the Rebbe urged to stop naming this issue an issue of "rights" – but to see it and treat it for what it really is – a serious physical, mental and spiritual problem which needs immediate help from concerned, devoted and compassionate people. The Rebbe expressed the hope that this issue will be reexamined in its true light and be dealt with accordingly.

This Essay is excerpted from the Rebbe’s sicha (discussion), in a free translation by the publishers.

Sichos In English
21st Day of Iyar, 5746

I
Developing a Healthy Personality, Through Education
True education is not merely the transmission of facts and imparting information. The fundamental role of education, and one of its earliest and most important goals, is to mold a healthy, productive individual and to safeguard a person against his own potential negative tendencies and offensive traits. This is especially true of early childhood education .

On his own, a person is not objective in evaluating his own characteristics. A person’s inclination and his own innate, materialistic nature and self-love often will "bribe" an individual into a distorted view of his negative traits. Proper education is therefore required to help an individual cultivate and carefully focus his/her introspective analysis.

The earliest narrative related in Scripture tells the story of the "Tree of Knowledge," which was "desirable to the eyes" and, therefore, was also assumed to be "good to eat." (Bereishis 3:6) As a result of the overpowering temptation, G-d’s warning was disregarded and death came to mankind. In other words, tempting pleasures can often "blind" one’s better judgment.

Solomon, the wisest of men, taught us:

He that spares his rod hates his son: but he that loves him chastises him early. (Mishlei 13:23)

This means that effective education and childhood training must incorporate a strong approach to form the positive personality of the individual, and to rid the child of "unsavory" dispositions. Laxity in this area would represent hatred for our children, and experience has shown that those children who were not properly and strictly brought up, but were raised with a liberal, "free" upbringing, came back to their parents later with serious complaints. Eventually they blame their "rod-sparing" parents and teachers for their personal behavior and unmodified, negative inclinations and traits.

In our era we know this a posteriori – from our own experience.

This fundamental role of education is not only pertinent in modifying the acquired characteristics and habits which a child picks up by "nurture," but also in relation to the inborn predispositions which come to the child by his "nature." Here, too, the child must be educated, and his natural conduct must be modified with a strong and positive involvement on the part of the parents and of the educator. For, if they "spare the rod," waiting for the child to mature on his own and independently learn to overcome his inclinations, in the interim the child will cause harm to himself and sometimes also to his surroundings. The firm education "rod" is the best favor for the child.

This vital principle of education is axiomatic. People are born with diverse natures, and education is always necessary to set the person properly on his/her feet. This applies to the training of good traits as well as the modification of bad traits. Good tendencies in children must also be nurtured, directed and cultivated through proper education and training, for if not, the uneducated intellect can run amok and go against its own good nature. His actual conduct will not match his good tendencies.

When a child has character traits which are abnormal and undesirable, it is certainly the responsibility of the parents and teacher – those who love and really care for the child – to train the child and modify his/her attributes. It is also self-evident that the behavior modification must be followed through, despite the objections and arguments of the child that this trait is:

1. part of his "nature," or
2. that he is willing to suffer the consequences, or,
3. that there will be no negative results of his actions.

The necessary forcefulness must obviously be applied to be successful.

All this holds true in the normal course of growing up – evaluating and distinguishing the good and bad traits, and guiding the growth and maturity of the child.

There are times, however, when a child is born with a genetic deviation or deficiency, for example some emotional or mental disorders which have symptoms such as "tearing out their own hair," "biting nails," "knocking their heads against a wall," or some other self-destructive traits.

It goes without saying that one who loves and cares for this child will do all he/she can to correct this aberrant behavior and seek a training plan, a learning module, or an educational framework to cure this deviation. When the child grows up and is cured, he will surely feel a sense of gratitude to the ones who had "not spared the rod" of education and had pulled all the stops to correct his deficiencies.

These universal principles of education as applied to children may also be adapted when we speak of rehabilitating adults. They, too, can be educated to modify their harmful traits and they, too, will be eternally grateful for such vitally important help.

Every person has the ability to choose "life." For some it is easier and for others it is harder, but without doubt, if one so wills, he can overcome those traits which are offensive or self-destructive .

Educators, therapists and counselors should keep in mind that the possibility exists to eventually correct the problems, even though the troubled client might vehemently claim (which might actually be quite true) that his deviations are inborn and part of his nature. They can be helped; and experience has shown that in the end they will express their eternal gratitude for the firm direction and support they received from family, counselors and friends.

Maimonides teaches:

Free will is bestowed on every human being. If one desires to turn towards the good way and be righteous he has the power to do so. If one wishes to turn towards the evil way and be wicked, he is at liberty to do so. (Laws of Repentance 5:1)

Consequently this true, free will, described by Maimonides, is decisively all-powerful. Yet, in the laws relating to Moral Disposition and Ethical Conduct, Maimonides admits that:

Every human being is characterized by numerous moral dispositions...exceedingly divergent. One man is choleric, always hot tempered; another sedate, never angry...one is a sensualist whose lusts are never gratified; another is so pure that he does not even long for the few things that our physical nature needs... stingy, generous, cruel, merciful, and so forth. (Laws of Ethical Conduct 1:1)

Maimonides adds:

Of all the various dispositions, some belong to one from the beginning of his existence and correspond to his physical constitution. (Ibid:[2])

In other words, some people are born with the nature of stinginess etc., and others are born with different natures! Does everyone really have free will to freely choose right from wrong even if it seems to be against his/her nature?! The commentaries on Maimonides explain that Maimonides means to say that although one may truly have an inclination and leaning by his very nature, and although he may show a propensity for certain conduct, none of these factors can "force’’ him to act in a particular way. He still has an absolutely free will!

The ideal way to control and overcome the offensive predispositions is to be trained, while still a child, by the strong and firm controlling hand of the loving parent and educator. But it is never late for this educational process to begin; a human being can always learn, improve and progress.

II
Recognize the Ills and Bring the Cure
At this point let us turn our attention to a phenomenon affecting some of our society, the problem of individuals who express an inclination towards a particular form of physical relationship in which the libidinal gratification is sought with members of one’s own gender.

In the democratic society in which we live the question of how to deal with this deviation has been plaguing some citizens as well as some communal or political leaders.

The first criterion which must be invoked in finding a solution to this problem is not to call for an airing of political arguments and then to call for a consensus, but, to evaluate whether this practice is helpful or destructive, and to act accordingly, to correct and remedy the negative.

Empirical truth has shown us that this form of abnormal relationships has been totally negative.

1. In a normal relationship the results which follow bring forth children and create a new generation, which goes on to bring future generations, to the end of time. The abnormal trait brings no positive results and no offspring.

2. This trait is self-debilitating, it causes a dissipation of the strength of the individuals involved; it is purely selfish and no one else receives anything from it.

3. Another very important reality; the individuals who practice this form of relationship are filled with the self-abnegating feeling of being strange and queer; they feel that they are doing an abnormal act. Both in the case of men who have these relations, and in the case of women, they know that this tendency is not normal. They look at the world around them and they know that their practice is abnormal.

Except for a very few "orders" where this deviation is practiced, the whole world conducts itself in a normal way. Besides, both parties involved in this said relationship know that it was only the normal form of family relationship which brought them into the world!

4. Also important: Those who feel that this form of conduct is permissible and they continue to practice this deviation, will in the end see that it brings to excessive, abnormal weakness and to the most horrible diseases and maladies, as we are presently beginning to discover.

When one knows the truth, that this trait is destructive, and is honest enough to acknowledge this fact, one will realize that it is no different from a child who is born with the tendency to tear out his hair, or bang his head against the wall. But there is a very tragic difference in that this trait when practiced is very much more devastating because it destroys, destroys the body and the soul.

There are those who argue that an act which brings pleasure and gratification is, or even must be good. This rationalization is analogical to taking a deathly poison and coating it with sugar. Along comes someone and says, "I see sugar, there is no poison in this sugar pill." To prove his words, he tastes it and swears it is sweet! Someone else may come along and say, "I don’t care if there is poison in the sugar, so long as I can enjoy the momentary pleasure of the sweetness, albeit in an abnormal fashion, I don’t care what the consequences will be!"

Certainly, they themselves will eventually very strongly complain against those who misled them, and also against those who saw what was going on and did not do all that was possible for them to do, to prevent it from happening.

It makes no real difference what causes an individual to presently choose this form of relationship. Even one who was horn with this inclination, and was not educated in his youth to correct it (no matter who is to blame) and is now an adult, must also be motivated to educate him/herself, now; for it is still just as destructive, it is still just as abnormal, etc.

An important point to stress is that there is no insult intended and no derogatory attitude is suggested; it is a case of healing a malady. When a person is ill and someone volunteers to help him get well, there is no disrespect involved, not at all!

At the same time, we must keep in mind that the vehement and vociferous arguments presented by a patient, that he is really well and that his condition is a healthy instinct – or as least not destructive, do not change the severity of the "ailment." In fact, this attitude on the part of this individual indicates how serious his malady really is for this person, how deeply it has penetrated into his body and psyche, and how perilous for him it really is. And so, special action must be undertaken to heal the person and save his life. And again, there is no insult at all, no disrespect involved, only a true desire to really help.

If he claims that he was born with this nature, this is indeed all the more reason to reassure him that no disparagement was meant, for it is no different from the case of one who was born with the tendency to bang his head against the wall. Do we shame that unfortunate one?! Nevertheless, everything must be done to remedy the situation. And dubbing the deviation with some Greek term or, calling it an "alternative lifestyle" will not in the least influence the seriousness of the problem.

The question must be answered: Does this type of relationship contribute to human civilization? Does it, at least, benefit the individual? Is it truly satisfying after the act? Or, does it only provide momentary gratification? And furthermore – this point should be carefully pursued: Are all his/her protestations about the "great pleasure" and "satisfaction" derived from this relationship really true? Or, has he/she just been saying this for so long that now he/she is not willing, or is ashamed, to admit that he/she is wrong!

In G-d’s world of goodness and justice, when one comes to purify and be purified, he is assisted from Above. Despite the misguided way of the past, everyone has the capacity to change. People who open their eyes and realize their error, will at the end voluntarily accept the truth.

All civilized society accepts the said tendency as a perversion, and although in the past there were pagan tribes and "orders" which included these practices in their idolatrous rituals, history has shown that their memory is lost and their customs have vanished!

A special responsibility lies on the parents, educators and counselors to educate those afflicted with this problem, their duty is not to "spare the rod," and at the same time, to take a loving, and earing attitude by extending a helping hand.

III
Government Must See the Truth: Not Human "Rights" but Human Ills
Recently, this whole matter has become a cause celebre in our city, and certain well-meaning people have pursued the issue from a misplaced point of view.

A bill was introduced (and passed) to protect the "rights" of people who profess these "deviant lifestyles." This bill of "rights" seems to assume (wrongly) that this particular trait truly represents and reflects the essential existence and real being of these people. Hence, their "human rights" must be protected! However, even simple human logic, recognizes, that this form of relationship is abnormal and should be rectified. This is not a question of "rights" it is a question of healing ills.

It is self-evident that in such a matter we should not hold political debates, but judge the matter on the basis of its impact on the physical, moral and psychological health of individuals and of the society: Is it detrimental or not?!

It is clear that the approach of society and government must be to offer a helping hand to those who are afflicted with this problem, but certainly not to aggravate it.

The key to this issue is: We are not dealing with the inalienable American, or human, right of freedom of choice; we are not dealing with the innate and sacred, democratic right of free will; we are dealing with an issue of abnormality. In simple language: a sickness! And just because the patient proclaims that he is normal does not make the malady any less dangerous.

In this case a bill which proclaims that the "rights" of these people must be protected and supported, should be seen for what it really is: It is taking away their right to be really protected (also – from themselves); it is depriving these people of the vitally needed help! In simple physical terms it will bring even more suffering and pain to them, to their loved ones and to all society. Certainly all must be done to assure that this will not occur.

In every society where the norms of justice and righteousness are followed, if someone climbs up on a bridge and intends to commit suicide by jumping into the river, the alarm is sounded and the police, fire fighters, and "negotiation teams" are called in; and they use every means at their disposal to stop the person from killing himself.

As time goes by and the person who threatened suicide calms down, he is very thankful, to say the least, to all those who have taken away his "right" to commit suicide.

This subject is really an elementary one, and all nationalities and peoples can find common ground here, and cooperate to correct the misguided attitude.

The goal is to work for the correction of this bill, and the sooner the better.

The truth will prevail and the word of G-d will stand forever.

Notes:

1. (Back to text) The religious aspect of this problem was elaborated in a special Sicha.
http://www.sichosinenglish.org/essays/46.htm

It's RELIGION'S job to have all the true answers and never change.

Baloney. That's only what the Fundamentalists (of all religions claim). You aetting up a straw man for religion, just as Jim set up a straw man for science.


I worded it that way because I was responding to JtC, who is a Fundamentalist. I've argued about nuances with him in the past. It's no use.

So Shmarya, should polygamy and bestiality be illegal?

So Shmarya, should polygamy and bestiality be illegal?

I think bestiality should always be illegal because the animal cannot consent.

Polygamy is allowed in halakha, as you surely know. Should it be legal in the US? It is currently illegal. If society at some point in the future decides to legalize it, so be it.

Scientific research programs can progress through years without the means to empirically verify them and even end up proposing theories that are inherently non-verifiable, such as the "many worlds" interpretations of string-theory--even scientists can be moved by "faith"

There is a difference between scientific "faith" and religious faith.

The dictionary definition of "faith" does not square at all with scientific practice - even when it comes to those who believe in some of the more "far out" aspects of string theory.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith

"1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1): fidelity to one's promises (2): sincerity of intentions2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs "

The closest match can be found in the last part of the definition:

"(3)something that is believed especially with strong conviction"

That's rather broad. Since everyone has conviction, this is not useful in comparing string theorists with religious fundamentalists.


"(2): complete trust"

A scientist might have trust in a theory, but to the degree that it can be complete trust is debatable. When it comes to string theory, that degree of completeness plummets considerably.


"(1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof "

This is probably the most tempting one to use to compare string theorists with religious fundamentalists.

However, while there may be scientists who firmly believe that the "many worlds" theory has validity, I doubt that that firmness is the same as that held by a fundamentalist.

Further, though there is no absolute proof that the many worlds theory is correct, it is not based on a whim or a neat idea. It is pages with calculations all over them. It is based on mathematical models. It is based on prior knowledge that has been shown to be reliable.

A scientist doesn't say, "I have a theory of many worlds to integrate into string theory - and this is how it works" and not show the data that led to the conclusion. If a scientist just said, "I don't have any data, just trust me," the idea wouldn't go very far.

Compare that to how fundamentalist religion works.

So, no, while string theory - being as far out as it is - is wild and complicated and hard to understand ("If you think that you understand string theory, you don't" - Richard Feynman) it's study, degree of acceptance, adoption, etc. differs completely from that of fundamentalist religious faith, or from the definition of faith at all.

Rebitzman, please read what I said. The entire sentence. I do not want to insult you, but you are deleting half of what I wrote. Please go back, read every word, look for the commas, and you will see I said exactly what I meant. No contradiction. The mechalles Shabbos in public is something we see with our own eyes. Marching in a Gay Pride parade is not enough to probe homosexual acts. It is not homosexuality that is a halachic problem, and unless you have witnesses to homosexual acts, you ain't got nothing. Now, stop picking a fight with someone who you agree with and go fight with someone else.

Here are over 80 comments and apparently no one actually looked at the article in question. As someone who has published in PNAS myself, perhaps I can help everyone calm down.
This was a small descriptive study looking at PET-CT changes among self described homosexual (Ho) vs heterosexual (He) men and women, 20 individuals in each arm. Certain anatomic findings seemed to be more similar in Ho men and He women, and a little less so between Ho women and He men. That's all. No theories, etc. In fact, the only way to argue that its "decided at birth" is to do these studies in children and then prospectively follow their sexual orientation. Citing from the paper itself (not the scientific american summary, which of course has an interest in making the data look more provocative, being a popular science magazine):

The present study does not allow narrowing of potential explanations,
which are probably multifactorial, including interplay between
pre- and postnatal testosterone and estrogen, the androgen
and estrogen receptors, and the testosterone-degrading enzyme
aromatase. It nevertheless contributes to the ongoing discussion
about sexual orientation by showing that homosexual men and
women differed from the same-sex controls and showed features of
the opposite sex in two mutually independent cerebral variables,
which, in contrast to those studied previously, were not related to
sexual attraction. The observations cannot be easily attributed to
perception or behavior. Whether they may relate to processes laid
down during the fetal or postnatal development is an open question.
These observations motivate more extensive investigations of larger
study groups and prompt for a better understanding of the neurobiology
of homosexuality.

So yes, there are biological changes in response to what we do; whether these changes "force" us to act, or emerge in response to what we do, is not clear, and certainly can't be claimed absolutely by this data set. (of course, someone may claim that I'm writing this response because of some structural element in my brain, so no one can prove anything, but then according to Chabad Hillel and Shamai had different views about things because their souls came from different sefirot, so there's always someone trying to "blame" birth and biology for everything).

Marching in a Gay Pride parade is not enough to pro(v)e homosexual acts.

This is true. There are plenty of straight people who march in gay pride parades to show their solidarity. Marching in the parade doesn't make them gay.

There seems to be alot missing from this study. The one glaring thing that jumps out at me is that they knew who was gay before the MRI. Now if i had 40 people 20 with cancer and the rest not and i scanned them of course we would find cancer in those 20 people. The trick is to find these same brain changes in say a person off the street and then hypothesize that this person is gay based on observation and measurments, and then ask himher (even in this case you might not get a good reading, what if the test subject lied?) In the end all this study really says is that gay people exhibit more fear on PET than their straight counterparts. Perhaps the social stigma?Disaproval? And that whole thing about brain size? What came first the chicken or the egg? It is well documented that certain behaviores can alter brain structure and chemistry. Even as an adult. Bottom line, as I read it, it was a poorly designed experiment with nebulous results at best. A better version would track people from birth. Test an unknown. Maybe have a control group? This just smacks of amateurism.

maven is right on the money. Here is some related information:

Prozac and related drugs produce changes in PET scans in the brains of depressed patients. The changes go away once the drug is stopped.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (talk, introspection and behavior changes) and related approaches have been shown to produce similar changes to those produced by the drugs-- but the changes persist after the therapy stops and can be maintained by as few as one followup visit in a year or more.

That's right. What you think and do can change your brain.
(And what you eat, and maybe what you think and do, can change which genes are expressed and which are not; so maybe what you eat can change your brain.)
So as maven said, maybe the Karolinska observations could be seeing the result of homosexual behavior rather than the cause.

There seems to be alot missing from this study. The one glaring thing that jumps out at me is that they knew who was gay before the MRI. Now if i had 40 people 20 with cancer and the rest not and i scanned them of course we would find cancer in those 20 people.

And then,

Prozac and related drugs produce changes in PET scans in the brains of depressed patients. The changes go away once the drug is stopped.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (talk, introspection and behavior changes) and related approaches have been shown to produce similar changes to those produced by the drugs-- but the changes persist after the therapy stops and can be maintained by as few as one followup visit in a year or more.

Reread the Scientific American report. It clearly states:Previous studies have examined brain differences between gay and straight people on the basis of their responses to various tasks, such as rating the attractiveness of other people. The problem was that there was no way to determine whether their responses were colored by learned social cues.

To get around this, Savic-Berglund focused on the structure and function of brain regions that develop during fetal development or early infancy—without using any cognitive tasks or rating systems.

Shmarya, I won't allow that response of yours, its posul :)
You either have to go back to the actual article and cite from there, or hold off replying. Scientific American reviews of an article are second hand assessments. What the authors themselves say in the article contradicts what you just posted. That is not uncommon in popular reviews of science (i've done alot of these interviews for healthnet, etc).
Anyway, the point is, that it is not possible to determine whether this is a genetic phenomenon or something that comes after. That's not to take a political stand in either direction, there are post-genetic changes that are pretty darn significant (such as achondroplastic dwarfism and testicular feminisation syndromes). In fact, if you really want to slam Shmuely Boteach, his argument about the impossibility of random mutations is based on his ignorance of epigenetic mechanisms that are environmentally derived responses that lead to genetic change (this may require a longer explanation).
In short, you are better served by citing the actual scientific literature rather than second hand reports, which are frequently inflammatory in order to get better readership, etc.

You either have to go back to the actual article and cite from there, or hold off replying. Scientific American reviews of an article are second hand assessments. What the authors themselves say in the article contradicts what you just posted.

If so, post the exact quote that contradicts me.

The study is not simply about brain activity – it is about brain size, and that is determined before birth.

I cited it above. The middle paragraph in my post above is directly copied from the PNAS paper.
The authors say "Whether they may relate to processes laid
down during the fetal or postnatal development is an open question." So don't argue with me, argue with them.
I'm not saying that this is or is not a genetic trait, or a post-natal one (it would make no difference to me, I'm "liberal" on this subject and agree with Rabbi Freundel's approach), only that one needs to quote scientific literature correctly and understand trial design and statistics.
Frankly, I'm happier to accept that this is a structural issue of the brain, and thus formally denounce any supporters of Ben Zion Sobel (the rosh yeshiva who systematically sodomized so many innocent kids at Itri) who claim that he went through "therapy" and is now "cured" and thus doesn't have to answer for his crimes, that dwarf any of the more discussed pedophilia/abuse cases of more recent times.

rabbidw - slichah

Context is everything. Here is what the paper's publication abstract actually says:The present study shows
sex-atypical cerebral asymmetry and functional connections in
homosexual subjects. The results cannot be primarily ascribed to
learned effects, and they suggest a linkage to neurobiological entities. Whether it develops in the womb or out of it, it is NOT a learned thing. It does NOT come from a "weak" father or a "masculine" mother or too much TV. It just is.

And this, from the paper's conclusion:The present study does not allow narrowing of potential explanations, which are probably multifactorial, including interplay between pre- and postnatal testosterone and estrogen, the androgen and estrogen receptors, and the testosterone-degrading enzyme aromatase. It nevertheless contributes to the ongoing discussion about sexual orientation by showing that homosexual men and women differed from the same-sex controls and showed features of the opposite sex in two mutually independent cerebral variables, which, in contrast to those studied previously, were not related to sexual attraction. The observations cannot be easily attributed to perception or behavior. Whether they may relate to processes laid down during the fetal or postnatal development is an open question. These observations motivate more extensive investigations of larger study groups and prompt for a better understanding of the neurobiology of homosexuality.The cause is still biologic, not learned or behavior-induced.

In other words, acting gay can't make you biologically gay.

The authors of this study (see my post close to the top) made it quite clear that they believe BOTH prenatal AND environmental factors can play roles in the predisposition to homosexual behavior. They did NOT claim that it is purely a genetic predisposition. ALL they said was: the brains are wired differently and have different circulatory patterns then straight people of the same gender.

No.

What they said is clear, and I quoted them.

The differences in gay brains cannot be easily attributed to perception or behavior.

That means environmental factors – a strong mother, a weak father, etc. – play no role. And that, Yossi, means that, while environmental factors may add to a person's homosexuality, they are not the primary cause.

Shmarya, don't worry about what they say about you.

Just because you try something out for a while doesn't mean you are a homosexual.

Besides, with the way you are so worked up with the Rubashkin clan just because one of the daughters dumped you, how can anyone believe you are not straight, or at least bi?

++Besides, with the way you are so worked up with the Rubashkin clan just because one of the daughters dumped you, how can anyone believe you are not straight, or at least bi?++

A lie often repeated MAY be believed by the naive, but:

A) It is still a lie
B) Further proof that there's a bunch of people who own the hat, but don't walk the walk.

"To get around this, Savic-Berglund focused on the structure and function of brain regions that develop during fetal development or early infancy—without using any cognitive tasks or rating systems"

Are you saying that these parts of the brain do not undergo any development after birth. So much so that the "pattern" of homosexuality is now ingrained upon them? And that the researchers found those folks who had an intact limbic system that had never undergone any change since birth? WOW!! Those are some thorough people. The problem with this study is that they used adults ONLY. At most it would prompt further study. I have read the original paper and it was still not convincing. As for SciAM's report, Nikhil Swaminathan has a long history of leftwing agenda articles. When he touts a study I take his assesment with an enormous grain of salt. Who knows, maybe he is a little sensitive on the subject? (smirk) Just kidding Nik. Maven is right, this study proves nothing. It highlights an interesting blip on the radar but cannot prove anything. Oh and Lavie, one of your statements reminded me of Asimov's Foundation, where science is turned into a religion with the scientists as "monks". Its scary but happening.

Shmarya said: "Again, homosexuality is a SIN bein adam l'makom, between man and God, NOT between man and man.
The case you bring is a sin bein adam l'havero, between people. There is a victim who is damaged and a man who did that damage.
The two cases are in no way comparable."

Well Shmarya
I fail to see the big difference, but let's go your way. The prohibition for worshiping other gods is absolutely Bain Adam L'makom. Let's say that because of one's ADHD or other deficiency, in the heist of the moment he worshiped some 'Avoda Zarah. Assuming that he is a believer in Go-d and the Torah, would he then say: Please Go-d, it's your fault because you gave me bad genes, or should he go ahead and repent all his life for that mistake?
I guess that according to the current 'wisdom' as is surely reflected in many of the comments here, homosexuality is on a level unto itself and beyond one's control (which would make it somehow 'incomparable' with my current example as well.) That might be so. But I happened to dismiss this current 'wisdom' altogether. Most stable civilizations in human history, regardless of religion opposed homosexuality and I tend to see the world in the same view. And I have the same intellectual freedom that you have to downplay what I believe is less important while emphasizing what is more important to me.
You see Shmarya, your point of view and value system is not absolute as you may want to believe. Other people's, views and values may be as just as yours and maybe better.

I wrote:
>>We all know Science never changes.

un-named person writes:
>Only people who know absolutely nothing about and have zero understanding of science believe this or believe that scientists claim this.

I reply: I have not said scientists believe this idea. I rather implied this is the belief of individuals I call Fundamentalist Secularists. First not all scientists are secularists & among those who are no doubt a smaller number of them can be classified as fundamentalists. So this is a Red Herring.

Attention Yochanan Lavie, Dude! My Friend! My Homeboy! My Boychik! Let me put your mind to rest. I DO NOT believe scientists believe Science never changes. Kneejerk Fundamentalist Atheists, Skeptics, Secularists OTOH.........but not scientists that is simply silly.

BTW I luv criticizing Shmarya for what I believe are weak arguments on his part on many issues & I like making what I think are better arguments. But calling him gay is just stupid & Lazy. I won't go there it's cheap. Plus it's much MORE fun to nail him on logic & facts. If you call him gay you automatically loose the argument.

Mind you I have a double standard(for which I feel no shame). I have no problem with myself or others calling Christopher Hitchens a drunk. Why? Because people who say Mother Theresa should be in Hell are little bitches regardless of what they believe & Hitchens isn't here for me to rag on him in person. But that is off topic....

Anyway back to the topic at hand.

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