Q u e s t i o n s   a n d   A n s w e r s
F r o m   a   C h r i s t i a n   P e r s p e c t i v e

(The entire content of our handout issued on 1st October 2001, in Hungarian)
What is homosexuality?

According to current scientific understanding, homosexuality is a personality trait which is determined by genetic and hormonal factors. Homosexuals, either primarily or exclusively, seek out partners of the same sex.

Can homosexual orientation be changed?

No, it cannot. Some psychologists, psychiatrists and Christian pastors do report “healings”: cases when a gay “patient” switched to heterosexuality as a result of therapy. Still, “success” was achieved in only about 25-30 per cent of subjects, most of them bisexual to begin with. Furthermore, it is known that many so-called “ex-gays” who have converted to heterosexual behaviour have later escaped into alcoholism, neurosis or suicide because of their suppressed homosexuality.

Is homosexuality a disease?

No, it is not. Homosexuality used to be regarded as a disease by both public opinion and scientific literature until the results of more recent research on this specific topic came to light. As a consequence of this new understanding, the World Health Organization of the United Nations removed homosexuality from the list of the International Classification of Diseases at the beginning of the 1980’s.

But “God created humankind male and female”!

This is an obvious truth which nobody wants to deny. Yet, gays are often accused of wishing to blur the distinctions between the sexes. The reason why this accusation is meaningless and nonsensical is because homosexuality is not an ideology, not a movement, but a personal trait independent of personal choice – just like left-handedness. Gay men as men are attracted to and love men as men, and lesbian women as women are attracted to and love women as women.

If this is the case, then why are men dressed in women’s clothes shown whenever a gay event is covered on TV?

The people seen dressed this way on TV are not necessarily homosexuals, but transvestites or transsexuals, the latter being a psychiatric category referring to people who feel that they were born in the “wrong body” as a result of biological error. Transvestitism means simply “cross-dressing,” or dressing in clothes typical of the opposite sex. There can be several causes behind this phenomenon: transsexuality, transvestite fetishism of heterosexual men – or simple iconoclasm. All these phenomena should be treated separately, independently of homosexuality – as homosexuality should also be judged independently of these. It is not difficult to convince reasonable people of this; however, the sensationalist media are practically impossible to convince.

Is it true that gays think homosexuality is better than heterosexuality?

In general this is not true at all. As far as their own lives are concerned, the gays who overcame the ridicule and hatred of their environment and managed to accept themselves and their sexual orientation naturally prefer the gay lifestyle to heterosexual behaviour, which is totally alien to them. However, the accusation that gays wish to “spread” homosexuality, to make homosexuality “obligatory” or to seduce children is unfounded. Victims of pedophile crimes are girls in most cases; the abuser is often the father, the grandfather or the uncle.

Is it true that homosexuals are constantly changing their partners?

Generally speaking, this statement is not true. The majority of gays need intimacy, security and stability as much as the majority of heterosexuals do. At the same time, promiscuity does exist, but all we have to do is observe people in a straight club or bar on a Saturday night to see that this behavior is not a speciality of gays. If a lasting relationship is less frequent among gays, it has two reasons.

On the one hand, males are polygamous in the animal kingdom by nature; it is manifested as “promiscuity” at the human level. In heterosexual relationships, there is a woman as a restraint for this; in gay male relationships, obviously, both partners are men. The fact that lesbian relationships last as long as heterosexual relationships proves that promiscuity is not specific to homosexuality but rather to males.

On the other hand, society “rewards” heterosexual relationships in a variety of ways: from housing loans, to holidays taken at the same time, to very simple special offers like “reduced admission for married couples”. Gay relationships, however, are subject to constant attacks: “Break up with him!”, “Change!”, “See a psychologist!”, “Keep it secret!” etc. Under these circumstances, it is a miracle that committed homosexual relationships exist at all, yet they do!

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?

Nothing. It mentions homosexual acts only in individual cases as they occur in various contexts. Science only began to discover the existence of homosexual orientation as a feature independent of personal choice in the second half of the 19th century. The technical term homosexuality was coined in 1869 by a Hungarian writer. In the Bible we can read about a house which “fell, and the ruin of that house was great”, yet we do not find any teaching about the law of gravity.

How do homosexual relationships appear in the Bible?

In different ways. Israel encountered the public practice of homosexuality as it came in contact with the religions of neighbouring peoples. These natural religions ritualized sexuality; hierodulia, that is, temple prostitution practiced by both men and women, was characteristic of the cult of gods. This practice survived in the Roman Empire, as well. So, for both Jewish legal experts and the first Christians (e.g. the apostle Paul), homosexuality meant “the cult of alien gods”, that is, idolatry.

Then again, the story of young David (later, King David) and Jonathan, son of King Saul, has also survived. The analysis of these texts reveals almost unambiguously that the relationship between the two young men was love.

What is the churches’ stance on this issue?

One cannot speak of a unanimous stance. Historical churches generally agree on the point that homosexual orientation itself cannot be judged in terms of morality. However, they regard gay sexual activity as a serious sin, and they propose change or abstinence as alternatives. At the same time, there are more and more Catholic and Protestant theologians who realize that Christian revelation does not imply that the loving relationships of gay people should be condemned. For example, in several cantons of Switzerland, the council of the Calvinist church decided to marry couples of the same sex in church buildings, with ecclesiastical blessing.

Are homosexuals’ lives not fruitless? After all, they don’t produce any children!

A materialistic interpretation can actually lead to the conclusion that human life is fruitless without reproduction. Christian faith, however, places greater value on humans than this. In the New Testament, there are two different words which are both translated as the word life. Bios denotes everything that biology deals with: material organization, metabolism, reproduction. If some believers reduce their concept of life to this, then it is understandable that, for them, life is meaningless without procreation. Jesus, however, in saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), does not refer to metabolism and reproduction. In this case, the text contains the word zoe – denoting the life of humans made in God’s image, in its completeness. This explains why the apostle Paul calls Onesimus “his son”, and writes “whom I have begotten” (Philem 1:10), about his converting Onesimus to the Christian faith. Taken literally, this would be quite a feat for a man! It seems that giving life can have a different meaning.

God is love

and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them, as the beloved disciple writes in his epistle (1John 4:16). Life has not only quantity, but also quality: it should not only multiply itself, but should be made liveable, humane, good and righteous. And this task, this giving life is not only the job of biological parents, but also that of everybody who wants to bear the name “human” with dignity. And this way is open to both hetero- and homosexuals.

If we were to regard as meaningful and fruitful only the lives of people who reproduce the human race biologically, then a Christian believer would run into difficulty evaluating Jesus Christ’s childless life.

And what is the meaning of sexuality?

In a materialistic approach, it is questionable if the word “meaning” is appropriate and whether it would be more appropriate to apply the word “use”. Anyway, sexuality serves not solely for the preservation of the human race. Joy and stimulation also enhance the individual’s vitality, productivity and capability in other areas of life. And since sex generally involves two representatives of the species, the communication network of the population can be enriched by each sexual act, thereby making the species stronger.

Christian reflection says more. According to our faith, the person is an image of God whose duty is to represent God here, on Earth. God, however, is not a solitary being, but a Trinity – an eternal loving communion of Father and Son, with the Holy Spirit. The loving relationship of Father and Son is the primeval example of all human relationships. When Jesus said “Love one another!”, he did not give a moral exhortation, but revealed the deepest ontological truth of the universe.

Human sexuality is the most complete form of self-giving possible between two persons. It is a mystery: the eternal love of the Father and the Son is reflected in every embrace and every smile shared by two people who love and are committed to each other. This relationship, assuming that several conditions are fulfilled at the same time (the partners are healthy, of appropriate age, of different sex, they unite at an appropriate time and in an appropriate way, etc.), may as well be blessed with a child, as an incidental gift from God. If any of the conditions is not fulfilled, the act of love, obviously, cannot result in offspring – nevertheless, the self-giving of love still remains the sign of the loving communion of the Divine Persons.

C h r i s t i a n   C o m m u n i t y
F o r   H o m o s e x u a l s

According to the prevailing opinion of the Church, homosexuality is a deadly sin. The Christian response to a gay person’s life is almost always disdain and excommunication – or, in a better case, pity and an aggressive intent to help. The Five Loaves of Bread Community was founded in 1996 by young Catholics in order to provide spiritual support for gay men and women who believe, in spite of everything, that God, out of pure love, through Jesus Christ, has also invited them to salvation. Today we function as an ecumenical community, which is open to any “person of good will”, that is, not only gays and lesbians. So far hundreds of people have contacted us by mail or in person. On average, there are fifteen to twenty young and not-so-young people participating at the weekly meetings.

Our primary goal is to help each other live as gays and Christians, seeking solutions for the problems that emerge in our lives. In the long run, we would like to participate in debunking stereotypes, which usually lack any real basis, and which are often reinforced by some religious circles. Whenever we have the opportunity, we take steps to overcome physical and spiritual aggression as well as legal and moral discrimination against the homosexual minority, so as to make life more liveable for gay and lesbian people wrestling with problems of religion, identity etc. Last but not least, we try to set a living example of Christ’s good news for non-religious gays and lesbians.