Questions for Discussion/Reflection

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These study questions are intended to spur readers to consider the wider implications of the psychological and biological aspects of human sexuality. In an area as controversial as homosexuality, it is important, we believe, to follow the evidence where it leads, and to know the latest research in these fields. Addresses are included so that you may contact the writers directly if you wish. However, we believe that the greatest benefit will come from discussion within families and small groups, including with people whose viewpoints complement and differ from your own.

The Psychological Experience of a Same Sex Orientation

  1. How extensive have your conversations been with gay or lesbian people? Have you followed them on the journey as Lamar did? What new understandings did you develop? With which psychological aspects of the experience of sexual minorities do you most need information?
  2. Lamar writes, “Gay and lesbian people are more like non-gays than they are unlike them.” Discuss this observation.
  3. Lamar believes that if gays and lesbians found more acceptance in the church, they would have less need to seek relationships that might be destructive. Is this principle different for anyone else within the church? Discuss and make recommendations for personal and congregational changes.

Does Homosexuality Have a Biological Basis?

  1. What evidence do you think is most convincing that same-sex attraction has a biological basis? What research appears weakest in undergirding this claim? Can you think of any possible additional research?
  2. Are you convinced that research on animals (sheep, observations in natural history) could aid in understanding various aspects of human sexuality? If not, do you accept research done on mice, rabbits, and primates that is directly linked to human physiology?
  3. Why are many Christians reluctant to accept the findings of biology concerning human sexuality? Is the belief that human nature itself is plastic and malleable (environmentalism) a deeply rooted opinion within the Christian groups with which you are acquainted? To what extent do you believe that our sexual attractions are really hardwired, i.e., they have a fundamental biological basis?
  4. How would you react if your adult son or daughter were to tell you that he or she has a same-sex attraction? What are the steps to redemptive healing within our family structures? Can knowledge of biology help in this process?

J. Lamar Freed, Psy.D. 3648 Haywood St. Philadelphia, PA 19129 [email protected]

Dr. Douglas E. Swartzendruber, Natural Science Division, Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263 [email protected]

Carl S. Keener 208 Mueller Laboratory The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802 [email protected]

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