I am curious on the stance of the Coptic Church on homosexuality. I read that the stance is that no one is born homosexual (http://www.coptic.net/articles/OnHomosexuality.txt), yet we now know that there are genetic as well as environmental components to sexual orientation. Why does the Church still refuse to accept these basic scientific facts?

What makes today's dismissal of science different from the early Christian Church's refusal to believe that all the planets revolved around the Earth instead of the Sun? In fact, the early Church was so against these claims about the position of the Earth, that they PERSECUTED and KILLED those with TRUE and CORRECT scientific statements. It begs the question, then: what's stopping the Church from committing the same atrocities in the future, if science continues to prove ideas that make the Church become confronted with "uncomfortable truths"?

-- Mina


  • Hi,

    There still hasn't been any evidence of homosexual genetic markers. If you know of any, please provide your source. 
  • edited December 2017

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    A study published in the journal Science showed that families with two homosexual brothers were very likely to have certain genetic markers on a region of the X chromosome known as Xq28.


    Link of study: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/261/5119/321 ;

    In addition to that, let's think of this in purely rational terms. Why would so many individuals choose to suffer the social stigma of being gay if they could simply "choose" to be straight? I went to a Christian high school and one classmate of mine "came out" during a retreat. He talked about how there was so much social stigma with being gay that he prayed endlessly and even brought attractive dates to prom to somehow turn straight one day. However, he just broke down and cried when he mentioned that he ultimately couldn't change himself. You can argue all you want about the exact extent of the genetic component, but the main point here is that it is rather clear that sexual orientation isn't something that can be changed as if one could flick a light switch on and off. If you try engaging with those outside the Coptic social circle, I assure you that you will find very similar stories. 

    Another point I would like to make: if you claim to be able to "choose" your sexual orientation, then how come animals exhibit homosexual behavior as well? Clearly, animals don't have a free will and thus can't "choose" their sexual preference. Thus, it logically suggests that there exists a genetic "hardwiring" for homosexuality, which nature has, for whatever reason, deemed to be beneficial in some manner. While the idea of homosexuality may seem like a trait that would simply die off due to Darwinian evolution, upon further research, there are strongly supported theories as to why this is not the case. For one, there is the case that homosexual men could have increased the reproductive fitness of their close family members by contributing manpower and resources to raising children (example: a homosexual animal providing resources and helping raise his “nephew.” In this case, the homosexual “uncle” animal shares 25% of DNA with his nephew, and thus he is propagating an evolutionary beneficial allocation of his resources). 

    My last point: if the Church is correct in claiming that homosexuality is a “choice,” then why is it that “gay conversion therapy” simply does not work? It has been systematically tested and evaluated, and the results show its ineffectiveness and its ability to actually do more harm than good to the individual. 

    — Mina

  • edited December 2017
    Hi again.

    1- Your link doesn't work. There was a study done a couple of years ago on twin brothers. only 50% of those that identified being homosexuals, their twin brother also said they identify as gay. Now i can't find this study and its prob outdated. I also know that many studies are currently happening to prove that there is a 'gay gene'...but nothing is conclusive because you cannot identify sexuality based on actual evidence.

    2- Your rational about 'why would someone choose to be gay if they are that persecuted" doesn't really hold. Why would anyone kill if they know that the death penalty is waiting from them or life in prison. Why would someone who's not handicapped park in a handicap spot if he knows very well that someone else needs it?! In essence, if people on earth decide by their own will to break actual man-made laws, why would they care about those that God made since they don't see him?!

    3- We are humans and we are not animals. I am not sure what are you trying to prove. Homosexuality is in NO WAY any thing new to our world. There is a reason it is mentioned Leviticus and St. Paul's Epistle. It was happening then, and it's happening now...the only difference is now it's being "normalized" like many other things that break God from us these days. Why would the Devil make you sin if instead he can just change your definition of sin?!

  • 1-- Fixed link: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/261/5119/321

    2-- "people on earth decide by their own will to break actual man-made laws"-- yes, I agree, but that doesn't mean one doesn't have the predisposition to breaking man-made laws, such as murder. For example, according to the DSM-IV,  we know there is a genetic component to antisocial personality disorder (sociopathy). That doesn't mean that a person with antisocial personality disorder will go around and kill everyone, BUT it does mean that they are simply predisposed to genetic "markers" of sociopathy. This parallels to homosexuality, in that having homosexual preferences doesn't mean one will go around and commit homosexual acts (there are Christians out there who don't engage in sexual activity for this reason), BUT it does mean that these individuals are simply predisposed to having a homosexual orientation. Note: I am not arguing the morality of engaging in homosexual behavior, but merely arguing one's predisposition to homosexual orientation.

    3-- Yes, we aren't animals, but the exact same evolutionary mechanisms of Darwinian selection apply to human behavior. This is just biological reality. Science has shown there is an evolutionary advantage to having homosexual individuals in a population (or else the trait would die off!). Another example: we don't choose our "fight or flight" response; it is simply a behavior that has been passed down as an evolutionary advantageous trait. The fact that our "fight or flight" response and homosexual populations are still present today is a testament to the work of natural selection, and the reasoning behind why both of these traits have been present since the dawn of man. Once again, I am not arguing the morality of engaging in homosexual behavior, but merely arguing one's predisposition to homosexual orientation.
  • edited December 2017
    50 views and no other takers? Anyone else want to discuss? I didn't think my argument was that intimidating ;)
  • edited December 2017

    Not many will discuss this since the Church will not change anything about it. We are not a 'dead' Church. We have enough professionals of all scientific fields in all ranks of the Church to know that this is the Church's faith and it will not be changed. Yes, we should maybe learn new ways of explaining that faith on this topic in a better way and in the correct time, but nevertheless, the Church stance will not change. 

    It looks like the link takes me to a page that needs me to get an account to view the article. But it looks like it's from 1993....so lets ignore it. Only because there are many more recent studies that say the same exact thing. But what you have to understand is "association does not imply causation." Meaning that all these studies just see a specific gene in a specific area in DNA and associate it with homosexuality just because those who don't identify as homosexuals don't have it. This is the same thing for genetic markers of sociopathy or alcoholism or violence. I am not in the medical or biology field, but i atleast understand and believe this.

    Now, to speak in general and logically, I don't see any obstacle with humans realizing that homosexual activities are may be pleasurable and desired. To me, the same human mind that has found many other sexual activities that are out of the norm, none of which i will mention here, can very likely  discover homosexual activities and live by them. Many people say it's unnatural--homosexual activities that is...and they are right. But, I believe that many have already strayed from the natural way and the sacredness of the bed of marriage that, to me, i would put all those in the same basket in which we are acting only through our flesh and like the animals that we are supposed to be leaders over, not conform to.

  • Fair enough, we can agree to disagree. However, even if the evidence is still in its early stages, the evidence still suggests a potential genetic link for homosexuality, so why is there such quick judgment to totally dismiss scientific evidence? Shouldn't we have an open mind and at least consider that maybe there is some genetic influence on homosexuality? Sure, it may be difficult to accept, but it's better to acknowledge the harsh truth than to live in blissful ignorance.

    Many things in life are not black and white, so to presume a simplistic, absolute stance (saying the "Church will never change its stance") would be, quite frankly, intellectually dishonest. Using words like never about scientific questions is intellectually dangerous. Think about the early Christian Church and their rigid adherence to the geocentric model in which all the planets revolved around the Earth instead of the Sun. Scientists (some even Christian!) were persecuted and even killed for their correct scientific views. Saying one will never change their stance on issues (when future scientific evidence can prove or disprove anything) will only revert us back to an intellectual climate that can be likened to the days of early Christian geocentricism. Maybe, it would be wise to actually learn from the mistakes of our past.

    My last question to you:  Let's say that, in the future, scientific studies can definitively prove that homosexuality has a clear genetic basis (like color blindness or down syndrome). Would you still stand by your claim that "the Church will never change its stance?" If you would still stand by such a claim, then what makes you different from the early Church leaders who persecuted individuals for simply believing that the Earth revolved around the Sun?
  • Whether there is genetic evidence or not, it doesn't remove the words of the bible treating homosexuality as a sin, and evidently a spiritual disease just like any sexual activity outside of marriage. 

    I would anticipate it very hard to swallow, at least personally, as I would find it unfair for anyone to be born genetically homosexual yet have to consider it a sin. Nonetheless, fairness is merely a relative term, that can be hard to truly distinguish. 

    My best friend's daughter was recently diagnosed with albinism, a genetic disorder. The daughter will be able to lead a normal life, but challenged with blindness and with varying skin disorders. Though, no sin is involved in this unfairness, it still remains seemingly unfair. They still have to deal with albinism and live accordingly. Does that remove from God's love? Does it remove from their ability to find Him, love Him, be with Him, dedicate themselves to Him in love and in purity?

    I understand that in the case of homosexuality, the implications may slightly differ, but nonetheless, homosexuality is clearly stated as a sin. Whether it be genetic or not. This fact is biblical. The stance that we believe is not genetic is not biblical, it is merely a stance opinionated by biblical facts. A homosexual is not prevented from worshipping God, loving Him, turning towards Him and living in purity for Him. A homosexual is prevented from living sexual sins outside of marriage. And marriage is biblically defined as a man leaving his house to be joined to his wife. 

    I pray that God strengthens anyone struggling with homosexuality. I cannot imagine the difficulty and struggles that come with it. But conquerors of this struggle, I can easily imagine to be favourites in God's eyes.
  • edited December 2017


    Let’s first deal with this thing about the Church persecuting individuals. First, all the persecutions you are probably referencing were in the "west"--that is the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestants and their reformation. I won't get into too many details since this clarifies that we were totally separate at the time the church had that much political power to leverage. We are the Coptic Orthodox Church, one of the oriental churches, which were all mainly either being persecuted by the Byzantine, or latter on by the Arabs. We didn't get any peace time to persecute others. I will not pass judgement on the Roman Catholic Church mistakes because many others have done so already.

    Now, back to the topic. Homosexuality is NOT a command that we can change and develop and understand differently throughout the ages. This is like you are asking to change the definition of sex and how it should be practiced. Many studies have shown that sex, as a physical act, is good for our bodies, and these days people are already breaking marriage laws and commit fornication and adultery all the time. Oh, and there is a predisposition to do so--we are sexual beings and that's how we are created. Now, does that mean the Church abandons its laws and biblical commands and its morality to make up for these findings?! I'll say again, that will never happen.

    You mentioned before that you are not arguing the morality of homosexual acts, but in essence, that's all that we are doing here. Even if we consider any other set-in-stone biblical command, following the morality of the Bible makes us children of God...it's what separates us from everyone else--being able to do something but choosing not to according to the morality set by the Church and God. 

  • Mina_K, you're missing the point here. Obesity has a genetic component, but gluttony is still a sin. Food addiction releases and physiologically behaves exactly like narcotics but it doesn't mean inappropriate eating is biologically permissible.

    The issue here is ultimately moral and spiritual, not biological. The Church has made it clear that regardless of biological evidence to the contrary, we cannot accept a sin as "normal" since God himself has declared it abnormal to the spiritual and moral man He intended to create. This doesn't mean science and spirituality is contradictory. Rather, it is an acknowledgement that science fails at an philosophical and epistemological level to accurately describe truth outside reproducible observations. The only reason Christianity does not suffer from this is because we acknowledge the truth of divine revelation and it is evidence in itself. 

    The problem with DSM and most scientific studies is that observation requires interpretation and hypotheses that are bound to bias and political pressure. Thus, scientific studies funded by politics and (mis)interpreted by politics and the legal community can show all the biological predisposition to homosexuality. The problem enters when any biological predisposition "proves" homosexuality should be redefined as normal. This now becomes a moral and spiritual issue which science self-proclaims to intentionally avoid. Yet, hypocritically science more than dabbles with morality and religion. 

    The other issue, which goes back to politics and bias, is homosexuality is seen as medium to prove the Church wrong. In reality, it is no different when a parent tells a child he can't eat candy and the child then tries to prove why candy is important. It's not the candy that is the catalyst for the conflict, but the need to prove a parent or the Church or someone being wrong. 

    As you can see, there are many reasons why the Church takes a stand against homosexuality. We dismiss biological evidence that attempts to prove a moral and religious argument for homosexuality. We dismiss political pressure that tries to silence the Church for self gain. We don't disagree with science. We just know where science fits in the big picture while many others are trying to elevate science into the moral and spiritual realm as the only big picture. 
  • edited December 2017

    Good question.

    Let me preface by saying that nothing is a "sin" simply because, "the Bible says so". Sin (in Greek, hamartia, literally translated as missing the mark) is simply a falling short of the image of God - an act that takes life/humanity away from yourself or others - it prevents us from becoming fully alive.

    With that lens, it's easy to see how things like lust, greed, envy, murder, even withholding one's goods from the poor, can be rightly called "sin". 

    Now, question for you... regardless of whether homosexuality is genetic or not, do you think there is something intrinsically "sinful" about homosexuality? (In this context, let us define homosexuality as being monogamous like any good/healthy heterosexual relationship, and for any others looking to contribute, please refrain from "because the Bible says so" reasoning for the time being).
  • edited December 2017
    If one is born predisposed to homosexual tendencies just as others are born with tendencies to anger it is still a sin the conscience convicts of and treated by the renewal of the Holy Spirit
    I’m not sure I believe you can be born that way though especially if that means you have no attraction to opposite sex also but even so I believe they must repent for God has a special will for them as said about the blind man who it was not fair he was born blind but God said it was so that the works of God should be revealed in him
    God would never make one born a way without being able to see it as sin or feel it is worthy to repent of it
  • @Beekay,

    Forgive me BeeKay for using the "bible says so" argument. I was simply answering the:
     "Would you still stand by your claim that "the Church will never change its stance?" question. Since we do not define our definitions of sin on purely reasoning, given we cannot ever fully understand our unlimited God's ways and judgement, the Church simply cannot change its stance on homosexuality (which isn't anything but the person is accepted but not the lifestyle) and science cannot change that definition. I apologize if you dislike my reasoning/argument, I will now refrain from participating.

    God bless.
  • I think you guys are missing my point. I'm not arguing whether or not homosexuality is a sin; I'm arguing that there is evidence for the genetic predisposition to homosexual orientation. There are Christians who are homosexual that don't engage in sexual activity due to its sinful nature, so I'm not sure why you guy are conflating the two. Once again, I am talking about homosexuality as a sexual orientation, not the actual sin (of which you DO have free will over).

  • No I don't think I'm missing your point. 

    The problem is how one defines predisposition and what one does with that information. I personally have no problem believing there is a genetic predisposition to homosexuality, just as there are genetic markers for eating, alcohol, violence, etc. Everything physical will likely have some genetic code that plays into the behavior. 

    The problem is what one does with that information. (Note, I am not talking about claiming genetic disposition means sinful or non-sinful behavior or what sin is or isn't.) Even if there is a genetic predisposition, the problem I have is the philosophical epistemology of such genetic knowledge. 

    Just saying "the sky is red", and proving with scientific method, doesn't mean the sky is actually red. There are infinite possibilities why one may take that claim and believe it is true when in fact it is not. Ultimately, one cannot claim truth by observation alone since all observation is subject to the limited mind of man. It is only possible to claim absolute truth when an infinite mind can pass along knowledge beyond man's limit. (Of course it is possible that infinite mind likes to lie or man is incapable to believe in an infinite mind and my whole thesis falls apart. But on these forums, we can agree that God is not a liar and he did impart divine knowledge on mankind.)

    Science, on the other hand, insists on no divine mind or intelligent design. Thus, observation of sexual orientation only holds true for the framework of science. But in the framework of religion, if science says there is a genetic disposition to homosexuality, and God says that man was created male and female, we have to conclude homosexuality is an aberration of man's nature, not a genetically observed normal trait.

  • edited December 2017

    So, the morality of homosexuality is irrelevant, you just want the Coptic Orthodox Church to concede that there is a genetic predisposition to homosexual orientation... do I have that right?

    There's not much of an argument to be had, among us at least. Just about every human attribute has a genetic component involved, and I'm certain human sexuality is no exception. The extent of that gene's influence versus the influence of upbringing/individuation/nurture is an interesting debate to be had that I don't think can be adequately addressed with our current scientific progress on the issue.  

    However, to your main argument, I think you're undoubtedly smart enough to know why the church will not concede to this issue. To @Remnkemi point (which I know I am taking out of context), to say that homosexuality has a genetic component will only open the gates for people to question more and more "truths" of the church - one of them certainly being how this affects the morality of homosexuality (people all don't have your discipline @Mina_K ;)). It'll be opening up Pandora's box. Questions will arise that, to be frank, most of the church does not have the theological/scientific fortitude to answer (yet). Hell, most Coptic Churches I've been to won't openly discuss evolution vs. six literal days of creation, much less the genetic markers of homosexuality, lmao...

    But in time... maybe.
  • Beekay,
    The Coptic Church is suffering from lack of knowledge and openess to discuss issues. However, that doesn't mean people shouldn't ask questions. It also means we have to have the answers, not necessarily worrying about the slippery slope. 

    Mina_K's question is good. I don't think he is arguing in favor of anything more than the validity of genetic predisposition. Although there is no official answer, I think the closest answer to his question is that there very well can be genetic markers for sexual orientation. It's what you do with that information that matters. As a Church, we are not going to argue that the validity of genetic science is bogus. We are going to rely on the scientists to conclude how valid the genetic science is. But we are also going to voice how one understands that information in the grand scheme of knowledge. We are going to argue at a philosophical and spiritual level what to do with that information. That is really the issue at heart.
  • @Remnkemi I couldn't agree with you more... questioning is essential in the pursuit of truth, and us, who make up the church (and are willing/able to entertain said questions), should wholeheartedly discuss.

    But will the Church proper (i.e. synod, clergy, coptic.net lol... which I believe was Mina_K's original question) accept and endorse scientific truths that seem, albeit superficially, contradictory to Coptic theological thought? I highly doubt it...    
  • edited December 2017
    It is important not to be overlywise as mentioned in Ecclesiastes 7:16. I believe it refers to trusting oneself as an authority of all the things of God
  • @Remnkemi, @BeeKay Thanks for your perspectives, you make some good points.
  • @BeeKay, Back to your point about the Church not endorsing the genetic basis of homosexuality due to not having the "theological/scientific fortitude" :

    I understand this reasoning, but I just think it ultimately hurts the Church's members who may have gay tendencies. Simply avoiding discussions on the complicated nature of what causes homosexuality only makes it harder for Church members to sympathize with their fellow Copts who may be gay, and thus creates a culture of stigmatization against Copts who may be homosexual.
  • edited December 2017
    @Mina_K you're absolutely right in the last comment - avoiding the discussion makes it harder for Church members to sympathize with fellow Copts who are gay and avoiding the discussion is dangerous.

    A kid goes to his parents and says "my friend has two dads." An Egyptian parent likely says "That's wrong" or "that's 7aram" and that's the end of the conversation. It is so important to educate our children and our congregants on the topic.

    In my parish, as a matter of fact, we are starting to do so.

    @minatasgeel your point about "why would someone choose homosexuality" is out of line because the great majority don't choose homosexuality. They grow up with some sort of gender confusion based on environmental factors and based on them being sensitive (probably genetic) and their relationship with their parents. Once they hit puberty and sexuality develops, they are attracted to the same sex.

    @Mina_K I trust that as soon as they actually find a genetic marker for homosexuality, the media will be all over it :)
  • @tenooshy Maybe I'm reading something you're not, but there is strong evidence for gene "Xq28" being a genetic marker. This gene has been studied since 1980, and multiple subsequent studies up until a few years ago have consistently presented strong evidence for this gene's influence on male sexual orientation. I encourage you to take a look: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xq28
  • edited December 2017

    @Mina_K Hi,

    "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God
    (1 Corinthians 6,9-10)

    It doesn't matter if you have or not genetics marker, because even if you have them, you should restrain from behaving homosexual. Why?
    Because God said in the bible that this is wrong (not only in that verse that i posted). It'll be difficult to do it, and God knows it, but you have to endure and our Lord will reward you. 

    There are people who say that "the bible is old, and the church must evolve with society". But even if the bible is old, what is wrote inside is forever:
    Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
    (Mark 13,31)

    Sorry for my bad english (i'm from italy), i'll link a youtube video about Same Gender marriage

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