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Q. My theological training has resulted in my belief that homosexuals must be asexual in order to be saved. We all read the same Bible but a few of my colleagues differ in their beliefs. Which position represents the truth?

A. I am a brain-function specialist, not a theologian. Consequently, I am unable to give an opinion about which position represents the truth, theologically. As you already pointed out, opinions differ among theologians—not surprising since every brain is unique in structure, function, and perception.

I found my father's perspective (he was a preacher) to be quite open, balanced, and helpful: if the deity permits brains to be born with differing preferences, the deity must also have a way for that type of brain not only to be integrated appropriately into society but also into religious communities (should they have that desire). It was also his brain’s opinion that being "saved" is a personal issue between a brain and its Higher Power, and that Biblical injunctions against specific practices (e.g., fornication) address behaviors rather than preference (e.g., the leopard cannot change its spots).

Whatever else human beings are, they are relational and sexual. Some brains (and sex does begin in the brain) seem to have stronger needs for sexual affiliation than others. But the theologians I’ve spoken with are hard put to come up with a Biblical injunction that clearly indicates anyone outside the parameters of a heterosexual brain must be asexual to be saved.

Monogamy is the recommended behavior for sexual behaviors for any number of reasons, health as well as cellular memory. It is fascinating that one rarely observes true monogamy in this world, among even some of the clergy to say nothing of heterosexuals in general. Monogamy means an individual chooses to engage in sexual behaviors with the same one person throughout an entire lifetime. This does not mean being sexually monogamous with one person at a time, which is what is more commonly observed. I refer to that as serial monogamy, where an individual is sexually active and monogamous with one person for perhaps months or years, then the couple separates and each goes on to develop another monogamous sexual relationship for perhaps months or years, and so on.

Religious communities could do a much better job at addressing issues of sexuality in an open and informed manner instead of either simply legislating “don’t have sex before marriage” or pretending that sexual activity doesn't occur before partnerings at the rate it appears to exist. An adult with a relatively undamaged and normally functioning brain (every brain is damaged in some way or another) can choose whether or not to be monogamous or promiscuous, literally and virtually. And he/she can choose to control the thoughts related to sexual behaviors that are allowed to hang out in the brain.