While wasting time reading politics on Twitter, I read that a teenage child of a conservative politician had publicly declared they were “bisexual”. I won’t mention names because children shouldn’t be dragged into politics and also because it doesn’t actually matter. What matters is the general situation: Here’s someone who has taken public stances for traditional morality, and look, here’s their child taking the opposite stance.
This is the kind of gossip that is often accompanied by snide comments conveying a sense of vindictive karma. “Let’s laugh at this wrong-headed person who just smashed into the brick wall of reality.” It’s along the same vein as the ghoulish comments made by the uncharitable when an outspoken COVID-vaccine opponent gets infected and, tragically, dies.
Except, that’s really not the correct analogy for this situation. A better analogy would be this: “Here’s a prominent Baptist preacher, and here’s his child who has decided to convert to Buddhism.” And really, what’s the story there? It’s fodder for plenty of internal family drama, sure, but why is that any of our business? And it’s the same with this situation. You have an individual who has one belief system, and you have their child who has (hopefully just temporarily) decided they’d rather follow a different belief system. It’s a family religious conflict, where a child who has been raised in a formal religion is being pulled into the trendy informal religion of our day. Family drama? Oh yes, lots. Any of our business? Not at all.
But it got me thinking about the bisexual identity and the silliness inherent in it, especially when it intersects with conservative morality. I’m reminded of a video I saw of a college coed pouring her heart out. If my memory serves me well she was a member of a conservative religion and student at a conservative college, and there was emotion, and there were tears, because this student was telling how hard it was for her to be *gasp* a “bisexual”. And I’m sitting there watching, and I’m seeing these tears, and I’m thinking: What in the world is the matter with you?
It makes no sense. Okay, this woman belongs to a church that believes same-sex sexuality is wrong, and apparently that’s horrible because she feels attraction to her own sex. In other words, it’s horrible that she feels the desire to do something her church believes is wrong.
I mean, come on, think about your own moral code. How many things do you believe are wrong yet still feel the desire to commit? What could be more normal than that? So, why the tears? Why the angst? Why is this a problem whatsoever?
“Because it means she can’t be with the one she loves!”
Whoa, hold on there. Back up. This woman isn’t saying, “I’m a lesbian.” She’s saying, “I’m a bisexual.” Which means she is also attracted to men. So this is a woman who feels the desire to do what is right, but also feels the desire to do what is wrong, and it’s so horrible that she feels this way because … because … yeah …
Can you understand why I turned the video off at this point?
Seriously, what’s the problem here? “Oh, it’s so horrible. I’m attracted to my twenty-year-old secretary, but my church says adultery is wrong. Sure, my wife is hot too, but how am I going to live with this?”
I mean, come on …
Except, those tears are real. So where did they come from? Look at the logic. It’s silly, isn’t it? So why the tears? Why the emotion? If you strip it down to the logical components, there’s really no reason for it:
The way forward is pretty obvious, right? So, what’s the problem? What is the source of all this melodramatic angst?
I think it stems from how she has chosen to interpret the attractions she feels. If she focused just on the basic facts, she would say, “I feel attracted to both men and women”, which can lead to multiple interpretations. Unfortunately, she has chosen one that isn’t compatible with her religion: “I feel attracted to both men and women, and my same-sex attraction is a core part of who I am.”
But what compels her to accept that interpretation? Science doesn’t. How could it? Science operates within the realm of proof, but what constitutes the core of a person is not provable. Answers to questions like that lie solely in the realm of faith, in other words: religion.
Except, the interpretation she has chosen didn’t come from her religion. It came from a different one: that trendy informal religion I alluded to earlier. And it is this interpretation she has accepted, this belief about herself, that is the real source of her tears. But it didn’t have to be this way.
Imagine two men: Bob and Steve. Bob and Steve both feel attraction to women and also attraction to men. Except they interpret it very differently. Bob looks at his same-sex attraction and sees no difference from any of his other wrong desires. He rejects it and ignores it and goes on with his life, lacking nothing. Steve, unfortunately, doesn’t follow Bob’s simple path. Instead, Steve decides his same-sex attraction is part of who he is. He decides he’s a “bisexual”. And oh, it’s so horrible—his religion believes same-sex sexuality is wrong! The pain! The isolation! The misery!
And there’s Bob, standing there, his arm around a beautiful woman he finds very attractive, watching Steve punch himself again and again in the face, and he’s wondering, “Dude, what’s wrong with you?”
Sexual identity—bisexuality, heterosexuality, homosexuality—is not part of secular reality. Sexual identity is based on self-identity, and self-identity is based on faith. (Someone’s identity is whatever they claim it is; everyone else is expected to simply believe them.) Secular reality, on the other hand, must always be based on proof, which sexual identity can’t provide. It’s not like you can take a blood test and have it report back what your sexual identity is. And even if a test like that existed, it could only report what attractions you feel. It could never report whether or not those attractions should matter to you. Science is silent on that subject. How you answer that question therefore is up to you.
Bisexuality is a self-imposed problem. You feel attracted to both men and women? So what? That’s not a problem at all, not unless you choose to make it one.
• Why Do We Help Make Sin Inevitable?
topic: sexual identity