Why I’m wary of ‘God made me this way’

God made me this way.

Here’s what I am told by very smart people. I am a male interested in spreading my genetic material around, so God made me interested in sex with lots of women. God also made me jealous. I am territorial, so God made me prone to violence to protect “my” turf and “my” stuff. I am social, so God made me with a sharp sense of who insiders are and who outsiders are and ready to take aggressive action to protect those boundaries. God also made me status hungry. My species evolved in a world of scarcity, so God made me eager to accumulate and consume all that I can.

The good folks at the RMN blog are always thought provoking and give me much cause to think about things. If their goal is not to let the issues they care about fade into silence, they are doing a good job with me, at least. Small victory.

So, here is what I really do want to know. Where is the line between God made me this way and God wants me to be a different way?

I’m not arguing for exclusion, but I’m interested in how this conversation can be formed in a way that does not fall back on “God made me this way.”


Because of all the reasons above. “This is the way I am” arguments can be used by anyone to justify virtually any behavior. As a faith that teaches we must be reborn to come into a right relationship with God, we teach everyone that the way they were born is not fully the way God wants them to be.

If “God made me this way” becomes the doctrine of the church, then don’t we have to pitch out holiness entirely?

I find the more I listen to the arguments about the UM stance of homosexuality, the more I am troubled by the arguments and not the issue. My personal encounters with Christians who are homosexual has not led me to fear or dread their inclusion in the church. But the arguments give me great pause.

To my ears, they fall into two groups.

First, the parts of the Bible that say what we don’t like we can ignore or explain away as irrelevent to today.

Second, God made me this way, so it must be okay.

My problem with both arguments is what happens when a teenage boy who wants to have casual sex with five different girls uses them to justify his feelings. Or what happens when the church member who spends his whole life in a mad pursuit of wealth tries to use them to explain his needs?

It may be that I have not heard the arguments or paid careful enough attention. But that is what my ears are hearing. And this is why I am not at ease about the conversation.


9 thoughts on “Why I’m wary of ‘God made me this way’

  1. Heather, thank you for the thoughtful and helpful reply. And thanks for finding this post down in the archives of my blog.

    I will certainly read the link.

    I think most in the church would say that the message of the church is not that gay Christians are meant for meaningless sexual encounters. Those who hold to a traditional conception of sexual holiness would say no one is meant for meaningless sexual encounters.

    But I take your point. The traditional church position is putting homosexuals into a Catch 22 of sorts.

    If the church says the only holy sex is procreative or marital sex, then by barring homosexuals from marriage, the church says homosexuals must be celibate – just like unmarried heterosexuals. But for homosexuals this is not a matter of choice.

    I am not at all comfortable with the harsh and judgmental tone of many who understand themselves to be upholding traditional church teachings. But I respect the tradition and – like you – greatly revere scripture. So, finding an undertanding that is Christian – not simply an import from the wider culture – is what I struggle to do.

    I certainly hope that the Holy Spirit is working in us all and that the church would never leave anyone standing at the door.

    Thank you for making the effort to be in dialogue with me.

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