Is there such a thing as a gay gene?

This has been the decades-long debate related to the causality of sexual orientation. For years, scientists have wondered if sexual orientation could be traced to a single biological factor. Some would doubt sexual orientation has a root in biology at all.

But a new study shows it is not so simple.

According to a study published on August 29th in the journal Science, there is no single “gay gene.” Instead, the study finds that sexual orientation seems to be shaped by a number of factors, both environmental and biological.

The study is the largest one to date with more than 480,000 participants from the U.S. and the U.K.

These research findings further validates the reality that the origins of attractions are a complex topic and probably vary from person to person. The one certainty is that no one simply chooses their attractions.

The study validates the idea that sexual orientation is not shaped by one simple biological cause or one simple environmental cause — but rather that our attractions are shaped by a complex web of “nature and nurture” that can vary from person to person.

Asking the Wrong Question

Many times, we as Christians, wanting to understand better, ask the question, “What causes same-sex attraction?” Ultimately, we may never know, but the good news is that we don’t have to know in order to care well.

In John 9, the disciples get stuck in a similar cycle of thinking. They ask Jesus why a certain man was born blind. “Whose fault is it, Jesus?” they asked. The Bible says Jesus responded, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do” (John 9:3, MSG).

Every person born into this world is born into a complex web of circumstances. Amidst the reality of these circumstances, God calls us to serve, seek to understand, and bear with one another — and trust Him with the outcome.

Trusting God, Loving People, Embracing Complexity

No factor of our biology or environment will ever excuse us from Jesus’ command to trust God and love people born and raised amidst complex influences.

We need to stop asking the wrong question and instead focus on the implications of human complexity: namely, that there is no determinant factor that decides whether we should love someone like Jesus.

God calls us to be agents of His love to all people — gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, or anything else.

For more information, read our article, “Born This Way? Why the Answer Doesn’t (and Shouldn’t) Matter to Christians.

Josh Proctor