Choice

The issue of choice sometimes comes up regarding two important issues: homosexuality and atheism.

Defenders of homosexuality often use the argument that being gay is not a choice, but it must be kept in mind that this is not a moral defense of homosexuality, it is an existential defense. When discussing the morality of homosexual behavior, therefore, it is almost irrelevant to note that being gay is not a choice. Ultimately, sexual behaviors, like most acts, are chosen by the actors, and whether those actors are homosexual or heterosexual is not important. And when judged on their merits alone, homosexual behaviors are no more or less moral than analogous heterosexual behaviors – the issue of sexual identity, and whether it is chosen, is not relevant.

With atheism, choice is usually seen differently: it is assumed that atheists have chosen to lose their faith in God. I’m not so sure about this. During the final years of my Christian life, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I really believed. But at no point did I consciously choose to stop believing in God. I did not ever intend to become an atheist. Rather, I embarked on an exploration of my beliefs with the simple aim of clarifying and understanding them. The result was a complete loss of faith. As it happens, I now consider myself extremely lucky to have escaped the grasp of religious beliefs, but I cannot give myself credit for doing so intentionally.

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