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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Same Sex Attraction: It's Bad for Your Mental Health

In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but that hasn't changed the realilty that those suffering from same-sex attraction (SSA) show a significantly higher rate of mental health problems than their non-SSA peers. Studies over the last fifteen years show that SSA is bad for your mental health. Of course, gay activists say that's because gays are so persecuted, but in countries where homosexuality is well accepted, for example Holland and New Zealand, the rate of disorders is similar to other countries where there is still significant opposition.

It seems to me that there is a clear explanation: violating the natural law instilled in us by God puts man in conflict with himself. That kind of cognitive dissonance means a man either has to change his behavior or his beliefs. The man in a sinful situation, who knows it's wrong, will either give up his sin or alter his beliefs to justify his behavior. Have you ever heard someone in a sinful situation, e.g., adultery, say, "I just don't know what to believe any more?" There's a perfect example. If I want to commit this sin that feels so good and makes me "happy" (at least in the short term), then I will likely throw out my former belief in fidelity and the sacredness of my vows and make up any excuse to justify myself. Tolstoy illustrated the truth of this in Anna Karenina.

Sure makes sense, doesn't it? But if you know in your heart what you are doing is wrong (because God placed the truth there), can you really convince yourself that  wrong is right? Probably not. So what happens? The screws start coming loose -- not a good sign for the future of our culture of death is it?

But then again, God has a way of taking people in their darkest moments and shining a shaft of white light that cuts through the darkness of sin and invites conversion. So pray for sinners in the mire of cognitive dissonance that they will see the truth and turn back to our Creator who loves them enough to shed every drop of blood for them.


Anonymous said...

What about those who do not act on their homosexuality, remain celibate, and are still miserable and depressed their whole life? It is hard to see why God would demand such lifelong suffering of someone.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Understanding suffering is a lifelong struggle.

I have a friend with a 12-year-old grandson who has been battling leukemia since he was a little tyke. He's been in and out of hospitals most of his life and just had a bone marrow transplant. He also has Down's Syndrome. But my friend said his grandson talked about how Jesus must need him to suffer to save sinners. What a wise little boy! Who is "retarded" -- him, or the person who has no sense of the meaning of suffering.

I don't think there is a soul on earth who doesn't suffer. When suffering is united to Christ it becomes redemptive. And we all have an obligation to compassion, not sympathy. To suffer WITH each other.

There's a saying: "A shared is doubled; a sorrow shared is halved." Being united with Christ transforms suffering into joy. That's why the Roman martyrs could go to their deaths in the colliseum singing for joy.

Old Bob said...

Great post, great answer to question. I wish more people knew about redemptive suffering.
Thanks much!

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

I left out the word joy in the quote. A shared "joy" is doubled, a shared sorrow is halved.

Michele said...

The celibate homosexual (who lives for God) will have many joys in their life (and some suffering). Hey that sounds like everyone! The married person who has a large family has many joys (and some sufferings) associated with having a large family.

Life is like that! Even the person with everything has suffering. (sometimes self-inflicted by drugs and alcohol).

I also agree with the other point - an older priest I knew used to say "if you don't live what you believe, eventually you will believe what you live."