Ministry And Medical Ethics
Biology and Human Behavior: Do Genes Determine Destiny?
By Christina M.H. Powell
Ministry involves dealing with all aspects of human behavior. To point people to the Cross ministers must meet people in the midst of their needs and personal struggles. Whether the minister is preaching to an entire congregation or counseling an individual, biblical truth must be accurately and sensitively applied to issues of human behavior. In addition, in his role as a moral leader within a community, a minister is often called on to address social issues that arise as ramifications of human behavior.
When discussing human behavior, ministers typically emphasize personal responsibility, the need to uphold biblical standards, and the role of free will. Yet in society today, people often look to science to reveal the origin for a given human behavior, seeking to find the roots of a behavior in either our genes or our environment. Unfortunately, the findings of scientific studies on human behavior often become distorted in popular literature because of perceived social and political implications. A scientific study suggesting a possible genetic link becomes proof that the behavior being studied is innate and unchangeable. When further research disproves the link, often little media attention is given to correcting the previous overstated claims. Examples of this disconnect between scholarly research and popular understanding can be found for research on the biological basis of aggression, intelligence, schizophrenia, alcoholism, and homosexuality. This article looks at the relationship between biology and human behavior as it relates to the development of homosexuality, a controversial topic that ministers are often asked to address. Do genes determine destiny?
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