Deeper Waters Podcast 7/14/2018: Abdu Murray

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If we went back a few decades, we would find many debates still, though not as common likely, and all of those debates would still have each side thinking there is an objective truth and it is worth knowing even if we can’t know it for whatever reason. Today, it’s not the same. We live in a world where truth is seen as just a matter of personal opinion. Feelings determine what you believe more and more.

Go on social media and you will often see people sharing stories. These stories are not even checked for accuracy. Many of them have been hoaxes. Some of our government officials have even shared such stories before thinking that they were true. People have had to ask if the Onion or the Babylon Bee can be fact-checked.

This has also come over into the realm of sexuality. Sex has been reduced to something that is more feeling-oriented instead of having a real purpose in society. We have reached the stage where people think they can mutilate their bodies and do whatever to them to match the true identity that they feel.

I don’t know how many times I have seen the story of a person who is married with kids and then leaves it all and proclaims himself a homosexual. Stories suddenly come about saying that this person has found their true self. It’s strange that those stories never work in the reverse when a person goes from homosexuality to heterosexuality.

How do we handle this? To discuss this, I’m having on Abdu Murray. He has written a book recently called Saving Truth. He will be my guest as we discuss it and what can be done to restore the concept of truth.

So who is he?

According to his bio:

Abdu is the North American Director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and is the author of three books, including his latest book, the bestseller, Saving Truth – Finding Meaning and Clarity in a Post-Truth World.  For most of his life, Abdu was a proud Muslim who studied the Qur’an and Islam.  After a nine year investigation into the historical, philosophical, and scientific underpinnings of the major world religions and views, Abdu discovered that the historic Christian faith alone can answer the questions of the mind and the longings of the heart.

Abdu has spoken to diverse international audiences and has participated in debates and dialogues across the globe.  He has appeared as a guest on numerous radio and televisions programs all over the world and hosts the podcast Embrace The Truth with Abdu Murray.

Abdu holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.  As an attorney, Abdu was named several times in Best Lawyers in America and Michigan Super Lawyer.  Abdu is the Scholar in Residence of Christian Thought and Apologetics at the Josh McDowell Institute of Oklahoma Wesleyan University.  

Abdu lives in the Detroit, Michigan area with his wife and their three children.

I hope you’ll be listening for the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. Please also consider going on iTunes and leaving a positive review. I really enjoy seeing them! Thanks for being fans of the Deeper Waters Podcast!

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Mere Science and Christian Faith

What do I think of Greg Cootsona’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am not a scientist, but I am always interested in books about the intersection between science and religion. When IVP sent me this one, it was one I was eager to read. Cootsona’s book is different in some ways. It’s not so much because of content, but because of the approach.

Cootsona writes his book largely with emerging adults in mind, the kind of people we would call millennials. These are young people who have a lot of questions about science and religion. What is the relationship between the two? Is there conflict or dialogue or what?

Cootsona answers these questions and often shows information on the side about conversations that he’s had with young people and little statements that they say. People involved in youth ministry need to be reading something like this. These are the very issues that young people are dealing with and as Cootsona sadly shows at the end, many people walk away because they committed the great sin of asking questions.

Cootsona deals with questions not only about creation and evolution, but also about technology. What are the effects that it’s having on society? There is some good of course, but there is also some bad. Are we having too much screen time? Could we actually bear to put the phones down?

He also spends some time with the new atheists. For the most part, the new atheists aren’t really an issue any more, but the mind set is still there. Dawkins is still seen as being on the side of science and religion is seen as the opposite. This leaves many people wondering if they have to choose between science and religion. It doesn’t help Christians out when we tell young people that they just need to have faith and not bother with their questions.

Some of you might be wondering if in all of this if Cootsona has a high view of Scripture. He does. Cootsona upholds orthodoxy and upholds inerrancy in the book. He presents viewpoints to help people understand the questions such as evolution and the age of the Earth. It’s a snapshot in the book as it were, but in the back he provides resources for further study. Cootsona’s book is meant to be an introduction to the questions. It is not an end-all.

There is also a section on climate change and sexuality. Now I am a skeptic of the idea of climate change. I haven’t invested in the study, but I am skeptical. Still, there is good information to consider here even if I am not convinced. As for sexuality, our changing approach to sexual culture is going to need to be addressed. How do we answer questions about transgenderism and homosexuality? Is Christianity behind the times?

These questions about science and Christianity are entirely relevant today. I get many questions from Christians with doubt today. If there is any topic that seems to come up the most, it is questions about Genesis 1-11. It is amazing how many people contact me and say they’re scared that Christianity might not be true and yet they have no questions about the resurrection. It’s all about Genesis. We need better resources on this.

Youth ministers then should definitely read this book! If you’re not a scientist, that’s okay. It’s written in a style laymen can understand. Parents concerned about teenagers and college-age students should read this book. Young people themselves searching should also read it.

Cootsona has given us a good gateway book to the issue of science and Christianity. He has also sounded a clarion call that we need to be listening to the emerging adults today to know how to better reach them. We can answer all the questions we want to, but if we don’t answer the questions they’re asking, we don’t get them any closer to Jesus.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Saving Truth

What do I think of Abdu Murray’s new book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Murray is writing about a situation that I have thought for a long time has plagued the church. It is that we live in a post-truth society. Nowadays, the truth doesn’t even matter. How someone feels about a claim matters or how well it serves an end-game is what matters.

This isn’t the fault of the world alone. The church is also to blame. The church determines truths based on feelings just as much as the world does. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard about doing something as you “feel led.”

There’s also the fact that Christians can just as easily spread false information. Last night, I had to deal with a family member who shared a news story that I could tell in less than a minute was false. Going further, I found that the website also held to the idea that 9-11 is an inside job. Yep. Real reliable source there.

I get greatly bothered when I see something like this happen. We have the job of trying to convince people that Jesus rose from the dead, a fact that they cannot check the veracity of immediately, but we will so easily share stories that can be easily seen as fake? Doesn’t that damage our witness of the Gospel?

Murray also writes about our misunderstanding of freedom. We think by freedom that there is a certain something that has no hold on us. That is true to an extent, but it like saying being literate means that you can decipher symbols in an alphabet. Yes, you can, but you need to able to do more. You read so you can learn much more that there is to learn. You read so that you can be a better person.

In the same way, you are free not to pursue whatever you want to do, but you are free so that you can pursue the good, the true, and the beautiful. You are free to live for something greater than yourself. Freedom is not about you get to do whatever you want, but you are free to do as you should.

Murray also talks about issues of human dignity, what does it mean to be a human? Do we treat human beings as objects more in this day and age? What about issues of abortion?

Issues of sex and gender are definitely on the stage. Murray begins this chapter with a question a woman asked in an open forum about Christianity and homosexuality. It dominates the landscape in this chapter as Murray keeps thinking about it. Murray deals with the purpose of sexuality and questions relating to transgenderism as well. What does it mean to be a man or a woman?

Murray also deals with questions of science and of pluralism. Both of these are issues that strike our epistemology. Science is seen today as the only way to truth. Pluralism is seen as rude and exclusive.

There are many issues discussed in Murray’s book. Each of them in itself is worthy of a book-length work. Murray’s book is a good look at these topics and often shared from the perspective of an ex-Muslim who had to realize that truth mattered more than anything else.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Transgenderism on The Good Doctor

Was the right diagnosis made? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Generally, my wife and I enjoy watching The Good Doctor. It’s a great new series about a surgeon who is a savant and who is autistic. What is most interesting is not the diagnoses per se, although it is interesting to see the symbology that shows that he’s thinking about the case and picturing it all, but how he relates to others and how he speaks and understands messages around him.

In the latest episode called “She” the team starts to investigate a young girl who was brought into the hospital by her grandmother. As they start to check out the pain the patient has, they have to uncover her lower regions and lo and behold, they notice that she has male genitalia. Shaun Murphy, the good doctor, says that most everyone should know immediately.

The patient is a boy.

Now some might say that the person who is autistic does not understand how society works, but on the other hand, we could say that person is going to be less clouded by political correctness and such. Over and over, Shaun will regularly refer to the patient as he. Other doctors will correct him, but he will insist that this is the case.

Of course, every other doctor and even the president of the hospital and all involved from the hospital’s side are wanting to be politically correct. The patient says he’s a girl, so by golly, he is a girl. (Please note that that sentence doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. It is crazy to even have to say he is a girl unless you’re talking about someone doing an acting job.) The parents also have been going along with this since the patient, Quinn, decided years ago that he was really a girl.

The grandmother in this episode normally plays the role of the villain. Why? Because the grandmother in this episode is guilty of the awful heresy of telling the truth. She is guilty of saying that Quinn is really a boy. I think I once read a quote from Chesterton about how a madman would be one day someone who stood on top of a tower and proclaimed that two plus two equals four. The rest of the world would gasp at such a claim.

Now we are in the position that we believe in such claims often as assigned sex. It is as if the doctors see the baby coming out of the womb and look at the body and just say to each other “Well what do you think? Is it a boy or a girl?” It’s as if there’s no objective criteria to tell what someone really is. (You know, things that normally don’t change like DNA and genitalia.)

“But what about intersex?” Yes. I know about cases like that, but for the overwhelming majority of these cases, there is no problem with the DNA and genitalia. We’re not talking about intersex here. We’re talking about someone with no ambiguity in their bodies, but ambiguity in their feelings.

The story also goes on to say that Quinn due to his condition tried to commit suicide rather than live like a boy. The parents had then put him on puberty blockers which the grandmother was horrified to learn of. (We can think the grandmother is a person obviously still living in the past and not aware of how progressive we are.) Yet one has to wonder, are we going to say that because one person tried to commit suicide, their reasoning for it was right?

Let’s be clear. People who think that they are the opposite sex of their body do need compassion and understanding. Yes. Bullying is always wrong. On the other hand, so is coddling and giving in to demands. If an alcoholic was wanting to commit suicide rather than live without alcohol, that would not mean we freely give them the bottle.

The episode also dealt with if the patient should have both testicles removed or just one due to a cancerous growth. In the end, only one was removed unless the mind was changed later on. Let’s keep in mind that people think a decision like this should be given to a teenager when many a teenager has a hard time even deciding what they’re going to wear to school the next day.

I find it amazing in the field of apologetics how much we have to defend today and how much we have to defend is that which is often the most obvious. I thought it odd enough when we had to defend that marriage is a man-woman relationship. Now we have to defend that the man is a man and the woman is a woman.

Unfortunately, many of our people are going to be educated through pop culture rather than think through the issues themselves. It is another reason why Christians need to learn how to use the mediums that we have today to better communicate the Christian claim instead of just preaching to ourselves. At this point, I wonder how long it will be before future historians will look back on some of the things that were defended in the popular culture and ask “What were they thinking?”

In the end, Shaun says he is working on understanding. By all means, try to understand what is going on when a boy thinks that he is a girl. Try to understand the person and what they’re going through and how to help them. Don’t try to understand the boy being a girl. You might as well try to understand 2 + 2 being 5.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Love Thy Body

What do I think of Nancy Pearcey’s book published by Baker Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Nancy Pearcey’s book is a must-read. It is a nuclear missile of sorts going into secularism and a powerful argument that needs to be dealt with. At the same time, it’s a simple argument. It starts with a basic premise that all of us can immediately see and goes from there.

That premise is your body is something that shows who you are. If you want to know how you look publicly to the world, all of it comes through your body. We might say we live in a world that values the body. After all, you can find fitness videos to no end at the video store and there are TV programs about weight loss and everything else related to the body.

It can still be that we don’t really value the body that much. We can idolize it without really understanding it. Do we really care about the body itself or about the image we portray with the body? Is the body something truly good in its own right?

Pearcey uses this claim to get to arguments about numerous areas. You will find the hook-up culture, living together before marriage, abortion, pornography, homosexuality, and transgenderism addressed in this. All of this leads to giving more power to the state. If only she had written about something that people are talking about today….

Pearcey says that in each of these items, we are making a false statement about the body. Sex is a powerful expression two people make with their bodies for one another. It is really giving all that you can to another person. We speak about it as a grand finale. We go all the way. We hit a home run. We score.

Instead, our culture often reduces sex to just a hobby. We have this idea that you can have sex with no strings attached, but you can’t. Your body knows what you’re doing and that’s why bonding chemicals are released during the act of sex, including chemicals for a man. Your body is forming a bond with this other person in the act of sex.

Porn does the same kind of thing training your body to respond to a lie. The body you see on the other end is not a real body, but it is more fake. It is the result of a lot of make-up and such made for just that occasion. The person on the other side of that camera doesn’t care about you. They don’t even know that you exist. You will not get the joy of undressing them before your eyes and getting to run your hands over their body yourself. There’s a reason why many men today are in their 20’s and having to take Viagra. A real woman can’t get them to respond any more because porn makes them need more and more.

Women struggle enough as it is with self-image in the area of physical beauty. It doesn’t help them that they now think they have to struggle with countless women seen in porn. I say this also realizing that women today will also watch porn and will face similar struggles though different in some ways I’m sure to the men.

Abortion shows this struggle as well. Abortion downplays the body in that science is not the decider of whether that is truly a human. An artificial category is made up so that something is human, but it is not a person. There is no scientific test for such a thing. It is an ad hoc claim made to justify the killing of the innocent human person in the womb.

Homosexuality is also such a case of lying with one’s body. It is saying that one has the body of a man or a woman, but they will deny this. They will instead treat their body like it is that of a woman or a man. Again, the problem is a downplaying of the body and it is because feelings take precedence. One feels a certain way so forget what the body says. It is overruled by the emotions.

Transgenderism really demonstrates this. One believes a lie so much that one is willing to have one’s own body mutilated rather than work on changing the feelings. We live in an age where one can deny the body so much that one will undergo surgery to make it subservient to the feelings.

All of this also gives more power to the state. The state has to step in and change things. Marriage is no longer about a physical union, but it is about the feelings the people have for one another. Under many a secular definition, two roommates living together can be married even though they have no romantic feelings towards one another and will never have sex together.

The state will step in and redefine terms and then it will have to defend those terms and those who resist are enemies of the state. The ultimate target is the family. The family is a threat to the government since the family does not depend on the government for its existence. It’s a pre-political reality. The charges are serious and the cause is serious.

Get Pearcey’s book. Read it. Learn it. Open your eyes to what is going on around you. Pearcey’s book is a must-read for anyone interested in debating in any of these areas.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Where Science and Gnosticism Meet

Do these two contradictory views have anything in common? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Gnosticism was one of the first great heresies of Christianity. Since the time of Plato, the material world had been downplayed in comparison to the immaterial world. Gnosticism continued this and it had a real problem with Christianity. Christianity held that God became incarnate in a body. Gnosticism was the view that all of matter was evil. When it met Christianity, it tried to say Jesus came to set us free from the lesser evil god who created matter and that lesser evil god was the God of the Old Testament.

Today, we have a movement that seems to be quite different. This is the idea that science is the supreme gateway to truth and science studies the material world. The material world is the real one and we need to get past any mention of anything that is so-called supernatural. (I question the use of the term)

I have been reading Nancy Pearcey’s excellent book Love Thy Body and started thinking about this. I can’t claim credit for everything then as her writing has been something that got my mind thinking about this. There will be a review of the book when I’m done and she is going to be on my show later this month.

Interestingly, where all of these meet is always connected with sex in some way. At this point, many of our friends in the sciences suddenly start to deny science. Let’s take a look at how.

Abortion is one of the first ones. If we look at the scientific evidence of what is in the womb, we have a human being. However, this is something very inconvenient for many people since it interferes with free sex and other such things, so something has to be done. Well, it might be a human, but it’s not a person. Scientific basis for the difference between a human being and a human person? It doesn’t exist. All of a sudden, many of our skeptical friends promoting abortion are interested in metaphysics and philosophy.

The next area is in homosexuality. You don’t have to be a super genius to tell that the man and the woman go together sexually. Simply put, A goes into B very well. Yet once again, we have an anti-scientific mindset going on here. Now I have no problem with people wanting to do research to see if there is anything genetic that leads to homosexuality or a proclivity to it, but there is one problem and one that Pearcey brings out very well.

When a person abandons a straight orientation and goes to a homosexual one, they are said to have found their true selves. Keep in mind that when doing this, they can sometimes leave behind a spouse and kids in tears and broken, but they do it anyway. This is looked at with applause as the person has realized who they really are. If a person ever abandons a homosexual orientation for a straight one or is a homosexual but lives married to someone of the opposite sex, they are said to loathe themselves and be denying themselves. Never are they celebrated as having found their true selves.

Question. What is the scientific test for the true self? Answer. There isn’t one. How is it known? It is based on how the person feels and on the reigning paradigm of the moment.

Despite all of this, I really consider the last one the most bizarre.

Now we get to the transgender movement. Often in apologetics, I find it amazing the things that one has to defend that one never thought they would have to defend. A few years ago I was stunned that we now have to actually convince people marriage is between a man and a woman. Today, we have to convince them that the man and the woman really are the man and the woman. The sign of bigotry today is to say that a man is actually a man.

In all other cases, we could look at the body and see how it works, but even here, we can just look and see what the body is. All the evidence that is physical for someone says that their DNA is male (or female) and their body is that of a male. This is the true scientific evidence. Unfortunately, all of this is denied. Why? The feelings contradict.

When these two contradict, one will have to be worked on and even if never fully altered, it will need to come under the control of the other. It will either be the body that determines the identity and we change the feelings, or it will be the feelings that determine the identity and we change the body. It is quite amazing that many in the scientific community, particularly internet atheists, think that the feelings are where the person’s true identity lies and you must change all the material reality to fit their feelings.

In this, they are like the Gnostics of old. We could say that transgenderism might be nothing new. It is just an old heresy wrapped up in new terminology and presented in a new way. Deny the reality of matter and go with the immaterial. The person’s feelings reign supreme.

Where does this end? Who knows. It was bizarre enough to redefine marriage, but now a person’s feelings are given more and more precedence and once that starts, I really don’t know how that will end.

Keep in mind, none of this says anything about how we treat such people in itself. People who are struggling with these issues do need to be treated with love and compassion. However, they also need to be worked with to accept reality. One will never have good results if they try to go against reality.

It’s also interesting that Christians that hold to a biblical view on all of these are the ones that are going with the science and yet, we’re seen as bigots for doing that. Could it possibly be that those who want to champion science are just extremely selective where they want to champion it? Could it be some really aren’t interested in following the evidence where it leads?

How we deal with this is what Pearcey tells us to do. Love thy body. The body is not an evil thing. It is a gift to be treasured and cherished. This is especially so since in Christianity, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit and God Himself became incarnated in a body.

Consider this thought. Suppose that Jesus is crucified and dies and is buried. The tomb is found empty on Sunday, but instead, Jesus is now appearing as a woman named Joanna. This would be something unusual, but I don’t think we could call it Christianity anymore. It would deny that there is something essential to the body. It can be changed to be whatever you want. It would bring into question the notion of identity. Was this truly Jesus? Is the fact that He was a man something accidental to who he is as a person or is the identity something that can be changed?

Throughout the incarnation, Jesus was Jesus and the body that went down came up again. Yes, it was new and glorified, but it was still the body of Jesus. So it is for us. Our bodies are not accidents. They are the first line of evidence we have of who we are. Start with the feelings and you can justify most any belief. Start with the body and you’re limited to reality.

I think I’ll go with reality.

I have no wish to be a science-denier.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

 

 

 

 

Book Plunge: Beauty, Order, and Mystery

What do I think of Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson’s book published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This book is about a Christian view of human sexuality based on a pastor’s conference on the topic. At the outset, I think it’s awesome that pastors are meeting among themselves and having serious talks on these matters. Now if only we could convince those pastors in the pulpit to start also talking about this material to their parishioners.

The book is a series of essays each dealing with a specific topic. Not just marital sexuality is discussed, but also homosexuality and transgenderism. How is the church to deal with these kinds of issues today? Each of the writings goes in-depth in making the case that it does.

Wesley Hill’s is one that I want to touch on. Wesley Hill is a celibate homosexual Christian who is an assistant professor at the Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. Hill wants to remind us that not everyone who identifies as a homosexual or someone on that spectrum has some innate hatred for Christianity. Many of them would like to be Christians. Of course, there are some that are anti-Christians, but we should not paint with a broad brush without knowing the person first.

Hill’s essay answers the question of who do homosexuals love. He argues against the idea that marriage should be redefined and then the answer is a really simple one. A homosexual should love their neighbor as themselves. Sex is not the only way to love someone as we all know.

Joel Willitts essay was especially moving as he deals with the dark side of sexuality. For him, it is more of a curse than it is a blessing and this is said even as he is a married man. Willits writes about being abused when he was growing up and how that has damaged his sexuality from that time forward. We should all realize that when we’re in the church, there are a number of people who have been hurt sexually.

Willitts takes a look at addiction and pain then and I shared many of his thoughts with my own wife. He suggests looking at addiction not so much as a curse, but more of an indicator that something is wrong. There is a problem that needs to be worked out. It doesn’t mean that you give in to the addiction. It means you see what it is pointing to and work on the root of the problem.

Daniel Brendsel also has a chapter on selfies and how the world lives in a day and age where we too often market ourselves and think that knowing someone on Facebook tells you all that you need to know. At times, the selfies have got so extreme that there have been a number of fatalities. The other dark side is that a lot of teenagers are doing what’s called sexting, where they’re sending sexually explicit photos of themselves. Of course, it’s more women who are doing this, but I think this is not because women are more perverted, but because women are by far, even to other women I don’t doubt, much more appealing to the eye.

This touches on pornography which is talked about a number of times. Pornography has damaged our culture so much that women can often think they have to do something like sexting to compete. Many men are no longer turned on by real women because they have been looking too much at fake women in pornography.

The book ends with Matt O’Reilly’s essay on what makes sex beautiful. I have to say that while I do agree with the great theology in the essay and he brought out aspects I had not yet considered, I found this one a bit disappointing. Yes. Sex is very theological, but why does the average man on the street think that sex is just so awesome and the woman’s body especially is so beautiful? It is not because he is thinking about theology, but because something in the sex itself beyond what it points to. I think this is something the church needs to seriously think about. What do people want when they want sex? They don’t want it just for the sex, but for some other reason, be it pleasure, intimacy, etc.

Regularly also it was said in the book that the church needs more than just a negative message on sex. We need a positive message. We give so many messages of do nots that we don’t give any messages of when to do and why to do. Our view of sexuality is extremely negative and we don’t embrace the joy and beauty of sex like we should.

Anyone who is interested in areas relating to Christianity and sexuality would be blessed by reading this book. Churches who have pastors who are addressing these topics are indeed blessed. In an age of extreme confusion about sexuality, hopefully we’ll heed the call to have more serious discussion and in our own marriages, more serious enjoyment of sexuality.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Deeper Waters Podcast 11/19/2016: David Sorrell

What’s coming up Saturday? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

There have been some ideas that have come up that many people have scratched their heads at wondering what is going on with them. One such idea is that of transgenderism. We have seen that Target has had it that now anyone can use the restroom that they identify with. In fact, this was even talked about in the election earlier this month with the way North Carolina was voting. How did it become such a political issue? Are Christians just bigots because they don’t go along with the party line?

To discuss this, I wanted to bring someone on who I think has their finger on the pulse of social issues today. I wanted someone who has in fact done extensive reading on this topic and knows it well. I also needed someone who had experience with things that I thought were really unusual and out of the ordinary. In fact, I know this person has done all of that.

This Saturday, I’m going to be interviewing David Sorrell. He is someone who is always watching what is going on in the political and social scene which has led to him and I having some great discussions. He has done much reading on the transgender movement, even getting to be published in the Federalist. As for the last part, he is definitely someone who has experience in dealing with the unusual and out of the ordinary. I know this because he happened to be my roommate for a few years in seminary, at least until we realized we didn’t have a marriage clause in our unwritten “roommate agreement” and I decided I wanted to tie the knot with Allie. When that came, there was no question also that David would be the best man at my wedding. Today, among men, I have no better friend in this world than David and I’m honored to get to host him on my show.

So who is he?

davidsorrell

David Sorrell is a student at Southern Evangelical Bible College, and writes about contemporary ethics and Christian apologetics issues. He lives in rural southeastern Missouri. He’s on Twitter @Rayado2011

We’ll be talking about what can be said about the transgender movement. Is there really such a thing truly as a transgender person? Can someone really be born the wrong sex as it were? What about unusual cases with babies being born with physical problems where it can be hard to tell? As a Thomist, which I am as well, does Thomistic philosophy have anything to say about this?

We’ll also talk about the political ramifications. What is a Christian to do with the Target issue? How can we respond when we are called bigots? Is there anything a Christian can say when this is such a complex issue?

I hope you’ll be looking forward to the next episode. We have been working on getting them uploaded so you should be seeing them in your podcast feed. Please leave a positive review on ITunes and keep listening to the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

An Open Letter To President Obama On His Advice To Schools On Transgender Students

To President Obama,

I heard the news as I was out doing some errands on Friday about your sending advice to schools on how to handle the transgender issue. Seeing as this is an interest of mine, I headed home and looked for your letter. It didn’t take too long to find it.

There is no doubt that there is a desire to help people who identify as transgender, but I am of the opinion that what you have done is not just unhelpful to them, but in the long run harmful. It is also not only harmful to them. It is harmful to the well-being of the American people that you are supposed to defend.

I know what it’s like for people to have a need to fit in. My wife and I are both on the autism spectrum with Aspergers. Now while I appreciate the benefits I have from it, I know that it can be difficult. I know that social situations can be a total mystery to us at times and there are times you want to speak in polite conversation but can’t seem to find the words to do so.

Still, while it is hard for us, we have to learn to overcome. We do not want society to pull down to our level. We want to be able to function as is. Now this is of course on an issue that is not heavily involved with morality, but what about something that is involved? What about especially if it involves something many of us take as a sacred aspect of ourselves, our sexuality?

There are several several people out there in this world who are hurting and they are hurting because of sexual trauma. They are hurting because someone touched them or acted otherwise sexually to them in an inappropriate way. We live in a culture of divorce being rampant and children consistently being born out of wedlock because sex has been put on the level of a game you just play with someone, no commitment required. Let’s face it. Sex is a big issue in our culture today, as it is in every culture.

When I look at your proposal, I see it opening the doors wide to much more trouble. It looks like you have what is believed to be a problem and have given a solution that is worse than the problem itself. Now as I speak on this, I want to be certain of some points.

I do not think that the large majority if not the entirety of transgender people are perverts. I do not think they want to get into the bathroom with someone of the opposite sex and do whatever they want with them. I also think they honestly believe that they were born the wrong sex and I honestly think that that is a problem that we must deal with. I think the mistake you’re making is that you’re wanting to change reality around them instead of changing the thinking within them. It’s forcing every single one of us to go along with it as well.

At start, I wonder what makes you think you can make a statement like this to schools without working with Congress? Shouldn’t this be put forward also for the American people to decide on? Do we not have that right also? You see, these are public schools. They’re not just your schools. They’re our schools. They are the schools of we the people. They are the ones that our children go to and we have a right to speak on what is going on in them.

When our children go to school, we want them to learn subjects like the three r’s. We do not want them to learn that which is a highly debatable position. We want the schools to be able to reinforce the moral guidance that is found in the home and to uphold the right of parents to educate their children on moral issues and not have it be state vs. parents.

Unfortunately, your statement is already a line drawn in the sand and I wonder what will happen when the American people really see what is in it. Now to be sure, I have read it. I believe in being a thorough researcher in that regards and I was greatly troubled by what I read in it.

You start with terminology and this is a good idea. I appreciate that you defined your terms right at the outset, but even here I see a problem. For instance, in gender identity, you refer to a student’s internal sense of gender. You say it may be different from the sex assigned at birth.

I’d like you to think about that saying. “Sex assigned at birth.” Do you really think that’s what happens? Do you think that a child is born and the doctor has to really think hard on the decision of if to call the child a male or a female? Do you think they just flip a coin and decide? No. It’s really easy to tell if a child is a male or a female 99.99999% of the time. You just take a look at what’s between the legs. Most of the time we don’t even need that. Due to our advanced science, we can see the genetic makeup of a child so we can tell what disabilities a child can have beforehand as well and know the sex without ever seeing, but if someone didn’t see, there would still be no difficulty. You do not assign a sex when a child is born. You discover what sex they are.

That should be what tells you what sex a child is, but instead, you want to look at what’s going on inside of them internally. Here’s the problem with that. A lot of us can feel things about ourselves that are dead wrong. Have you ever talked to someone who is suicidal? They have a strong internal feeling that life is not worth living and that they are a burden on society and there is no hope for them at all. Of course, there are a 1001 ways you can change that statement for suicidal people to describe their moods, but they really believe it. They believe it so much they seek death to escape it. Are you going to tell me that that feeling should be given authority?

There are a host of other beliefs out there that we do not need to do tests to see that they are false. Consider Cotard’s Delusion as my favorite example. In this case, the person believes that they are dead or that they don’t exist. Now can you imagine a situation where a person goes into a psychiatrist’s office and tells them “I really believe that I am dead” and the psychiatrist saying “Well let’s do some evaluations and look at the data and see if you really are or not?” He might say it in the sense of playing along, but he won’t say it in the sense of “That’s a really good question. Let’s see if the objective truth is that you’re dead.” No. As soon as the person walks into his office, the psychiatrist knows that the person is not dead.

The feeling is in this case, pardon the pun, dead wrong. Many of us know that feelings can be awfully flighty in school. Look. We don’t trust students to bring cough drops onto school grounds without a doctor’s position. Many students have a major decision trying to figure out what they’re going to wear in the morning. Despite that, we’re supposed to trust their internal feelings that tell them they’re really one sex when all the empirical evidence shows that they are another?

Why is it that feelings should be given that kind of level of infallibility? Furthermore, are you going to tell me that everyone who is born a male but feels like they’re a female is right? How can this be? What tests would you take to determine if the person is truly male or female and not just having a delusion? How could you at the end of the day say “Well, I realize you have a male body and male DNA but yeah, it looks like you’re really a female.” What are we teaching our children? Do you really want to teach them that their feelings have that much authority?

Now you speak also about Title IX. The problem is I’ve looked at Title IX. You can search all through there and you will search in vain for something that speaks about gender or gender identity. It’s just not there. This means that something has been added to the law afterwards and now is being the basis of a new statement. It’s being made up as we go along.

It gets worse. You say that “under Title IX, there is no medical diagnosis or treatment requirement that students must meet as a prerequisite for being treated consistent with their gender identity. In fact, you say requiring them to obtain such could be a violation of Title IX. In other words, students can get to say they have this and they do not need to provide any evidence whatsoever for it. A teacher won’t believe a dog ate the student’s homework without some evidence and won’t give a student basic medication without evidence from a doctor, but something as complicated as sexuality is to be handled without any evidence save the student’s say so?

Are you serious?

You also speak of a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. Unfortunately, this is one where students, staff, and parents do not go along with someone’s claim to have a different gender identity. Is that not discrimination in itself? I am someone who says that that is a false belief. Are you telling me that I must go along with a belief that I consider entirely to be false? How is that not discriminating against me?

Furthermore, if we talk about safety, a lot of women live in fear of something happening to them. Again, this does not necessarily mean they live in fear of transgenders. They live in fear of any man. If there’s a place a woman should feel safe, it is in the bathroom or a place like a locker room.

Look President Obama. You have daughters. You have a wife. You should know this. A woman’s body is a sacred and beautiful thing. Would you like to have your wife or daughters have to shower next to another man in a locker room because that man identifies as a woman? As soon as they object, they can be accused of discrimination. I understand your daughters are in a private school. Would you be willing to put them in a public school where they could have the potential of having to shower next to a man in the locker room? If you’re convinced this is a good policy, I’d like to see if you’d be willing to do that.

I do have a wife as well and her body is sacred and I don’t want anyone else of the opposite sex seeing her body like that. I don’t care if they identify as a female or not. My wife’s body is something sacred to me and I should be the only man who gets to look at her body. (Barring some medical emergency which I hope never happens.) You talk about the feeling of safety of transgender people. What about the feelings of safety of the far more numerous people who are not and who feel particularly vulnerable? Do they not matter?

If parents think this is an exaggeration, it is not. When you talk about sex-segregated activities and facilities, you say these must be altered for transgender students. Keep them open, but allow transgenders to participate. How many people know how far this goes?

You start with restrooms and locker rooms. Now let’s be sure of something. There are many people, particularly boys, who would like to take advantage of this kind of law. Knowing they don’t have to provide any evidence makes it far easier since they could sue at any time if they don’t get their way. I’m sure you know as well as I do that men really like to see naked women and if you’re a young man, that’s a whole new world that you’re eager to explore.

So picture this scenario and it’s not too hard to do. A group of guys get together and challenge one of them with a dare to identify as a female and go into the women’s locker room and shower with them. In fact, many times bullies will get a naive young man to do something like this at the threat of him not being including in the group. This is how bullies get good boys to do something illegal even. So what’s this boy going to do to get included? He’s going to do just that. Many young boys will do this without any prodding from the group. They’re in a strong mood to see naked women that day and it’s worth it.

Do I need to remind you also that this is the age of the internet? A picture can be taken quite easily and before too long, it goes all over. After all, this young man wants to prove that he made it. How will he do it? Easy. He’ll send pictures. These pictures can go all over the internet and the victim can be entirely innocent. That can affect them later in their life with their college education and their marriage. Sometimes, this can even lead to suicide.

Are you aware you are opening the doors up for this?

I realize that some aspects can be set up for the privacy of students, but it won’t last. That can easily be seen as discrimination. Why not? You’ve opened the door wide for it. You do have stipulations in here about fraternities and sororities and overnight housing, but how long can it last? You’ve already opened up Pandora’s Box.

I want to be clear on something else. I say all of this as a follower of Christ in the Christian faith, but I don’t need to be a Christian to back this. This doesn’t require the Bible. This just requires common sense. At the same time, you have claimed to be a Christian many times. I would like you to really ask if you would stand before God someday and be able to say that you did this and you think this is a decision that He would honor.

You see, you have been given a great responsibility. Few people in history get to essentially be the leader of the free world. What have you done with that? Will the world be a better place because of what you did or will it be a worse place? Are our people growing in virtue and character or not? I contend that when we see the results of your actions here and see the fruit that sprouts from these seeds, we will realize what a drastic mistake it was.

Now you can say that this letter is just advice, but that’s like saying all the IRS is doing is giving us advice on how to spend our money. All the police do is give us advice on how we should behave in society. When stipulations are tied to the advice not being followed, it is not just advice. It is something else. The question is is it a right something else or not. In this case, it is not. This is something individual states should get to decide and something that parents should definitely get to have a say-so in first. This isn’t about your children since they don’t attend these schools. This is about our children since it is them who attend these schools.

At this point, my honest “advice” to parents would be to clear out. If this is what you want public schools to be, then parents should have no part of it. If they cannot afford private school, let them homeschool. In fact, if you want a social experiment, let’s have a real one. Let’s have students raised under your system and let’s have students raised by parents. Let’s see who does better in life overall. Who has more students completing college and succeeding in the workforce and having successful and happy marriages and lives overall? I’m quite confident it will be the side of the homeschoolers.

I love this country, but I do not love what it has become and what it is becoming. It looks more and more like we are becoming a “Look at me” and “anything goes” society and calling it progress. The ultimate form of progress is not how much knowledge we really have, even though it isn’t, but about the character of our nation. People come to this city on a hill looking for freedom and to pursue the American dream. The more control that is had over them, the less likely they are to be able to have those. Already, this is taking away some of our freedom. How much more will be taken away?

If you really want to help people who identify as transgender, and I think you should, the best way is not to go along with the belief but actually question the belief. Why do you feel this way? When did it start? How is life for you with this? Enabling is never a helpful path to go and not only are you doing that, you are forcing all of the rest of us to do it.

I want a society where all of us can be free to excel and do our best and the more we hold beliefs that are false, the less likely we are to be able to do that. There are some beliefs no doubt we can debate on as these are serious issues that have been debated, but there are some that we really do not debate. The identity of someone as male or female is one of those and has been obvious from the moment of birth. You are instead placing the full authority in the ideas instead of in the reality.

When you go against reality, reality will push back hard. There will come a breaking point and the consequences with that pushback are severe. I only hope that we wake up before we get to that point and stop the downward slide we are on as a society. I fear there is a painful crash waiting at the end.

For now, it’s in the hands of the American people. Again, my advice is they not take part in this dangerous game. You want to say how our children will be raised? We have more say so there and it’s time we acted on it. If every American who views this as I do, no matter their religious persuasion or lack thereof, would pull their students from the public school system, I wonder how different that would be.

I hope you’d really consider and think about what this could mean for our nation. These are the lives of our children that we’re dealing with. Unfortunately, I have no hope that you will. The one who said “I won” is not likely to listen to a contrary opinion.

A concerned American,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 5/14/2016: Walt Heyer

What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Target. Say the word and immediately the thoughts of boycotts comes into your mind. Why? Because of a bathroom policy. Women who identify as men are allowed to use the men’s room and vice-versa. This has led to many protests by others. There is a fear about predators taking advantage of the law, but something that is not discussed often is the people themselves who are claiming to be transgender.

This is a concept that strikes most of us as something that doesn’t make sense. We are living in an age where you cannot tell a woman that she must be a woman. If she identifies as a man, well that’s okay. Many of us are stunned that this is even being seen as a debate today, but lo and behold it is. What are we to do about this?

Why not have someone on who knows about the transgender viewpoint? In fact, we could say he knows about it so much because he was a transgender and then with  the surgical reassignment became a transsexual. That’s why this Saturday I am going to be interviewing Walt Heyer.

WaltHeyer

Walt Heyer is an author and public speaker with a passion to help others who regret gender change. Through his website, SexChangeRegret.com, and his blog, WaltHeyer.com, Heyer raises public awareness about the incidence of regret and the tragic consequences suffered as a result. Heyer’s story can be read in novel form in Kid Dakota and The Secret at Grandma’s House and in his autobiography, A Transgender’s Faith. Heyer’s other books include Paper Genders and Gender, Lies and Suicide.

So we are going to be talking about what so many of us really have a hard time wrapping our heads around. Are we really going against the scientific establishment? What is the cause of suicide in the cases of transgender people? Is the condition really a mental illness or is it something bona fide and the only way to help these people is to have them alter their bodies to become a person of the opposite sex?

What was it about Walt’s experience that brought him to this realization? What was it like to “become a woman” and then go back to being a man? What does he think should be the best approach to helping people who are struggling with thinking that they are the wrong sex. If his case is a negative one, is that just an isolated incident while most cases seem to work out for the good of those involved?

This is a big issue that is going on and I do believe that there is more at stake than just using a bathroom. We are calling the very identity of male and female into question. Perhaps I am mistaken in my approach and Walt can show that or perhaps there is in fact more than just the surface level debate that is going on.

I hope you’ll be listening next Saturday either way as Walt Heyer joins me!

In Christ,
Nick Peters