What Mr. Q Can’t Tell You

What can a computer not tell you about yourself? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If there’s one kind of show I enjoy watching a lot on TV, it’s a gameshow. I can get into most any of them. One interesting one to watch is 20Q. This is based on the game Twenty Questions. Contestants answer questions from Mr. Q, a computer. In the end, they have to go up against him to see if they can beat him.

Mr. Q can process information at remarkable speeds and has a database from which he can examine all possible answers from the clues that he is given. He will say in the middle of the final round when the contestant goes up against him from time to time how many answers he’s processing. Truly, a computer is brilliant at analyzing information and coming to conclusions.

Yet, despite all of this, there is something that he cannot find out no matter how much he searches his database.

He cannot tell what a contestant is thinking.

In the rounds where he’s sifting out who his opponent will be, sometimes he will say “I wonder if Bill (someone in the running not playing at the time) knows what the answer to this round is yet.” No matter how much Mr. Q can search his database or even the internet, which apparently he has access to, he cannot find that out.

I am sure someone more astute than I in philosophy could make a fascinating argument for the existence of the soul from this, but that’s not my goal this time. My goal is to point out that as great as the internet is, it cannot tell you who you are. This is important because too many kids today think it can do just that.

In the book Irreversible Damage, one howler of a line Abigail Shrier gives that is an argument for kids undergoing gender transitioning is that teenagers know who they are. Shrier does not think this is accurate and I don’t see how anyone can make such a statement with a straight face. I’m 40 years old and I’m still learning who I am. I am sure there are people much older than I who are doing the same.

In an audiobook I’m reading now while I’m driving, Girls and Sex, it’s amazing how many girls go to the internet to find out about who they are. It’s safe to say the majority of these kids do not know how to really use a search engine for research purposes. Because of this, they can be very impressionable to whatever they come across.

Not only that, they will often talk to complete strangers online who only have the scantiest of information to go by to advise them about who they are. These people often become more reliable than the people in their real lives who know them best. This is another problem with social media.

We all know about the people who go on sites like WebMD and diagnose themselves, usually with having stage 4 cancer of the most untreatable kind. The Babylon Bee at the start of the Coronavirus scare had a story about WebMD just changing to a page that said, “Yep. You’ve got Corona.” I’m sure plenty of people self-diagnosed themselves.

In psychology, there’s a rule really that you don’t try to diagnose someone from a distance. This is why psycho history has largely been a failed enterprise. It can be difficult enough for a therapist to diagnose a patient sitting on the couch in their office who they can directly interact with and ask the questions they want answers to. It’s much harder to diagnose someone when you’re only getting pieces of their life and can’t ask them questions.

When it comes to gender transitioning, too often, the patient becomes the doctor and comes in and says “I’m really the opposite gender” and the therapist is supposed to agree immediately. What other field does this happen in? If you went to your doctor and told him you were sure you had stage 4 cancer, is he going to prep you for surgery and/or radiation treatment immediately? No way. He’s going to test you and examine you first.

If kids are going to the internet to find out who they are, they could in some ways be engaging in groupthink without knowing it as many other kids are doing the same and they will all get back the same or at least similar results. The best ways to find who you are is to talk to the people who know you best and allow them to be honest. Also, going and seeing a board certified counselor can help too. Naturally, Scripture and prayer can also reveal much about who you are.

The internet can’t do that. Mr. Q could probably beat you in a game of 20Q. He could tell you many things about yourself that are public knowledge, but when it comes to your own thinking, he is clueless. He can’t tell you who you are. No computer can.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Primal Screams

What do I think of Mary Eberstadt’s book published by Templeton Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Wolves are not solitary animals. They travel in packs. They form families. They have tribes. They work together in a community. People might have believed the lone wolf was typical some time ago, but today those who know animals know that that is a myth.

People also tend to travel in tribes. For most of us, the first tribe is the family, but what happens if the family isn’t a tribe? What happens if the family is in disarray? What happens if you don’t know who your Dad is and you don’t have siblings to relate to and Mom is bringing home a new man on a regular basis?

Our culture has changed drastically since the sexual revolution, which is what Mary Eberstadt is writing about in this book. In the past, it was the norm for sexual behavior to take place between a husband and a wife in marriage. Today, no more. In the past, you used to see a man and a woman go into a room in a movie and heard a lock click and you knew what was going on. Today, you have to see them taking each other’s clothes off because that’s the only way you can know what is happening.

This leaves men and women wondering what it means to be a man and a woman, especially our young people. Is it any wonder there’s so much confusion? If I don’t know who I am, I will jump at any chance to have a rock I can put my identity on. I need something stable. This also assumes that God is not there properly understood. We are alone in a universe adrift and we have to figure out how we’re going to make it.

So here comes individualism and identity politics. Why do we have so many people running to safe places and talking about being offended and cultural appropriation? Because they really feel unsafe, they are offended, and they do think their culture is being taken from them. We’ve heard them complain about this and we have called them snowflakes, but how many of us have considered that while we disagree with what they’re saying, they really are convinced of it?

After all, if your culture defines you, what happens if someone tries to take your culture for themselves? They are really attacking your identity. How can that make you you if I can take it for myself? You thnk you need a safe place because you think you as a person are under attack. You see yourself being offended because you think you again are being attacked.

In this culture, men don’t know what it means to be men. Men don’t really know how to approach women and how to treat them. Big shock that they’re trying to just demonstrate their manhood and they think the best way to do that is to conquer as many women as possible, which leads to women becoming notches on bedposts. Pornography isn’t such a big deal then if women are just bodies to bring about pleasure.

Women also don’t know how to handle men. What does a woman think is going to happen when any man invites her to a hotel room for the night? The MeToo movement has shown that many women are not aware of how to handle things. Could women have come forward en masse because women didn’t know they were allowed to do that? Did women think this is par for the course with men? Did they also think that because men failed to be protectors and instead solely became predators? After all, in many of these stories about women being assaulted in some way, where are the good men?

This thinking also leads to transgenderism. Why not? The lines between the sexes have blurred so much that there is now getting to hardly be any distinction between them. As it turns out, now men are truly superior at everything. Men are superior at being women.

So it is that we have a culture that does not know who it is and Eberstadt’s book is sounding the alarm. The wolves normally don’t travel alone. Sometimes they leave the tribe for whatever reason and then you hear their primal screams of abandonment.

The culture is screaming.

Let’s do something about it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Who Are You?

What’s really lying at the core of who you are? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Identity is all in the news now. We have the news about what Bruce Jenner did and of course we have the SCOTUS ruling and then we have this going on in Hollywood, such as the movie Selfless coming out, which I will admit that last one does look intriguing. It’s not a shock that we have questions over identity and the more society normalizes different lifestyles, the more people will start to wonder. What about Christians? Who are Christians today?

I encourage Christians to always remember that who they are is who they will be before the throne of God someday. Non-Christians real identity is who they could be before the throne and if they become Christians, they can reach that potential. If not, they actually become what I prefer to call uncreations. When we speak about who we are today, we need to be careful and ask if what we’re saying about ourselves is what’s going to be at the throne of Christ. It’s far too easy to identify ourselves with the old creation instead of realizing that we are a new creation. We forget the advice of Paul to forget what is behind and strive to what is ahead.

I use the story I’ve heard about David by Donatello. When asked how he managed to turn a slab of material into David, he is said to have responded that he just went to it and took away everything that wasn’t David. I mainly want to look at the point of why I am sharing this kind of story. In the process of sanctification, God is doing the same thing with us. God is taking away everything that is not us. We are meant to be a living sacrifice on the altar renewing our minds. (Note that we renew our minds. God does not do that for us. We have our own role to play.)

The problem with living sacrifices is that they keep jumping off the altar, especially when they experience that little thing we don’t really like, pain.

But unfortunately pain is often the only way we change and if we do not learn to bear up under it, we will often just keep repeating the same lessons. C.S. Lewis compared it to God moving into our houses when we’re more like quaint little cottages not realizing that he intends to live in a palace.

If you’re a Christian, you need to realize that your true identity lies in Christ. It does not lie anywhere else. Soren Kierkegaard had a saying that went “And now Lord, with your help, I will become myself.” This also means that in reality, who we are does in fact turn out to be good. We just have a whole lot of work to do to get to that point. Sanctification is never easy. It’s not mean to be a peaceful and painless process. It hurts because we tend to cling so much to the wrongs in our lives thinking that they define us. They don’t.

If we submit though, and we learn to do that daily, we will have a beautiful end product.

In Christ,
Nick Peters