Bullying And Suicide

Is the question of suicide missing a deeper issue? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night I finished reading Holy Sexuality and the Gospel. There are some books I don’t review because those are schoolbooks and I will likely need to write deep reviews of them later on so I just choose not to. The author, Christopher Yuan, is someone himself who has same-sex attraction.

At one point, he talked about the idea of disagreeing with same-sex attraction being okay leads to suicide. This is also something we have heard from the transgender movement where even doctors tell parents that if they don’t do this, their child will kill themselves. It’s hardly a good position to put anyone else in.

Now perhaps I am just old school in my thinking, but I have this idea that the person responsible for what any person does is the person themselves. If a politician, left or right, says something hard about the other side and someone else goes shooting, the person responsible is the person who did the shooting.

So it is that when it comes to suicide, who is responsible? It is the person who does it. Suppose that as depressed as I was, and sometimes still am, after my wife left me, that I had killed myself. Who was responsible for that? I would be. Not her. Now we could say she was an activating factor and perhaps that is so, but the final decision comes down to me. I bear the responsibility.

So as I was reading this part of the book I was thinking that we are missing something in this. We are saying we must not do XYZ or else X will kill themselves. Instead, wouldn’t a better question be, “What has got us to the point in our culture where so many people think the best option is to kill themselves?”

Suicide is always to some degree a tragedy. I say to some degree because someone could say “Well, didn’t Hitler kill himself?” He did, and yet is it not still a tragedy to see not only the evil that he did with his life, but in the end he wasted it and ultimately turned his evil on himself? That’s still tragic. He could have done so much good with his abilities of persuasion, but he let darkness rule over him instead.

I have never been a supporter of the anti-bullying crusades. Is it because I favor bullying? Not at all. It is because I think they are wrongheaded. We are trying to deal with the problem on the end that we have less control over, the people who don’t care about right and wrong. Why not go and help the people who are likely to be victims and build them up?

We often tell our children such lies as “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We all know that’s a lie. We know it because words have been hurtful to us. I wager that everyone reading this blog can think back to some painful words that have been said to you, even words by total strangers. I have had hurtful words said to me by strangers in Final Fantasy XIV even.

Now we can say those words only hurt if you give them power. Yes. That’s true. We can say such people should not have power over you. Yes. That’s true. However, it does take a lot of work to get to a healthy place with that and those words do sting.

Somehow, I wonder if it is because of the self-esteem movement. Perhaps if it has not been done, if someone were to look and see the rate of suicides going up in the world and especially in the West where self-esteem has been the rage, to see if there is a correlation.

We have come to this idea that it is bizarre if not everyone loves us. Well, why should they? Picture any famous person you greatly admire. Are they loved by everyone? No. Not a bit. That even includes Jesus Christ, who was so loved by His people when He walked the Earth that they crucified Him. If you’re a Christian, it’s extremely prideful to say you’ll do better than the Son of God.

Now is it a problem when people in the LGBT community commit suicide? Of course. However, what is a deeper problem is this idea of “If you do not affirm me every way I want to be affirmed, I will kill myself.” Why have we raised people to let the opinions of others hold such sway over them to that extent? We have a society that constantly needs approval from everyone else.

If someone is in a position of saying “If you do not do what I want, I will kill myself” that whole attitude is a problem. Imagine if I had said to my ex before she left, “If you don’t stay with me, I will kill myself.” That would be a major problem. That would indicate a great flaw in me that needed to be fixed. She could stay with me out of mercy and/or guilt, but what would still be there? The underlying problem that led to that need that would remain unfixed.

So you could go and affirm someone’s relationship or you could give them surgery to transform their bodies, but what is the same still? The underlying issue. If anything, you have just put a bandage on it. Not only that, if they get what they want and they are still unhappy, they are likely in a far worse place because then they will be much more prone to think there is no hope for them.

The problem is that I don’t see anyone talking about that issue. We’re talking about making people happy, which is subjective and fleeting by our definition of it, but we’re not talking about why they are unhappy in the first place. What is missing in their lives? What is missing in the lives of so many people today that they feel such hopelessness?

This is a deep issue and it won’t go away with one blog post or be answered with one. This is something for the sociologists and psychologists to study. However, when confronted with someone who says that if you do not do X, they will kill themselves, the best thing to do would likely be to walk along side them and ask them why they feel that way. Why is it that what you say or do means so much to them?

We live in a society of what is said to be empty selves. As a Christian apologist, I conclude it is because we have moved away from God and nothing else can fulfill to that extent in our society. If you disagree, then you really need to point to what can fulfill and what makes life worth living overall. Why do we not want people to kill themselves? Why should they not want to.

These are deep questions and even if you disagree, a pat answer won’t help. If you do agree, just saying God isn’t enough either. We need more about why He is the answer and who He is and so much more.

Simple? No. Reality rarely is though.

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

Thoughts and Feelings

Why do we confuse these two? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I remember I was in Bible College about two decades ago when I started noticing this trend. It was definitely going on before that. The first time it happened, I remember being in the student center and I don’t know if I was going to stay down there or just passing through and there was a sports talk program on and one commentator on a panel said to another, “How do you feel about that?” The other proceeded to talk about his opinions on the matter.

What has happened is we have taken the realm of feeling and made it be part of the realm of thinking. Nowadays, we often think that our feelings tell us something true about the world outside of us. This also affects how we do evangelism.

I used to have Jehovah’s Witnesses come to see me when my ex-wife and I lived in Knoxville together. The first few times, they would read a passage of Scripture and ask “How do you feel about that?” I would give some answer like “Happy.” Before too long, they came to realize they needed to ask me “What do you think about that?”

When I describe how I feel, I am talking about the emotional state I am in at the time. I can have thoughts about that emotional state, but the state itself is a feeling. When I am asked what I think, I am meant to give an idea. The idea could generate some feelings, but it is itself an idea. Confusing of these two leads to unclear language and consequences for how our society works today.

Consider evangelism. Often, we seem to rely on getting people to feel guilty about something. This is a Western approach that’s foreign to much of the world. Not only that, but many of us don’t feel guilty about things that are wrong and many of us do feel guilty about things that are not wrong.

The Bible does talk about guilt, but look at what it is really saying. It’s not describing an internal feeling. It’s describing an objective reality in that someone is guilty of wrongdoing or not. They could be fully guilty and have no “guilt” feeling whatsoever. How the person feels in this situation doesn’t matter.

Today, we are instructed to not do anything that will hurt someone’s feelings, which is an odd thing to do. How can I be responsible like that for someone’s emotions? We also have people who are convinced that they are of the opposite gender based on their feelings. If we live in a Christian culture where we point to feelings like guilt being “true” then we are put in a dangerous position when all of a sudden people have feelings that we know are not true, but on what grounds can we deny it? Feelings are true indicators of something when they point to what we want to be true?

Also, along these lines, no one can make you feel anything. You can’t make anyone feel anything. Asking how something makes you feel or telling someone they make you feel X or having them say it to you is nonsense. I can’t even make myself feel something all the time. How could I possibly do that to someone else? Now I can be a contributing factor, but no one is responsible for a feeling except the person who has that.

The first action here is find out if you agree with me on the opening point by just watching people in conversation. How many use think and feel like synonyms? Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Then to start being clear with your words and realizing thoughts aren’t feelings and vice-versa. This is not saying one is superior to the other. Both have their purpose, but they are different.

Our second action though will be that while we do agree that someone feels something, and that they feel it cannot be disputed, what we can disagree with is if their feelings correspond to reality. We can strongly feel something that is false. We can not at all feel something that is true.

Ultimately, it all comes back to reality. Reality doesn’t care about how we feel. It should be our goal to try to live as real as possible and not to resist reality.

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

 

Book Plunge: Strange New World

What do I think of Carl Trueman’s book published by Crossway publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is one of those books that I was recommending practically immediately as I got into it. Carl Trueman has written a look at how the self has come to be in our times and the implications it has for our society. Now some of you might be curious about that. “Haven’t there always been selves? Why is this so strange to talk about the coming of the self?”

Yes, there have always been selves, but the self has not always been understood the same way. In the past, self was often connected with religion, family, and nation. Now, self has been disjointed. Self comes through who you are within. While we have always had feelings, those feelings have never defined us. Now, they normally do.

In the past, it was thought that culture civilized a man, but centuries ago, Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued the opposite. Man was pure in his natural state. It is culture that makes him what he is often not. This would include the effect of technology and the sciences.

From here, we continue down a path of more and more looking inward to find who you are. Marx had his impact with putting man against society. Nietzsche announced the death of God and said the Earth had been untethered from its sun. Unlike today’s modern atheists, Nietzsche knew the serious ramifications of the death of God. Freud started us down the path of making our main identity be the sexual identity.

Today then, we live in a culture where we don’t know who we are and our identities are psychological. The problem is that psychology is often flexible and fluid so we have no stable basis for identity. At the same time also, how can you argue against what someone else is feeling? We live in a world where the feelings are true and when someone gets in touch with their feelings, they are experiencing their true selves.

Along the way here, we talk about being authentic. How can you deny your true self? Now in a sense, there is some good in authenticity. Jesus had a lot to say about hypocrisy, However, the problem comes with when we think that every feeling is something that must be lived out. It starts with assuming that man is innately good, per Rousseau, and we still have the effects.

Today, the biggest way we are seeing this is the LGBTQ movement. This is one of the biggest results of feelings being given the ultimate authority. Tolerance would never have worked for the LGBTQ movement because that would be seen as putting someone in a lesser state and denying their personhood. After all, if your identity is based on your sexual desires and behavior, then to question those is to question your humanity. If people have this mindset, love the sinner and hate the sin does not work.

The self has been redefined, but now we are going further. The family is being redefined. All of this is done as we keep looking inside ourselves to find out who we are. Emotions and feelings become the main moving forces in our lives and they are to be obeyed and treated as the main authority. Our courts are moving more and more this way and the path won’t stop.

We are becoming a society where the goal is to always feel good and be happy. This has even happened in the churches. Don’t like your church? Go to another one. Now some Catholics and Orthodox readers might say “We don’t have that problem” but they do as well. Church is a choice and the Catholic and the Orthodox have to be given a reason to keep coming to church. They can just as easily stay home.

As our culture becomes more and more of a self-focused culture, the church is going to be on the hard end of matters as we return more and more to Roman Empire times and the state assumes control. For all of us, the challenge will likely come sometime. Will we risk getting fired because we won’t use a certain person’s pronouns of choice? Will we have our businesses be destroyed because we refuse to bake a cake for a “gay wedding” ceremony?

This is definitely a book where I say to get it and read it and learn it. The one who told me about this book said they read it once every year. I could very well start that myself as well.

This book is also a smaller version of a bigger book of his on this topic, so it is also accessible for everyone. It would be one of the best books for a church book study to do. Bottom line: Get this book and learn it.

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

What Is A Woman?

How do we answer this question? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

For all interested, my Dad is doing much better. He actually got to come home Tuesday of last week. I was betting on him being in there a lot longer, but no. We have also been regularly been having some fun with him on things he said and did when he was delirious such as asking me if I was an angel when he didn’t recognize me and how he was watching HGTV and asked my Mom if she had remodeled the house.

Over the week, we also had the fun of a new meme featuring Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in that she said she could not answer what a woman is because she is not a biologist. Funny? Yes. Many of my fellow conservatives were glad to see that she went to biology for the answer, which is something seen as being objective.

So yes, we all should know what a woman is. However, I also think we should ask in some ways what a woman is and I think this shows a deeper problem in philosophy today. It is a problem of not understanding essences.

Consider a small child. The child does not generally have training in philosophy, He sees his family has an animal that has four legs and tends to bark a lot and he is told this is a dog. He is out walking in the neighborhood with his parents and he sees several animals in the lawns of the neighbors. These creatures he sees are different sizes and colors, but yet he is told that they are all dogs. In the windows, sometimes, he sees these small delicate animals and if he could hear them, he would hear meows from them. These would not be dogs, but they would be cats.

The boy is not a philosopher per se, but he is learning something about reality. He is learning about essences. There is something essential that all these creatures have in common that makes them dogs and not cats, but they differ in other areas called the accidents that are non-essential. These are conditions such as size and color. A dog could even lose a leg and still be considered a dog.

Nowadays, we don’t know that. We have philosophies today that can question if the world is really real. The east has often had this, but it hasn’t been as common in the west. Now, it is becoming more and more so. I personally see this as coming largely from the influence of Descartes. Centuries ago, there was no field known as epistemology. Now there is.

So we come to the question of “What is a woman?” There are many ways we can explore this. It has been said that many a man asks himself the question “Am I a man?” There is no indication that he is talking about his biological features. He’s not going to take off his pants and look and say “I guess I am. Good to know.” Instead, when he asks this, he is more asking if he has the character that a man is supposed to have in his mind.

We can also go another way and just simply ask “What is a human?” Aristotle said it was a rational animal, but if we found another animal that was rational, would we say that was a human? Fans of science fiction and fantasy can easily think of material creatures that are rational, but they would not be considered human.

The problem in our culture is we don’t really think such essences exist anymore. Nominalism has taken us over and most of us don’t even know what that is. It’s one reason we think you can surgically alter a man enough and lo and behold, he becomes a woman and starts winning swim championships.

I’m not saying no one is talking about it this way, but I haven’t seen it. For most teenage boys, I suspect they would say “I may not be able to define in that way what a woman is, but I know one when I see it and I like it.” Perhaps beyond biology, we should have a deeper conversation about philosophy, something our culture has sadly lost sight of. When that happens, it’s not that we cease to do philosophy, we just do it exceptionally poorly. (Consider how a great intellect like Stephen Hawking can say “Philosophy is dead” in a statement teeming with philosophical nuances and all of it bad.)

I’m quite certain that some people will comment on my post at least on Facebook who hold to a sort of scientism. They often think they’re making powerful arguments, but they’re not. This is not to attack the sciences, but to reailze science has limitations and when it comes to essences, that is a limitation of science.

In no way also does this held the so-called transgender ideology. If anything, it tells us we can’t change our gender any more than I could take my little cat Shiro and do mass operations on him and turn him into a dog. We can change the appearance all we want, but it doesn’t change the reality.

Perhaps this would then be a good time since everyone is asking to think “What really is a woman?” What do all women have in common that is absolutely essential to them? What do all men? What do all humans? If someone wants to say “Nothing. It’s all subjective”, then there is no feminism or transgenderism any more at all. After all, if being a woman can be made to mean anything, then it really means nothing. (This is one of the dangers of trying to change what marriage is. If it can be made to mean anything, then it really means nothing.) We already started down this road decades ago when we decided to redefine what a human baby is and allow abortion. It’s not a shock that when one people group wants to destroy (The Nazis) or enslave (Slavery in America) another group, they often dehumanize them.

So in one sense, Judge Brown got a softball question and she failed miserably at it. On the other hand, she also got a complex question that we should all consider asking ourselves and pondering. Perhaps it’s time to return to Plato, Augustine, Plotinus, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, etc. and see what we can learn. Maybe the past can actually inform us today.

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

Why This Series Matters

Why are we studying marriage in the Bible? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was listening to a radio talk show yesterday with the host talking about what our enemies should do if they wanted to destroy America from within. I agreed with many of the statements that were made and think they are happening right now, but there was one glaring omission I was shocked didn’t make the list and that is what is happening right now. That omission is the destruction of the family unit.

Ultimately, the sexual revolution in this country was one of the worst things that ever happened. When the pill came, everything changed. No, this is not a blanket condemnation of contraception, but it is one of our lack of self-control. We actually believed in sex without consequences. The reason we did so was we had somehow already had a diminished view of sex and I do not know exactly where that began, but it started coming out a lot in the late 60’s.

It wasn’t a shock that the next step that came along was abortion. The most anti-feminine thing a woman can do is to have an abortion. It is an attack on the life of a human baby and it is an attack on her own body. Any woman who is truly a feminist should be 100% opposed to abortion other than saving the life of a mother in the case where the child will definitely die. Giving birth is one of the things that makes women completely unique, and that uniqueness is treated as a curse.

Around the time of Reagan, we had no-fault divorce come. This, unfortunately, made divorce even easier to come about and when people think marriage can be broken easily, they don’t treat it as seriously. Marriage was no longer seen as a permanent institution meant to be treated as till death do us part. There are too many divorces that don’t have biblical grounds. What happened to me is one such case.

Around this time also we had the GRID contagion spreading. You haven’t heard of that? Yes, you have. You know it as AIDS. It was originally called GRID, Gay-Related Immuno-Deficiency. The disease showed up primarily in homosexual men and in people using IV needles. Why change the name? Why, the original name would be offensive.

But this was the move being made. The book came out called After The Ball about how Americans will come to love and accept homosexuality in the 90’s. The playbook was followed perfectly. People didn’t even realize that their minds were being changed, but they were. Naturally, the media was the main methodology. I don’t just mean news stations. I mean TV shows, like Will And Grace.

In the past, if a movie had a “sex scene” it was a man and a woman going into a room and you’d hear a click as the door locked. You knew what was going on. Now, they have to show nearly everything. The internet has also increased the spread of pornography, one of the most dehumanizing things ever if not the most dehumanizing thing, even above slavery itself.

The homosexual movement keeps going and what do we have coming on then? We have to change what our idea of marriage is. Unfortunately, if you can change marriage to mean anything, then marriage essentially means nothing. People didn’t think enough about what made sex special and in turn, they didn’t think about what made marriage special. Marriage has become all about me and my happiness and not about the future of humanity and for Christians, the spread of the Kingdom.

As soon as that battle was won, the shift came immediately to transgenderism. After all, being a man and being a woman can’t mean anything either. If we say there is something objective about men and women that makes them different, well that hurts equality. We can’t have that. I get absolutely astounded today that I have to defend the fact that men and women are different.

Any time there’s a story about a boy causing trouble in a girls’ locker room, I am not surprised a bit. This is what happens. Unfortunately, you’re the bad guy if you point this out. Parents cheer when a boy is allowed to use the girls’ locker room, ignoring that the girls are absolutely terrified, and who can blame them?

I won’t deny there’s a personal element in this for me. Divorce hurts. It’s been the most hurtful thing I have ever been through and it causes me some pain every single day. Yes. I am recovering and yes, I have come a long way, but there is always healing to be done.

This is also to answer questions people have for me about remarriage. I plan on it. Is it biblical? I am convinced it is, but I am also pointing out my reasons for this. I also hope to stop more unbiblical divorces from taking place and to help those who have been unbiblically divorced, especially my fellow men who are often faced with pressure in a culture that says “Believe all women.” (Which is also very subjective depending on who the woman is.)

The family unit is a threat to anyone who wants to control society. It is a unit that is dependent on no one else save God alone. It is its own private little society. It doesn’t need the backing of the government to exist. It is separate from the state.

I want to see that unit protected and defended. I want to see it again embraced as a lifelong man-woman unit. I want to see the end of abortion and even the end of pornography. I want to see the honoring of marriage and unbiblical divorce condemned and those who are the victims being given comfort and grace. Too many men have told me that even years later, they are treated like they have committed an unpardonable sin.

The family is a unit created by God Himself and we should treat it that way. The family is meant to mirror the holy trinity. We mess with it only to our own peril.

That is why this matters.

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

Men And Women Are Different

Is it hateful to think men and women are different? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have said before that I am a gameshow junkie. As I sit here, I have my smart TV in my room playing Buzzr, which plays old classic gameshows. The one on in the morning for me normally is Supermarket Sweep, the original one from the 90’s. This one involves answering questions about various products found in a grocery store.

The final round that determines the winner is based on a race through the store. Up until that point, the questions have been based on earning time for the run. Then, each pair of contestants selects one of them who will run through the store and try to get as much in their cart as possible with some stipulations (No more than five of one item) and rack up the highest total. The winner goes on to have a chance at the prize of $5,000.

All things being equal though, if all players had the same amount of time, I’d generally give earning the most through shopping to the men. There are exceptions, but I generally expect that men will be more capable in this area. Why? Because men are usually the ones who by nature are stronger and faster.

Now in all fairness, I generally think that if it comes to strategy, many a woman might shop smarter. Many women know how to budget very well and how to do smart shopping and generally tend to enjoy shopping more. However, having a good plan doesn’t matter as much if you don’t have the same speed and strength to pull it off.

Unfortunately, in our day and age, it’s automatically assumed that what I have said must be sexist. Consider it like the professor several years ago who said women don’t do as well as men at certain mathematical skills. The outcry was tremendous and while I was not involved in apologetics yet, I remember having one question.

Is he right?

If that is what the evidence shows, then that is what the evidence shows and complaining about it won’t change it. You might say you want to live in a world where that is the case, but if that is not so then that is not so. Now if a woman can improve her skills in this area, that’s wonderful and she can do so if she desires.

Keep in mind also that all that I have said is generalities. There are many women I know personally who are brilliant in mathematics. When I was in high school, I nicknamed our calculus teacher the goddess of mathematics. On the other hand, I know that there are many women who are stronger than I am physically.

And if we’re talking about traits considered masculine and feminine, there are differences. Many men in the gaming sphere like I am in are usually very surprised to encounter a female who has a great interest in video games. Meanwhile, when I was learning to drive, my Dad and I always had communication problems as he would tell me to park next to the Subaru or pull out after the Nissan went by. I would say “What?” and then he would clarify with “The blue car” or something similar. To this day, I couldn’t recognize any of those cars.

The problem too often is that if I say men and women are different, somehow we get an idea in our head that that means one is better than the other and one is superior. There is definitely one area of superiority. Men are superior at being men and women are superior at being women. Unfortunately, in our day and age, we are getting close to the point where men are superior at being women as well.

Men are usually superior when it comes to physical prowess. Again, this is a generality and as has been said about stereotypes, they are always wrong and generally helpful. Women, however, tend to be superior at empathy and gentleness and are superior in beauty. This isn’t just me saying that as a man. Even women are more impressed with their own beauty than that of the male.

Many of us remember when growing up what parent we went to for what. If we fell and skinned our knee and needed someone for that, we went to Mom. Mom was gentle normally and would bandage it and hug us and tell us it would be alright. If we wanted to do something risky, we went to Dad who was more likely to agree to something like that.

We’re now in an age though that is starting to think that someone can change their gender just by changing their physical body, which is also a process of mutilation. Then, men who transition into women can engage in sports that are meant for women to participate in and lo and behold, somehow they seem to win. If this keeps up, we will see the end of women’s sports. Keep in mind I don’t say this as someone who cares for sports at all.

That’s because we now live in a world that wants to blur all the distinctions away. However, even if one does that, someone will always be superior in someway to another and inferior in someway to another. Even identical twins have their differences like this. True equality in that everyone is 100% alike is impossible, and thank God it is. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where everyone was 100% like me. That would be boring.

We are also sadly being moved into a position where the transgender movement cannot be questioned. This is odd since so many skeptics of Christianity think that many Christians grow up in a faith that they are not allowed to question. Sadly, in a large number of cases I am sure this is true. We should always welcome and allow questions.

Suppose we look at a scientific question like evolution. Many scientists will say that the question on evolution is settled. They could be right. However, I would hope that they would not say that the theory cannot be questioned. Where are we if any scientific idea cannot be questioned? The questions could be answered wrongly, but they will likely lead us to other areas of knowledge.

If transgenderism cannot be questioned, then we are in an area of a dogma, a more secular dogma. The left then has their own inquisition. If you dare question the dogma, then you are the heretic (Bigot or whatever other name you want) and have to be shut down. Your ideas are not allowed.

We should ask the questions. Chesterton years ago said before you take down a fence, find out why it was put up in the first place. Why do we say men and women are different? What makes them different? What would happen if we really tried to erase those differences? What would happen if we tried to treat boys like girls and vice-versa?

Men and women really are different, and that’s a good thing. Men are generally stronger in some areas and weaker in others and vice-versa. There are exceptions as there are in most any area, but those are the exceptions that prove the rule. In the past, Gamaliel warned the Jews that by persecuting the apostles, they could find themselves fighting against God. We could find ourselves fighting against reality and that will turn out just as disastrous.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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Why Christians Lose Culture Wars

Do we even bother trying anymore? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Remember years ago when Duck Dynasty was pulled from a network and Christians got together and protested? There was an organized effort and a Facebook page. We made sure the world knew what we wanted. We were going to not take no for an answer. When Cracker Barrel joined in by removing Duck Dynasty gear from their gift shop, we went after them.

Eventually, the cable company and Cracker Barrel both relented.

And Christians immediately put down their arms and went back to watching their TV show.

Way to go, team!

So let me get this straight. When a voice on TV is silenced because he disagrees with homosexuality and his TV show gets canceled, Christians think the main thing to fight for is the TV show? It’s not the freedom to state what one believes? It’s not our constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of religion?

We know we can do this the other way also and we did it again when someone was the target of attacks due to speaking on homosexuality. That was Chick-Fil-A Day. Any counter movements like a Kiss-In Day didn’t even make a ripple in the pond. Christians shattered records for fast-food restaurants that day.

Christians. Do you need to be reminded, and apparently you do, that we form a very significant portion of the population? People claiming to be transgender are probably not even 1% of the population and yet now when I take an online survey, I get more than two choices when selecting gender multiple times. If we went by the standards of those on the left, homosexuals make up 10% of the population. I highly question that as I think it’s much less, but look how much change they brought about.

Why? Because they got up and let their voices be heard and refused to let people walk all over them. They also got people outside of them to recognize the validity of their cause. Today, we are seeing ourselves moving more and more towards what many of us think is a mountain that we are going to crash into.

I have stopped saying the world can’t get any crazier because any time I have said that I have been proven wrong. Many of us have been amazed. Gone With The Wind is temporarily pulled from streaming for being racist. The Muppets Show now needs to have a disclaimer. Mr. Potato Head is now being named just Potato Head.

Well, sometimes Christians post something on Facebook about it.

Congratulations.

We need to do more than that. It’s understandable if some of us do go and essentially boycott some companies, but that’s not enough. Efforts like this need to be concentrated. They need people to come together for their common cause and let it know they are working together. We have several of us doing something individually, but we need to do something together in a group.

After all, there’s no sign that this slippery slope is stopping with what we’re doing. It’s almost as if the other side believes their message more than we believe in the message of Jesus. Sadly, my fear is that may be true, especially since that message has been watered down so much that it’s just about how we can be “nice people” and to receive counsel for our feelings. I am not saying there isn’t a place for that, but that isn’t the message of Christianity.

The original Christians were persecuted and they still kept on going. We aren’t anywhere near being persecuted like they were and most of us have already laid down our arms. We’ve even seen many of our own churches, consider the Methodist Church for example, going the way of the world.

What’s it going to take? We’re going to have to get in our heads first off that Christianity is true and Jesus is really Lord. That will mean teaching the church good apologetics and good theology.

Also, much of the confusion in our culture is around issues of sexual ethics. The Christian church needs to be talking about sex a lot more. Think about it. When was the last time you went to church and heard a message about sex. Now compare this. When was the last time you turned on a TV show or movie or even a radio and got a message about sex, not necessarily a sermon with something explicitly taught, but the show or song said “This is what we believe about sex.”

Christians need to have better thinking on this which means we need to know how sexuality fits into a whole worldview. If we see the matter the way everyone around us does, we won’t make any difference. If we learn to think about this topic better than everyone else, we will.

We could also bear in America to learn more about the history of our country and what we went through. In the American Revolution, there were bounties put on the heads of preachers by the British. Our preachers should see getting up into the pulpit as something dangerous.

In Communist China or in Middle Eastern Muslim countries, being a Christian can be a death sentence. However, we see churches growing over there. Why? Because those Christians know it’s a death sentence and they take it seriously. This isn’t a light-hearted commitment. People are saying they know Jesus Christ is worth dying for.

Is He worth living for?

Is He worth anything at all?

If you don’t want to see our country and our world go this way, then what are you doing about it? Let’s give the left this. They at least go out and contend for what they want. They refuse to be beaten down.

We could learn something from that.

We are really nowhere near what Christians faced in the first century and yet they did a lot more and they sure didn’t have the tools that we have today. If we want to see change in our world, we have to bring about that change. Yes, Christ is behind us, but He already gave us our marching orders in the Great Commission and in Acts 1 and He’s not going to do the work for us.

Will we do the work for Him?

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Book Plunge: Woke

What do I think of Titania McGrath’s book published by Constable? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Truly, we have a budding genius in our times whose writing will bring about a new Copernican Revolution. Then again, she would prefer we call this a McGrathian since Copernicus was obviously a racist and sexist cis white male. Everyone of us should be blessed by reading McGrath’s work.

Obviously, everything is tongue in cheek here. Titania McGrath doesn’t really exist. She is the creation of Andrew Doyle. Her satirical work is meant to make fun of woke culture and does a superb job. I found something that made me laugh on most every page.

Consider some examples:

The conservative broadcaster Ben Shapiro ( whose opinions are always wrong ) bases much of what he believes on facts, which just goes to show how useless they are. ‘ Facts don’t care about your feelings, ’ he is known to say. The opposite is true. Feelings don’t care about your facts. This is how social justice works. If you feel something to be true, then it is true.

One might be tempted to think that it’s obvious that feelings don’t determine reality, but then look at our culture. Is that not what is too often happening? When it comes to transgenderism, what data is pointed to but feelings? Now working on changing the feelings isn’t acceptable. One must change the body instead. Speaking of transgender:

“Anybody who has ever taken even a rudimentary course in Gender Studies will know that there are literally no biological differences between men and women. Except in the case of trans people, who are born in the wrong body.”

“I mention all of this because enlightened society now realizes that gender is fluid, the outdated categories of ‘male’ and ‘female’ being dictatorial taxonomies assigned randomly at birth. Some ‘ experts ’ still maintain that there are only two sexes. The idea that knowledge is more important than feelings is everything that is wrong with the field of modern science.”

We should all know that so much of this is nonsense. However, when it is put in a satirical form, it becomes that much more enjoyable. That is the way satire is supposed to work.

There’s much more than just transgenderism. McGrath speaks about Islam as well.

In order to achieve wokeness, one must treat Muslims with special sensitivity. This is essential given the increasingly vehement forms of prejudice they face due to damaging stereotypes in the media and popular culture, as well as legitimate grievances in Islamic communities, which have arisen as a direct corollary of Western depredations in international conflicts. Also, some of them have bombs.

What makes this so funny is the last part. Bart Ehrman was once asked why he doesn’t do what he does with the New Testament to the Qur’an. His answer was quite revealing.

And what happens when there is an attack by a Muslim? You go after the logical target, the Christians. We’ve seen it happen before.

Every time I hear about another act of jihadist terrorism my heart sinks because I know there’ll be a horrible Islamophobic backlash. Whatever their crimes, nothing that ISIS have ever done comes close to the acts perpetrated by the European nations during the Crusades. Surely in the face of modern-day jihadism, we need to be focusing on the misdeeds of medieval Christians. Anything else would be sheer hypocrisy.

And going on those standards,

Westerners have to understand that there is a civil war raging within Islam, and moderates are trying to reform the more problematic beliefs. We could see evidence of this when Islam was rebranded as The Religion Of Peace ™, which I think we can all agree is much catchier. This also helps to remind everyone that when somebody drives a truck into a group of pedestrians, shouting ‘ Allahu Akbar ’, it has absolutely nothing to do with Islam.

You can try to deny it, but remember the Fort Hood shooting? It was marked as workplace violence. I still remember all the memes going around about the Crusades being workplace violence.

Feminism is also a target.

If women choose to sacrifice the prospect of a career in order to breed, that is of course up to them. By doing so, however, they are embodying all that is rotten in patriarchal society. They have internalized their misogyny to such a degree that they genuinely believe that raising a child is more important and rewarding than earning money.

Most of us would laugh at this, except we see it happening. Many of us do place money over what matters most like children. How many of us neglect our families at times for lesser goods?

How many times also have we said something about safe spaces at universities and conservative speakers being chased off of campus?

Student unions at universities are currently spearheading the battle against free speech through the creation of ‘ safe spaces ’ where debate is outlawed if the topics are potentially triggering. At Oxford, a debate on abortion was canceled because a man with incorrect views was scheduled to appear. Debates are all very well in principle, but there’s no need to represent all sides of an argument. One protestor, Niamh McIntyre, said, ‘ The idea that in a free society absolutely everything should be open to debate has a detrimental effect on marginalized groups. ’ A university is hardly the appropriate place for exploring alternative ideas.

Something like this is so incredible since a university is exactly where you should be exploring alternative ideas. We should all welcome debate on controversial topics. As I write this post even, I am dealing with atheists on a JW page who are doing everything they can to avoid reading a book that disagrees with them.

And as for pop culture:

Hip hop music is sublime, with the exception of white rap artists such as Eminem, Vanilla Ice, and Pam Ayres. But while enjoying rap, one must guard against cultural appropriation. When Kendrick Lamar invited a white fan onto the stage to sing along to his song ‘ M.A. A.D City ’ at a concert in Alabama, he was forced to interrupt when she repeatedly used the n-word. Nobody can fathom why the girl indulged in this racist outburst. Some have surmised that it might have something to do with the word being a continual feature in the song’s lyrics.

This is something I have often thought about and yes, I think much of this music does much damage to the culture by instilling ideas that do promote the usage of women especially.

Woke is a hilarious read and one that is not too long. Christian readers need to know the book does contain language that would not be appropriate for your children. The point is that this is satire done extremely well and those who enjoy political humor should read it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

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: Irreversible Damage

What do I think of Abigail Shrier’s book published by Regenry? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Abigail Shrier thinks a pandemic of sorts is gripping young girls today. Too many young women are coming out suddenly and saying that they are transgender. While there is such a thing as gender dysphoria, the majority of people it strikes are men and they normally do get past it eventually. Shrier’s concern is that a group, the transgender community, that is supposed to affect a minority of the population, is really hitting in epic numbers that do not make sense.

Not only is it happening, but therapists and doctors are pushing it onward. If a young girl comes to a therapist and is convinced she’s really a boy, the therapist or doctor is not to ask “Why do you feel that way?” Instead, they are to go ahead and write out a prescription for testosterone. It’s gender affirming after all and besides that, if the daughter doesn’t do this, she’ll likely kill herself.

Shrier doesn’t think all such cases are like this and she is open to the idea that sometimes transitioning could be healthy, but is concerned that there is too much and too soon. To give a brief look at the end of the book, she also talks to Buck Angel who used to be a woman and he has the exact same concern. Girls at too young an age are making decisions that will have impacts on them that cannot be changed.

Consider top surgery for instance, which is a double mastectomy. Contrary to what might be believed, a woman can’t just remove her breasts and then get them put right back on. They’re not just mounds of tissue, but have a number of nerves and other functions that help with erotic sensitivity and with breastfeeding. A girl who does this could miss out on that for the rest of her life. She can get something done that could look the same, but they won’t functionally be the same.

That’s only a minor loss, though something any woman wanting to have sex and have a baby someday should think about, but speaking of having a baby, many of these paths to being a man could easily end in infertility. These would be decisions based on a decision a girl makes when she doesn’t have life experience to match. Naturally, many therapists and others encourage her and tell her what to say to especially deal with those bigots in her life who dare question her.

Normally, they’re known as Mom and Dad.

A girl can be in high school or college and go by male names and pronouns without her parents knowing. At college, she can get hormone treatment and her parents again do not have to know. If anything, the system is set up so that they won’t know. (The same applies to abortion. That’s not a coincidence.)

The question to ask is what is causing this. If there is any one culprit, it is the one no one will be surprised at. Social Media. Girls can see videos online from people in the trans community who can not only convince them that they’re really trans, but train them as to what to say to a therapist or to parents or anyone else.

Some people interviewed in the book describe the trans community as a cult, and there’s some odd parallels to that. As a Christian apologist, I found it interesting that it is often said that if someone walks away from the treatment, they were never really trans to begin with. Hormones and top surgery are practically sacraments to get to the path of salvation, coming out completely as someone of the opposite sex.

What about those who dissent? They are shut down immediately. There is not allowed to be any debate whatsoever. A highly acclaimed doctor who has spent several years in the field and is well-established can have his career ripped away from him if he dares to question the narrative.

And some people wonder why some of us are skeptical of science in other controversial areas.

Shrier’s fear is that these girls are going to make mistakes in this period of their lives that will be, well, irreversible. My concern is that this is a delusion and the more we enable a delusion, the more damage we do to those who have that delusion, even if it is ourselves. This has become a condition where the patient goes to see the doctor and the patient tells the doctor what the diagnosis and the treatment is. The doctor becomes a dealer of sorts.

I used to say that our society was in a war on boys. I still think that is the case. Men are vilified through MeToo and ads like that of Gillette and are conditioned to be more like girls. In a twist also, there is a war on girls where girls are told that there is nothing essential to being a girl and all you need to do is have your body mutilated some and you can be a boy and likewise a boy can be a girl.

How are both of these true? How are boys encouraged to be more feminine and girls encouraged to say there is nothing special about being a girl. It comes down to a delusion. It is a war against reality. It is a desire to remove any boundaries or fixed points whatsoever. If we can change who or what we are in our minds, we can allow for any behavior that we want ultimately, be it sex with whoever we want as long as they consent, (And how long will that barrier stay up?), abortion, that marriage can be whatever we want it to be, or this next step, that gender is a social construct. (These are connected. Right after the Supreme Court ruled in favor or redefining marriage, there was a switch immediately to the transgender community as the next step.)

If you are a parent of a young girl, I really urge you to get this book. You need to know what your daughter is coming up against. You also need to tell them that they have something special in being a girl. There is no need to trade that in for being a boy. Of course, boys do have something special, but our girls need to love themselves as they are just as our boys do.

Shrier’s book is thorough, scary, and needed. I want to thank the friend who got it for me for a review. This is a book that needs to be read by every mother and father of a daughter, whether they are a teenager or college student already, or even if this is a daughter still in the womb. Read it and be ready.

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

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