Life and Books and Everything
Life and Books and Everything

Episode · 1 year ago

How Did Sexual Identity Politics Win?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode of Life and Books and Everything, Carl Trueman joins Kevin, Justin, and Collin to discuss his latest book, published by Crossway, which analyzes the development of the sexual revolution as a symptom—rather than the cause—of the human search for identity. You’ll also learn the benefit for Christians of reading Nietzsche and Freud, and what you can say to someone when there isn’t time to debate the philosophy of gender.   

Timestamps: 

Thirty-second long book title [00:55 – 1:25] 

If identity is sexual, then sex is political. [1:25 – 7:37] 

Behaviors demand toleration; identity demands recognition. [7:37 – 13:39] 

Grappling with the history of ideas [13:39 – 22:26] 

Intended audience [22:26 – 24:29] 

Why Carl wants to be called a bigot [24:29 – 28:32] 

Should pastors read these non-Christian authors? [28:32 – 34:18] 

Is Protestantism to blame for sexual identity politics? [34:18 – 44:48] 

Natural law will help us communicate to younger generations. [44:48 – 50:55] 

What can you say to the other side when there isn’t time to debate? [50:55 –
56:16] 

Against lament? [56:16 – 57:50] 

Family shapes theology. [57:50 – 1:03:00] 

Books and Everything: 

The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive
Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution, by Carl R. Trueman 

Civilization & Its Discontents, by Sigmund Freud 

The Triumph of the Therapeutic, by Philip Rieff 

Living in God's Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture,
by David VanDrunen 

Hands Across the Aisle 

The Fury of the Fatherless,” by Mary Eberstadt, First Things  

It's fo, greedings and salutations welcome backto life and books and everything I am Keven d young, although my squadcastname is practical wires and I'm with Colin Hanson who's, always going toinputting his real name and then Justin Taylor lead singer for the Whoo, thoughit's all capital letters, so you mean the dout their World HealthOrganization. Ia Use a leav thing of these days, goodto be with you all and we are joined today with our special guests. CARALTruman. They have let you out of the Grove City Conservatory, to entertain us and let us pply you withquestions Karl thanks for being here with us. It's a pleasure Kevin thanksfor having meal all right. I we're going to jump right in what we're doingis. We are talking about Carl's new book, which is getting a lot ofattention and rightfully so it's it's a brilliant book. The rise intriumph of the modern self, Cultural Amnesia, expressive individualism andthe road to sexual revolution. Rodra wrote a very nice forward and crosswaybig fan and sometimes sponsor of this program has published the book and it'sa real achievement. I'm going to jump in, and I underlined a lot in this book,and this is from page two hundred and sixty six, this paragraph, which Ithink is not a bad launching off place to haveyou give something of a brief summary of your argument. I'll read it here. Once identity was understood to besexual, then it was only a matter of time before sex became political and in the hands of, and just for ourlisteners. We're going to scoop by these names right now and not focus onthem. So much as the idea in the history that Karl is tracing but I'll,read them and in the hands of William Rike and Herbert Markus. That isexactly what happened. Their genius lay in the way they took the Marxistcategory of oppression and refracted it through the Freidian notion ofrepression in sodoing. They psychologize the notion of oppression,turn sexual repression into something negative made political liberationessentially dependent on sexual liberation and thereby establish theframework for today's psycho sexual politics. That is a dense paragraph, but it's it's right and it gives one window intoyour argument in the book. So try to unpack that and untangle that, for us,thinking of somebody, who's heard of the book hasn't read it yet and wantsto understand this turn from identity to sex, to politics. Yeah. It's a great question, Kevin and you're, really touching on the spine ofthe narrative of the book as a hole. What I argue in the book is that thesexual revolution and the politics that surround the sexual revolution, ofwhich lgbtq stuff is the most obvious contemporary manifestation. This form of politics really dependsupon a fundamental change in the way humanbeings understand. theself. What I mean by the self is the way human beingsfundamentally understand what our purpose in life is, where Ou happinessis to be found. What makes us tick if you like, and Istart the story back in the mid eighteen century, and I say one of thekey moves made in the Eighteenh Century: Yes, that certain figures, most notablythe Genevan philosopher, Geor, JAC, Russo and his cultural successas, in what we now callthe romantic movement, I think of William Words with Samuel Taylor.Koleridge figures like that...

...they psychologize the self they're, thethe guys who really press the idea that that whichmakes us truly us is that inne voice inside our heats that the mostauthentic me is to be found really in my feelings and that's like a lot of ideas that contains acertain amount of truth. Clearly, we can't separate ourselves from ourfeelings in any clean or neat way, but they really emphasize that and whathappens then in the the late Nineeen thirty twentieth century is that fraud,who was something of an Admira of the Romantics and O Russeau Freud, getshold of that idea, he's sort of probing that inn a space that the Romanticshave opened up and AV prioritized in identity, and he says you know the keything about that voice of nature really is its sexual desire that it its rout,it's all about a sexuality that which we desire sexually, so the storyes sortof move forward a bit. At that point, we've had this Inna space opened up bythe Romantics. We we have people who think of themselves in terms of theirinner lives, the inner feelings, etc. ETCA and Afreuda says yeah. The mostfundamental thing about those inner feelings is sexual desire. What Freudis really doing? There is saying that that who you are at the most basiclevel is your sexual desire. So when you think about how we routinely uselanguage today, we'll talk about people being straight or gay, we talk about sex and sexual desire asan identity N, and it's really the Romantics and fraid that have have madethat possible. But one of the implications of that, of course, is is.If who I am is fundamentally. Sexual is fundamentally determined by mysexualdesires, then, inevitably, how society deals with treats acts relative tomysexual desires is how society is is treating me as an individual, and sothe the stage ou set for the politicization of sex, if Youre likesex, doesn't become, isn't simply something that one does, and so we have sexual codes. If youlike to say you can do this, but you can't do that. We might think that those areaddressing issues of behavior, but once you imagine the world in sort ofFreudian terms, then those rules and regulations actually touch upon who weare as people and what you have in the Twentieh Century. You mentioned rikeand Marcus other others. These are very sophisticated, marxyst think as thoughI think the idea, as spread well beyond the bounds of Marxism, the idea that,okay, if if human beings are to be truly free and to truly flourish, thenwe need to break down the sexual codes thatprevent us from being truly ourselves. If I'm, a gay man and my sexual desireis for other men than for society to stop me acting on those desires ortalking about those desires in public is actually for society to stop mebeing myself to force me to be UNAUTHENTIC, and so the the sexualidentity issue is is inevitably at some point, go to become and has become a apolitical struggle. I'm gonna, I know Justin has a followupquestion, I'm going to interject here before I throw it to you Justin,because what you said there Carl is really important and I'm thinking ofanother place. I underlined on the bottom of page sixty eight and sixtynine. You talk about this need for recognition, so the issue is not one ofsimply decriminalizing behavior. That would certainly mean that homosexualacts were tolerated by society, but the acts are only part of the overallproblem. The real issue is one of...

...recognition of recognizing thelegitimacy of who the person thinks he actually is. This requires more thanmere tolerance. It requires a quality before the law and recognition by thelaw and in society, and that is really well put, because I think, even withinour lifetimes, maybe twenty five years ago, all of the buzz was abouttolerance, and we just need to tolerate these sorts of behaviors, and once that ship sailed, it became veryclear that tolerance wasn't going to be enough and there's actually pastoralimplications here, as I've talked many times with parents who ask. How do Ilove my son or daughter who's now identifying is gay or lesbian, and oneof the things that inevitably they often find? Is it's not enough to say Istill love you as my son or daughter. You know I disagree with this identity.I disagree with you living out this. I don't think it's biblical orappropriate, but I still love you and I will do the best. I can to treat you asmy son and daughter. Most often that's not enough, because it's not enough tosay I'm going to disagree strongly withthis, but still love you the very act ov disagreeing with that is received as unloving and in fact, as hateful therewas a book. I'm sure you read it a few years ago, sort of a cheeky title,making gay okay, but it was actually a good book and it made the argument thatin law and in schooling and in the academy, it's not enough to simplyaffirm that such behavior can be tolerated by some. It must havecomplete societal victory in order to be truly authenticating in affirmingwhat why? How did we get to that point where itseemed like a generation ago or even half a generation ago? Tolerance wasthe name of the game, and now that's clearly not enough yeah, that's an extremely good point,and I think you put your finger on what is often the most painful of thepastoral consequences of that the sexual revolution certainly isexperienced by Christian parents and those in positions of pastoralauthority within the Church. How we get there to complicated story, but clearlywhat we're dealing with in this generation that we weren't dealing with.I in my generation and Youre younger than me, but probably your generationas well, was a situation where sexual identid he had yet come to grip what wemight call at toucout, childs, telicos, the social imaginary, it's O, rather astypical with Taylor. He uses obscure terms to refer to things that arerelatively simple when you wanyou explain the, but we both say the waypeople just imagine. The world is taylors getting there at the idea thatmost people don't think about the world in selfconsciously theoretical terms.We imagine the world is a certain way. We intuit it and what's happened in thelast fiftee twenty years- is that the intuitions of the social imaginary havecome to place sexual desire very very firmly at thecenter of how we think of identity. Fraud was doing it in the late Nineeen,Thirty Twentieth Century Ric and Marquza were doing it from the heas.Through the S and on into the S, it takes time for the ideas of elitefigures to percolate down really through through their appropriation bypop culture, but wer now seeing a generation rise where every messagethey get from every movie, every Sitcom, every soap opera, every pop song,sometimes every commercial they watch. I have to think we have Christians, getvery worre about Internet pornography. We perhaps should be just as worriedabout commercials that I can. I can'...

...see have this. This idea pressed onthem that your sexual desire is fundamental to your identity and it comes to be very painful in the kindof pastoral situation that you're, describing, though I think allChristians feel the pinch, because that old argument that well we hate the sinbut love the senner. That's not plausible anymore, because is if whatwe think of, as the sin is actually the identity of the person we're talking to,they cannot make that conceptual distinction. It's not like saying. Well,I hate the fact that you're greedy, but I still love you as a person that thatmakes sense because nobody sees their greed as fundamental to their identity,but saying to somebody I hate your sexual orientation, but I love you as aperson. That's that's a paradox. That's acontradiction! So yeah how we got there. It's taken a long, slow development,but I think we can. We can certainly say at this point pretty much everyavenue of influence in the wider culture that shapes how people think ispointing in this direction at this point- and that makes it a very, veryhard situation to address and a deeply tragic one when it comes to breakingthe relationship between parents and children. Yeah, you want wont Ot. Youcannot begin to quantify the pain that that sort of situation creates Justin Carl thinks for joining us and thanksfor writing the book, and we join you in frayer that God would use it in allsorts of different ways. I guess I have a two part question. Oneis a sort of personal professional in thesecond methdological, so on t the former, how did you come to the pointwhere you were interested in writing this? Obviously you have a backgroundas a reformation historian and interested in Medieval Christendom andeven patristics like at what point. Did you become interested enough and feellike you were equipped to write on this and the second one is perhaps Hou could give just a littlebit of a methodological overview of how does a historian trace out the historyof ideas and causation? Imagine somebody walking into a library-and you know, there's a huge section on froud and there's a huge section onreef and there's a huge section on enlightenment thinkers. How do you putit all together to actually form a narrative and trace out how an ideadeveloped over time? Great great couple of questions- that'sthe first one just in well, first of all, just while we're mutually slappingeach other's back. So thanks to you for backing the project and Crossway forpublishing it in Retrospecti, it looked ha been interesting to hire a guy whowasn't competent to write this book to write it for a publisher that had neverpublished a book like this before it Ye. What could possibly go wrong kind.ofthing, how I came to write it. I think anumber of factors I I really felt that, to the extent that I've made acontribution to reformation and post reformation studies by the time, mysecond book on John Oen was published. I really beginning to think you know I've. I've probably made mycontribution. I can continue doing the same contribution but professionallyI've. I've said pretty much what I want to say at this point, and that was both very freeing, but alsoleft me thinking. Well, what you know life is short. What else should I do,and I wam thinking it would be nice to do something completely different raundabout the same time, David Mills, who was then working at first things sobrought me on to write some things for...

...the magazine and start writingregularly for for the black, and that was an interesting moment for mebecause it I started to address issues that I'd not really thought about.Before my mind was very much focused on the internal struggles withinprodestantism PRESBYTERIAISM evangelicalism. Suddenly I was in adifferent world addressing bigger issues that were facing thechurch as a whole, rather than or particular branches of it, and Istarted to sort of think along the lines of this book at that pointstarted to read more widely, and I se also became aware that I have a very privileged positioncompared to a lot of academics in the sense that at that point I was teachingat Westminster Seminary now I teach a Grove City College in Pennsylvania.There aren't a lot of places in higher education where one can address some ofthese issues and get away get away with it through a certain party lines thathave to be maintained, and I began to feel that my privilegedposition gave me some. I good responsibility to address them. Youknow if you can address these things, then maybe I should because I can dothis with the backing of my administration, certainly at Grove, ina way that I couldn't, if I was a professor at at a secular school of some kind. Sothat was all the stuff that went on in my mind and then, when you and Rodrayapproached me, that was the got o sealed the deal on that front andthought it would be an interesting thing to do how to go about it. I wowit was. It was the most difficult book I'veever written, not because the I hadn't got the ideas, but because this I hadlunch with Gordon Gray and professor of philosophy at Princeton, theological,Samry, an old Aberdeen University colligue. While I was at Princeton forthe ear I'm sort of outlining to him, while I was doing- and he made acomment to me- said he said- I have no idea how I'd begin to address that says,like an octopus, how on earth do you get hold of all these arms and I think that the break through for mewas getting the structure right once I decided. Okay, let's do sometheoretical chapters at the start, that will actually set up the framework andthen traceout the chronology and that the chronology and the narrative shapeby the psychologizing ot, the self, the sexualizing of psychology, thepoliticizing of sex, gave me a framework. This also my historians instincts. I'maware whenever I write history whetever I write is limited and provisional andthat's very L, that's very liberating because it means you can leave stuffout and say at the start, I'm leaving stuff out I'm going to give you anarrative here which could be expanded and deepened, but I'm going to sort ofgive you some kind of roadbap and then what was then the scent of a vision ofvalues. Now the INSTUP for faith and freedom at Grove City Collegegraciously gave me a research assistant in the summer and the the structure.For me, I would send her stuff and say: Okay, how do we fit this Jig sawtogether? How do I get hold of all of the arms of the Octobus and and cursedit if you're out there listening incredibly grateful for the work youdid on the book, then the of all the books I've written? This wasa huge team effort from conception to structure, to writing and nowthemarketing. You know I did. I did the reading andthe writing. I did the pleasurable bit, but I couldn't have done it without thecrossway team and without the Grove city tea and without the MadisonFellowship Princeton. All helping me get this thing to completion. Let mefollow up on that. Did you so you cover a lot of figures in history and some that you know people with adecent western Sive background, which is fewer and fewer in number of thosewho have such a background. But you...

...know you're, looking at Rusau andWordsworth Shelly Blake nichim marks. Darwin and you go into other Marxisthat we've mentioned already. Did you already know a lot about thesepeople is's this just the product of a fabulous English education, or did you really have to you knowfigure out? Okay, I know a little bit about some of these guys, but I got TA.Do a lot more to figure out. What's going on here, most of them I had sume acquaintancewith, and some I had t more acquaintibbl than iter say I've read,marks and neture for many years I start reading neectr at school, just for thefun of it. We're not surprised. I have the attention span of a squirrel,so I just read: i'me just always read widely, which was a great help on this. I wasintroduced to Marx as theory at college by my history supervisor and maintainedan interest in that particularly is a way of thinking through post modenismlater on for this book, the areas where I really had to do some some hardmugging up. If you like gender theory, it's written so abominably, I you knowlittle time for people who can't write well and Judith Butler is, you know,there's a crime against the English language in every sentence. As far as Idoncer I almost wish he'd been translated into Latin. I might havefound ther easier to read that way, yeah. So I had to do that. I had to do a farbit on fraud. Actually I dread SOM AR Freud, but but getting familiar withfraud's life and significance and feminist theory, and there AssariaButterfield was extremely helpful. I dropped her a Ote said. Okay, I need ayou know. I need to mug up on on lesbian feminism, but I don't want toGoogle that yeah yeah can you can you send me a reading list and sheintroduced me to some of the most fascinating stuff, the Adre, the Adrianrich stuff. I remember emailing Reserian saying this is a Ma. I'mreading this, I'm lapping, I don't agree with it, but wow in is carriitshe's, a clear thinker and she's carrying me along and Russari made somecomment, the effect of Yeah. That's. Why I was into it for twenty years,because it's so compelling so the feminist stuff was was important, bulan that something I'd not really bothered within the past. Who is your? Who was your intendedaudience? You know all of us conof as written books, Justin, Iveritten, booksand- and I usually have in my mind, you know I write books that are for Churchpeople in the pews somebody going to your proverbial book, Nook Church BookStall and pick up something that an educated, laymen could say hey. This isinteresting. I imagine you have. Maybe that's your target audience, but Ithink maybe something I different. Who are you writing for? Who Did youimagine in your mind, is reading this book that you want to read right. I wasthinking of the kind of people who read first things touchone magazine thatkind of stuff. So what I wanted to do, as there was a kind of twofold approach in my mind, I wanted the maintext to be clear but challenging. I I wantedsomebody with no backgrount, my my son's fiancee's mother's reading, mybook at the moment and apparently enjoying it. I wanted the thoughtful well read, but not necessarily academiclay person to be able to read the text or passt be able to read the main text.On the other hand, I wanted the footnotes to be of a decent scholarlystandard, because I wanted to anticipate those who would come afterme and say: Ah Yes, but Truman's ignorante of this or Ah yes, but NITAE doesn't actually say that when I do, I will be working on anabridgment of it. The abridgement will not have footnotes and we'll be a muchmore straightforward, but I feel I can...

...do that because I've done the spadework this time around. I'm sort of free now not to heavily footnote anything,because when the inevitable pushback comes, I can't say well, I did do thework look at my earlier book, so it was really that sort of too faultintelligence audience. But I didn't want some queer theory scarlet coming after meand saying you know, you've not done the work when, if and when the queertheory scholar comes after me, I want them to say Truman's written thisbecause he's a bigot, that's not an argument. Thats, that'sjust a that's an ad Hommon en way of getting me dismissed and I wanted tomake sure that that's the only thing they've got publishers, weekly sort ofdid that actually, alright, it was peny in some ways very gratified yeah. Theysay it's meticulously argued, but it's big at it. Yeah those two things don't quite holdtogether right, but it was very gratifying to know yeah. You can't takedown my argument. You have to take me down as a person because it does seemlike it. I mean it's, not your typical Christian book. It's not your typicalcrossway book. That's not an insult! That's just you say at the beginning, an and at theend- and I think this is really important- that it's neither a lamentnor a polenic meaning. This isn't just going to be look how bad it is. Thoughpeople can read between the lines, you think a lot of this is bad, but youdon't really you don't really land on that a lot you could read through mostof the book and and sort of pick up? U You think this is problematic, but it'snot a lament and it's not a polemic. So it's not. You don't go out of your way to say whyall of this is wrong. That's sort of underneath the surface. So it's not a typical Christian book that we mightexpect to say here's what's out there and here's why it's problematic. Idon't know if you said it or someone else said about the book. It's moredescribing this late modernity to the church tosay I want you to understand it, and I think you also want and are hoping thatNonchristians will read it. Have you heard any response from you mentionedpublishers weekly, but from Nonchristians who are reading it, oreven just non Orthodox evangelical or Orthodox Catholic sort of Christianswho are reading it and having their? If not their consciences pricked then atleast their intellectual curiosities paked. Certainly getting a lot of goodfeedback from that. The Christian audience broadly conceived FatherLawrence Farley, whom I knowis an Orthodox priest in Vancouver, wrote avery positive review. Last week I did a podcast last Friday, which is itsactually a sort of secular podcast. I don't know if that the woman whointerviewed me has any personal faith herself but was very, very positiveabout the book. In fact we're going to do an hour and she said, can we go fortwo which was exhausting on a Friday afternoon, but we did. We did two hourstogether. So I'm very gratified by that and of course part of in the back of my mind- is yeah. Iteach at a liberal arts college and it's Christian Liberal Arts College,but it's open in Roman. I have kids in my classes for whom these are. Theseare their issues. I have kids who who would identify as gay who, who mightidentify as as transgender, and I wanted to write a book that I would notbe embarrassed to have written when I bump into them in the corridor. So Ican say some you know. I do disagree with you and you may find it hard tobelieve that I hate the sin and love the sinner, but look at my book. My Book might help youto understand why you think the way you do and might be an opener ofconversations in that front. So the tone was very specifically homed...

...to make it as a say, not a polemic,oralement there's a sense in which both are relatively pointless in some ways.I wanted it to be useful and I wanted it be the kind of tool that a pastorcan use to address issues as they occur in his congregation without beingvulnerable to the accusation of well. You know you just Fred Phelps in asmart suit kind of thing, yeah, Colin Justin, I'm doing all the thequestions, and I have many more but jump on in well before I take the podcast coralcompletely off the rails. With a question about William Ovacam, Ithought I would start first by asking about the sources you you side, Judith Butler. We shouldn'tbe reading, but are any of these other sources. Youread people that we should be reading directly. Would it benefit Christianleaders to be reading neture, directly or Freud, or what should we do? Yeah, I think, to anextent, a lot of these authors can be read with great profit by Christians. I'mjust finishing up was very ambitious, but I decided to n undergraduatereading course of Charles Taylor's secular age this semester and threw thekids in at the deep end and they've all pretty much swum to the other side nwhen we got them. One of the things that Taylor does towards the end ofthat book is. He indicates that in modernity quite often there's a sort of threefold battlegoing on Youe got exclusive humanists, you've got the Nichuns and you've gotChristians and depending what the issue is two of those can gang up against thethird one, in other words, Thi's kind of overlap in odd ways between betweenthose three and I would say, Nitur, is we Christians, concided with niture,because he realizes that the world is is a dark place. There is no utopia andneature's understanding of the darker side of human nature stands. I think in very positiverelation to the Christian understanding of fall and human nature, so thatcertainly h n, when we look at Nichur and he calls the bluff on theenlightenment, I think he's doing something that a Christian can say aMento. Yes, if you get rid of God, if you kill him, then you leave yourselfwith all kind of problems about moral discourse at CETR Etcetra, so nitawould certainly be one that I would put on the pile fraud civilization isdiscontents. Is it's such a brilliant one, Hundreeo one hundred page, it'salmost a long essay really. I think it's an excellent statement of twothings want the power of sexuality in HumanExistence, but also raises that interesting question of what happenswhen we start to lift sexual taboos if sexual taboos of that which maintaincivilization. What happens when we start to lift them, and that wouldbring me to my third character that, I would say, is definitely worth reading,though, though, not an easy read, Philip brief, I think reefs trive o thetherapeutic. It's again, it's not an easy read, but reef stripes of Tramphof.The therapeutic is a remarkably preseant analysis of culture. He wroteTi One thousand nine hundred and sixty six and it's one of those books. Whenyou ready your thinking wow, he couldn't possibly have known how much of this was actually gointo.Recause, not a believer himself. Ro Prophetic is a word that's thrownaround very cheaply. It seems to me relative toto books, but reefsbook istruly profety. If you want to understand the world we live in, thenthen get hold of reef and read him secular, Jewish think. As far as I know,a little bit like a sort of Roger scrutine figure that I can't commit to belief in God myself,but I think he's extremely important...

...for maintaining civilization. It's ait's hard for me as a Christian to to see why that's Coherenc, but I thinkthat's very much where reef was coming from Carl. How do you think about resourceslike that mathere's, a certain mindset that says we read them to understandall of the bad things out there so that we're being fair to them? There'sanother mindsaid that says even though they they got things fundamentallywrong. They also offer some insights into the nature of cultures the world inwhich we live human psychology, as are reformed. Theologin yourself, can we learn positively from people whogot the big thing so pendomenally wrong? I think so again go back to Nicha yeah,I teach Corson. I call it shadows of the anticrist to make it sound exciting,it's actually it's not as exciting. It sounds. We look at marks: ND, Icho,Kikago, cartinal, Numan and Herman Bavick. We read text from those fiveand we look at Nica's gay, sits and trace the arguments such as it is ofthe gay science up to the madman passage and Bel beyond, and I think, asI said, as it just said, niture I think really does expose the consequences inthe price o of the rejection of God in a way that one could find in theprofhets. If you look at the old testamentto and when you look atidolatry in the Old Testament Youh do I want people to become Nichans know, butI do want them to understand the point that natures making, and that is whenyou reject God, it's all down to you. You can make up any God. You want atthat point, which he thinks is a great thing, but I think it's. That is a is the wayif you like to to address somebody like Richard Darkins Yeahi would turt younicu would say about Richard Ors he's not a true atheist at all. He wants tokill God, but then he wants to live off the capital that God has provided himwith well, Richard Darkins is unlikey to listen to me, saying that to him,but giving both barrels with neture and he might have to take it seriously atthat point Colin, did you really want to ask aboutAcom's razor? I do well not about pockams razor, but maybe we'lltransition into the eprotestant Catholic portion of of this discourse,so rod drar. Does the forward for the book rods, convert from mainlineprotestantism to Roman Catholicism and now to Orthodoxy and Rod has picked up over the years on anumber of the sort of Catholic antiprotestant polemic from MediaevalAreas Ara specifically, which has been, I think, thoroughly debunked and yetpersists in Catholic plemics, the connection between nominalism wemavacumin the medeval period in through Luther and Calvin, and ultimately, then,through this whole stream, that you pick up on with Rouseau when you and Italked for the Gospel bound podcast, we talked about the sort of tale of twogenevans with Rousseau and with Calvin. How do you respond then, to a Catholic apologist who would arguethat what you're covering in this book is, to a certain extent, the outworkingof protestantism and it's and it's and it's sort of ruination, of the mediaeval synthesisand building off the problems, then of that nominalism introduced yeah andexplain it real quickly, Carl just for people who have no idea what stheanswerting, I told you. I don't Eahi, told you Guy Gon to take thisthing off the rails, but yeah the basic, the bus, the gist of it is simply a Catholic might read this book and say:Yep See this is what Luther and Calvin...

...unleashed on the way yeah yeah, that'sthe simplest way to patit. I mean this is sort of thesis. At's been argued atgreat length of a great sophistication by say, Brad Gregory at Notra Dame another course. I've Tald I've beenteaching the historiography course with the history department. This semester,and we actually read Brad Gregor, is the unintended reformation together,which the students did not like as much as Lindal ropeers biogr of Luther,which I found very gratifying. That' yeah, the the I think, there's a certain truth to it. One of the things the reformationultimately does is: it introduces choice in religion. A religion becomesa choice in a way that it wasn't in the Middle Ages and that fundamentallychanges how people think about the role of religion in the world. Having said that, I would make an argument that well,first of all, Yo William of Arcam, and if you wanted to push it back a centuryearlier done Scotis that they're actually Catholics, ye H, they're, notpromestants and, as I said it in a review many years ago, Brad Gregory'sbook. Is it y? U really depends O on where you want to start, but one couldsay that protestantism and the reformation was a response to the factthat protest that Catholicism had already failed at that point, andprotestantism may ultimately not have been able to solve the problem, but itcertainly didn't cause the problem. These are Catholic theologans who arecausing the problem. I would say I would also add a strontatsay you know. I do agree and people contact me about my mediaeval lecturesthat I did at Westminter Semeri and ironically, I like on a number ofthings. I've changed my opinion, so people say how could you possiblybelieve Don Scotis was a good thing. I Say I don'td. I was young and stupidand naive and now I've changed my opinion. I do think that late medievalnorminalism and voluntrism without going into the details of whatthey mean, essentially what they do to the way people think about the world isget rid of of the idea of essences, get rid of the idea that we have built intous a particular end or purpose. We become sort of stuff. If you like, notpeople who have a particular end and purpose, that's a fatal movetheologically. I do think that's a problem but yeah to go back to myearlier career as a churchs story, and much of my study of John Oeen was anattempt to demonstrate the Tomism, which I think has an emphasis uponessences and ends, and teliology was alive and well in reformed Orthodoxy inthe seventeenth century, and I believe it's not my area, but I believe thesame could be said for Luther and Orthodoxy as well. So I would want tocounter Catholic criticisms by saying you know we're all part of the problem and insome sense we're all part of the solution as well. It just depends whichparticular bits you pick on. If medival Catholicism had not done such ahopeless job, the reformation would not have been necessary. Did thereformation further exacerbate certain problems?Possibly certainly it led to the sort of breaking up at the church, but maybethe printing press was going to do that, because we know that, as literacy ratesincrease, people start to think more independently and become morepolitically revolutionary. So the story that you know your book is a story ofhow protestantism screw did all that now, I would say it's a story of howWestern culture got screwed up, of which Catholicism and Protestantism areboth partly at fault, and I do think that one of the dangers for people who like to do intellectualhistory, which is all of us, is we can neglect the role that technology plays,and you just mentioned it, and you said...

...before you know you talk about cars e.What has had more of an impact on our world in community that cars or thepill has been widely discussed. But you talk about the printing press or thethe ease by which people, even in early modern period, could begin to travel orthat waterways were more navigable once you have countries interacting morewith other countries, you're unleashing a whole set of new ideas andcircumstances, and how do we have trade with one another if their enemies andheretics and we can't even trade goods with them? How do we maintain to I meanthis is what grocious is trying to unpack, so there's a lots of otherfactors that play. I want to picky back on Collins question, because some I'veheard some people say Carl, and hopefully you find this gratifying. I think you could make this case thatyour book here is is maybe the finest analysis, culturalanalysis by a Protestant in the last fifty years. So take that as a nicecompliment. One of the things I noticed in the book is that you don't rely alot on Protestant thinkers. I mean you have Charles Taylor, you have reefyou've mentioned you have alister macantar. We haven't talked about himyet so is that indicative of Protestantsnot being very good at this sort of thing? Is that indicative of yourinterests or would we have seen more Protestants if you were trying to givea constructive alternative and then you would go into Bovangcor, whoever fromthe reform tradition yeah? Why is it that Protestants haven't done this wellor are we just missing the folks who have that's a good question? I have wondered about this. You knowthis is the Best Protestant book you know on this for fifty years. If that'slike, say you know, isjust like the giantest skyscraper, I,where Justin lives in Iowa, or something like that, it'sn OA, Nice,retie, Righti, think there are good promistents out there who thought aboutculture. Obviously I mean osguinis would be one name that comes to mind. Ithink James Davison Hunter is a protestant. I think that's the case, David Ills, Coi well with churchculture, yeah and the interesting thing about David was when I was, I actuallythought of his workas as an example of how the sexual revolution has caught usall by surprise. In that you know, David's books were very influential onme in the NIES really formative on the way I thought, but from memory hehardly touches on the sexual revolution. It's not really something at that'sgoing to have an impact on the church, and that's not a criticism of DavidScholarship at all that', simply saying that this whole thing is as absolutelyblindsideed blindsided us. So in terms of Protestants writing on the specificissues. I've looked at know that there aren't many out there and James Davison.Hunter, of course, is more sociological in many ways than the than I would be. So there is that there has been a lack.I think Catholicism for all of I'm a Protestant for all ofits problems. O itsy does have a vibrant history of social teaching anda vibrant history of reflection upon the importance of the body, thephysical body, for what it means to be human and, of course, those. Those arethings that are central to my narrative in many ways, and therefore I foundmyself drawing on on Catholic material. Quite a lot, and one of the pleas Imake at the end is it's it's time for Protestants to start thinking aboutsome things that that Catholicism has has wrestled with for many years andwe're nor playing catch up on...

Yehwe need. We need more Michael Hanbys,Michael Hanby. Does such wonderful work on the role of technology ind theunderstanding of a human personood? I was of all of the jacket commendations, theone n when Michael Hanbys came in remember. Turning to my wife and saying,I think the book must make sense, because Michael Hanby, like it is cot,Wowe need more Protestants. I think addressing these kind of issues, and Ihope my book provides some grounds and material for doing that. It's verygratifying to see Protestants picking it up and enjoying it. Well. I hopethat that is a a trigger for more Protestants. Doing more of this work yeah. I think that's true and I'll getto a question here at the end of this, but it just got me thinking. You knowwhen you're in, like when I was in high school and I did cross country in track,and we were always really bad at our school and cross country and trackbecause all of the most of the really good athletes onte to play football inthe fall and they want to Blay baseball in the spring, and I think a similarthing can happen with. Let's just take reformed evangelicalism we whatwhat'sprized in our tradition, is certainly preaching reform. dogmatics. We produce a lot ofpeople who can do that. Well, broader evengecal tribes, certainlydiblical scholarship, ind commentaries, good churchmen and pastors. So all ofthese things you know evangelist. We have people to save. All of these.Things are really good and you know I'm going to put up our with all theproblems we have with preaching I'm going to put up our preachers withCatholic priest giving homilis any day, but one of the things that I thinkwe've not been encouraged as much is this sort of, and this gets to myquestion Karl, the sort of work that relies on for lack of a better term natural lawor just that natural law thinking. So some of the books that you know, Robbie George and his crew ofpeople have done Yowryan Anderson on marriage and someof those things you know from a Protestant perspective you say well, wecould use some more Greek exogesus and that's true, but that's a differentkind of book in the sort of work that they're doing from that natural law.Tradition, I think, is something that Protestants could rightly reclaim aspart of our own traditiona. I mean you find Turriton. I mean the Great Turitantalking about the importance of philosophy and natural laws, a handmadeinto theology. So I was interested that at the end of the book you raise thatas one of the things along with the theology of the body. Why do you thinkthat sort of thinking is important? Even if, as you admit, it's probablynot going to convince your opponent? I think it's important because it'sgoing to help us talk to our young people about these issues. Again myexperience of the the students at Grove. They greate students, many of them I'm GONTA sound. I was GOINGTO, behorribly Eve angelical at this point, but I don't mean that at all you knowwhat I mean, I'm going to say an uncharacteristic of myself this, butthey love Jesus. They love Jesus. They love the Bible. They want to live theirlives for Jesus wherefor, all of those things on this podcast and I'm for allof them too. But but you know, behind a stern English demeanor, you K, Oyeahpee character. I bringim caterious joy. Yes, these kids, they theyre. They got allthis, but of course they have the huge pressures of the world pressing in onthem. They've all got gay friends. Now many of them have you know transgenderpeople that they know and are friendly with and there's a sense in which justtelling them well it's wrong, because God says so in the Bible. They knowthat intrutively that, yes, that's...

...enough, but it's helpful for them tohave a deeper understanding of WHA IU. Does God say that just because he had abad day, you know he's just decidethat. He wants to be mean to my friends orother reasons. Deeply embedded within the structure of creation itself. Thatwould t would lead uts to make sense, for God to say that and that's why Ithink natural law comes in, and you know Robbie Georgeis Book Right.Anderson's book is a great example of that I remain. I've never met that.Maybe somebody out there. I've never met a proponent of gay marriage whoread that book and was persuaded yeah and yet I think it's an unanswerablebook, but I've never met anyone who was persuaded to change their mind by thatbook. What I have met a Christians who will say it really did confirm me that yeah theChurch has got the Bible right and that's not to sat natural reason as anauthority alongside or above scripture, but it was pedagogically helpful andthat's where I think that it's going to be useful for for Protestants to toreflect on natural. I love the work my friend David Van Drunin is doing and that his work is now getting morewidely read and more widely accepted. I think crossway published his living inliving between two kingdoms or living in the two kingdoms. That's a book. Irecommend all the time to students who ask me about about ethics and therelation of the heavenly and the earthly, and I think that stuff has ahugely positive function for Christians who have faith but theyrseeking understanding. So hopefully more more Protestants willbe doing this kind, of wit, my friend, Adelane Allen. A Trinity Law School inCalifornia is doing great work on sorregacy and the ethics of artificial insemination. These arethings that Protestants need to have an opinion on as a pastor. I was alwaysglad that I was never fate. I was never faced with the couple in my my officewho desire something good desire to have a child, but don't know whether it's ethical to have in vitrofertilization. I wouldn't have known where to begin to think about thatissue. It's great that we've got Protestants beginning to wrestle withthese issues that I think in invitro. Fertilization requires some engagementwith natural law, because it's it's so far removed from the immediate teachingand vision of the Bible that we need some help in understanding how generalbiblical principles play out in terms of the nature, the natural and theadvice that we would give to people in that situation. So let me follow upwith the practical question, then we'll get Colin and Justin will and thenwe'll try to wrap things up and not keep you for the second hour, thoughwe're tempted to do so. So let me set the scenario. This is a true scenariofror my life, but it could be multiplied and I'm sure many of ourlisteners lives. I was back when I lived in Michigan. Our kidswent to the public school and you can thank me or hate me for that, but mine did to Boto Michigan, but inYeoyeah and there we love our Christian school here, but I served on ourdistricts sex education committee. It was, I think, still is a law inMichigan that you needed to have a clergy member serve on your sexeducation committee and it you can imagine it was the people h, o signedup for that were always liberal clergy and somehow somebody within theadministration. I think he was a mormon, maybe got tipped off and and said Kevin.I would you want to do this and I foolishly said yes and you're at Ground Zero, talkingabout curriculum and most of the time...

...you're just trying to be politicallysavvy enough. Okay will cross our sort of church based group from coming in totalk about absidence if you cross off Planne parenthood from coming in andtalking about abortion you're just trying to mitigate your losses. But Iremember very well talking about this new curriculum and somebody on thecommittee just says with all the matter of factness as if they had said youknow that it snows in Michigan, they said well, everyone knows that sex andgender are completely different things. Everyone knows that you can be assignedone sex at birth and decide to be a different gender, and this was saidbecause we were looking at a curriculum that wasn't that old. I mean it wasfifteen years old, but it was old enough that it still didn't have thatin it and people wanted this new understandig. So in that moment I thought, is there anything I can say.If I come to this context, O say here: I got a Bible verse. I could do thatthat let's say what that's what we expect from the pastor. I don't have you know a two hour seminar to try towalk through Rousseau. Is there anything in that moment if you've gotthirty seconds to make somebody even wonder about possibly wanting to thinkabout hearing more to think differently. Do you have any advice, becauseChristians are increasingly find themselves in those situations on thespot? What do I say not to convince someone, but maybe, as as oh now, is the losing my trick ofmine, who I'm going to quote here but says you put a pebble in somebody'sshoe and then later they walk off Yeah Granywi, gred COKOA. Thank you. Sorry,Greg any advice, that's a tough one. I would say the great thing about that particularissue is, of course you can cite people who are not Christians, who clearly think that sex and Genderatightly connected Jemain gria would be one. There is a an organization. I can give you thelink. Actually, if you wanted link to it from this podcast, it's called hands across the isle,which is run by a friend, a friend of mine and a radical feminist who wasfired for asserting the TI SA connection between sex and gender fromthe the radical feminist newspaper that she worked for the provides materialthat addresses that clearly, not in a specifically Christian way. They, myfriend The lady, is a Roman Catholic, but that the Familius lady is has nointerest in religion whatsoever. So there is material out there, but Iwould say the the best way to do that. The O is perhaps just to pull out ofthe bag. A sauce like that that that throws a spanner in the works and itdoesn't just sound like well, I'm quoting a Bible verse. Actually, I'mquoting Germaine Gareer here she 's a radical feminist or I'm quoting handsacross the aisle, and they would tell you that you know from a secularperspective. This can have some very bad consequences. Yeah O that's good,and- and even if that allows you to say, might we be able to have time at a future meeting where wecould each here even five or ten minutes, and talk about this even omake the step to acknowledge. There is a debate about Yain. Any context is thesmall win we may need yeah under. There are plenty of feminists out there thatyou could bring in to make that point for you, where it would be clearly nota Paten roling back there. A few yearsago, yeah she'Si mean well the great thingabout her. Is Sheis wealthy enough to do it and get away with it teachers inthe public school system. They they don't have the ability to to throw their weight around like shedoes, but but that's not a bi little.

What she's done all power to Er elbowon this one Calin and then Justin? You got a finalquestion. I'm going to pass. I think I took up about four questions on theWilliamvackem one, so Justin, Yoca, Justin Carli got an email from a friend today.That said, why is Carl triman against lament and lamentos bivical? Whydoesn't he want to lament more whatd? You say that it is it something good but not sufficient.Hey I wrote. Is it just your brother thing? I written that I get moreletters baut than heg else was a little piece Col, what Cam Miserable Christian,senming yeah of Lamen Mat and I'm from a Scottish salm singing background. Wethe ment all the time now I think my I'm not against limit,but I was I'm against the kind of lamentation that a lot of Christiansengag in that that ends up being kind of therapeutic. It's a fine line,sometimes between lamenting the situation and saying I thank you, Lord,that I'm not like other men, and I didn't want this book to be the world's going to a hell in ahandcup. But I thank you, Lord, that you know I get it and that's why I'mlamenting about it so thoroughly. Clearly, I think there is a definite place forlament in the Christian life. I would say that that our attitude towards thesexual revolution, these Ay, we shouldn't be surprised, but we shouldbe shocked. We shouldn't be saddened by it. We should be saddened by thetoilets taking on on humanity by the damage it's doing to to young live soclearly, there's a placeful Amit. I just didn't think that my book was theplace to do that. I wanted the book to fulfil a different purpose. There areplenty of lamentors out there. I did not want to be one of them all rightCarol in the in an effort to truly show my expressive individualism, I'm goingto give you two thoughts and you can choose which one of the two you wouldlike to comment on for our final question: Theyre two they're, not majorthemes in the book, but th they're, very interesting, so Il let you decidewhat you want to talk about. One is at the end and you reference a book came out lastyear: Costly Obedience, what we can learn from cel from the celebate gaycommunity, and you say: okay, let's just set aside. If that's the rightlanguage to use, I don't think it is, but you rightly said: okay, that's notwhat I want to talk about what you said only in a world in which selves aretypically recognized or validated by theirsexuality and their sexualfulfilment cancelibacy be considered costly and you go on you're, not sayingthat. There's there's no price of discipleship, but you're, sayingthere's a cost for all of us and if you're married you're called tochastity. So that is a new way of thinking. I thinkfor many Christians who would instinctively read a title like that,so that's one option: HERE'S A second option! If you want to talk about,maybe you saw in the latest issue of first things: Mary ever Stot has an article about the furies of thefatherless and she's kind of written about this before an some of her booksthat we tend to think that our theology shapes our view of the family and oneof her arguments is it's actually our family that is shaping our theology areoften oure family pathologies that are shaping our theology or our philosophy, and youand she talks about some current leaders in sort of the antiracistmovement and also the all right and sort of their disfunctional backgrounds,and how what they're about now is maybe feeling that void. But you could evengo through enlightenment, thinkers and notice. How many of these are men whonever raise children, John Lock and Smith- wasn't married. You point out nthe book. Rusau is Mea, he's one who had a bunch of kids and he was horrible.He shiptedg him all off to orphanishes. You could go down. Cowilliam Godwen onmarriage is awful, so...

...that's a theme that I think is worthexploring, which of those two. Do you want to talk about for our final fewminutes, I mean either of the work. I think I'll go for the second, becauseit's it's tracking with with something else,I'm thinking about. At the moment, Carter Sneed Han, the notrodameethesisthas a fantastic new bookout of what it means to be human and the point hemakes there is that than expressive individualism whichoul deal with in mybook, but from a different angle. It is fundamentally wrong because it teachesus that we are independent beings, that the individualis first and all of our social ties and connections are kind of contractual andtherefore at some level adversarial, and he sees that as playing out,particularly in the ethics of life, in terms of abortion, in terms of fertility, treatments and in terms ofend of term care, and I think what you're pointing to there is something very, very significant thatthe notion of expressive individualism grips our imaginations in some ways,because so often or the founders of of the notion didn'thave those relations of dependency that a lot of us have and Rouseau is. Thatis the superbe example of that you know sending your kids to an orphanage fiveof them. That's a death sentence, youv sentencing, five kids to infanticide.That really speaks deeply of of a perverted way of thinking abouthumanity. So I haven't I've. Only e first thing is sitting on my desk. I'vebeen doing so many podcasts. I've not had a chance to reuce this edition yet,but I think it sounds like Mary. EESHDAD is really on to something therethat the idea of dependency- it isn't justsomething you you read about in books and thendevelop in your life. It's something you experience, it's something youexperience and for those abandoned by their parents et Cetra, et CETERA.Those who have feel an adversarial feel that that most important of humanbonds, parents and children is actually adversarial. That will have a profoundeffect on how they think about themselves and how they relate to theworld. That's great, I mean not a great noteto end on Wut a great thought and I'd love for maybe maybe Callin Juston. Ican pick that up or we'll have you on again Carl. Thank you. I know you'redoing a lot of these podcasts, always a pleasure to talk. Thank you for takingthe time to do this again. The book rise, the rise and triumph of themodern self, it's four hundred and seven pages, but you you won't regret,reading it and even if you have to skip some of th, the Freidy and kinkinessyou can get to the good stuff. It's really well done. So congratulations,crossway and Carl on the book. Thank you for being with us for our regularlisteners. This is, we think the end of season two and Lord Willing will beback in the new year, maybe well drop in during the holidays, but no plans asof yet. I think the world will go on just fine without our podcast for a fewweeks, but thank you for listening and Ellen Justin. Thank you again apleasure to be with you until we all need again, lorify God enjoy himforever and read a good book.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (43)