Questioning the Unquestioned

Questioning the Unquestioned

“The most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones being argued, but the ones that are assumed.” These words, attributed to C. S. Lewis, bear serious consideration. At the moment, our society is arguing fiercely over weighty matters: government shutdowns, border walls, trade practices, and governing philosophies, to name but a few. And surely these are emotionally charged issues. But, as Lewis pointed out, these are not the most dangerous ideas; true danger lies in the ideas being assumed. And there is perhaps no greater assumption undergirding American culture, and sadly, much of Christian culture, than this: we are sexual beings.
We are sexual beings isn’t merely asserting that sex is a part of the human experience; it’s asserting that sex is everything, that sex is at the core of our being as humans, that expressing our sexual desires is at the heart of our identity. Linda Bartlett, author of The Failure of Sex Education in the Church, explains how “We are sexual beings” is really asserting: “Sexuality is our entire selves, influences us in every way, and encompasses everything.”
This assumption undergirds politics, academia, journalism, much of educational philosophy and curricula, psychology, psychiatry, and so disturbingly much more. Consider but the tip of the iceberg: various legislatures around the country are now mandating LBGTQ (lesbian, bi, gay, trans, questioning) history be taught in schools. Elementary education, in many parts of the country, includes transgender-and-same-sex-behavior-endorsing books such as I Am Jazz, Jacob’s New Dress, Mommy, Momma, and Me, and A Tale of Two Daddys. Sex education curricula in America, much of which is produced by SIECUS,[1] is now being pushed to utilize “The Gender Unicorn” or “The Genderbread Person” to erase biological sex as a meaningful concept.[2]   
Scores of colleges have entire departments dedicated to sexual orientation and gender identity studies, with courses such as “Digital Queers: Public Space, Art, and Performance in the Digital Age,” “Queer Politics and Performance,” “Queer Theories and Histories.” Numerous groups have compiled “pride lists” of LGBTQ friendly colleges and “shame lists” for colleges that hold back from a full scale endorsement. Athlete Ally, after providing LGBTQ-friendly policy suggestions for college athletic departments, now publishes praise/shame lists of schools based on their LGBTQ friendliness (Corporate Equality Index does the same for American businesses).
An increasing number of colleges are allowing a third gender designation on their college registration, and many states are now including a third gender on government IDs. Many colleges now include a preferrred pronoun (they, them, their, ve, ver, vis, xe, xem, xyr) component to freshman orientation. October marked the first “International Pronouns Day.” Organizers assert, “Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity…” Dozens of businesses and over 100 colleges endorsed the day.
Isn’t it time we question the assumption?
In January, Stanford University, amid much fanfare, unveiled its new all-gender locker room. Numerous elementary teachers across the country are coming forward as “non-binary” and insisting that their students address them not as Mr. or Ms., but as Mx.
Many segments of the church are embracing the we are sexual beings assumption. As has been documented before in this newsletter, the ELCA, for instance, has developed entire liturgies to bless same-sex unions and gender transitions. And do we even need to mention advertising and magazine covers? What, really, are they selling? And what is being used to sell? And what unstated belief are they promulgating?
These preceding paragraphs are but the tip of the iceberg. And beneath it all is the nearly unchallenged assumption: we are sexual beings. But is it true? Would it help if we studied the root of the assumption? If you dug just a little ways beneath the surface, you’d uncover the name Alfred Kinsey (1894-1965). Most people probably know him best for his two hugely influential books Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. In these works, Kinsey purported to provide scientific evidence to support the assertion We are sexual beings.
But reality tells a different story. Kinsey was passionately atheistic, even anti-theistic (strongly antagonistic toward God). He endorsed Darwinian evolution and all if its implications for sexual morality (i.e. any and every sexual expression is acceptable). He frequented nudist camps, even practiced nudism with his wife and children. He appeared nude in front of students, even watched them bathing.  He and his wife welcomed multiple sexual partners and he endorsed and practiced unmentionable, sickening sex acts.
Mr. Kinsey founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, in which his inner circle of researchers practiced spouse swapping, even filming many of their engagements supposedly for research purposes. The alleged scientific evidence behind his books was obtained through immoral and unethical methods. Among his specifically targeted interviewees were imprisoned sex offenders and prostitutes, especially those of the most perverse variety. His “research” on children is beyond description and can scarcely be described as anything but criminal and depraved.
Based on his “research,” he concluded, “there is no scientific reason for considering particular types of sexual activity as intrinsically, in their biologic origins, normal or abnormal.” This man’s “research” lies beneath the assumption we are sexual beings. It is the supposed scientific underpinnings that were used to support the assertion. And, as presented earlier, his findings were, and in many cases continue to be, largely unquestioned.
Isn’t it time we question the assumption?
Yes, sex is a part of the human experience, even having the blessing of God within the marriage of husband and wife (for the purposes of one-flesh union and procreation), but it is not of the essence of being human. If it were, we would be forced to say that Jesus was somehow less than human for not engaging in the sexual act. Further, we would insinuate that celibate singles are somehow subhuman in their celibacy.
We are wired to desire God.
Instead of accepting the assumption we are sexual beings, we would do better to confess the historical truth that we are religious beings. We are wired to desire God, to know Him, to fellowship with Him. Scripture declares that God has set eternity in our hearts, so that our hearts instinctively yearn for fellowship with Him. Knowing God precedes all else. True fulfillment is found in knowing Him and in being known by Him. Our identity is not found in any sexual behavior or preference, but in our created and redeemed status as children of God. The need to appreciate this truth cannot be overstated.
With this established, we can move forward into God’s design and will for His creation, a design and will imprinted on our bodies and in our hearts (conscience) and clearly revealed in His Word. We are male or female. There is no spectrum here. Yes, there are biological abnormalities that have resulted from the fall. Yes, there are numerous ways to express oneself as male or female, but there is no third gender option.
As male and females, our sexual organs have clearly been designed to join with their complement. It is true that we may discover our desires at odds with our bodies’ design, and we should not make light of this, for this is a great source of inner angst for those with such desires. Nor should we simply affirm the desires. Instead, we should see our misaligned desires as evidence of our fallen condition. If truth be told, we all have desires opposed to the Creator’s design and will. EVERY LAST ONE OF US.
If truth be told, we all have desires opposed to the Creator’s design and will.
The lie we are sexual beings connects sexual expression to identity, and thereby, encourages us, even requires us, to affirm and pursue these inner desires to be fully human. The truth, we are religious beings, however, encourages us to pursue the Creator’s design, to see it as good (both intrinsically a good thing and something good for us), and as best as we are able, to align our lives with the design, believing God’s design is best for human flourishing.
Yes, we will fail. Yes, we will give in to our sinful desires. But we don’t despair. We don’t give up. And we certainly don’t affirm the desires as good. We run to God for forgiveness - and God showers us with His abundant and cleansing grace! That’s why the Church exists – to offer again and again the purifying grace of God in Christ. Further, the Church exists to affirm the good of the Creator. We recognize that it is at odds with the culture and with many of the twisted desires screaming for satisfaction from within every one of us, but we confidently confess and lovingly insist that what God has called good is truly good and is the goal for which we should be aiming. So, together let us question what has been unquestioned (we are sexual beings) and confess what is true (we are religious beings). – Pastor Conner

[1] Mary Calderon (the first director of Planned Parenthood) with funds from Hugh Hefner (the founder of Playboy magazine), helped form SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States). It is the most significant driving force behind sex education in America (and even partners with the United Nations, setting global sex education standards). Its website endorses abortion as health care; homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality as healthy sexual lifestyles; and “sexually explicit” materials (i.e. pornography) as “valuable educational or personal aids.”

[2] “The Gender Unicorn” is a cartoon unicorn created by trans-activists that breaks identity down into the following categories: gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, physically attracted to, and emotionally attracted to. Notice the language of sex “assigned” at birth. Biology is meaningless; one’s inner desires are supreme. And “The Genderbread Person” offers similar categories.

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