We have officially finished through the five principles from Finding Truth by Nancy Pearcey. I tried to throw in some personal story examples as we were going to make it a bit more applicable, but I think we can do a bit more in that regard. I think it might be helpful to wrap up this series by looking at a couple articles, and applying the five principles we’ve been discussing in order to analyze the worldview being presented.
The first article is one from the Washington Post entitled “Brains aren’t actually ‘male’ or ‘female,’ new study suggests“.
The first step in the process is to identify the idol. When I’m reading this, there are a number of clues which lead me to believe that the author holds to the idol-based worldview of materialism. If you recall, on a materialistic worldview, everything comes down to our brains and their acting on the laws of physics. In other words, brain studies are extremely important. You might even say that neuroscience is their version of theology. Now, studying the brain can be beneficial regardless of worldview, but there are some interesting things going on in this article that go beyond that.
If materialism is the worldview of the author, then step two would be to identify that idol’s reductionism, right? It’s important to realize that this article has a very definite purpose. It is in service of the moral/sexual revolution that is in full swing, and they are rather blatant about that purpose.
That’s exciting news for anyone who studies the brain or gender. And it’s a step toward validating the experiences of those who live outside the gender binary.
Why is it important to realize this purpose? Materialism has many things that stick out of their box, which is made more obvious when in contention with Christianity. The Christian worldview recognizes male and female differences as being part of our complementary creation style. However, if there is no Creator (as Materialism states), then there cannot be anything other than procreative purpose to gender, and anything that might say otherwise needs to be defined away. This is why a study like this is so important, from a materialistic point of view. If it can be shown that the brain is more like the gender spectrum, then the things that stick out of the materialist box can be explained away as illusory.
Steps three and four are testing the idol, both for internal consistency and for how it describes what we know about ourselves and the world. In the beginning of the article, the author states the conclusion of the study.
Brains, the study concludes, can’t really fit into the categories of “male” or “female.” Their distinguishing features vary across a spectrum.
So that sounds like a proof positive of their position, right? Not so fast. I found this particular statement interesting.
Brains “with features that are consistently at one end of the “maleness-femaleness” continuum are rare,” they said. “Rather, most brains are comprised of unique ‘mosaics’ of features, some more common in females compared with males, some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both females and males.”
While deliberately using parallel language with the gender spectrum/fluidity movement, it runs into the same problems. If what they are saying is true, then how are we understanding features which are definitely male or female? If we are to throw out all our old understanding of maleness and femaleness, then how do we know what conclusion to make from this study? Unless they are using objective referents for things which we all know to be male and female, all while exempting themselves from the task of explaining how, on materialism and relativism, we know those things. It would seem that this article/worldview has attempted to saw off the branch it was sitting on.
So if the worldview fails, then we move onto step five, which is to replace the idol-based worldview with the Christian worldview. How are we to do that? Here’s a good link of Albert Mohler talking analyzing the article, and following through to step five. Ultimately, we must point to the fact that gender differences are not a bad thing, and that there is meaning to our being made male and female that extends beyond mere reproduction. We are made in the image of the God who is there, and we reflect His glory in our maleness and our femaleness.
Finally, what about an article that is a little more local? This article from the Rapid City Journal brings the controversy surrounding transgender students to our back yard. As a practice, I’m going to leave this one for you to analyze. Here’s a freebie tip on a couple statements that caught my eye as I was reading it.
This is also an issue that, frankly, many people find awkward and confounding. Most of us cannot profess to know or understand the issues involved with changing one’s gender identity. This is, obviously, a genuinely profound personal conflict that defies easy understanding by those who haven’t experienced it.
We cannot truly appreciate the inner struggle that leads to this kind of decision, which can never be made lightly. We know what seems logical, but what does that mean for those people for whom such “logical” guidelines do not apply? Thus, finding a clear, workable solution can be difficult.
So how about it? Do you feel like you are more prepared to analyze any worldview? I hope so. If not, remember to pick up Nancy Pearcey’s book Finding Truth, as she goes through all of this in a lot more detail than I did.