Solas have just published a new book – (it would be a great Christmas gift) entitled “Why We Still Believe”.
The West has become permeated with a culture that doesn’t ‘do’ God. Many people assert that we have progressed, while Christians are still clinging to out-dated ideas. In Why We (Still) Believe, fourteen contributors focus on several specific contemporary attacks on Christianity, showing why they ‘continue in the faith’ (Col.1:23).
Contributors: Andy Bannister, Iver Martin, John Ellis, Vince Vitale, Maher Samuel, John Blanchard, Joe Barnard, David J. Randall, Stefan Gustavsson, Richard Lucas, David Robertson, Nola Leach, Gordon MacDonald, (the late) Gordon Wilson.
Instructive, illuminating, challenging, and encouraging, these pages will motivate every reader to a clearer and more confident Christian worldview and lifestyle.
Sinclair B. Ferguson, Author and Theologian
In a confused culture and an uncertain church, we urgently need this brave and confident clarion call. Confronting the increasingly strident challenges to faith, this is a stimulating, robust and timely response.
Jonathan Lamb, Keswick Ministries, CEO and minister-at-large
… theoretical and practical, pastoral and apologetical. I filled my copy with underlines and marginal notes, grateful for the “conversation” and the prompts for further reading and writing.
Mark Coppenger, Professor of Christian Apologetics, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
… give Christians courage, strengthen biblical convictions, and potentially open many doors to speak of Jesus with credibility, integrity and the kind of intelligent discussion where some evangelism just talks right past the target audience.
Peter Dickson, Regional Team Leader in Scotland, UCCF: The Christian Unions
You can order the book from Solas here or Amazon or Christian Focus
For free here is my chapter:!
Why I Still Believe in Humanity
As GK Chesterton once quipped – when we lose our belief in God, it is not just God we lose, but humanity. There are those who say they don’t believe in God because they believe in humanity, but what I want to suggest to you is precisely the opposite. Without belief in God humanity is at stake.
For many people in our culture the bigger picture the narrative that 21st century liberal humanism teaches. This is the narrative that is predominant in education at all levels, in the secular media and amongst most politicians. It is taught as fact; although in reality it is a big picture story that does not really fit the facts.
In contemporary Western society, secular humanism is the default religion. It is one that assumes it is just superior to every other philosophy and that it alone has the correct understanding of humanity. Through the glasses of secular humanism, the whole of humanity – who we are, our history and our present is reinterpreted.
Sex and the Church
Let me give one example. Diarmid MacCulloch recently had a three-part series on BBC2 entitled On Sex and the Church. “I think religion has got everything appallingly wrong and it has been terrible for us in sexual terms,”. The basic resume of his position is that before Christianity came on the scene, sex was a pleasure that people enjoyed in the Greco-Roman pagan paradise. But then along came Christianity, and especially St Paul and then Augustine, and lo and behold sexual repression entered into Western society. It has taken many hundreds of years, but now finally after the Enlightenment we are returning to those wonderful golden days. The only barrier remaining in the way is repressive religion, especially that of the Calvinists and the Catholics. In our brave new world people should be free to sleep with whoever they want, whenever they want. After all sex is just an appetite like eating. What’s wrong with having a smorgasbord of love? As long as we don’t harm anyone what’s the problem?
But there is another big picture. One, which, for the moment, we are still allowed to teach. One upon which the whole of our society has been based. We are currently in the process of rejecting that picture, but maybe we should stop and consider. Maybe we are not heading to a secular sexual nirvana? Maybe we are heading into the pit of hell? Maybe having rejected the truth of God for a lie, we have been given over to every kind of depravity?
What is Humanity?
Psalm 8 v.4 asks the question:
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
What is man? is the title of an essay by Martin Luther King published in 1959 in which he argues that humanity is more than an animal and less than God. It is the basic understanding of humanity that has prevailed in Europe and the West for most of the past 2,000 years. It is an understanding of humanity that is, ironically, being destroyed by our secular humanists.
When we cease to believe in God, it is not just that we lose the sense of the divine – we also lose the sense of the human. That is why the ultimate in humanitarianism, or humanism is to enable people to know God. In fact without the divine, we are missing an essential part of what it is to be human.
The Shorter Catechism sums up the biblical teaching nicely.
How did God create man?
A. God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.
- a) Gender – we are created male and female
- b) Identity – our identity is found in God.
- c) Marriage – we are created for one another.
- d) Society – we serve God, and one another by following the maker’s instructions.
But then things go wrong. The Fall of humanity described in Genesis has an enormous impact. The fallout is considerable – affecting the environment, society and our relationship with one another and with God. It disturbs, disrupts and destroys our most basic relationships.
The basic difference between humanity before the fall and humanity after, is that before the fall we lived to do the will of God, after the fall we are autonomous and seek to be as God. We do it our way. We go our own way. We are as gods – determining our own right and wrong. At least that was the promise of the devil. Autonomy is at the root of all our troubles. And autonomy is what our society demands and celebrates:
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve travelled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way (Sinatra).
Sin is rebellion against God and an assertion of our own sovereignty and authority. No Christian with any biblical understanding would ever say – it’s my body and I’ll do with it what I want!
The secular humanist worldview takes what humanists would like to be true today and interprets the past through that limited and fanciful view. The Christian worldview interprets the present through the eyes of the past. No where is this seen more clearly than in the areas of sex, sexuality and gender, to which we now turn.
In answer to the age-old question – Who am I? Our children today are being taught that sexuality is a key part, if not the key part of our identity. Media, schools and the big corporations are pushing this as a given. And yet the notion of sexuality as identity is a relatively new one stemming from the late 19th century and especially from the work of Freud in the early 20th.
In the arguments in the church about sexuality one has stood out as the most powerful. Its what I call the Lady Gaga theory – Born This Way
The initial reason for accepting the idea of an innate sexuality as normative came about because people argued – what could be wrong if God made me this way? But such a question betrays shallowness in understanding, both of what humanity is, who God is and how the fall has affected us. In more recent years the notion of a fixed sexuality is now being challenged by those who once argued that it was the very basis for accepting gay rights. Rather than ‘God made me this way’ we are now coming to a position where people get to choose their own sexuality. It becomes a question of self-identity. Fixed sexuality is becoming fluid sexuality. That’s why in Britain today although only around 1% of young people will claim to be homosexual, 2% will claim to be bisexual.
Recent studies have demonstrated: (This is from New Atlantis)
- “The understanding of sexual orientation as an innate, biologically fixed property of human beings—the idea that people are “born that way”—is not supported by scientific evidence.
- While there is evidence that biological factors such as genes and hormones are associated with sexual behaviors and attractions, there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation. While minor differences in the brain structures and brain activity between homosexual and heterosexual individuals have been identified by researchers, such neurobiological findings do not demonstrate whether these differences are innate or are the result of environmental and psychological factors.
- Longitudinal studies of adolescents suggest that sexual orientation may be quite fluid over the life course for some people, with one study estimating that as many as 80% of male adolescents who report same-sex attractions no longer do so as adults (although the extent to which this figure reflects actual changes in same-sex attractions and not just artefact’s of the survey process has been contested by some researchers).”
In this highly significant quote the gay rights activist, Peter Tatchell argues for the end of homosexuality and heterosexuality altogether.
“Overcoming homophobia will result in more people having gay sex but fewer people claiming gay identity. The medieval Catholic Church, despite all its obscurantism and intolerance, got one thing right. Homosexuality is not, it suggested, the special sin of a unique class people but a temptation to which any mortal might succumb.
He goes on to argue that anyone can and will sleep with whoever they want, not on the basis of sexuality but just simply on the basis of lust, if not ‘love’.
Tatchell is winning the argument. In a recent survey more than half of young people in Britain said they saw sexuality as fluid. The Daily Telegraph carried an article that stated that there were NO women in Britain who were exclusively heterosexual. Yes – this is the mad world that we create when we seek to remake humanity in our own image rather than God’s!
One positive thing about this is the recognition that sexuality can actually change. Although our liberal elites are a little confused on this one. On the one hand they want to ban reparative therapy claiming that it is harmful because it goes against a person’s innate sexuality, on the other hand they are now teaching that we can choose our sexuality. I think that from a Christian perspective we can recognise that our sexualities can be confused and messed up and that in a fallen world, genetic, environmental and historical factors can each play their own role.
I am greatly impressed with those Christians who have come to terms with the fact that they are attracted to people of the same sex and yet refuse to self-define as homosexual. They prefer the more accurate term ‘same sex attracted’. The Living Out website is a superb resource. http://www.livingout.org/
Lets now move on to that most crucial of relationships – marriage and the family.
Marriage and the Family
I am an IKEA Christian! I don’t have a practical bone in my body so when I go to IKEA (as little as I can possibly manage!) I take home the packaged chair, open it up, count the screws, lay out the material and proceed to build. I follow the maker’s instructions. For me that is what we need to do as humans in order to function and flourish – follow the Makers instructions.
Marriage has been under attack for some time in other ways – through serial monogamy, easy divorce and pornography. In the past few decades queer theory activists like Peter Tatchell have sought to destroy a marriage from a different angle. Just over a decade ago he even wrote an article attacking homosexuals who wanted same-sex marriage, because he wanted to destroy marriage not embrace it. He has now embraced SSM but I don’t think his opinion has really changed. All that changed was the tactics. He knows that in order to destroy marriage all that had to happen was people like David Cameron, President Obama and others agreeing to “redefine” marriage.
The Deconstruction of Gender
Those who thought that the redefinition of sexuality as an identity choice, followed by the redefinition of marriage, would be the end of the re-imaging of humanity have already been proved wrong. Now we have moved on to the destruction of gender. Most people today have been brought up in a world where we were just male and female aka Genesis. We no more got to choose our identity in terms of gender than we do in terms of skin colour or height. But this is now all changing.
The destruction of gender has come about through the adoption of the transgender movement as the cause celebre of the metro elites. It used to be the case that transgender was seen as a psychological disorder known as gender dysphoria. Now this has been removed and replaced with the politicised view that transgender has nothing to do with biology, or medical process, but is rather just a matter of self –identity. In the Western societies that accept and impose this philosophy, it all becomes about whatever anyone feels. You are, you can be, whatever you feel. Self-declaration is enough.
Why does this matter? All the evidence shows that transgender people are far more likely to self-harm, attempt suicide and have poor mental health. Some want to argue that this is because of the stigmatisation and all we need to do is change attitudes. But whilst that can clearly be a factor, it’s not by no means clear it is the only or even main reason.
If we all have the right to choose our gender, then gender really becomes meaningless. Not least because gender is not, in this theory limited to two. Now you can have your 58 genders if you wish. In fact one activist told me that there are as many genders as there are people. You realise of course what is happening when you get to that stage? You’re getting rid of gender altogether – that crucial part of being human. The practical effects of this are phenomenal. For a start it kills all women sports. It will also put to an end the government’s plans to have gender quotas in terms of politics and business. It’s how you end up with the great restroom row in the US.
The Scottish government is going to change the law to allow for non-binary gender – that is neither male nor female. In a recent article the New York Times celebrated the fact that Scotland has now become the most homosexual and transgender friendly society in the world! They cited Bob Orr, the owner of Edinburgh’s first LGBT bookshop.
“It’s extraordinary: We have started a conversation about a genderless society,” “The boundaries are going,” he said. “And that was always the point — that sexuality ceases to matter.”
Again what is happening here is that gender is moving from identity to being self-identity. One aspect of this is the use of non-binary pronouns of which there are many! In New York there are now 31 protected gender identities. (Facebook offers you 58). You can be fined if you refuse to use the preferred pronoun. It is not just that speech is being confused; it is that freedom of speech is being taken away. In our attempt to become as God we are creating a new tower of Babel – enforced by the State.
Caring for Children
But again we ask – where’s the harm in the gender fluidity? Apart from the mass confusion. For me the main thing about what is happening is that it is a form of child abuse. Let me explain.
It has long been recognised that the best context in which to bring up a child from birth to adulthood is within the context of a family, and that family has normally been understood as being a man and a woman and whatever offspring they may have. Research on children in same sex households shows that normal households with a mum and a dad are by far the better context to bring up kids. It should not be surprising to those of us who follow the maxim, follow the maker’s instructions that children do better with mum and dad. “For couples with children, the dissolution rate for same-sex couples is more than double that of heterosexual couples.”
Children are a special case when addressing transgender issues. It is important to realise that only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood. 84% of those who identify as Transgender in childhood revert to their biological sex in adulthood.
I think that transgender people need help. It is a genuine psychological condition. But there is a world of difference between realising that a small group of people need help and support and thinking that this justifies attempting to change the whole way we view ourselves and bring up children.
Let us ask the question again – Where’s the harm?
Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse. Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to “gender clinics” where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs. This, in turn, virtually ensures that they will “choose” a lifetime of carcinogenic and otherwise toxic cross-sex hormones, and likely consider unnecessary surgical mutilation of their healthy body parts as young adults. (The American College of Paediatricians)
Let me put it very simply and quite straightforward. When the Scottish government say that they are going to enforce and promote a radical culture that says that children can choose their own gender, they are engaging in organised, systematic, state enforced child abuse. And in case you think this is some kind of fanciful horror story from the future – let me tell you about one seven year old girl who came home from school the other week and told her parents that she had been taught in school she could choose whether she wanted to be a boy or a girl. This is happening now.
It is important to understand that in in our post-truth society the promotion of transgender and gender fluidity has nothing to do with facts or truth. It is political and sexual ideology being imposed on the rest of us by those who regard themselves as the cultural and social elites. Their position is ‘right’ and anyone who dares question it is obviously an idiot, or a homophobe or a transphobe – and probably all three! The BBC for example are now proposing to indoctrinate children into this ideology through their children’s channel.
This gender fluid/gender identity revolution will have a tremendous impact upon society. There is a price to be paid for the enforcement of this ideology.
There is a cost in terms of political freedom and democracy –
One of the key issues here is that we are moving from a Christian liberal democracy based upon the understanding of all human beings made equally in the image of God, to a human rights democracy where human rights are treated like a religion and where these human rights are defined by the elites, and moreover are constantly changing. What is happening is that democracy is being done away with. The new ideology will be enforced by the legal system and the police. We now have ‘protected beliefs’ which it has become illegal to refuse to promote, even if you don’t agree with them.
The same thing happens in the media and in general culture. The Dundee book prize was recently won by an American author whose book was a coming out story about a trans teenager. The BBC have had a series of documentaries and news items about Trans subjects. I remember one news item I was involved in, where they sent a film crew to record my thoughts and broadcast 20 seconds of it in an item lasting almost five minutes. Most of the rest of the time was taken up with a sympathetic story portrayal of a transgender couple. Nice narrative v’s short nasty religious soundbite. It was propaganda at its worst. And it never stops. And all this for less than 0.1% of the population. This narrative is now being taught through our media, soap operas and social media. Woe betide anyone who dares challenge it.
This new sexual philosophy of humanity is being reinforced in our politics through government-sponsored lobbying agencies to ensure that everyone has to stay on track with their new philosophy of humanity.
And above all it has become the focus of our education system. There is a massive experiment in social engineering that is beginning at the school near you soon, if it has not already begun. We are told that the police should come into schools and talk about homophobic and transphobic crimes.
I know of a primary school that was setting up (unknown to the parents) a children’s LGBT committee to ensure right attitudes – why does this remind me of Chairman Mao’s little Red Brigades? And where the signposts saying boys and girls were being removed from the toilets. A government funded agency has given another group £200,000 to spread their propaganda, which amongst other things promotes puberty blockers for pre-teens and urges teachers not to use the terms boy/girl/he/her! This is not the future – this is happening now.
There is a cost in terms of economics. It costs around £40-£50,000 per year for each child refugee taken into care. These children are refugees from war and poverty. And in my view it is correct that a wealthy nation like ours does all we can to help. There are hundreds of such children. But there are hundreds of thousands of children who are refugees and victims from the war on marriage, the attack on humanity, coming because of humanities pride and arrogance in seeking to go against the Makers instructions. Who is counting the cost of the social disintegration that is occurring because of the foolish attempt not only to reinvent the family, but also to reimage humanity?
Where are we going?
If we take away humanity made in the image of God, if we try to re-image according to our own imaginations, then we will continue to go down this road to hell. CS Lewis saw this decades ago. The third part of his sci-fi trilogy, That Hideous Strength, described with eerie precision where we are going.
What’s the next cause celebre for those who are seeking to unmake humanity? I suspect it will be trans-human. In terms of the continuing attack on marriage it will be polyamory and polygamy. I also suspect that incest will become increasing acceptable, with sympathetic depictions in the media being followed by some celebrity cases and justified by the ‘love means love’ tag. A while ago I spoke at a debate in Aberdeen. The older people present including a gay couple that I got on really well with, agreed with my statement that polygamy and incest would be a step too far. But what astounded me was that a significant number of the under thirties could not see a problem. And indeed given the criteria for SSM (why stop people who love one another from marrying) there is actually no logical reason to prevent that.
What about paedophilia? This is different. This is the big one. For some reason after the 1970’s paedophilia became the great sin – only to be overtaken in recent years by homophobia. I thought this would remain the case but I have now changed my mind. In my view within the next decade some forms of paedophilia will become acceptable. Already the first steps are being made.
It’s a sexuality. In July 2010, the Harvard Mental Health Letter of July 2010 stated that “paedophilia is a sexual orientation and unlikely to change. Treatment aims to enable someone to resist acting on his sexual urges”.
In 2015 the American psychiatric Association classified paedophilia as a sexual orientation. It is now described as being ‘minor attracted persons’. Several years ago, at the end of a debate on gay adoption I was accosted by some Peter Tatchell supporters. Much to the horror of my opponent they told me that if they babysat my children (then aged eight and seven) they would teach them to ‘experiment sexually’ because that was good for children.
In 1983, while addressing the paedophile North American Man/Boy Love Association, or NAM/BLA, a prominent gay rights activist said the following:
“It seems to me that in the gay community the people who should be running interference for NAM/BLA are the parents and friends of gays. Because if the parents and friends of gays are truly friends of gays, they would know from their gay kids that the relationship with an older man is precisely what 13-, 14-, and 15-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world. And they would be welcoming this, and welcoming the opportunity for young gay kids to have the kind of experience that they would need.”
Not only polygamy and paedophilia but also increased acceptance of pornography and prostitution (what is now classed ‘sex work’ as though selling your body was somehow a job) are on the cards. Because we no longer believe in God, we no longer believe in humanity and thus the boundaries which recognise our humanity are slowly being removed. Because of this I also believe that we will end up with increased abortion and with euthanasia. Why? Because children in the womb who are unwanted become inconvenient and older people who are unproductive become inconvenient.
Our rejection of God means that we are also rejecting:
- Rationality, Logic and Truth – We were made logos in the image of the Logos. We were made in knowledge, righteousness and holiness. When we reject the source we also will ultimately lose the fruits. So we are moving from a world where rationality, logic and truth are presupposed to one where irrationality, confusion and lies are the predominating factors. What we feel is true matters far more than what is true. In this crazy mixed up world it means that if I feel that I am a 5-foot Chinese woman, then I am a five-foot Chinese woman. This is what the post-truth world is.
- Family, Church and Society– Will be replaced by individuality, corporation and disintegration.
- Love, peace and goodness will be replaced by hatred, strife and immorality.
Yeah, my blood’s so mad, feels like coagulatin’,
I’m sittin’ here, just contemplatin’,
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
Handful of Senators don’t pass legislation,
And marches alone can’t bring integration,
When human respect is disintegratin’,
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’,
And you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
Ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.
(Barry McGuire – Eve of Destruction)
I believe in God because I believe in humanity. I believe in humanity because I believe in God. Perhaps its better to say that I am more concerned about individual human beings than ‘humanity’ in general. Even as I have been writing this I have been thinking of individual stories of those who are affected by these issues;
The student who had been raped, the confused transgender teenager, the transgender lecturer and transgender lawyer I met some 25 years ago. I often speak with those who face homosexual temptations or those who have committed adultery. There are people who trapped in Internet porn, those who are victims of child sexual abuse and those who think they have to prostitute themselves to make a living. Each a human being made in the image of God.
As well as the individual stories there are what I call ‘the middle stories’, the cultural trends – one year its sexuality, another its trans….what will it be next year? We don’t counter this by Christendom, by British values, or American values or Scottish values. We need to go to the real big story.
The Big Story is of course the Gospel. The Good news of the God who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. The good news of the God who first of all created humanity and saw it spoiled by sin and evil, and now is re-creating humanity in his image. Because I believe in this God who is the Saviour of the world, I know that humanity has real hope.
All you need is Love
There is so much ugliness in this world. So much brokenness and much of that is expressed in, and increased by human brokenness and relational and sexual dysfunction. Can the lost be redeemed? The ugly made beautiful? Yes there is the ultimate makeover. God is love. And his way is the way of love. The way of Christ is the way of beauty. This has been the message of the good news since the New Testament and it remains our message today. It is summed up by the African church leader, Augustine in his Homily Nine on 1 John
“ let us love, because he first loved us. For how should we love, except he had first loved us? By loving we became friends: but he loved us as enemies, that we might be made friends. He first loved us, and gave us the gift of loving him. We did not yet love him: by loving we are beautiful……. But our soul, my brothers, is unlovely because of iniquity: by loving God it becomes lovely. What a love it must be that makes the lover beautiful! But God is always lovely, never unlovely, never changeable. He who is always lovely first loved us; and what were we when he loved us but foul and unlovely? But he did not leave us foul; no, but he changed us, and out of the unlovely makes us lovely. How shall we become lovely? By loving him who was always lovely. As the love increases anew, so the loveliness increases: for love is itself the beauty of the soul….. How do we find Jesus beautiful?
Secular Humanism will lead to the destruction of humanity…Christianity leads to the re-creation. That is why I believe in God, because I am a real Humanist.
Solas Website – www.solas-cpc.org
Rosaria Butterfield – Tales of an Unlikely Convert
Sam Alberry – Is God Anti-Gay?
Thomas Schmidt – Straight and Narrow
Ed Shaw – the Plausibility Problem
Mark Yarhouse – Understanding Gender Dysphoria
Vaughan Roberts – Transgender.
CS Lewis – That Hideous Strength.
David Robertson – Magnificent Obsession, The Dawkins Letters.
Living Out Website – http://www.livingout.org/