Regis Nicoll

Freelance Writer, Speaker, Worldview Teacher, Men's Ministry Leader

Gender Identity Idiocy

Before Kaitlin Jenner there was Rachel Levine.

Levine is a biological male who has been transitioning to female over the last decade. Levine is also a medical specialist in eating disorders with nearly thirty years of experience in pediatric psychology.

In 2015, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf appointed Dr. Levine as state physician general, explaining that “her” knowledge and expertise is important for placing “equal emphasis on behavioral and physical health issues.”

Like his anorexic patients, Levine has a disorder caused by feelings that are at odds with his body. But, whereas, Levine treats his patients by encouraging them to accept their bodies and change their feelings, he treats his own disorder by rejecting his body and accepting his feelings (a decision which, no doubt, contributed to his divorce from his wife of 30 years).

Levine fails to see that if he is right about himself, so is the 90-lb teenager who believes she is fat, as well as the man who believes he’s a dog. This is the person who is setting health policy for the state of Pennsylvania.

While the incongruity has been lost on Levine and the governor, it hasn’t on at least one of the Levine’s former patients: “Dr. Levine is sending the wrong message… since I am a diagnosed anorexic but still feel I am fat does this allow for me to continue to lose even more weight or… to seek out surgery to change the way I see myself?”

If only the cognitive dissonance was as readily recognized and called out. Read on here.

There are Christians of my acquaintance who are against the legalization of same-sex “marriage” and its threat to religious liberty, but cannot see how their attendance at a gay friend’s wedding would undermine those values and their Christian witness. Quite the opposite, they believe that declining the invitation would be hurtful to their friend and contrary to the ethic of Christian love.

Although homosexuality affects only about two percent of the population, most people know someone—a coworker, friend, cousin, son, or daughter—who is gay or lesbian. As more gays take to the altar, the chance that you will be invited to a ceremony becomes increasingly likely. Before you receive an RSVP, it is essential to think through a few questions: Read here. 

It was the latest defection from biblical orthodoxy by a prominent Evangelical Christian leader. When columnist Jonathan Merritt asked Eugene Peterson whether he would perform a same-sex “wedding” for a Christian couple of “good faith,” The Message bible author answered, “yes.”

Peterson’s flip on gay pseudotrimony created an immediate firestorm in the Christian blogosphere, prompting the former pastor to “flop” the next day, telling Christianity Today,

When put on the spot by this particular interviewer, I said yes in the moment. But on further reflection and prayer, I would like to retract that. That’s not something I would do out of respect to the congregation, the larger church body, and the historic biblical Christian view and teaching on marriage.

Peterson’s abrupt flip-flop raises some legitimate questions, especially, as Merritt claims, he made “no attempt to clarify or change his answer” in the week prior to publication of their interview. For instance,

Was his “flip” the result of a lack of conviction in the biblical standard or a lack of courage defending it?

Was his “flop” the result of market pressure from threats to ban and boycott his books, or in the realization that he had experienced an unfortunate “senior moment”?

Most importantly, what does Eugene Peterson really believe about marriage and homosexuality?

According to Merritt, “several prominent pastors, authors and theologians” he had talked to beforehand, “intimated that Peterson had told them privately that he was affirming of same-sex relationships.” Their intimation was confirmed not only by Peterson’s unqualified, three letter response, but also by his praise of his former congregation for hiring an openly gay man as music director, suggesting his approval of non-celibate gays as church members and leaders.

Perhaps, most telling is what Peterson has to say in the popular version of the bible he authored, The Message. In contrast to standard bible versions in which injunctions against homosexuality in Romans 1:26-271Timothy 1:10-11, and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11are plain-stated and unambiguous, The Message wags at those who “use and abuse sex,” live irresponsibly, and are “all lust, no love.”

Peterson does not give a rationale for these positions, other than say:

“I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over… but [as to homosexuality and same-sex marriage] it’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.” I wonder if that applies to non-marital heterosexual relationships, as far as he’s concerned.

Peterson’s comments remind me of Seventh-Gay Adventists, a documentary about homosexuals in the Seventh Day Adventist community. Like the gays of Peterson’s acquaintance, the film’s homosexuals are all “good” people... Continue reading here. 

I have yet to meet an atheist (and I’ve met and had lengthy conversations with quite a few) who didn’t believe that really smart people (like him) don’t believe in God. It’s a sentiment seemingly supported by various polling data.

According to a 2017 Pew survey, belief in God is lower among college-educated individuals than among those having no college. Other polls have found that most scientists, including an overwhelming percentage of those in the National Academy of Science, deny the existence of God.

Thus, as Richard Lynn, professor of psychology at the University of Ulster and religious skeptic, sees it: belief in God is “simply a matter of IQ”—that is, the more intelligent you are, the less likely you will be inclined to religious belief.

Of course, that all depends on what one means by intelligence. In fact, as a friend of mine once quipped: “Can a person who flunks the test to the most basic question in life (‘is there a God?’) be considered intelligent?” Right, because everything we “know” about the world, human nature, moral ethics, and life’s purpose hangs on what we believe about their source.

But what is “intelligence?” Surprisingly, there is no unanimous agreement, except, it is whatever intelligence tests measure.

From a survey of standard dictionary definitions, intelligence is associated with the ability to learn and use knowledge. The American Psychological Association calls it, “[The] ability to understand complex ideas, to adapt effectively to the environment, to learn from experience, to engage in various forms of reasoning, to overcome obstacles by taking thought.” But perhaps the most comprehensive definition is found in “Mainstream Science on Intelligence.

“Intelligence is a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Ratherit reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—‘catching on’, ‘making sense’ of things, or ‘figuring out’ what to do.”

In short, intelligence is inextricably connected with worldview: the mental model we use to “make sense” of the world. Consequently, a person who subscribes to a worldview that aligns with the way the world really works, could be said to possess real intelligence, while a person who endorses a faulty worldview, could be said to demonstrate artificial intelligence.

In one of my discussions with an atheist, I was informed that, unlike the “God hypothesis,” naturalism is free of untestable, unfalsifiable theories. To which, I responded, “naturalism brims with such, sustained by nothing other than the will to believe.” Continue reading here. 

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