Avoiding the CRAS 

​“GRAS” is a government label which stands for “Generally Recognized As Safe”. Many things are labeled as GRAS but are only safe to a certain point, or are not safe at all. But the government is too lax to change the label, so the products or compounds continue in public use.

I propose we create a label for things that are commonly called sin that really are not sin. “CRAS” would be a good acronym for these things. Things “Commonly Regarded As Sin” include drinking, dancing, long hair on men, short hair on women, nudity, being drunk, use of birth control, saying certain words, anger, telling untruths to evil people, women wearing pants, men wearing anything but pants, and on and on.

Some of these things are sin after a certain threshold is met, or under certain circumstances, or when done by certain people. But the church and church culture at large is too lax to discriminate and to stop labeling these things as sin. So people continue to fight them even though they’ve never truly examined why they are so opposed and the people that engage in them are still labeled sinners.

I won’t argue that ALL people can do ALL CRAS things. Each of us have our own struggles with various sins. For some of us alcohol is a stumbling block, for others it’s nudity in art or temptations to lose our temper sinfully. Anything can be sin to depraved people, honestly. 

A few of those things I list probably surprise a few of you. Either you regard them as sin at any level and think I’m being antinomian in saying they are not, or you have never heard them called sin. All of the things listed above I have read and heard called sin. Some of them have been the topic of heated Facebook debate, with me usually on the minority side.

Each of us need to listen to our conscience and follow what it says we should and should not do. But we need to be careful not to bind the consciences of others over things that we cannot call sin scripturally. We should be gracious to those who can handle the things we can’t and stop calling them out for adiaphora.

When pointed out that there are people in scripture clearly doing the very thing they are calling sin without consequence or even at the command of God, CRAS defenders will commonly resort to saying there are exceptions. Samson’s long hair, Isaiah’s nudity, and David’s (almost naked) dancing are often explained away as exceptions to the Rule. God somehow suspended His holiness and granted permission (and command) to violate the law. 

Perhaps I am too black and white, but when there is an exception, a rule is no longer a rule, especially when it comes to sin.

People also like to change the meanings of words in scripture and say Jesus made and drank non-alcoholic wine, Isaiah was wearing underwear, or Samson’s hair wasn’t really THAT long. When pointed out that some things are relative, like hair length, they’ll say something like “well, you know what long is.” This applies to women’s dress as well with “It’s obvious when the skirt is too short” or “When too much skin is showing” or “Low cut is low cut.” 

Alcohol is also a fun topic. Some say any level of alcohol consumption is evil. Some say it’s a sin to be drunk period. But what is “drunk”? At what point does being drunk become “addicted to much wine”? How many drinks equals “drunkenness and carousing”? “Drunk” is a relative term. Do we think the wedding guests were stone sober when Jesus made the best wine in large quantities so the party could continue?  I have pointed out to some anti-drinking folks that the wine in Jesus’s day was made extra potent so that it could be mixed with water to kill microbes so the “best” wine was really the strongest. I was told that Jesus only drank heavily dilute wine. Heavily diluted wine seems to defeat the antimicrobial point of the wine in the first place.

Sinful things clearly listed in scripture as sinful are always sinful without exception. Murder, lying, theft, adultery, idolatry, incest, homosexual acts, immoderate use of food or drink, these are all obvious things listed as sin in scripture. But with CRAS things folks often have to jump through hoops to prove a sin where there may or may not be sin. Where scripture speaks, speak, where scripture does not speak, do not put words into its mouth.
The other side of “sin is sin” is “not sin can sometimes be sin.” Things not listed in scripture as sin can be sinful in certain circumstances to certain individuals. This is where the CRAS stuff falls. If it becomes idolatrous or harmful to one’s self or others it becomes sinful. If by doing it one would be violating other law (i.e. causing a brother to stumble or making a false witness of themselves) or one’s conscience (one feels x is sin, but does it anyway) then they are sinning. 

We should not take our Christian liberty to be an “anything goes” type of freedom. Those who have no problem with CRAS things should refrain from them if they are with a weaker brother or sister who cannot handle those things or around non-believers who would be turned off to the Gospel if they witness participation in such things. 

If our conscience tells us not to do something, even if scripture may not back it up, we should not do it. But we should also make sure our conscience is not left in ignorance. We need to educate ourselves so that we do not fall into the CRAS traps described above.

The bottom line with all of these things is: stop calling people sinners who may not actually be sinners. Be careful when labeling things as sins when there is little or no scripture to back you up. Don’t think that just because your conscience feels pricked by a certain thing that it is sinful for everyone. Maybe it is sinful for you because of a weakness in your character or just a spiritual struggle you’re not able to overcome. Don’t heap guilt on others just because you can’t control yourself. And don’t think that just because you are able to do them that you should do them with reckless abandon and ignore the consciences of others.

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The Transgender Illusion 

I don’t believe transgenderism is anything more than a delusion. A man cannot “feel like” a woman, he has no objective understanding of what it feels like to be a woman. 

​Just a few more thoughts about the Ryland post. I don’t believe transgenderism is anything more than a delusion. A man cannot “feel like” a woman, he has no objective understanding of what it feels like to be a woman. 

Ryland does not know what it feels like to be a boy. She has never been a boy, she has no true concept of what it feels like to be a boy. She knows she has preferences and desires that match what culture tells her a boy would have. She knows that she fits the stereotype of a boy more than the stereotype of a girl.

Given that there is no objective meaning to the term “gender”, how can we tell someone who’s struggling with gender disphoria that they are actually the opposite of their genetic sex? 

We should be telling them “no, you are what you are. Accept reality and make it the best you can.” We should not mutilate and manipulate the physical reality to make it match their delusion. That is cruel and inhumane. 

We wouldn’t tell a person with multiple personality disorder that they are in fact multiple people and then go about creating identities (driver’s licenses for each identity, families for each character, separate lives for each etc.) for them in the physical world just so they don’t have to confront their delusions. 

This is exactly what we have decided to do for the gender confused. We would rather not hurt feelings so we let them live a lie and we try to mold the physical world to fit those lies. Rylands parents would rather not hurt her feelings, so instead of saying “No Ryland you really are a girl, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy ‘boy’ things.” they bend over backwards to make the physical reality match her delusion. 

This is perhaps one of the worst symptoms of the empty philosophies of the postmodern movement in the 20th century. If there is no such thing as objective truth, who are we to tell people what reality is? 

Reality is whatever one wants it to be. If I want to be a female, despite my biology, I can just declare myself one. If we can create surgeries and pulls that can make me phenotypically one, great! 

It’s only a matter of time before “doctors” attempt to create a surgery to turn children into whatever animal they are currently pretending to be. Call this an exaggeration if you want, but some are already calling for doctors to amputate limbs to “help” those who “feel they are disabled.” It’s not much of a stretch to say that self identified “cats” will want tails installed. 

In all seriousness, telling children that their feelings dictate reality is a cruel joke. These children need help, or at the very least they need parents who will allow them to go through their phases without encouraging them to embrace whatever “reality”  they are creating in their developing minds. If your kid said he was a dinosaur would you say “oh yes, you are a dinosaur. God made a mistake and trapped you in a child’s body.”? No, the healthy thing to say is “Dinosaurs are cool. Do you want to look up dinosaur videos on YouTube?” 

If your boy says he is a girl, ask him why he feels that way. If it’s because he likes pink or wants to paint his nails, explain to him that those don’t have to be “girl things.” Offer a compromise if you’re embarrassed to be out with a son with painted nails. Maybe paint one nail, or paint them at home. Chances are it’s a novelty that will wear off pretty quickly. 

If he insists that he is in fact a girl, then I believe the humane thing to do is to get him counseling to correct his wrong thoughts. We should be treating gender disphoria as we treat any other mental illness. This is not popular in today’s “feels” driven culture, but it is right. 

 

Stop Implying That My Wife Isn’t A Real Woman

All you need to know one’s gender is what’s between their legs. 

Now that I got through my sidetrack about marriage, we can return to the previous discussion about gender norms and the nonsense views so many folks seem to have about them (though that marriage theme is far from being fully explored).

Previously I talked about how gender is not a spectrum. One is either a male or a female, behavior, tastes, preferences, or personality traits do not determine gender. We live in a culture that wants to make a big deal about these things. We no longer accept that tomboys are female or (insert word for the male equivalent of a tomboy)’s are male. In our world, they must be somewhere in the middle or are in fact the other gender. 

This woman perfectly describes this change in our culture. She grew up a tomboy, rough and tumble, doing “boy” things. Her parents didn’t read into it anymore than they had to. They didn’t lash out and push her into a more “girlish” mold. They accepted her as herself and let her eventually grow up to be (surprise surprise) a well adjusted and clearly female woman. 

It’s funny to me that she specifically points out her preference for being unshod. When growing up I didn’t know any men who enjoyed being barefoot, only females, so my preference for it led me to think I was slightly girly. 

Which leads me to this point: even our stereotypes are different depending on the family we grew up in. Those who grew up in more “conservative” homes are going to define the genders a bit more black and white than those who grew up in less strict atmospheres. 

Unfortunately those conservatives are the ones who write the Christian mommy/homemaker blogs. Those blogs tend to make women who don’t fit the mold feel marginalized and a bit less of a woman. “You mean you don’t worship your perfect kids or make your husband feel like royalty?” “You have an interest in deep theological matters and think rationally rather than living by emotions?” “You’re not a multitasker who can handle cooking a big meal and hosting a dozen other women once or thrice a week, and then cleaning up after them, all while homeschooling your eight beautiful children and ensuring that your husband’s bedroom needs and laundry requirements are met to a ‘T’?” “What do you mean, you don’t really like spending all your time with your loinfruits?” “You don’t shave? You don’t like makeup? You’d rather not get dressed up to go shopping? You don’t like shopping?!!”

Even when these aren’t explicitly stated, when one reads enough (and I have) one begins to sense a trend. If you (or your wife) doesn’t live up to these perfect women’s standards, perhaps they aren’t women at all. Perhaps God made a mistake, He made them with the wrong parts. These women are describing “Biblical womanhood” are they not? 

It’s not just women who get fed this steady stream of “if you’re not like this you aren’t Godly”. Men too have to endure the world of “Wild at Heart” and are always the subject of conferences pushing them all to be bold leaders and macho men of God. I personally get whacked with these stereotypes all the time. 

Often it comes in the form of “men do x, while women do y”. Roughly 75% of the time in my marriage we are completely the opposite. The most recent example I heard was a description of how men and women pack for trips. Men pack only what they need. Women… Well. They pack for every possibility.  I’m not saying the generality doesn’t fit the rest of the world. I’m saying we need to stop making those outside the generalities feel like sinners for being a little different. I am not trying to be a woman because I tend to overpack any more than my wife is trying to be a man when she leaves for a week with a Walmart bag of clothes and probably no toiletries. 

I tend to be emotional, my wife rational. I tend to be social and extroverted, my wife is very much an introvert and has social phobias. Neither of us are too keen on shopping though she is probably more of a shopper just because I am a miser. We both hate sports. She is a bit more mechanically inclined than I am. I clean better, cooking is a draw, and she’s the disciplinarian of the children. She likes video games and cards, me not so much. Her mind is much more focused and she tends to be the one sucked into a screen or a book while I am panicked over the kids. 

She hates makeup. She doesn’t shave. She does knit and crochet She hates cooking, but loves baking. She likes lifting heavy things. She likes spiders and reptiles. She is not a fan of mice but does not panic about them. She keeps a cool calm head under pressure and is quick to jump into leadership when a group is faltering. She often craves sex more than I do. She likes to work on cars. She detests the idea that a woman serves no other function than be a pretty decoration on a man’s arm, completely dependent on him and always concerned with appearance above all else. 

Looking around the internet at most of the Christian blogs one gets the impression that all Christian women are monolithic. There is just not a variety out there, at least not when it comes to Reformed women or women that write blogs. And those who don’t fit the mold end up being the odd woman out so to speak. 

I’m going to put this out there. My wife is all woman. Just because she doesn’t fit some cultural idea of how a woman should be doesn’t mean she is not a woman. And just because I don’t fit the typical male described on these sites does not mean I am not a man. 

Watch your implications, folks. Those who write, don’t imply that you are the definition of a godly woman. Those who read,  don’t let those implications  make you feel less like a godly woman. You are a woman. Your non-stereotypical husband is in fact a man. 

All you need to know one’s gender is what’s between their legs. 

Please be… Part 2

So many homemaker blogs tell wives that their job is to make their husbands feel respected, loved, and like he is the master of the home. They urge wives not to make him uncomfortable or expect much out of him since his life at work is so hard and stressful. They push a wife to stroke her husband’s ego. They care more about his feelings than his soul or his performance as a husband or father. This is the stuff that bugs me.

(I am not a fan of the crassness of the original post, and the use in my first post was just to make a point,  so I will refrain from it in this post since the point has been made. For part one click here: 

https://driptorchpress.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/please-be-a-butthole-wife/

Before I get a bunch of husbands mad at me, I do not advocate anyone be a jerk to anyone. I do not advise wives to rudely nag their husbands or husbands to nitpick their wives about burning dinner or not taking care of the dishes. 

The point I was trying to make is this: submission does not equal silence for either the wife of the believer or the wife of the non-believer. 

The believers wife is primarily a tool of sanctification in her husband’s life. She is iron on iron for him. She is a sister in Christ and as such she is a loving voice of correction to her brother. She is to be a gracious lover and a patient partner. If her husband is sinning it is her task to help him see it and kill it. 

I am a finite creature. I am unable to see all the sins that play in my life, I need my wife to show me my blind spots. It would be tremendously unloving for her to let me continue in my sin. 

Yes, it will be painful for a wife to confront her husband in his sin. It might hurt his feelings. I don’t think it’s painless when the elders of the church come to someone and call them out either, but it is their duty as brothers in Christ to do so.  

A lot of articles talk about being Christ to our spouse. But these articles typically only focus on “Jesus meek and mild”. Jesus is not a one dimensional character. He knew when to be gentle and He knew when to flip a table or two. He used gentle rebukes and He called people vipers. Christ exhibited incredible wisdom and discernment for us. We should learn to be like Him. For the sake of our spouse’s soul we should learn how to properly and lovingly rebuke sin. 

The role of the non-believers wife is one of a quiet sign pointing to the Gospel. Notice I said “quiet”, not “silent”. The Gospel is not sweet unless the Law is bitter, the husband of a silent woman is not going to taste the sweetness of the Gospel unless he knows there are boundaries that he has crossed. 

If she never sets up boundaries or expectations (which is what a lot of Christian marriage sites imply) he will never know he has sinned against her. Picture this: the non-believer husband goes to work and all of his coworkers are talking about their nagging wives (yes. This does happen . Shocking,  I know. ) Will he think to himself “Wow, my wife is great. She graciously takes care of everything, there must be something to  that Jesus she follows” or will he think “wow, my wife is a pushover, I have it made. I am awesome, these guys are losers.”?  Knowing the men I do it’s typically the second. 

Now, assume she doesn’t silently pick up after him and let him get away with being a slob day in and day out. Assume she sets up boundaries and asks him graciously to help her manage the household by doing little things like putting his laundry in the hamper. He knows “the law” so to speak. 

When he violates this “law” , she graciously forgives him and picks up after him. Now, his response to his coworkers is going to be “Wow, my wife is great, she is not a nag. I fail all the time to meet her needs and do the right thing, but she graciously forgives me and never speaks to me in anger about my failures. I wonder if it has something to do with that gospel she is always talking about.”

I hate to say it but the seeker-sensitive church culture has infiltrated marriage. The seeker-sensitive church doesn’t bring up sin. It doesn’t call anyone to repentance. It never challenges a soul with the Law of God before presenting the Grace of the Gospel. The seeker-sensitive church says “God loves you and has a plan for your life” and leaves it at that. Now that may fill up cushioned chairs (seeker-sensitive churches are also buttock sensitive, no pews there) and it may fill up the church coffers, but it is not winning souls or making converts. No one repents when they feel good about themselves. 

So many homemaker blogs tell wives that their job is to make their husbands feel respected, loved, and like he is the master of the home. They urge wives not to make him uncomfortable or expect much out of him since his life at work is so hard and stressful. They push a wife to stroke her husband’s ego. They care more about his feelings than his soul or his performance as a husband or father. This is the stuff that bugs me. 

I’m not saying “be a b hole and nag your husband about every wrong thing he does.” I’m saying establish boundaries and expectations and then graciously love him when he fails. 

Wives of believers: Don’t be a silent wife, speak up when your husband sins. Approach him with respect but boldness, be discerning with your words. 

Wives of non-believers: Win your unbelieving husband with your gracious forgiveness and unconditional love. Speak the Gospel with your actions and manners. 

Don’t be a *jerk. 

Please, Be A Butthole Wife

so-close
So close, yet so far away. And wow does that camera capture all the dirty spots…

I was going to write a second post about gender this week, but my wife sent this to me and it was just too much to not comment on: http://herviewfromhome.com/stop-being-a-butthole-wife/

While I understand her grief, and I even understand the sentiment about not being a nag, I just want to say: “Please, be a butthole wife.”

I say this as a husband who makes mistakes all the time, even ones he is completely unaware of. I say this as one very sinful man, living with an incredibly sanctifying and gracious woman. I say this as a man who often neglects to love his wife as he should: please, don’t let your husbands be big children. Be a butthole wife.

We are given spouses to sanctify us and shape us into the likeness of Christ, and we do that by being the iron to sharpen the iron of our spouse. Iron on iron. Not soft lead against cold steel. Not soft clay against a hard hand. We are to be one hard substance equal in strength and force to another.

Yes, there is grace, there are little battles and big battles. There are things we should just let slide for the sake of everyone’s sanity. But there are also times when we need to stand up and say “Hey, knock it off.”

If your husband is a slob, who after continually being asked (with politeness, not nagging) to please put his laundry in the hamper, continues to scrap it on the floor, he is not being Christ to you.

If he continuously ignores or downplays your needs in the bedroom and insists on getting sex whenever he wants, however he wants, he is not being Christ to you.

If your husband sits around after work and does nothing but drink beer and watch tv (or lock himself in his study to read theological tomes), he is not being Christ to you.

Your husband is a man, not a child, not a tender lump of flesh unable to withstand a little heat without charring. While he is not a child in age, he is still a sinner and a child of God. You are here to help him grow and become a better, more mature man. This means that he needs your reminders to love you in the ways you need love. If this means he needs to stop leaving his clothes all over the floor, by all means speak up.

Now, I’m not saying you take out a rolling pin and beat him about the head with it. I just get tired of reading books and blogs that insist that “submission” means rolling over and taking it. I get tired of reading so many blogs written for women (by women) telling them to let their husbands be lazy, narcissistic jerks, because “submission”.

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 22-24 ESV)

Yes, wives are to submit. Yes, your husband is the head of the home. But he is not the center of the home. He is not the supreme king of the home. He is a delegated authority. He is given his own instructions:

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 25-33 ESV)

In Ephesians, God dedicates three (and a half) verses to telling wives to submit, yet He takes eight and a half to explain to husbands how they must treat their wives. The proportion of blogs written to wives on this subject is grossly disproportionate to the posts written to husbands.

1 Peter 3 has a bit more to the wives, instructing them again to be submissive and respectful:

1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:1-6 ESV)

The husband only gets this verse, but it is packed with depth:

7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

Your husband is called to love you as he loves himself, he’s called to love you as Christ loves the church, he’s called to live in an understanding way with you and honor you. If he does not follow these commands he is sinning.

Laundry is a small thing, dishes left out are a small thing, occasional acts of irresponsibility or forgetfulness are normal and should be given grace. But if a husband is asked multiple times to please be an adult and stop making a mess, I would argue these become big things. If a man cannot respect his wife in these little things, what big things is he missing?

Husbands, it is a small thing, you can do this, please, put your dirty underwear in the hamper. Put your dishes in the sink or wherever your wife asks. Better yet, learn how to do laundry and dishes. Honor and love and cherish your wife by not creating more work for her. Die to yourself and do hard things like putting the toilet seat down. Turn off the TV or put down the book and have a beer with your wife. Talk to her, listen to her, seek to understand every minute detail of her. Know her mind and heart intimately so that you can encourage and sanctify her with the Word and with your words and actions.

Wives, please, be butthole wives. Remind your husband with love and grace that he needs to love you in these small ways. Don’t let him get away with the sin of not loving you as Christ loves the church. Do your duty and be the iron of God in his life. Win him with your conduct, quiet, gentle, respectful, but still reminding him that he is under authority as well. Hide the remote occasionally. Hang a basketball net over the laundry basket (hey it worked for my mom and me). Take his hand during love making and help him explore you intimately. Remind him to do the little things as politely and sweetly as possible and let him be responsible for his ungracious eye-rolling.

Wives: don’t settle for a crap husband, be a butthole wife.

For part 2: https://driptorchpress.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/please-be-part-2/

On Gender

Should we allow men and women to be friends? Should we allow them to share bathrooms or changing facilities? Is gender a spectrum? What does it really mean to be a woman or a man?

Thanks to Freud we are an over-sexualized society who has no idea how to keep intimacy in a proper box. This has inhibited us from making meaningful relationships with members of either sex in recent decades. It wasn’t long ago that people would write deeply intimate letters to members of the same gender even. Now it is rare to see anyone showering in a locker room due to fears that the next guy in the stall may be a closet homosexual.

Recently there has been much debate about allowing people of the opposite sex to use single sex locker rooms. Debates as ridiculous as these come from our obsession with both identity politics and sex.

How about this: allow private businesses decide their own locker room policies. If they want to divide guests between male and female, young, old, black, white, family, not family, let them. If they want to mix everyone together, let them. Put it in the private contract members sign to join the club. If a potential member doesn’t approve of the policy they don’t have to sign the contract.

Public spaces are a little more complicated. If I had it my way everything would be private, and the above solution would solve everything. But we live in the here and now, so I’ll have to make concessions. First, let local jurisdictions decide. One size-fits-all top down solutions never work out well. Requiring a small local government to build extra locker rooms or adapt current ones to accommodate that one individual in the whole town who decides one day that they are not what they are is a tyrannical burden on taxpayers. If that one person and his (her?) supporters don’t like the policy let private industry sweep in and provide them with the space they want.

But really. Why not just have three options for all new public facilities? A men’s room, a women’s room, and an “I don’t know or care” room should all be built into new public facilities. Old facilities should adapt family locker rooms into the last category. They are already almost in that category.

Or better yet, stop being so squeamish. Europe has hundreds of co-ed dressing rooms, locker rooms, showers, and saunas. It doesn’t matter what gender one feels like one morning, they go and do what they need to do without everyone getting jumpy. Is Europe one big orgy? Not from what I have heard. Most of what you hear from Americans who visit these co-ed places is that there is really a whole bunch of unsexy going on. Sexual arousal is virtually nil when there is an abundance of flesh about. Not to mention the embarrassment of being aroused in a room full of people who are not there for sexual purposes at all.

The solutions I’ve seen thrown around such as curtains and single stalls really serve to perpetuate the intimacy problems we already have in this country. It is already rare to see people showering in same-sex showers due to sexual insecurity, curtains and single stalls are just validating that fear. We need to overcome the idea that everyone is defined by their sexual orientation. That dude showering next to you probably is not the least bit interested in you, whether he is gay or not.

Sex and gender are not different things, and we are not defined as individuals by either. Gender is not a spectrum. One is either a male or a female, determined by biology, not character, personality, or anything outside of genetics.

Yes, it is easy to categorize people by their genitals, we can make generalities based upon genetics and hormones. There are stark physical and hormonal differences between the genders. But much of what we call “masculine” or “feminine” is really just cultural. This is what I believe leads to all the confusion. In our culture, we can no longer look at our genitals and say “I’m a man” or “I’m a woman”.

In our confusion we have to look at our personalities, our thought patterns, our interests, and our feelings to determine what we are. The problem is, those traits are not determined by chromosomes. Those traits are highly individualized and influenced by environmental factors as well as internal factors.

There are generalities made by “experts” about each gender. In our culture “manly” men are characterized as brutish, stupid, into sports, obsessed with sex, unemotional, and not at all interested in things like fashion or the arts. Women on the other hand are over-emotional, irrational, obsessed with materialism, maternal, talkative, and usually quite critical. Oh, and less prone to having body hair. According to our culture, women are all vain and care for very little beyond what they look like. Generalities like these are made in all cultures. Some are cross-cultural, some are very much local.

But what of the outliers? What about the men who hate sports and competitiveness, or the women who cling to rational thinking and can’t stand emotional nonsense? What about the well-dressed men or the hairy women?  What about the boy who plays with dolls or make-up and the girl who plays with trucks and in competitive sports? Why must we force them into the boxes which generalities have created? Why not allow them to be who they are as individuals and stop labeling them based on chromosomes and genitals?

Gender to the modern mind is either a social construct or a spectrum. Those who say gender is a spectrum will ironically cling to the very stereotypes feminists have tried for so long to dispel. The entire gender “spectrum” is based on stereotypes of what defines “male” and “female”. You only have to look at Bruce Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair to see what I am talking about. In order to be the “woman” that he feels he is, he must conform to the beauty standards of American culture and appear in full makeup, deep cleavage, and the airbrushed glory of every female model that has graced the magazine. He even had to hide his hands because they are “masculine”. Interesting also is that all of the things that make him a “woman” are based largely on externals, what culture says women should look like.

Those that feel they are the opposite of their genetic gender are often basing those feelings off of stereotypes of what our culture says being a man or woman is. If gender is really just a social construct, how can one sit there and say that person x is “more female” or person y is “more male”? They have to resort to the very stereotypes and social conventions they are trying to reject. If gender is nothing more than a social construct, how does one feel “more male” or “more female”? Do they not simply feel more male or more female by their own culturally influenced definition?

The manufacturers of gender confusion have to resort to the very stereotypes that they claim to reject. Would they not do better to say “I am male, and I act like this” or “I am female, and I act like this”? Their tastes, character traits, or personalities do not define them any more than the stereotypes created by culture. The very stereotypes they say they are trying to reject in saying that gender is a spectrum are the very stereotypes they are embracing when they say a passive man is “acting female” or a sports loving female is feeling “male”.

You are not a male simply because you are strong or aggressive, bold, big, muscular, single-minded, or driven. You are not a female simply because you are passive, quiet, submissive, delicate, sensitive, gentle, nurturing, kind, or able to multitask.

We need to stop placing so much value on the collective idea of “men” vs “women” and start viewing people as individuals.  We should not fall into the ditch that says that character traits are determined by gender or into the other ditch that says that character traits determine one’s gender. Your chromosomes may determine the hormones that flow through your body, testosterone may increase aggression, but they do not determine one’s character. A man does not have to act aggressive merely because his hormones tell him to.

We should also not fall into the error of assigning moral character to personality traits. A testosterone filled male who behaves in a more passive manner is not going against nature and trying to be a woman, he is merely being himself. He is how God made him. His personality is determined by many factors, not simply the chromosomes he was born with. Likewise, an aggressive woman is not less female. She is not trying to be a man or go against nature. She is merely acting according to what nature and nurture has instilled in her.

Is gender a spectrum? No. One is either a male or a female. Behavior does not make gender. Can men and women share space? Why not let the facility owners determine that? What does it mean to be a man? You have an X and a Y chromosome. What is a female? Two X chromosomes. Stop trying to confuse people, stop focusing on externals. Focus instead on the strengths of each individual, whatever their genetics may be.

Where The NAP Began

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So now that I have given an introduction to the NAP and a description of how the NAP applies to Libertarianism I should probably explain where the NAP comes from. To what does the NAP owe its existence? Where did I come to the conclusion that aggression is wrong? It would seem logical to assume I just did, right? Everyone knows aggression is wrong, correct? You would be surprised.

To me, the NAP is nothing more than a restatement and expansion of the Golden Rule, which is a simplification of the Natural Law science of justice. I do not want others to aggress against me so I should not aggress against others. If I desire to be free from coercion, should I coerce others? Logically, no. By extension, should I hire another agent to aggress in my stead? I don’t wish others to do so against me, so why should I support any system which monopolizes such agency?

Natural Law is law derived from the observation of the natural universe. Our most basic observations are of our own person. If I observe that I have a preference for the preservation of my life, my liberty, and the protection of my property, it is probably a safe bet that my neighbors do as well. However, we also observe man’s destructive nature. Many will use man’s natural gravitation towards aggression and inborn sin nature to say that the NAP cannot be arrived at through Natural Law.

When interpreting our observations and discerning natural laws one should worry less about an observation of what is, one should instead think about what ought. Simply because natural man is aggressive does not then imply that men ought to be. Again, we arrive at the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule does not tell us how we do act in our sinful nature but rather how we should act. We should treat others how we want to be treated ourselves.

Logically, one who does not like to be aggressed against should not be in favor of committing acts of aggression himself. When living by the Golden Rule it is irrational to treat others in a way which one would not like to be treated. The fact that man is so apt to do so is highly compelling evidence that man is in fact depraved.

But if man is depraved, isn’t his faculty for reason depraved as well? Man should not be able to arrive at the NAP simply by observation of the universe around him. Romans 1 says that the minds of men are darkened and futile. Just as some Christians disagree that we can know God through nature apart from Scripture (Presuppositionalists), some will use Romans 1 to say we cannot arrive at the NAP simply by natural perception or by rational thought apart from Divine intervention. As in a previous post of mine, a basic reading of Romans 18-22 makes this argument mute.

“18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”

Man observes nature and self and understands the existence of God, as well as His attributes and nature. He knows God and understands His attributes just by virtue of being created in the image of God and in being able to observe the creation around him. He knows before he suppresses, he is perfectly able to discern, he just chooses out of his depravity to suppress the knowledge.

If we believe God created nature, does it not make sense to believe that God’s law is visible in it? God did not hide His attributes or character when He created the universe. He made both evident to man by imparting knowledge directly into man, and by giving man the faculty to observe creation. We are doubly without excuse when we deny God or His attributes.

We can discern injustice and justice with our senses, even if we suppress and deny what we observe and act unjust ourselves. We can observe that it does not feel right or pleasant to be aggressed against. We can logically conclude through observation that others feel what we feel and if we are empathetic we will not aggress against them.

Man is perfectly capable of understanding God’s law revealed in nature and in the imprinted “image” of God upon the mind of man. Because of this, man is able to arrive at the NAP through logical reasoning about his observations of justice and injustice in relation to himself.

“But Natural Man has a futile mind.”

Yes, but only because in his sinfulness he suppresses his knowledge of the truth. In a sense even the most aggressive war-monger understands the Golden Rule deep down inside.

We do not believe in utter depravity when it comes to man’s moral ability to do “good” deeds, we only say that man is “totally depraved”. By degree, man is capable of doing “good” even if only for wrong reasons. God’s universal grace prevents mankind from falling into utter depravity and the chaos that would result. Because of this grace, man is capable of grasping some truth and is not utterly darkened in his perceptive capacity or his faculty of reason.

Thus, it makes sense that would could arrive at the Non-Aggression Principle simply by observing the universe around him. Between the imprinted Law of God on his heart and his observation of others, he could rationally conclude that man ought not aggress against man.

Of course, I would be lying if I said I arrived at the NAP by my own observation, the terminology didn’t exist in my mind as a child or young adult. I only knew it as the Golden Rule. In a way presuppositional apologists got this one right. I started with Scripture and validated the NAP. But as I have demonstrated, it is perfectly possible to embrace the NAP through other avenues. The best thing about scripture is that nature validates scripture.