Monday, January 23, 2023

Words as Sticks and Stones

One of the most obvious aspects of modern public life is the central role that sex plays within it.

Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution, by Carl R. Trueman

The most private and intimate act has become the defining characteristic and primary category of our identity.  There was a time when sex was regarded as something human beings did; now it is to be understood as who human beings are.

Trueman traces this path from Marx to Nietzsche and Wilde.  A brief comment on these is necessary.  For Nietzsche, modern morality turned appropriate morality on its head.  What is appropriate morality?  Strength is good; weakness is bad.  Just the opposite of the Christian message, no doubt – a message designed such that the weak can demonize and manipulate the strong, according to Nietzsche.

Dwell on that for a moment.  In the bastardized form that many Christians practice today, we see that Nietzsche was right in a sense – the weak (more accurately, those on the fringes of society) use Christian morals to demonize those who hold to Christian morals, and many Christians have allowed themselves to be so demonized.  But, of course, the Christian message doesn’t end there (and for this, an understanding of natural law ethics is necessary).

Returning to Nietzsche, the moral codes that hinder strong individuals must be shattered.  But he did not pursue this via a return to natural law or to seeing God at the top of the hierarchy; instead, he gave us the superman: “a free spirit who transcended the spirit of his own age.”

Which brings Trueman to Oscar Wilde.  Wilde is described as the quintessential figure of modernity because the self-expressive individual that Nietzsche envisaged finds it most obvious manifestation in the shattering of traditional sexual moral codes.

Jacques Barzun addressed Wilde’s influence in his book From Dawn to Decadence.  He comments on Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest.  This is not because Earnest has the moral qualities praised by the Victorians, but because a young woman he loves fancies the name. 

“I live constantly in fear of not being misunderstood,” says Wilde, meaning: the public should be baffled by new art, not reduce it to something it already understands.

In other words, not earnest, as in a character trait, but Earnest as the formal form of Ernie.  Barzun concludes that the sexual revolution took place, not in the 1960s, but in the 1890s – during Wilde’s time.  Returning to Trueman, and his comments on Wilde: ethics is just a matter of taste.  Citing Wilde: “All imitation in morals and life is wrong.”

…actions cease to have intrinsic moral value; what makes them “moral” rather is the freedom with which they are performed.

In this one can see the libertine libertarians: having the freedom to perform any act as long as the non-aggression principle is respected.  That’s fine for figuring out criminal trespasses.  As we have come to see the fruits of the success of those like Marx, Nietzsche and Wilde, it isn’t fine if one wishes to live in a free society.

This has come down in our time to the central public role that sex plays in self-identity.  As imitation in morals is wrong, the alphabet soup of identity markers is a sign of “right.”  No one should imitate anyone else, so everyone is entitled to (in fact, almost required to take) a new marker. 

Happiness is no longer understood as beatitudo, or fulfilment through other-regarding action.  At best, one is left to define happiness as avoiding pain and experiencing pleasure.  Well…what is the strongest feeling of pleasure?  Freud answers the question (but I bet you know the answer already): sex. “…[man] should make genital eroticism the central point in his life.”

Virginity, chastity, modesty, and even monogamy – all out the window.  Human flourishing is almost synonymous with sexual fulfillment.  “Primitive man was better off in knowing no restrictions of instinct,” Freud would write.  Such as these, apparently, are to be considered the most virtuous among us. 

Relying on instinct, of course, is to devolve man to the level of the basest and least-developed of animals.  Frankly, it is even degrading to animals.

All of this has led to sex becoming political.  How could it not?  If we are at root defined by our sexual desires, then rules governing sexual behavior are rules that determine what is or isn’t our proper identity.

This brings Trueman to an individual new to me: William Reich, introduced as the person in whom Marx meets Freud.  Reich writes:

The free society will provide ample room and security for the gratification of natural needs. …any adult who hinders the development of a child’s sexuality should be severely dealt with.

In other words, only affirming counseling is allowed; so-called (and poorly labeled) “conversion” therapy is disallowed and even illegal.  Further, neither the family or the Church can be trusted in such matters.  Therefore, it is society (the political) that must take the lead role – and this starts in elementary school and even before.

Reich wrote in the 1930s.  Augusto Del Noce would write in the 1970s:

It is clear that what is called the left today fights less and less in terms of class warfare, and more and more in terms of “warfare against repression,” claiming that the struggle for economic progress of the disadvantages is included in this more general struggle, as if the two were inseparable.

This turn isn’t new.  Many view it as having its roots in the 1960s, with Barzun offering that it occurred even seventy years before this.  Del Noce certainly saw the focus of the left changing fifty years ago.

Mere tolerance is no longer acceptable.  Recognition, affirmation, support, and even encouragement.  This is the current standard.  Anything less is psychological oppression. 


I leave the conclusion to Trueman:

We can now see that once identity is psychologized, anything that is seen to have a negative impact upon someone’s psychological identity can potentially come to be seen as harmful, even as a weapon, that does serious damage.  This includes those words and ideas that stand over against those identities that society chooses to sanction.  This has clear implications for traditional freedoms: religion and speech.


  1. Chesterton said sex was, "the mysticism of materialism." These ideas have slithered into the churches by now; I guess they forgot that God identifies as an alpha male.

  2. America’s Democratic Socialist State: “If Uncle Sam protects any socially-secured patriot at all, He does so only as a Shepherd protects His proletariat flock. Not because He recognizes and respects the natural rights of the digitally-marked chattel / sheep, but only to keep them unmolested in His sole possession and control, until He finds it expedient to sheer or slaughter them.”

    America’s proud flag-waving patriots are unique because they have a republic, not a democracy. They are exceptional because, in this Orwellian “Digital Age”, they are the freest Socialistically secured country on earth. Uncle Sam’s Masonic god is patriotically on their delusional, brain-washed side. Such pathetic gullibility, insane nationalism, and ignorance deserves no respect whatsoever, but it does require that the proletariat majority be made up of captured, enslaved, digitally-marked (SS#) sheep. This fully indoctrinated population (Socially-Secured chattel) has been consumed by dependence on the Beast’s Marxist state, and due to that idolatrous dependence, irresponsibility, and self-pity, the resulting character of this antichrist society is one of violence, immorality, and indifference.

    Robert Higgs (2007) FFF Conference

  3. Always good things to be found here, Thanks for what you do.

  4. Bionic, the sexual revolution did in fact occur in the 1890s... In Europe. However, it didn't come into American and flourish until the 1960s with the rise of the New Left and the Hippoe movement. The use of those two dates reflect those realities.

    That alos coincides with De Noce's comments in the 1970s. The 1970s were when the New Left movement ultimately failed but the focus was on perceived marginalized groups: blacks, Hispanics, women, LGBT, etc. All of this happened because the Weimar Communists and others in Marxism 1.0 moved to the US in the 20s and 30s and began to teach in universities.

    Note that these repressions the Leftists fought were attempts to hold sin and degeneracy at bay. I am not saying blacks are sinful as a category but the usurpation of the Republic on their account was. Women aren't sinful as a category but feminism absolutely is an attack on natural law and therefore sinful. The rest is obvious.

    Also, primitive man did not live in a state of sexual indulgence. This is why Genesis is so important to understand natural law and history. Mankind started in a state of man/woman lifelong marriage and nuclear family child rearing. Sex outside of marriage didn't even occur chapters into the story.

    Self Defense: The Ethics Of Liberty -

  5. Man WAS made in the image of God, but lost that image when he sinned against God. Man by procreation is created in the image of man (Genesis 5:5) for now all men die. God did not create Adam in the image of death, but that he can live forever.

    You can get that image back when you repent of your sins and trust the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from them and by faith in HIm be given eternal life.

    Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
    (John 11:25-26)

    1. I do not agree with this. Man was, and still is, made in the Image of God. That image, though tarnished and corrupted by the effects of sin, is still there and will always be evident to anyone who wants to see it.
      Just as a broken clock is right twice a day, so a cracked mirror will still reflect an image, though imperfectly.

      You might say that man's character and soul has been twisted and distorted by his sinful nature, but Jesus straightens and smooths out those defects, definitively at first, progressively over the course of his lifetime, and finally at his ascension to the Pearly Gates. It should never be assumed, however, that the Image of God was ever removed from man only to be restored in a moment of "repentance". If God's Image was lost to man, then where does good come from in man's character?

      Man, by procreation, is fulfilling the command of God, Who gave the order to "be fruitful and multiply". It was always the intention that man should produce children who followed in the likeness of their ancestors, their image, so to speak. Adam's son, Seth, was born a human being, and, as such, took on the character and attributes of all that it means to be human, including the sin nature bequeathed to him. This verse (Genesis 5:3, BTW, not 5:5) is the historical record of the continuation of human reproduction, given to Adam & Eve at the beginning.

      I read this simply. Adam had a son who looked and acted like him, as sons forever have always reflected their fathers. It does not mean that Adam's "image" had replaced God's nor that Seth was devoid and independent of God's own Image.

    2. Man was made in the image of God and this remains true for all men and all women today. God breathed into man and gave him a soul - something not done for any other creature. This is the image, and every man and woman today has a soul.

    3. Roger- You are missing the context and results of the sin of man found in Genesis 3, but is based on the following verse:
      Genesis 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

      Do you believe man would have lived forever if he had not first sinned? Since man disobeyed God, did he not die (Genesis 2:17)? Do you believe that the image of man is body, soul and spirit which is also the image of God- Father, Son and Holy Ghost?  for it says, "Let us (plural form of God) make in our image, after our likeness (Gods image- Genesis 1:26-27)?

      Every mans body is unique, just as his soul, but what died was Gods Spirit within his spirit that connected him to God. When it died, eternal life vanished, therefore man died when God left him. He also caused the physical death of every human after that, because they are now made only in the image of fallen man.

      This is why Adam hid when God showed up in the garden (Genesis 3:9-11), for he disobeyed God and his fellowship was lost with Him. Now mankind is on his own (tree of knowledge of good and evil) and most run to religion to justify themselves through "good works" (Cain) rather than repenting of their sin and trusting God (Abel) by faith in Jesus Christ to save him from his sins and fill him with His Spirit (born-again) so that now he has the power to live a holy and godly life being made free from that sin that so easily beset him.

    4. I am really hesitant to engage with someone who calls himself (herself?) The Preacher, as if that is a label of unique position which is not available to others of lower stature. Nevertheless, since we are here, I think it is important that we get our definitions straight, so I will only ask you one question. Answer that and we can move on.

      What does it mean to be made in God's Image?

    5. I am a Christian man and preacher of the word of God. Biblical woman do not preach or teach men. That is another subject, so I will not digress.

      As a Christian, I look down at no man , but will correct one who calls himself a Christian (one that is supposed to be a biblical disciple of Christ- Acts 11:26, 26:28) with scriptural truth if he teaches biblical false doctrine. .
      The bible is very clear on what God's image is. If it is God's image, then it is perfect, without sin. I thought I was clear in my biblical overview above, but will try again.

      God's image based on Genesis 1:26-27 in using the plural form "us" is tri-part. Just as God, man has three parts of one whole. Man (mankind) consists of body (flesh- connection to the physical world), soul (personality, self- Who you are) and spirit (conscience, heart- What drives who you are). Those three parts makes you "a man" and it can only take on the "original image" as shown below:

      God the Father- Soul of God- the one who man asks and speaks to because he has access through his Son, Jesus Christ.
      God the Son- Flesh of God as a man- incarnation
      God the Spirit- Spirit of God which is the Holy Ghost and lives within man (when he is born-again), therefore imparting to him the eternal life of Jesus Christ.

      After the fall of man (read Genesis 3), he cannot have access to the Father, his flesh will die, because the Spirit of God left him and now his soul, body and spirit are "on their own"- Ye shall be as gods (Genesis 3:5)

      This subject is much deeper if you study the bible as we are commanded to do as Christians (2 Timothy 2:15), but I believe it is a good starting point.

    6. Your assertion is completely new to me. I have never seen nor heard anything like it before and am going to have to study it for a time before going any further. Something in it just doesn't sound right and I want to know what it is.

      BTW, you should take your own counsel. Be careful that you do not teach false doctrine. You might be wrong and, as a self-confessed preacher of the Gospel, the greater responsibility is yours.

      En garde!

    7. Your are correct, Roger. God will hold me responsible if I teach false doctrine. I take what I teach very seriously. I have spent 41 years as a born again Christian, loving Jesus Christ and reading the bible over 100 times from Genesis to Revelation. That does not include studying, preaching and teaching the bible. About a year and a half ago, I did finish my Masters in Biblical Theology from a Baptist school (BCA).

      As background, I am now retired, but worked as a Research Engineer for 35 years at Ford Motor Co, in the design of HW and SW systems relating to many aspects of vehicle electronic systems. My last project was a HIL specialist designing full test simulation and emulation facilities to enable Automated Vehicle Testing.

      I will be leaving in the next couple of days to minister in the Philippines with my wife.

      I hope that you, as did the Bereans "search the scriptures" to see if what I wrote is taught in the scriptures, for they did not just believe the Apostle Paul, but in Act 17:11  "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

      Peace in Jesus Christ

    8. I started to study this topic (Image of God, image of Man) out and after a few minutes discovered that it was indeed, as Preacher mentioned above, much deeper. I do not intend to comment much on it until I have done due diligence and formed a comprehensive thought, at which time I will post an article on my own blog, with a link posted here. At this time, I cannot say how long that will be.

      I will say this, however. Genesis 1: 26-28 brings out one message above all else and which sets the tone and context for all of creation forever. Man was to have dominion over everything which had been created and that dominion mandate has never been rescinded nor changed. Whether God is tripartite and Man follows after Him in that is irrelevant to the order. In fact, it could be said that God, as Creator, rules and that Man, made in that Image, also creates and rules. The difference is that God creates from nothing and is subject to no one, while Man must use existing material and is ultimately subject to God.

      This is Man's purpose, his telos, and every person's descendants are born into it. Man, created in the Image of God, is born to rule over his or her own universe, including and beginning with his or her own person.

      Bionic Mosquito has explored the topic of purpose extensively. I will leave it to him to comment further.

    9. "God breathed into man and gave him a soul - something not done for any other creature."

      Bionic, with all due respect, I have to question your statement. Are you saying that animals, especially sentient animals, do not have souls? Here is a definition of soul from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

      "In Aristotelian philosophy, an animating or vital principle inherent in living things and endowing them in various degrees with the potential to grow and reproduce, to move and respond to stimuli (as in the case of animals), and to think rationally (as in the case of humans)."

      Dogs can exhibit joy upon reunion with long-absent, well-loved owners. Hens express pleasure and satisfaction after laying eggs. Elephants are known to grieve. All animals know fear. If the soul is the seat of emotion as I have heard it stated, then can it not be said that they possess a "soul"?

      The difference between Man and Animal is one of self-awareness and rationality, not in the possession of something called a soul. Is this correct?

    10. Preacher, do you have links you can post which support your assertion that Man is no longer created in the Image of God, but is now created in the image of Man?

    11. Roger, I get into a bit of trouble whenever I don't provide the Biblical quote, so here goes, from Genesis 2 (KJV):

      7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

      This is not said for any other creature. Now, this leads to two possibilities (maybe more):

      1) God also did the same for other creatures, but this is not recorded in Genesis

      2) There is something about the way the word "soul" is used here that is different than how it is used in Aristotelian philosophy.

      I have always understood this verse as follows, connecting two realities based on testimony in Genesis: there is something about being created in God's image (again, only recorded about man) and God breathing into man (hence becoming a living soul) that is connected.

      It is this breathing into man that makes us in God's image. And none of this was done for any other creature.

      Either that, or it wasn't recorded for us.

      I vote for the former.

    12. Bionic,

      I might disagree with you from time to time, but you will get no trouble from me.

      I only included the citation from American Heritage as an example that the word "soul" has many different meanings and cannot be used in just one way. However, being a non-scholar and not having access to the original Hebrew texts to cipher out the meaning of the word, I have no problem admitting that I might be in error myself.

      I appreciate your response.

    13. To Roger: The image was lost because of sin and that is found in Genesis 5:3, Gen 5:3  And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: "

      As you follow the transition from Genesis 1 to Genesis 5, (1) Adam dies because of sin, (2) He begat sons, after his own image, (3) therefore, that image brings forth death.

      The answer to eternal life is to regain that image that was lost by believing that God himself as a man came to redeem us from our sins, being a propitiation for them and that we embrace and put our faith in that truth, God will restore that image by the Holy Ghost (as the Comforter) and since "Christ is in you", then you have eternal life.

    14. Roger, instead of "living soul," other translations use "Living being" or "living person." I don't know if this helps, but there you have it.

      And no trouble at all. I appreciate your feedback.

    15. As promised above, I have just posted a full-length article on this subject at my own blog. You can see it here:

      This article could easily expand into a book, but it will have to do. I have spent too much time on it already and am not completely satisfied with the results. However, I will maintain my position until someone convinces me that I am wrong.

      Comments are always welcome--either here or there.

      Bionic, thank you very much for the opportunity.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. It does say we became Living Souls when God breathed into us the breath of life.

    It could be when it says He created Man in His image may not mean God cloned his self.

    An artist creates a painting of a landscape or a portrait, the artist created in His image.
    The image is not the artist.
    When My self goes into a basement to repair pipes and wires
    an image of what is good appears to me based on past experience of what works and what does not.
    I create order out of chaos but the pipes and wires are not me, just materials put together by me according to my knowledge.

    The Creator can be seen in the creation but the creation is not the creator.
    Many have worshiped the creation rather than the Creator that is written some where.
    Have encountered this more and more as the New sages of the world talk about the Universe speaking to us.
    Worshiping the creation instead of the creation.

    The key point is Man was put in a protected paradise.
    He gave into the satan that slithered up Eve's spine into her tree and lied to her. She believed the lie and Adam bought into it out of fear.
    They lost it and were banned from the tree of life.
    God was not surprised or taken aback.
    He had a plan.
    Jesus the second Adam took back what the satan had stolen.
    He gives what was lost back to as as we submit to him.

    Those early believers had power we do not have any more.
    The key to the Kingdom is Love one another.
    They will know us by our love for one another not by how smart we are.
    Am greatful for guys like you who have applied yourself to study and learn.
    Not every one is built to do that.
    We just need to be careful when we gain knowledge.
    Do we use it for self promotion or use it to bless others.
    Knowledge by itself can puff us up.
    You can see that some time even at the local plumbing supply house when some one who does not know about plumbing comes in they get treated as less than.
    The guys behind the counter try to humiliate the poor guy who is just trying to fix his darn toilet.
    I have had many a smart person look down their nose at me because of their own extreme knowledge but it don't bug me so much no more.
    We know that we all have knowledge of one sort or another but it can puff up but Love edifies.
    Hope that is helpful and does not muddy the water.

  8. I will never look down at another Christian who desires to live for the Lord Jesus Christ. But, I also cannot back away from what I believe the King James Bible teaches concerning the truth of all things, for it is the infallible, inerrant final authority that concerns all matters of Gods created universe!

    If it says he created man in “our” image has nothing to do with cloning himself. Jesus Christ is “the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). That image takes on three manifestations since that is the image of God. You will find that image clearly in 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

    Trying to use analogies can be beneficial, but if they are wrong types if they do not meet the literal teachings of the Holy Bible. Everything in the Bible is to be taken literal, but not necessarily physical! You will find that truth in John 6 when Jesus said to eat of his flesh. It is clear of the literal teachings verses 27-29, 32-40, 47-49 (your fathers that ate of the manna (physical) are dead), v50-51 (bread- himself- literal, but NOT physical), therefore v53-59 are not to eat Jesus physical flesh (false mass), but to believe on Him in a literal sense in receiving the Spirit of God by believing on him- John 3:5-8- Ye must be born again, not if the flesh, but the Spirit! That is shown to be the clear literal teaching of John 6:63-64 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.”

    Hope that helps.

  9. Ah yes the word Our image does seem to indicate there was more than 1 there.
    The Manna was an Image of Jesus for sure and did not mean to eat his actual flesh and drink His actual blood.
    Also as you say you can not back away form what you believe the KJV teaches.
    That is the rub , 40 ,000 denominations will not back away from what they believe what they say the KJV teaches.
    All I can say to that is like what the lame guy at the pool told the Pharisees what they believed the Torah teaches. They were angry because the lame guy was walking around carrying his mat.
    He told them hey I do not know but I am walking and He told me pick up my mat and go and sin no more.
    But I will go and read over the verses you mentioned to see if they add anything.
    Thank You Anonymous!

  10. I should have added to the following sentence, "You will find that image clearly in 1 Thessalonians 5:23.". It should have read that, "You will find that image of man clearly in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 as it is the protype of God when he first created him in his own image (a tripart being) in Genesis 1:26-27.