In 2020, January Littlejohn’s daughter came home confused about her sexual identity after three of her close friends at school began identifying as transgender. Littlejohn, herself a licensed mental health counselor, did her best to support her daughter, opening the door to conversation and seeking out a mental health counselor. But as she relates, the real surprise came later:
When school started, my daughter got into the car and said, “Mom, I had a meeting today at school, and they asked me which restroom I wanted to use.” … What we learned that the school had done was socially transitioned our daughter without our notification or consent. And then they did something particularly nefarious: They asked our daughter what name they should call her when speaking to her parents, and that was to effectively deceive parents that these gender support transition plans had ever taken place.
What we “should” or “shouldn’t” do with AI depends heavily on the kind of world this is and the kinds of creatures that human beings are. If, as some have argued, AI is to be accorded the same dignity as human beings, then replacing humans in entire industries and putting tens of thousands out of work is not morally problematic. If human beings are unique and exceptional, and both labor and relationships are central to our identity, the moral questions are far weightier.
Many Christians wrote off the Pixar classic Wall-E because of its hyper-environmentalist message. However, the film’s commentary on human exceptionalism and vocation, specifically the inability of our machines to do our most important work for us, was spot-on. In the world of Wall-E, human beings have a purpose, or a telos that cannot be reduced to maximizing comfort, safety, and convenience.
In the biblical account of reality, humans exist to glorify and love God, and to serve as His special representatives and co-rulers in creation. Human inventions should help towards achieving those ends, extending our abilities, and mitigating the effects of the Fall. Wanting to replace ourselves with our devices assumes that humanity is the central problem of the world that needs to be solved.
Years ago in a Breakpoint commentary, Chuck Colson described the jury selection process in the trial of Jack Kevorkian, the doctor accused of helping at least 27 of his patients kill themselves. Kevorkian’s lawyer attempted to bar anyone who said their Christian faith forbids suicide from serving on the jury, claiming that belief made them unfairly biased.
Religion has been increasingly relegated to the private sphere. Christians are welcome to participate in public life only if they leave their faith at home … [but] [t]he logic of Kevorkian’s defense attorney could be applied to any criminal trial. If potential jurors can be excluded for believing that assisted suicide is immoral, what will be the next step? Will the attorneys of accused murderers be permitted to exclude jurors whose religion teaches that life is sacred?
More than 25 years later, that dismal hypothetical seems less hypothetical.
If all there was to go on were sitcoms, movies, and mainstream editorials, we’d have to conclude that marriage is a direct path to misery, the “old ball and chain” that only ties us down, limits our freedom, and cramps our sexual fun. Many people now think of marriage less as “settling down” and more as “settling.” Young people are told, “You’ve got plenty of time, live a little, first,” as if life ends after the wedding.
The truth about marriage, however, is that it is, statistically, the single best predictor of long-term happiness. Making this even more important to understand is that for at least the last 20 years now, Americans have been steadily getting less happy.
A law in St. Louis banning so-called transgender care for minors can now take effect after a judge struck down a lawsuit challenging it. Activists claim that the science in favor of transgender “care” is settled. It’s not true. Thankfully this judge was willing to say it out loud.
For over 30 years, my friend Greg Koukl has taught Christians how to engage with people across worldview lines by asking questions. His first book Tactics has equipped thousands of Christians to communicate with wisdom and passion. This month, Koukl is releasing a follow-up to that book, entitled Street Smarts: Using Questions to Answer Christianity’s Toughest Challenges.