Comments 1

  1. Joshua,

    I’ve genuinely struggled with whether or not to comment here, as I don’t want to seem less than grateful for your time and effort contributing to this conversation, but I do find myself a point of significant (not total) disagreement.

    Specifically, I think that embedding Pinker’s criticism in far more radical company fails to give a fair shake to the strength of his critique. I do think that the specific ideologies that he mentions are quite clearly stated in the document. For one, guideline one is entirely about the socially constructed (and pernicious) roots of masculinity, with little consideration for the roles that biological and genetic factors have on the expression of gender. The second criticism is born out in the concern with “gender role conflict” that animates the entire guidelines. Per the guidelines, masculinity (as defined) is bad, and feeling compelled to be masculine is similarly pernicious. To me, whether you consider them “blinkers” or not, Pinker is spot on regarding specific ideologies that undergird these guidelines.

    The upshot, to me, is this: Much of modern psychology looks to our dissatisfaction with ourselves and says that it is our dissatisfaction that is the problem, not that we might be right to want to “put to death what is earthly” in us. (Col. 3:5) At the same time, much of the world sees the patriarchy as the root of all evil, and while tyranny and domination have wrought great evils, men are still called by Scripture to serve (important to note that word choice) as heads of their households. The APA’s guidelines for psychological practice are shot through with this worldly ideology, and while there are some good things in them, I question the value of taking the time to disentangle the truth from the pervasive falsehoods in them.

    If you are saying that we should be preserving the good while discarding the bad, forgive me, as I wouldn’t have bothered to comment on you being more willing to engage in the task of discernment with these guidelines than I am, but it seems to me that you’re saying that the guidelines are largely correct and that we can join in their round condemnation of masculinity since it is anti-biblical. If it’s the latter, then I would object, for while we can share aims of disentangling manhood from things like promiscuity (which is hardly solely a Western emphasis) or domestic violence, I think Christians should be far more skeptical/careful about adopting the APA’s means of going about it (or definition of it), as their approach is pervasively driven by a worldview that discards Christian views on sexuality, headship, or sin and self-control.

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