This article is the second in a three-part series featuring remarks at the Discovery Institute’s Dallas Conference on Science & Faith, hosted by Park Cities Presbyterian Church on Feb. 17, 2024. To read part one, click here. To read part three, click here.

How Science and Faith Can Defeat Gender Ideology

Faith and Reason

Dr. Jay Richards asserts that we’ll need both faith and reason – God’s special revelation in Scripture, and God’s general revelation through the moral law, reason and the natural world – to defeat Gender Ideology.

Ultimately, Dr. Richards said, Gender Ideology is a question of anthropology – the study of what it means to be human.

“If you think in terms of Christian history, every era has its issues – from whether God exists, to whether Jesus is God or is a creature,” Richards said, referring to the nascent days of Christianity. He added,

The thing that’s contested now is human beings themselves. What does it mean to be human? That’s the crisis of our age.

To fully answer that, you need a robust understanding of what the human person is, for which Christianity, and natural reason, are both very useful.

Richards cited Pope John Paul II’s 1998 encyclical letter Fides et Ratio (Faith and reason) which says “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.”

He noted that human reason is not limited to empirical observations – that is a worldview known as scientism.

“Moral truths are also accessible to reason,” he said. “People don’t need to know the Bible to know it’s wrong to torture children for fun. They know that. Part of the crisis of our culture is that we have narrowed reason to a very limited aspect of reason – science.”

“What we need is a revival of reason itself. And when we do that, we find that there is also a place for special revelation,” he added.

Defend Sex

Dr. Richards encouraged attendees to stop using the word “gender.”

“Stop using the word ‘gender’ for five years,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s made up. I’m not saying it’s a bad word. But right now, it’s not a useful word. So first, we need to reclaim sex.”

Part of defending “sex” is to be able to define it precisely, Dr. Richards said.

Many people incorrectly think that one’s sex is whether an individual has XX (for females) or XY (for males) sex chromosomes. While one’s sex chromosomes are a fairly accurate determiner of one’s biological sex (the two correspond more than 99% of the time) – it is not what “sex” is.

One’s biological sex is determined by whether an organism produces ova, or egg cells, (for females) or sperm cells (for males). Male and female are determined by their pro-creative design.

And a female, therefore, is:

An individual who naturally has, had, will have, or would have, but for a developmental or genetic anomaly or accident, the reproductive system that at some point produces, transports, and utilizes eggs for fertilization.

This precise definition of sex is crucial because the Biden administration is currently attempting to redefine “sex” in Title IX to include one’s subjective “gender identity” and “sexual orientation,” both of which are terms recently made up by sexual revolutionaries.

Richards said,

That means that if you are a man who identifies as a woman, and you want to compete in female sports in college, and your school doesn’t want to let you compete, the U.S. Department of Justice will sue your school and defend you for having your civil rights violated.

“We are a month and a half away from states getting sued by the federal government because they continue to maintain boys’ and girls’ sports and bathrooms,” Dr. Richards added. “States have to show that they know how to distinguish between males and females in a non-arbitrary and capricious way.”

Promote a biblical and Truly Scientific View of Man and Woman

Another piece in the puzzle of defeating Gender Ideology is to promote a biblical and truly scientific view of man and woman.

“Most of our body parts fulfill their functions independently. But our sexual function requires the opposite sex,” Richards said, adding,

We have these natural capacities that are intrinsically incomplete. And we only complete each other because of this complementary relationship. That’s a biblical picture of man and woman.

He went on to quote Genesis 1’s account of God creating man and woman.

“We’re both individually created in God’s image. But we also can’t ultimately fulfill what it means to be God’s image except in a particular type of communion,” Richards said. “We are complementary – not opposites – we are complementary, male and female, and we are intrinsically social.”

He added:

What it means to be made in the image of God is to capture all of that. It’s only the biblical picture that encapsulates everything we know from natural reason, but also fills out what is otherwise inexplicable.

Focus on the Family exists to help families, and that includes help navigating the issues of homosexuality and transgenderism. Focus offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.

Related articles and resources:

Counseling Consultation & Referrals

Transgender Resources

Addressing Gender Identity with Honesty and Compassion

The Journey Back to My True Identity

What is ‘Gender Identity’

Transgenderism and Minors: What Does the Research Really Show?

Why Christians Can’t Avoid the “Trans” and Gender Redefinition Issue

Why Focus on the Family Cares About the Gender Issue?

Yes, Sexuality and Gender Are Undeniable Gospel Issues