Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality

Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality

by Nancy R. Pearcey


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Are transgender people discovering their authentic self? Is the hookup culture really liberating? Does abortion lead to equality for women? Does homosexuality contradict our biological sex?

In Love Thy Body, bestselling and award-winning author Nancy Pearcey takes on the hard questions about life and sexuality. A two-time winner of the ECPA Gold Medallion Award, Pearcey has been hailed by The Economist as "America's preeminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual."
In Love Thy Body she offers a respectful but riveting exposŽ of the secular worldview that lies behind trendy slogans and political talking points. A former agnostic, Pearcey is a sensitive guide to the secular ideas that shape current debates. She empowers readers to intelligently and compassionately engage today's most controversial moral and social challenges.

In a surprise shattering of stereotypes, Pearcey demonstrates that while secularism promises much, in reality it delivers little. She turns the tables on stereotypes that portray Christianity as harsh and bigoted, and invites a fresh look at its holistic, life-affirming principles: it is a worldview that matches the real world and fits with human experience.

All along, Pearcey keeps readers entranced with gripping stories of real people wrestling with hard questions in their own lives--sharing their pain, their struggles, and their triumphs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801075728
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 168,898
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Nancy Pearcey is a bestselling, award-winning author who serves as professor of apologetics and scholar in residence at Houston Baptist University. She is also editor at large of The Pearcey Report and a fellow at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. Previous positions include visiting scholar at Biola University's Torrey Honors Institute, professor of worldview studies at Cairn University, and the Francis A. Schaeffer scholar at the World Journalism Institute. She is the author of several books, including the 2005 ECPA Gold Medallion Award winner Total Truth and most recently Finding Truth.

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Guide to the Wasteland 9

1 I Hate Me: The Rise and Decline of the Human Body 17

2 The Joy of Death: "You Must Be Prepared to Kill" 47

3 Dear Valued Constituent: You No Longer Qualify As a Person 83

4 Schizoid Sex: Hijacked by the Hookup Culture 117

5 The Body Impolitic: How the Homosexual Narrative Demeans the Body 155

6 Transgender, Transreality: "God Should Have Made Me a Girl" 193

7 The Goddess of Choice Is Dead: From Social Contract to Social Meltdown 229

Acknowledgments 265

Study Guide 267

Notes 283

Index 324

About the Author 334

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Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nancy Pearcey writes another blockbuster and bookshelf staple! This book provides an in depth look at current social issues and the worldviews that are behind these issues. She uses a Biblical lens to look at right to life issues, personhood theory, and many other hot topics. This is an excellent book for Christian living!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rarely does a single book adequately address multiple topics without being overwhelming in its execution or convoluted in its content. I think “Love Thy Body” finds itself on a nice balance between the two. Here, Pearcey sets out to discuss a number of topics that are important for everyone, not just Christians. How are we to understand the current zeitgeist in which we find ourselves? Further, how are we to respond to it? This is a daunting task, but is one Pearcey leads us through extremely well. She notes (and this idea is one that will repeatedly come up) that “In every decision we make, we are not just deciding what we want to do. We are expressing our view of the purpose of human life” (11). And it is this last part of that quote that undergirds all of the discussions that are examined throughout the text. What we understand the purpose – or telos – of human life to be influences how we discuss subjects like abortion, sexuality, so on and so forth. Readers who are perhaps new to Pearcey but familiar with Francis Shaeffer will recognize her adoption of the “two-story divide.” Pearcey shows how it’s applicable to more areas than we might at first realize. For example, she writes, “The assumption at the heart of abortion, then, is personhood theory, with its two-tiered view of the human being – one that sees no value in the living human body but places all our worth in the mind or consciousness” (20). Not only does Pearcey give us much to think about and mull over, she also provides suggestions on moving forward. It’s one thing to comment on a problem; anyone can do that. It’s another thing entirely to comment on a problem and then offer ways to engage and progress towards a resolution. She also notes the role of the Church in relation to the engagement of these topics. She writes, “The body of Christ must also become a place where casualties from the sexual revolution can find hope and restoration” (224). Amen! For pastors and teachers in their local churches, Pearcey also provides a study guide that compliments the book very well. The body of Christ must be equipped to discuss these topics, and Pearcey has (thankfully!) taken away our excuse to be unprepared. I’m thankful for Pearcey’s work here and will unreservedly be recommending it for others to read and engage with. *Note: I received an advance copy of the text in exchange for my honest review and feedback.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this important new book by one of the premier Christian cultural apologists of our time, Nancy Pearcey shows how atheistic materialism has led to the devaluation of the body. We see this in all of our rapidly escalating cultural changes: most recently transgenderism, the push to get males in female bathrooms and locker rooms, and new laws punishing people for not using the “correct” (yet ever-changing) pronouns. The body is nothing; personal autonomy is everything. This causes inner conflict and painful alienation from one's own body, but can be healed by recovering the biblical idea of human persons as unified, embodied beings made in the image of God. Solidly grounded in biblical truth and directly applicable to the questions and challenges we face almost daily, every Christian ought to read it, especially if they are raising children. Older teens and young adults will also find this very helpful in understanding how our faith makes sense of life, and in learning how to lovingly address the true needs of the hurting people they encounter at school, work, and in their own families. I have read and loved all of Nancy's books on Christian cultural apologetics, but this one is the most easily understood (tested at tenth grade level) and immediately applicable yet. If you read one book this year, please make it this one.
joshuadparker More than 1 year ago
Celebrated evangelical apologist Nancy Pearcey published Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality in 2018. The book is a sustained critique of contemporary ethical discourse, which purportedly disvalues the material body in favor of one's immaterial consciousness. Pearcey offers a "teleological view of nature," (21) in which nature is built in such a manner that the "teloi" or ends or goals of nature (humanity included) inhere in the material world. They belong, ontologically, to beings as such, which entails that individuals are not free to create their own "ends" but must rather submit to those already constraining them by virtue of their existence in the world. Lest we get muddled from here, let's be perfectly clear. This book is not good. Despite the plethora of reviews to the contrary, Love Thy Body is sloppy and poorly argued. As a work of Philosophy--that is, as a work that critically reviews, evaluates, and appraises other philosophical ideas--it's sophomoric. (Her treatment of Kant [162 - 165] is especially heinous. The analysis would not have stood in my 3000-level Ethics course.) She pulls critique-worthy articles from Salon, The Huffington Post, and even Daily Kos, while not even registering the difficulty of citing Breitbart and The Blaze because of their problematic pieces. And so, Pearcey's scales seem weighted in favor of one side rather than the other, which, for all her talk of "objectivity" and "scientific facts" (195) over against "subjective and arbitrary" (56) determinations, strains the reader's credulity. The ethics aren't robustly Christian. They may be a robust account of natural law or even stubbornly conservative (as natural law ethics typically are), but they aren't unadulteratedly Christian. Her account of sin's extensivity is lacking, and the moral vision, which colors the Christian ethical imagination, lacks the hoping-for-which intrinsic to Christian belonging-in-the-world. A theological ethics finds the source of its energy in god's work among his people, not in the abstract structuring of creation prior to the fall. All of which is, quite frankly, disappointing as far as Pearcey's project goes. I had picked up the work on the basis of its hype among Christian intelligentsia and because, in large measure, I agree with the arc of the project. There is something to one's givenness in the world, and, for all its talk of the resurrection, most contemporary theology does not make enough of the body. But, Pearcey's work was too reactionary and too polemical to advance the conversation. It's a new articulation of natural law and teleology, but it doesn't do much beyond this. We need an ethics of the body that centers itself on the incarnation, resurrection, and crucifixion; on the body of Christ; and on the New Jerusalem. Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
summer_no9 More than 1 year ago
This book was very challenging writing and compelling to read with deeply compassion with that also came with a lot of details, guiding and to helping us to understand and discovery of the fact that had hide behind in the culture of our day living. Love Thy Body show how debates about abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and gender identity all hinge on anthropology. I highly recommend to everyone must to read this book. “ I received complimentary a copy of this book from Baker Books Bloggers for this review”.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a homeschool educator, I am always on the lookout for relevant material for my students. The world in which they are coming of age is drastically different than even ten years ago. Students need material that presents the current worldview in clear, understandable language. With this in mind, I was recently invited to participate in the launch of a new book by Nancy R. Pearcey, “Love Thy Body.” “Love Thy Body” is a wonderful book where Pearcey unmasks the current disjointed personhood theory which is evident in many of today’s headlines. This mind over matter worldview states that the only relevant information comes from one’s mind, the ability to function on a cognitive level. Our biological bodies do not matter. This worldview is fueling transgenderism, the idea that I am what I feel I am, and my biology doesn’t matter. Fueling homosexuality, the idea I am not going to be restricted by my biology, and all that matters is my desires. Fueling abortion where the fetus is considered human, but it is not really a person with cognitive abilities. Throughout the book I was both saddened and encouraged. Saddened because “Love Thy Body” is a very relevant look at today’s culture. For instance, in the chapter titled “Schizoid Sex,” Pearcey describes the current hookup culture which permeates much of a young person’s world. Amazingly this hookup culture desperately tries to represent “sexual relationships” as only “physical . . . disconnected from the mind and emotions” (118). What is the result of these meaningless encounters? Students are “disappoint[ed]. They feel hurt and lonely,” wanting to create meaningful, lasting relationships. (119). There is tremendous pressure to conform to this culture or you will be viewed as needy. Encouragement comes from the clear presentation of the Gospel message. Many people will endear a subject like abortion by painting it with a “veneer of biblical language” (108). As Christians, we can get sucked into this thinking because we see “Christianity only as a spiritual experience, not as an alternative worldview” (108). Pearcey encourages us to use the Bible as “a lens through which we view all of life-the human person, history, nature, and society” (108). Put on your spiritual glasses and look around. Ask yourself, how does God view humans, as a separate mind and body? Or as a whole person, mind, body, and spirit. “Love Thy Body” is an excellent read. This book will equip you to engage with the culture and defend the truth. These are things we need to discuss with our students. I plan to incorporate much of the material into several high school classes I teach (11th and 12th grade). Buy the book! Note: I was part of the launch team for “Love Thy Body.” I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the spirit ofTotal Truth and Finding Truth, Nancy Pearcey again delivers a book that is relevant to the days we live in. In Love Thy Body, she presents how a biblical worldview expresses a high view of the dignity and significance of the body. Following theologian Francis Schaeffer, Pearcey uses the two story building analogy to illustrate how modern personhood theory argues that the question of humanness is one of fact relating to biology whereas the issue of what constitutes a person is a value definition. She then carefully walks through seven chapters that show how this fact / value split is expressed in issues ranging from the concept of a person, the sanctity of life (abortion and euthanasia), and confusion in matters of human sexuality. Throughout, she provides guidance on how the church can address these issues in a manner that is both redemptive and honoring to Christ. As a college professor, I will be recommending this book to my students who are seeking solid truth in a world where reality is replaced by transient feelings. I also strongly encourage pastors and church leaders and teachers to read this book. It will equip them in ministering and speaking the truth in love. Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it as part of the launch team. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As part of the launch team for Love Thy Body, by Nancy Pearcey, I have been reading this new book for the last four weeks or so. I learned a lot. It is challenging to read, stretching my mind. I feel like I have come upon the scene of a horrible catastrophe (earthquake, hurricane, plane crash, ...) and I want to dive in to rescue and restore as many as possible. What do abortion, euthanasia, and transgenderism have in common? They all share a common worldview which declares the body to be relatively meaningless, exalting the mind, and separating being a person from being human. This book goes deep into the mire of modern immorality to find the underlying assumptions, misconceptions, and outright lies that mute the consciences of many. The post-modern worldview demeans the body, declaring it meaningless, and in the names of "freedom" and "choice" drifts away into whatever the mind presently conceives. Buy this book and study it to learn what is happening in our present world, and taught in our schools, from kindergarten to post-graduate; to begin to understand the danger and the challenge or it all; and to arm yourself with tools to help those who are suffering. Two quotations: "Christians need to help people see that the secular view of human nature does not fit who people are. It does not match the real world. As a result, it is inevitably destructive, both personally and socially." "Christians must also show compassion to those who are pressured by a pomosexual [post-modern sexual] society to despise their own bodies and reject their biological identity. Loving God means loving those who bear his image in the world, helping to liberate people who are trapped by destructive and dehumanizing ideas."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In Love Thy Body, Nancy Pearcey does a thorough job of analyzing the worldview that drives much of the unprecedented moral changes shaping our culture. I was impressed by her solid research and thoughtful and compassionate understanding of the human condition. She uses real-life stories, research, statistics and her wealth of philosophical understanding to help us understand the dualism that divides the body from the heart and mind, degrading the fullness of our humanity and causing real harm to people, families, and society at large. It was helpful for me to see flaws in my own thinking that do not line up with reality. The author admonishes the church to proclaim the better, holistic view of what it means to be fully human instead of going with the flow of culture or making the opposite error of fighting back with anger and fear. This important book is essential reading for equipping us to show a better more loving way. ( I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I have since purchased an additional copy.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A feature of the times in which we live is that we face issues that are so emotionally charged it is difficult to discuss them rationally, let alone understand another’s perspective. Opponents scream at each other across an abyss of misunderstanding and rage all the while attributing evil intentions to those who disagree. Issues of sexuality, gender, and abortion are especially divisive. Amidst the rancor, Nancy Pearcey steps in with her new book Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality. This is not a task for the fainthearted. In our culture, daring to disagree with the entrenched secularist position inevitably leads to charges of intolerance and hate. Ironically, this knee-jerk reaction and emotion is symptomatic of a position that is being held in spite of, or even in defiance of, clear evidence to the contrary. Like the lens of our eye, we aren’t always aware of our worldview, yet we see everything through it. Pearcey clearly explains the worldview underlying issues of homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion, euthanasia, etc. She demonstrates how the Christian worldview has the greater respect for the body and the unified self. She points out that, ’Once we deny that humans have unique dignity just for being human, we have opened the door to tyranny.’ Pearcey examines contentious issues in a clear, articulate, compassionate, and irenic way. If you would hold your position intelligently, regardless of what that position is, this is a book worthy of your consideration.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“How do we reach Millennials?” is the burning question of the day among churches everywhere. They seem to be the lost generation. For my part, I think it comes down to showing that Christianity is a relevant, vibrant, and intellectually robust worldview that directly bears on life in meaningful and practical ways. The inclination to dismiss Christianity as irrelevant to one’s life or as intellectually insipid must be patiently and systematically refuted. This is done by engaging the mind, and showing that there are sound reasons for biblical admonitions. Enter Nancy Pearcey with her new book, Love Thy Body. All of Pearcey’s books are thought-provoking and readable, and Love Thy Body is no exception. Quoting C.S. Lewis from Love Thy Body, “The Christian and the Materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They can’t both be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe.” And this is the crux of the matter. Pearcey demonstrates throughout her book how and why secular philosophies fail to fit reality, while the Christian worldview fits. To our great misfortune, many are so far gone that they explicitly disavow reality as binding or that we must rely on it as a guide. Many, but not all. There remains a remnant who still care about objective reality and it is for them that this book is written. The lynchpin of the book is Pearcey’s description and analysis of the fact/value split, which manifests itself in a body/person dualism. I learned many paradigm-shifting things by reading the book, but in the next paragraph I’ll give one example. Christians are often accused, in knee-jerk fashion, of “irrationally” introducing religion (metaphysics) into moral questions such as transgenderism, a.k.a. “imposing religious views.” However, it does not take a great deal of reflection to realize that the science of biology (reality) agrees with the Christian view. A person’s sex is an undeniable, objective, biological fact all the way down to the cellular level, as a recent controversial TED Talk attests. It is in fact the secularist who seeks to introduce religion or metaphysics to the question by insisting that “personhood” (whatever sex an individual wants to “identify” as at any given moment) trumps biological fact. The secularist has often trumpeted, loudly and belligerently, his allegiance to science and reason, while accusing the Christian of superstition. But we see that this is a mere caricature. The transgender apologist downplays and ignores objective reality to prefer subjective spiritualism, AND seeks to IMPOSE that view on all others. So, the secularist, in this instance, is guilty of the very thing of which he accuses others. (Forgive me for using broad nomenclature here, I know that not all secularists are on board with the anti-science transgender movement.) There is much more substance within that I could go on about, but this review is lengthy enough as is. You’ll just have to read the book. Buy it now! [Full disclosure: I received a free preview copy of the book as part of the #LoveThyBody launch team, for which I enthusiastically volunteered. This review represents my unbiased opinion, nonetheless.]
Donald McConnell More than 1 year ago
Love Love Do you long for a world with greater equality? Better treatment for women? An end to sexism and discrimination in exchange for a truly inclusive and loving culture? Do you desire a culture that maximizes real sexual pleasure and happiness? Would you like to accept and honor your body instead of seeing it as something dirty? Cultural apologist Nancy Pearcey’s new book, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality, explores how worldview relates to today’s most controversial issues – those surrounding sexuality, identity, and human life. The dominant cultural perspective on the body and on sexuality has undergone radical change in recent history. The free-love lifestyle of the 60’s has triumphed over traditional norms. Psychologists and sociologists tell us that following our own choices of identity, lifestyle, and sexual expression will make us authentic, free, and happy. Almost all universities – both public and private – lead their students toward this postmodernist view that there are no “givens” of law or nature: everything, even our gender, is a fluid product of human choice. University speech codes seek to protect students from any other views on these potentially painful issues, and encourage choices outside traditional boundaries. The new choice-based attitude toward our bodies promises much! Are you, in fact, happier? Are you without regrets for your sexuality and lifestyle choices? Have your decisions made you feel fulfilled and confident – comfortable, at last, in your own skin? Love Thy Body examines the philosophical basis and statistical results of social choices, with sound support from research and observation. Author Nancy Pearcey points out that Christian ethics is not really about imposing our views on others, but about a biology based, neutral application of equal rights to all. It is the postmodernist position that says there are no rights; that politics is about power – a view that puts us all at risk. Love Thy Body describes an inclusive and loving perspective which is “. . . wholistic . . . based on a rich multi-dimensional view that says people have value at all levels, physically and spiritually.” So can you stand to actually think through the facts behind your ethical applications? If you are tough enough to face reality, Nancy Pearcey’s Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality is an extraordinary resource and a “must read”. The clarity and breadth of Pearcey’s work is remarkable. Seldom has anyone tackled so many thorny issues with so much courage, so successfully, in one volume. The book is well written, and a treasury of resources for the seeker, the professional ethicist, and everyone in between. I strongly recommend that you buy and read this book and then buy copies for your friends, relatives and pastors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Thy Body, Nancy Pearcey Written for Tenth Grade upwards (My granddaughter will read it.) Excellent for group studies. A study guide is included in the back of the book. About a month ago Nancy Pearcey was kind enough to pull me into her pre-launch group for her new book, Love Thy Body. Her book was sent to me that I might read it prior to its release, the only requirement being that I write an “honest review.” Apologetics can be a rollercoaster ride for me. With each page I found myself saying, “Yes. OK, that’s good. Excellent! Pure gold.” Then again, “Push that a step further. A chink in the wall opened, but now a bit further. Just a bit more!” As Nancy Pearcey reminds her readers, we are not in a “cultural war,” but in a “rescue mission.” Apologetics aims at understanding the position of the “other” in order to find their weaknesses and demonstrate them so their logic falls on itself. Pearcey is an excellent cultural dissector. Every chapter addresses a specific cultural concern, those that are on the forefront of every Christian’s mind. Love Thy Body tackles issues of abortion, euthanasia, the hook up, sexuality, transgenderism, homosexuality, marriage and parenthood. Pearcey does a thorough job explaining the philosophical underpinnings of the dualist worldview splitting personhood and body supporting abortion that eventually evolves into the cultural disavowal of both gender and body. This dualist secular thought which prizes emotion over the body or biology I foundational to euthanasia, matters of sexuality, and the family. Pearcey defends the Christian scriptural worldview of the embodied soul created by God and redeemed, saved, and restored in Christ as the one that is truly freeing. She does this without using the Bible as a “battering ram.” "The main reason to address moral issues is that they have become a barrier to even hearing the message of salvation. People are inundated with rhetoric that Bible is hateful, narrow and negative. While it is crucial to be clear about the biblical teaching of sin, the context must be an overall positive message: that Christianity alone gives the basis for a high view of the value and meaning of the body as a good gift from God. In our communication with people struggling with moral issues, we need to reach out with a life-giving, life-affirming message. We should work to draw people in by the beauty of the biblical vision of life." There were times though, that I wanted stronger suggestions, “Get thee to a church!” But, again, this is apologetics. This is the wall-breaker. This is, “Oh, wow! Yeah! Now what do I do?” And in the hands of Christians, we should know what next to do. Sometimes repetitive, but that’s a good thing for students and people like me with short attention spans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a post–gay Christian, I was interested in how Nancy Pearcey would navigate the muddy waters of faith, sexuality, and gender in her new book “Love Thy Body.”  Pearcey laid the groundwork based on “the choice of affirming or rejecting the goodness of God’s intended design for our bodies and sexuality.”  Almost every page of my personal copy is underlined with notes on the side. Over the course of the last five years I have understood that I must surrender my sexual attractions and desires for other women to be a fully devoted follower of Christ. What I have discovered in reading this book is my need to realign my perspective of the value and dignity of the male and female bodies. One of my favorite quotes sums up the reason here: “It (the teleological philosophy) tells us how to fulfill our true nature, how to become fully human. In this purpose-driven view, there is no dichotomy between body and person. The two together form an integrated psycho-physical unity. We respect and honor our bodies as part of the revelation of God’s purpose for our lives. It is part of the created order that is “declaring the glory of God.” Changing the question, from where and why to how. Pearcey brilliantly states that those who wrestle with faith, sexual and or gender identity must change the question from “Where did this come from? to “How can God best work through it?” She goes on to state that “our feelings do not define us, but our moral commitments do.”  She emphasizes that “when we affirm the goodness of creation. We affirm our own maleness or femaleness is not a meaningless or oppressive fact of nature but a reflection of history’s greatest storyline." My greatest take away from this book is that I'm called to live out a holy sexuality through sexual purity and to hold loosely my relational future entrusting it to a God who always has my best in mind. Order your copy today and learn how to love your body well. Hope Harris, Texas