The Weight of Culture and Our Strange New World

The Weight of Culture and Our Strange New World

Just a small sampling of recent headlines reveals what a disorienting cultural moment this is: Man wins a women’s swimming championshipSupreme Court nominee refuses to define the word woman, Biden administration endorses gender reassignment surgery for minors. Back in 2020, theologian and historian Dr. Carl Trueman provided a full account of how something that was unthinkable a generation ago became unquestionable today. The dramatic shifts in how we think about gender and sexuality are among the fruits (not roots) of a much deeper shift in how we think about the human person. 

Trueman’s book The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self described the origin story of what has been called “the cultural identity crisis.” Centuries ago, thinkers, writers, and activists began to rethink, redefine, and over-sexualize the concept of self. By describing this process, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self felt like a long-overdue answer key for our cultural moment. Weighing in at over 400 pages, it is the definitive account of the thinkers, ideas, expressions, and consequences of the sexual revolution.  

Thankfully, Dr. Trueman also heard the many pleas for a less academic approach to these essential concepts, one that works out the same essential analysis but for those Christians dealing with the everyday chaos of the culture he so aptly describes. The new and much slimmer version is called Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution. 

In it, Trueman tells the story of the development and propagation of ideas that sparked a revolution in how Western people think about themselves and others. Eventually, these ideas transformed how we think about sex and the human body, about social institutions like the family and the role of the state, and about meaning, purpose, and fulfillment.  

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