Sexual confusion is now being followed by a new trend — "species confusion."
In the 1970s, people began talking openly about the gay and lesbian culture. That changed in the 1990s to the "LGBT" culture, which stands for "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender." Within a few years, the gay community added the letter "Q" to make room for people who identify as "queer" or "questioning."
Today, there are new variants of the term, including "LGBTQIA+," which adds "asexual," "intersex" and a plus sign to include people who identify as "pansexual" or "non-binary." Things got even more complicated in Canada when a gay rights group introduced the acronym "LGBTTIQQ2SA." (The number "2" refers to indigenous people who identify as having "two spirits.")
Then Facebook expanded its gender choices. In 2014, the social media platform gave users a list of 56 gender options to choose from. But the next year, a "custom gender" option was added so people wouldn't be limited by the original list.
If you are scratching your head, prepare to be more confused. Gender is not the only thing that has become "fluid" in today's culture. People are now questioning their species.
You may never have heard of "therians" but it probably won't be long before you meet one. Therians don't believe they are humans, and they celebrate their animal identities on their Instagram pages and YouTube channels. One Norwegian woman named Nano said she realized at age 16 that she has been a cat all her life. She walks on all fours and claims she can see in the dark and hear things humans can't.
Dennis Avner, a famous therian who committed suicide in 2012, was so convinced he was a cat that he had his ears reshaped, got whiskers implanted and had cat stripes tattooed on his body. Today there are also "polytherians" who identify as more than one animal.
When I was traveling in Michigan a few weeks ago, I learned that there are students in public schools there who identify as "furries." Some of them are simply fans of cartoon characters and they enjoy collecting art related to these animals. But a segment of furries actually identify as the dogs, wolves, foxes or cats they admire.
A recent study showed that 38 to 53 percent of furries don't want to be human and 14 percent of them believe they are not human. They also use the word "otherkin" to describe themselves and they enjoy dressing in costumes because they feel more comfortable as animals. They have their own online communities, their own conventions, their favorite fan fiction and comics and even their own pornography.
And while the largest segment of furries are men in their 20s, there are women who also question their humanness.
Psychologists created the term "species identity disorder" to describe this mental and emotional problem. But there is increasing pressure to avoid such a term. After all, it has become politically incorrect to label anyone with "gender identity disorder" these days, since transgender people now work in business, government and even the military.
I won't be surprised if we will soon be under pressure to accept therians or furries as the new normal.
What do we make of all this? For centuries, people have assumed that things like gender, age and race are set realities based on science. Yet today all absolutes are being questioned.
More and more, in this selfie age, the self has become the standard. The new mantra is: "I can choose who I am. I am what I 'feel.' If I 'feel' I am a girl, I can be a girl. If I 'feel' like I am a dog, I am a dog. I determine reality."
I'm not shocked when I see this demonic trend in our culture; the Bible warned us this would happen. The apostle Paul told the Romans that when man rejects the authority of God, we become "fools" who exchange "the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures" (Rom. 1:23, NASB1995).
We are seeing Scripture fulfilled right in front of our eyes. When we reject God and focus on ourselves, we actually lose our true identities. He created us to be men and women who identify as the children of God. But we cannot possibly know who we really are if we cut ourselves off from the Creator.
Without a connection to the true God, we become hopelessly disoriented and confused. The only hope for this growing confusion in our culture is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is not a time to judge furries or therians or transgender people. Don't get angry at those who identify as something else. Love them anyway — and introduce them to the one who can restore their true identities. In the midst of today's selfishness, sexual confusion and family breakdown, Jesus has given us a chance to show His love to people who don't know who they are.
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J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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