Transcript: Carl Trueman On Gays And Personal Identity
The theologian and I have a good-faith debate.
Carl Trueman is a Christian theologian and ecclesiastical historian. He’s currently a professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College, as well as an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He’s the author of many books, but in this episode, we discuss The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self (a condensed version of which just came out: Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked the Sexual Revolution). It’s been a hit on the paleocon right.
The episode aired on December 16, 2022. Some money quotes from Carl:
“One of the things that I think we’ve lost as a result of the sexual revolution where things have become hyper sexualized: We’ve lost the old concept of rich, close, passionate friendship that I think is something very important.”
“I think the world has always been marked by the power of the erotic. The erotic drives of human beings. It's why we can read The Iliad today and understand what's going on.”
“I think when we lose, it's important to be gracious losers. I do not intend to spend whatever little time is left to me being bitter and angry about losing stuff.”
Andrew: Hey there. For the first time in a while, I feel actually kind of almost healthy, which is a really lovely thing to feel. The sun is shining. The Respect for Marriage Act is being signed today as we speak, which is kind of interesting given my guest today. But nonetheless, it's a good day from my point of view. There's a wild and massive celebration at the White House, to which I have not been invited, which is fine by me.
I'm glad to be back. Today we have, I hope, a really challenging guest. We have others coming up. We have Glenn Loury coming up, someone I've always wanted to interview, and also John Gray, the British writer and philosopher, who is also of my top 10 people I've wanted to have on The Dishcast. He's also coming up.
But today: Carl Trueman. He's a Christian theologian and ecclesiastical historian. He's currently a professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College, as well as an ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He's the author of many books, but today we're going to discuss one that comes up a lot recently — certainly in my emails, and to some extent also in some of the bloggers and writers, like Rod Dreher and the Integralists and all the new conservative Catholic types. This book has become a bit of a hit, bit of a sensation, almost. It's called The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. And I'm told they've just produced a condensed version. Is that right, Carl?
Andrew: It's called Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists Redefined Identity and Sparked The Sexual Revolution. Carl, thank you so much for coming on The Dishcast and talking about this.
Carl: It's great to be here, Andrew. I've enjoyed your writings for many years, so it's great to finally see you and interact a little.
Andrew: Thank you. And you're a stealth Brit, of course. They're out there. And trust me, listeners, I don't seek out the English accents. I sometimes don't realize they are English until I actually speak with them. But tell us, Carl, where were you born, and where in England did you grow up?
Carl: Well, I was born in Dudley in the Midlands, but grew up from the age of six or seven over in the West Country. I think you are from the southeast, I'm more or less from the southwest. Like yourself I'm an English grammar school boy, went to the local grammar school. I had a slightly happier experience of rugby, I think, while I was there than you did yourself. Though I can certainly recognize your description of rugby and some of the things that you've written.
I went to the University of Cambridge where I studied Classics, and from there to the University of Aberdeen where I made a shift, I moved from ancient history to Reformation history. I've spent much of my life professionally teaching 16th and 17th century Reformation history. So the book that you've brought me on to discuss represents something of a change of direction.
Happy to be married to my wife, Katrina, for 32 years, and father of two sons, and recently grandfather of little baby Emily. So entering a delightful phase of my life from that perspective.
Andrew: Wow. Congratulations.
Andrew: How was the adjustment to America?
Carl: Well, my wife and I arrived, I think, right about August 17th, 2001. So within three or four weeks we found ourselves as foreigners in a country in a state of emergency and panic. So our transition was rather unusual and not as smooth as we expected.
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