The Human Animal

Lazy days at the swimming pool used to be a family-oriented way to cool off in the summer. But in some big cities, families are staying home-especially if they have girls. According to the New York Times, there's a new fad at city pools called "the whirlpool." Twenty to thirty boys link arms in a circle and surround a solitary girl. The boys close in on her, dunk her head under water, and frequently tear off her bathing suit and grab at her. The problem has grown so severe that in New York City several teenage boys have actually been arrested. Some girls say they're afraid to go to the pool alone. Yet the city's commissioner of parks, Betty Gotbaum, has been remarkably casual about it. "It's not right," she said, but "this has been going on since time immemorial." I beg your pardon, but it has not been going on since time immemorial. When my daughter was young, she never had to worry about being molested by gangs in the community swimming pool. Sexual molestation was not treated as a team sport. The underlying philosophy that spawns this ugliness was uncovered in an informal survey by the New York Times. Reporters asked several teens how they accounted for the boys' predatory behavior in the swimming pools. "It's nature," one boy replied. "Look at a female dog and a male dog. It's the same thing: You see 20 male dogs on a female dog. It's the male nature, in a way." How utterly repugnant. But how utterly consistent with what these kids are being taught in public schools. The great prophet of sex education was Alfred Kinsey, who built his theory of sexuality squarely on the foundation of scientific naturalism. Humans are part of nature, Kinsey taught-nothing more. He evaluated every form of sexual activity in terms of its role in the lives of the lower species. Any behavior found among the lower animals Kinsey regarded as natural for humans as well. In his words it is "part of the normal mammalian picture." It goes without saying that Kinsey was working on the assumption of evolution. Evolution teaches an unbroken continuity between humans and the animal world. And if we are simply advanced animals, then our guide to behavior is whatever the animals do. As Kinsey put it, in sexual matters humans should follow the example of "our mammalian forebears." Kinsey's philosophy has been gospel among sex educators ever since the 1950s. And it sounds to me as though some New York boys have grasped it precisely: "Look at a male and a female dog" is merely a vernacular translation of Kinsey's more sophisticated talk about "the normal mammalian picture." The need is urgent for Christian parents to promote sex education programs like Sex Respect and Teen Aid that acknowledge that humans are more than animals-programs that teach schoolchildren that the spiritual and moral dimension to sex and to life is just as real as the biological. The Bible does not teach that we are merely dogs in heat. It teaches that we are bearers of the image of God.


Chuck Colson


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