Nancy Pearcey, Worldview, and the Human Body

Nancy Pearcey’s thesis: Secularism’s operating assumptions about human life undergird modern approaches to ethics of the womb, body, sex, marriage, end-of-life, etc. Especially:

  • The human body has no identifiable morally significant design or purpose.
  • Sex and the body are instrumental to extrinsic goals. They have no deeper meaning or design. Neither are they an intrinsic good.
  • Likewise, gender has no meaning, design, or morally significant purpose, and is not an intrinsic good.
  • Not every member of the human species of is of equal dignity (i.e. non-person humans).
  • In fact, “human” / “humanity” / “species” are mere social constructs.
  • Humans are not normatively integrated wholes — body, mind, soul.
  • Marriage is a genderless, in-comprehensive union, not at all structured by the design of bodies.

In contrast the Christian worldview holds:

  • The human species and its two genders are ontological realities. They are not ultimately fiction, or fantasy, or fabrication. Nor are they merely assigned by culture.
  • Being a member of the human species is sufficient for dignity, protection, and value.
  • God created our bodies with morally significant design.
  • The human body has identifiable purpose.
  • The human body is intrinsically valuable.
  • Humans are, normatively, integrated wholes.
  • Marriage is a comprehensive union of persons “across all dimensions”, complementary, and structured by the design of the body.

“Every social practice rests on certain assumptions of what the world is like—on a worldview. When a society accepts the practice, it absorbs the worldview that justifies it… [It] is not merely a matter of private individuals making private choices. It is about deciding which worldview will shape our communal life together.” (Nancy Pearcey, Saving Leonardo, 57)


Radiolab episode where blame itself is questioned:

“Neuroscientist David Eagleman… argues for tossing out blame as an old-fashioned, unfair way of thinking about the law. According to David and Amy Phenix, a clinical and forensic psychologist who relies on statistics, it makes more sense to focus on the risk of committing more crimes. But Jad and Robert can’t help wondering whether that’s really a world they want to live in.”

The episode goes on to celebrate forgiveness of blameworthy people.


There is a modern schizophrenia around autonomy. It is all-important, yet deconstructed as illusory. Treated as an intrinsic and transcendent good, yet situated in a purposeless and meaningless universe.