Normal: According with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle; conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern; occurring naturally; of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development.
— Merriam-Webster dictionary
These days there are a number of things that we’re officially told are perfectly “normal.”
We’re told that it’s “normal” for someone to be romantically and sexually attracted to people of their own gender.
We’re told that it’s “normal” for someone of a particular physical gender to actually be a member of the other gender, based on how they mentally perceive themselves.
Frankly, I’d like to know what definition of “normal” is being used in such statements. It certainly couldn’t have much resemblance to the dictionary definition quoted above. Rather, it would have to be some sort of “newspeak” definition used by people who treat words as meaning whatever they want them to mean — something along the lines of “totally acceptable and OK, just because we say so.” In other words, certain things are declared “normal” with no other basis than highly biased opinion.
If a random person on the street was asked to define “normal,” they’d probably say something to the effect of “average” or “common.” That would, in fact, be a reasonably valid definition for some uses of the word. And even that rather loose definition of “normal,” incidentally, would be strict enough to completely exclude things like same-sex attraction and gender confusion.
But a more accurate definition of “normal” carries an implication that goes beyond merely “average” or “common” — especially in an area as important as sexuality.
Consider the part about “according with or not deviating from a norm.” Then consider this part of the dictionary definition of “norm”: An authoritative standard; a principle of right action serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior.
In the light of this, it’s clear that “normal” doesn’t just refer to how things commonly are; it refers to how they are designed to be.
When behavior — particularly sexual behavior — conforms to an authoritative standard and a principle of right action, it will operate at a far higher level than what may be “average” at a given time.
A person who truly values marital faithfulness, for instance, may be so rare in our time as to seem downright strange. But such a person is nonetheless “normal.” They are living according to the design, not according to what’s currently popular or fashionable.
In the age we live in, it may be “average” for people to treat sexuality as a cheap recreational drug rather than as a serious responsibility; to reject all but the most vague and meaningless limits on it; to live according to the most transparent lies about it.
But if sexual behavior doesn’t conform to the design — to the authoritative standards and principles of right action set forth by the Designer — then it’s not “normal” no matter who wants it to be, and no matter how common it is.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.