In today’s episode, the guys talk about the phenomenon of people identifying as animals. This phenomenon takes shape in the community of furries, or “enthusiast[s] for animal characters with human characteristics” who use animal characters as online avatars and often even dress up as their animal counterparts. The furry community is a sexualized subculture, wth a vast majority of its members at least engaging with furry pornography, and represents a perversion of human identity. Whether furries actually dress up each day as animals or just use online personas (or “fursonas”), they are creating an identity distinct from their true selves, and are investing and finding value in something false and empty. Their experience overlaps with that of the Otherkin, a person who identifies as a non-human being, typically wholly or partially animal or mythical being. The furry community represents yet another step in the crazy progression of recent years; things we once wrote off as unfathomable keep happening – from gay marriage, to recognized pedophelia, to people pursuing relationships with inanimate objects. As such, the community places itself squarely in the category of those things discussed in Romans 1 when Paul explains human sin and the experience of being “given over” to all kinds of evil.
How should we as Christians address this phenomenon and engage with people who identify as furries? Well, to start, it’s helpful to know that over 60% of furry community members reported extreme bullying while growing up. They are people who have been cast aside, laughed at, and hurt. They are people who answer the question of the day – “Who am I?” – by living out of a battered sense of self. These facts should give us a sense of compassion at the start. We must also remember that the only thing that fundamentally differentiates us from them is the grace of God; apart from God, we are all lost and go our own way. Furries need what we ourselves needed when God saved us: to understand who God is and understand self in relation to God. We don’t need to get overly caught up in their crazy lifestyle to share the truth about God with them. We just need, with gentleness and patience, to present the law and the gospel.