President Trump made a surprising decision to bar transgenders in the military of the United States. Not surprisingly, the transgender community and progressives became infuriated with this decision.
Transgenders! Who are they? How did this controversy arise?
Now, let me make one thing clear to you. There are true hermaphrodites in our society. A hermaphrodite is a person with both male and female sex organs. That person has some combination of testes, ovaries or ovotestis, which contain both ovarian and testicular tissue. Even pediatricians who examine them at birth could be confused regarding their gender. But true hermaphrodites are a tiny segment of all people. Their ratio is 1 in 85000 people. They need psychological and medical help. They might even need surgery to remove organs that are not necessary or even harmful to their health. I am not talking about true hermaphrodites. I am talking about individuals who are unmistakably male or female at birth, but later would like to change their gender.
Miguel is a 16 year old boy born in St.Joseph, Missouri. He started to search on Google, ‘What does it mean to not identify as male or female?’ Soon, he started to describe his gender as ‘gender fluid’. He said, ‘People in my generation, if they hear something new, they’re like, ‘Oh, OK’. How should Christians respond to this confusion in our society. Should we just say, ‘Oh, OK’?
The Church of England held a synod and favored a motion to “consider whether some nationally commended liturgical material might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition”. The Church of England would like to see a liturgical celebration similar to a baptism for people who change their gender.
What does the Bible teach on this matter? The Word of God is our foundation, not the opinion of man. When I look into the mirror, I say to myself, ‘sooner or later I too will be gone, only the Word of God will be here, only the Word of God is eternal and unchanging’. Amid the shifting sands of human opinion, it is essential to see what God’s Word say in this matter.
Suddenly we are confused even in such simple matters like which rest room should I use? Who am I? What is my gender? Can I use a male restroom? or female restroom?
As you address the nature call and approach a rest room, what does M and W stand for? Does M stand for Men ‘make up your mind?’. Does W stand Women for ‘Whatever’?
Why are we so confused in such a simple matter? If our great grand fathers were to come out of their graves and see our dilemma, they would roll their heads, ‘What in the world has happened to your generation?’
We are in the midst of a long clash of the two worldviews.
In one worldview, God decides what is right and wrong for human beings.
In the other worldview, humans decide what is right and wrong for himself or herself.
In the very first chapter of the Bible, Genesis chapter one, we read
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them
male and female he created them
That’s from Genesis chapter 1:27
God created the universe, that’s Genesis 1:1
God also created the human beings including their gender, that’s Genesis 1:27
The progressives in our society and even in many Christian denominations don’t take Genesis literally. That’s the problem. In their worldview, even if God created the universe, he left the matters of sexuality and gender as transitional states or fluid concepts. But, please notice those words,
In the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.
It does not say, in the image of God he created them,
and he left them to decide their own gender.
The Bible says, in 1 Corinthians chapter 14:33, ‘For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace’ Why is there so much confusion? Why is there no peace? Because we have rejected God and His Word. God is the author of peace, not confusion. He solidly declared His stance on all matters of life. He made it unmistakably clear how He created us, our sexuality and our gender. But we don’t want to listen to Him, that’s the core of our problem.
French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre used to say, ‘Existence precedes Essence’. In secular existentialism, first you exist and then you create your essence. Christianity rejects that order. In Christian worldview, ‘Essence precedes existence’. Even before you came into this world, your identity is chosen in the mind of God.
In the secular worldview, ‘how you live’ comes before, ‘who you are’.
In the Christian worldview, ‘who you are’ comes before, ‘how you live’.
God told Jeremiah, ‘Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee’ (Jeremiah 1:5). God’s purposes for our lives are set even before we were born.
Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians chapter 1:15, ‘But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace’
Please note those words, ‘It pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb’
It pleased God to design you as a woman
It pleased God to design you as a man.
You are not a man trapped in a woman’s body
You are not a woman trapped in a man’s body
If you are confused in this matter, you need our sympathy and supplication, not surgery and stamp of approval. Your gender is God’s will, it’s God’s purpose. It’s not your will, it’s not your purpose.
Jesus asked Pharisees in Matthew chapter 19, ‘Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,…for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder’
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus’ teaching is very plain in this matter: The identity of gender is carried into the unity of marriage. God created you male and female. A man marries a woman and they become one flesh for a lifetime. They procreate and raise children. They make different but equally important contributions.
The world says, ‘equal and same’, the Bible says, ‘equal but different’.
The male remains a male throughout their marriage. The female remains a female throughout their marriage. It’s not like, you get up one morning and tell your female wife, ‘Hi sweetheart, I feel like a woman, I can no longer pretend to be a man. I am going through a major transition in my life. Help me find a surgeon who will do a reassignment surgery on me’
Temptations do come in life, but we are commanded to rely on God’s grace in such circumstances. Apostle Paul said, ‘God who called me by his grace’ (Galatians 1:15). Your calling is sustained by the grace of God. Your identity is sealed through His grace. It is not fluid or nonconforming.
When I traveled in Rome and Turkey, I visited the remains of public latrines used by ancient Romans and Greeks. In the ancient Rome, men and women used the same public restrooms. They were not gender specific. Later, when Rome converted to Christian faith. they started to build separate restrooms for men and women. The West is rejecting its Christian heritage in our time. That is why we are back to square one, arguing over restrooms.
Sadly, Christians and non-Christians can’t understand and agree on such basic necessities of life. Ludwig Wittgenstein was an Austrian-British philosopher (1889 – 1951). Among other things, he is known for his philosophy of language. He used to talk about language games. He famously said, ‘Even if a lion could speak, we could not understand him’. That view is extended across human cultures.Every culture gives certain meaning to each word of its vocabulary. What does the word aeroplane mean to you? During the Battle of Jerusalem in 1917, the British Empire was fighting against the Ottoman Empire. General Edmund Allenby liberated Jerusalem. British Prime Minister David George called it, ‘a Christmas present for the British people’. At one point, General Allenby was talking about air force and fighter jets. But the Ottoman army had no idea of what he was talking about. They had seen horses and tanks, not airplanes. When they saw airplanes, they thought of them as divine miracles, not human inventions. An airplane meant different things to the British and the Ottomans.
Who is God?
Who is man?
Who is woman?
What is marriage?
What is family?
What is sexuality?
What is gender?
The meaning depends on the worldview you espouse. A generation ago, you would have to travel halfway around the globe to find someone who does not agree with you on those terms. Now it is hard to convince your next door neighbor on the meaning of these terms. Why? because across the landscape, people have embraced conflicting worldviews.
When I argue with atheists about the existence of God, they ask me with wide eyes, ‘tell me, who made God?’ Basically, the millennials have no idea of how the West cultivated the concept of God over the millennia, ‘an eternal, uncreated, self-sustaining being’. We don’t even have a common ground on the concept of God, so it would be too much to expect a common ground on family, marriage, sexuality and gender. The materialistic thinking has impinged on every concept of our society.
This clash of the worldviews is central to every culture war of our time, including transgender debate. On one side, we have Bible believing Christians who want to uphold Bible as the standard for all human institutions and behavior. On the other hand, we have Darwinian materialism. American biologist Edward O.Wilson (born 1929) wrote in his famous book, Sociobiology: the New Synthesis (1975), ‘Let us now consider man in the free spirit of natural history’. Let us now consider man, not as the image bearer of Creator God, not as follower of objective values God imprinted on His creation, but in the free spirit of natural history, nonconforming to any divine standard.
In Christian worldview, every human institution has a foundation in the Word of God.
In Darwinian worldview, every human institution is a social construction. God did not create us, let alone he spoke to us on any of these matters. So, we construct our own identity, our own meaning, our own purpose, our own destiny.
In Christian worldview, gender is a creation of God.
In Darwinian worldview, it is a social construction, completely natural with no divine purpose in the background. It’s central tenet is ‘Man is the measure of all things’.
Materialism and moral relativism are not new. They are as old as Socrates. Protagoras once said, ‘man is the measure of all things’. People asked Socrates, ‘Now, have you heard about Protagoras? He says, ‘man is the measure of all things’. What is your opinion on this view?’
Socrates replied, ‘If man is the measure of all things, why can’t dog-faced baboon be the measure of all things because it has a better acute vision than all human beings? If man is the measure of all things, why are you lining before Protagoras and pay him good money to tell you
that man in the measure of all things, just stay home and make yourself the measure of all things!’
If man is the measure of all things, why not dog-faced baboon? Our generation has taken this maxim to its logical conclusion. The evolutionary biologists and ethicists of our time have been constructing the standards for human behavior based on animal behavior. Our philosophy of life can be derived from baboons and monkeys.
Jonathan Roughgarden was born in Paterson, New Jersey. After a PhD in biology from Harvard University, he became an evolutionary biologist. After studies on different groups of animals, Roughgarden wrote the book, Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People. He argued that gender is not fixed among animals, it is transitory and fluid. So, in 1998, Roughgarden transitioned from male to female. Jonathan Roughgarden became Joan Roughgarden. His argument is, if animals can change their sexuality and gender, we too can change our sexuality and gender.
There are animals that practice rape, can humans follow their example?
There are animals that practice cannibalism, can humans follow their example?
There are animals that practice infanticide, can humans follow their example?
That is where Darwinian worldview took our generation. Animals teach us how to live, not the Bible.
Anthropology has also been affected by this evolutionary worldview. Franz Boas lived between 1858 and 1942. He has been called the ‘Father of American Anthropology’. He did research on Baffin Island, Canada. What he saw on that Island and its people was cultural relativism. Cultural relativism says that no culture is greater than other cultures.
If certain cultures practice polygamy, that is their culture, you have no right to criticize it.
If certain cultures practice child marriages, that is their culture, you have no right to criticize it.
If certain cultures practice homosexuality, that is their culture, you have no right to criticize it.
This cultural relativism also led to moral relativism. There are no objective values to live by. Morality is relative. Franz Boas wrote over 700 books and articles. He mentored so many students who went to build new anthropology programs across the United States. Today, Darwinism, cultural relativism and moral relativism completely taken over our educational system. They teach everything in our culture is socially constructed including gender.
This worldview soon creeped into academia, philosophy, literature and arts.
Evelyn Fox Keller is a Professor Emerita at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She wrote an essay titled ‘How Gender Matters: or, Why It’s So Hard for us to Count Past Two”. In this essay, Keller argued that gender should not be seen in binary terms: male and female. We should count past the two. She argued that there are more than two gender identities.
Michel Foucault was a French philosopher and social theorist. His lifetime was between the years 1926 and 1984. In the early 1950s, Foucault was deeply influenced by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche sought human perfection not in God but in the will to power. Your salvation is not through Jesus, but through your own efforts. You can define your own identity, your own meaning, your own destiny without any reference to the Creator. You can define your life according to your own desires. Michel Foucault loved these teachings of Nietzsche. Like Nietzsche, he became an atheist. In his book The History of Sexuality, Foucault argued that sexuality, including homosexuality, and gender identity are socially constructed. You choose your sexuality, you choose your gender. They are not biologically determined. Foucault’s philosophy of sexuality became foundational to many modern intellectuals and transgender activists.
Judith Butler (b.1956) is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She based her gender theory on Michel Foucault. In 1990, she wrote the book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. This book became foundational for gender theorists. In this book, she argued that gender is a social construction, gender is a performance. Interesting? isn’t it? Gender is a performance. You perform your gender differently in different contexts. You shape, practice and perform your gender, it is not fixed. It is a continuum, a fluid, a constant stream.
Many prominent writers were influenced by Judith Butler’s work, including Suzanne Collins, Octavia Butler, Samuel Delany, Ursula Leguin. A whole generation of readers were immersed in this ideology through their best selling novels and books.
James Tiptree wrote the novella, Houston, Houston, Do you read? The opening paragraph introduces us to Lorimer in a crowded cabin. He is confused about his gender. He is a male but finds himself in a female restroom. He feels like a female trapped in a male body.
Ursula Le Guin is a novelist. Back in 1969 she wrote a novel entitled The Left Hand of Darkness. The story in this novel features Genly Ai. He is sent to planet Gethen as an envoy of the Ekumen, a confederation of planets. Gethen is a fictional planet. This planet is populated by individuals with no fixed gender. They do not have a stable gender identity. They do not have notable sex differences. Then comes kemmer, which occurs at 26 day cycles. Only during kemmer, people develop male or female characteristics and engage in sexual activity. One’s gender is limited to his or her sexuality. A person can be a father and a mother.
Samuel Delany wrote the novel Trouble on Triton back in 1976. He was also inspired by Michel Foucault. The protagonist in this novel Bron Helstrom goes to a sex-change clinic and becomes a woman. From that moment on, Bron is a woman, called with female pronouns.
Suzanne Collins authored Hunger Games which became best selling books and blockbuster movies. These movies deal with gender identity.
From Darwinian evolution to anthropology to philosophy to literature to arts to movies,you can see a systematic rebellion against God and a transformation of our culture from inside out. We are surprisingly caught off guard by transgender movement, but it has been creeping into our society over the last 60 years.
But how should we respond to this cultural reconstruction?
Respond with truth: Human opinion changes but the Word of God stands forever. God created us male and female. Gender is not socially constructed, it is not assigned. It is a gift of God. This truth needs to be told. Sadly, many Christians are more concerned with diversity than doctrines of the Bible. Diversity is good as long as we do not violate the Word of God.
Reason with compassion: We are commanded to speak truth in love. H.L.Mencken once described Puritanism as the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. Contemporary media portrays Christians as people who go after anybody who is happy.
God is a God of joy. Forty-one percent of transgender men and women attempt suicide. They have high rates of depression and anxiety. As Christians, we should offer them hope that comes through faith in Lord Jesus Christ.
I have people who come to my clinic and say, ‘Doctor, I am overweight. Please help me reduce weight’. When I put them on scale, they weigh eighty or ninety pounds. I tell them, ‘You are not overweight. You have anorexia’. You are not overweight just because you feel like it. You are not skinny just because you feel like it. Reality is determined when you stand on the scale and weigh yourself. Reality does not change with your feelings. Similarly, just because you feel like a woman, you are not going to become a woman.
3. Report the evidence: Dr.Paul mcHugh (b.1931) is Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He studied transgenderism for the last forty years. He gave his expert advice on this matter. He said, “..duty of all doctors who propose a treatment is to know the nature of the problem they propose to treat. The issue of transgender (people) is, the vast majority coming for surgery now don’t have a biological reason but a psychosocial reason”. Surgery will not fix transgender confusion. They need psychological counseling and gospel.
4. Restore through Christ: Transgender people are looking for meaning, significance and identity. The Bible says, ‘for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’. Sin is violation of purpose. Sin is violation of what God intended for our lives. One’s gender is what God intended for that person to be, male or female. Therefore, changing your God given gender is sinful. It’s a violation of God’s purpose for your life.
Consider transgender activist Marie Mcgwier. She identifies as queer and gender nonconforming. She said, ‘Every different type of identity that exists should be supported’. The implication is, if you don’t identify us as we desire, you deny our equality. You are a bigot. But we should remember, in Christianity, equality is intertwined with the image.
C.S.Lewis brilliantly refuted the idea that genders are fluid. According to him even our souls are masculine or feminine. Back in 1945, C.S.Lewis wrote a novel entitled That Hideous Strength. There are two organizations in this novel: NICE and St.Anne’s. NICE stands for the National Institute of Coordinate Experiments. Under the guise of science, it works for the annihilation of humanity. Its members do not believe in God, they believe in scientific materialism. Like Nietzsche they believe in human perfection apart from God through their own will to power. They embrace a natural,nihilistic, surreal, atonal world free of all absolutes. In contrast, St.Anne’s embraces a Christian worldview in which God is the center. Its members believe in human perfection through a relationship with God through Christ. They believe human beings are created in the image of God. They believe in the essential goodness of human body. They believe in the equality intertwined with the image of God and identity in Christ.
‘That Hideous Strength’ is at its full force in our time. How do you respond to it? With truth and love.
Romans 5:8 says, ‘But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’. God is love. When we confess our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we restore our true identity God originally intended for us. In Christ, we become whole. In Christ, our brokenness is healed. In Christ, we have fellowship with God.
In Christ, our lives acquire true meaning, true significance and true identity.
I hope you come to Christ today and accept Him as your Lord and Savior.
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, E.O.Wilson
Holy Bible, King James Version
That Hideous Strength by C.S.Lewis
A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World