Friday, May 20, 2016

Is Transgenderism Wrong? (Part 1)

Today we’re going to look at something I have mentioned in passing, but which I have not focused on specifically. Even though I am joining a throng of other voices, I still feel as though I can no longer ignore it. It has to be discussed. It is sad to have to explain something that should be so straightforward, but this is where we are. Madness has to be acknowledged, and confronted. And the idea that you can be trapped in the wrong gender is certainly mad.

I don’t really like having to be confrontational like this, for as frequently as I seem to have to do it. Whenever you tell someone they are doing something wrong, and use the Bible to say it, you immediately invite all the stereotypes people use about Christians. I don’t want to give anyone fodder for that. These things are important, though, so I have to speak. If I sound, or come across as angry, it is only because this is an issue that requires passion. If I appear close-minded, it is because I am. Not to challenging ideas, not to cultural tides, but to lies. No amount of passing time can change eternal truths, as any reasonable mind will acknowledge.

If you disagree with me, so be it. Only do not be so naïve, so wrapped up in a bubble as to rest on stereotypes as proof of my ignorance, rather than interacting with my ideas. Show me how I am wrong, and do so by referring to something more stable than feelings. Anyone who cannot do that is really more intolerant and unthinking than they are accusing me of being.

The Bible and Transgenderism

With that in mind, please allow me to make my case. Obviously, as a Bible-believing Christian, I am going to use the Bible to do so. That might sound unappealing to you, but bear with me. Two verses pertain particularly to the contentious issue of transgenderism. They are Genesis 1:27 and Deuteronomy 22:5. The first describes God’s ordering of creation, and says, “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” The second is part of a discussion of the things that displease God, saying in this case that “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.”

Of course, it would feel easy enough to just stop there. God says the genders are a clear line not to be crossed, so we shouldn’t cross it and that should be the end of the discussion. But that isn’t good enough for most people. Honestly, it isn’t good enough for me. I want to know why, just as most other people do. We need to do the work of answering that question, of understanding not only that these things are written in Scripture, but understanding why they were put there.

Purpose in Creation

It comes down to purpose. Anyone who takes an honest survey of the universe around us will see that it is purposeful. Nature steadily accomplishes a number of discoverable goals. These pertain particularly to life. Pattern exists in the way lifeforms interact, gain sustenance, and reproduce. Things do not occur randomly, and only appear to do so when viewed with a very cursory glance. They are ordered and reliable, with effect following cause in largely predictable fashion.

The passage in Genesis tells us something about why this is the case. Ultimately, the universe has to have come from somewhere. Something outside of it had to act to bring it into being. No chaotic process of self-generation can hold up under scrutiny, since all material effects require a cause. Nor could such chaos be trusted to create something so reliable. An accidental universe offers no explanation as to why the laws always hold true. We would not be able to know anything about such a cosmos, or in it. It would be too unstable.

Fortunately, that is not what we have. The world is knowable and stable because it was created to be that way. Its Creator established it to follow His purpose. Not only is it a comforting thought, it is the only rational explanation for how it could be so. We take that for granted, and many people deny it, but only because they do not appreciate just how mad a causeless universe would have to be.

Equality, Sameness, and Contentment

Just as the world was made according to purpose, so was humanity in particular. We were created “male and female” in order to experience complementarity. I discussed this concept in passing in “Why Can't Women Lead in Church?,” though in reference to a different issue. Men and women were created to be equal, but not to be the same, which is an important distinction. We have different parts to play, and each contributes to the greater strength of the whole. Sameness would lead to an unhealthy lack of variety.

But that is precisely what the transgender movement seeks. It is made up of people who are unsatisfied with their sense of experience in the gender of their birth, and feel they would be better off in the other. They deny their nature, not because there is anything wrong with it, but because they do not like it. They will not be content.

The Nature of Abomination

That brings us around to the passage from Deuteronomy. Human beings are willful, by which I mean two things. First, we have will, the ability to make free choices. Second, though, we are childish, often choosing the wrong thing because we are too shortsighted to recognize its harm. When we make those types of negative choices, we think we will not have to pay a price. But we do. When we act against nature, against God’s purpose as He has established it, it brings consequences.

Gender confusion is both a cause and effect of brokenness. Like all other sins, it comes from not accepting God’s will, and results in further separation from Him. Which, ultimately, can only lead to a further lack of satisfaction. After all, how can we be happy except by doing what we were created to do? And how can we expect to be happy if we insist on the opposite?

Cross-dressing, and transgenderism by extension (since it is the taking on of the other gender’s attributes), is not an abomination because God thinks it’s “yucky.” It is an abomination because it denies His right to order His creation. And it is an abomination because it keeps people from Him. He wants us to know Him. Obviously He is going to hate the barriers we set up to that relationship. That is why Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price to take that barrier down, but we have to trust in His sacrifice and why He needed to make it, if it is to mean anything in our lives.

That is the biblical case, but I want to go a bit further. Some things in this debate seem to be going largely unsaid, and I feel a need to say them. We need to put the focus in the proper place. That will be the purpose of next week's article.

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