Friday, November 1, 2019

True Transformation

There’s a take on transgenderism that I feel is worth mentioning, even though it is certainly no epiphany. Plenty of other people have mentioned it before. But this is less about originality and more about the importance of reinforcing truth.

Up until recently, Gender Identity Disorder (GID) was treated as, well, a disorder. That is still the way it is viewed by rational biologists and mental health experts. There is something wrong, something identifiably out of sorts, with the mind that is convinced it is trapped in the incorrect body.

The reason this has become a hot-button issue, however, has nothing to do with science or physical reality. It has to do with metaphysics. That is, this is part of an effort to move beyond the world and achieve something “beyond” reality. Those suffering from GID—and, more importantly, those celebrating them—want to reshape the truth of life and make it into the image they desire.

Less than 1% of the population has GID, but it is popular to elevate transgender people as heroes because of the possibilities it presents. If something as fundamental as sex can be changed into what we want it to be, then what cannot be transformed? You could give shape to each and every desire you have. Eventually, we could make our world into the perfect one.

The problem is that, as John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things.” Gender is not something that can be totally divorced from biological sex, and biological sex cannot be changed. No amount of clothes and makeup, no surgeries or hormone treatments, can alter what is encoded in our DNA. The mere desire for change is not self-validating. In other words, you don’t always get what you want. This sad truth is not lost on those who undergo sex-reassignment surgery only to find that they still do not feel like they belong in their bodies, contributing to a suicide rate 20 times higher than the average.

The most devastating thing, however, is that GID points to and is a counterfeit of a higher truth. At root, it recognizes that life is not the way it is supposed to be. Something has gone wrong and it needs to change. That realization is common to the human experience. Those with GID take it to the extreme (and in the wrong direction), but they are like the rest of us in wanting things to be different.

The fact of the matter that each of us misses is that nothing in this world will satisfy that desire. Whether it is something as simple as going on a diet or something as aberrant as swapping out your genitals, nothing here is going to be perfect.

The answer is still metaphysical, we do have to look beyond the world for it. But we have to look to the One who made it possible for us to recognize the world is not as it should be. That is the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gal. 6:15 sticks out because of a certain affinity of subject:

For both circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing; what matters instead is a new creation.

Nothing we do can transform us or make us feel like we “belong in our bodies.” That’s because we don’t, not as they are. In fact, our efforts to improve things actually tend to make them worse. But Jesus offers to make them better. His death paid the price for our self-destructive tendencies, and His resurrection extends the promise of a new life that will no longer be captive to the pain of this present brokenness. We can look forward to sharing in that resurrection, and in the meantime, we can find strength in it to rise to the challenges of our current existence.

So many people scoff at those statements without evaluating the reality of them, and so cut themselves off from the relief being offered. Instead, they hurt themselves and those around them and ineffectually attempt to rewrite reality in accordance with their imaginations. If that is where you are, then hopefully my few words will be part of the encouragement you need to stop and turn to the Lord. Or maybe, if you have already experienced that power, then this will help you to see what is going on with the people around you and have compassion on them. The need for a new life is very real and it should not be invalidated. It just has to be directed according to the truth.

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