Sunday, September 30, 2018

Beauty & the Christian Sexual Ethic: Week Four

* Notes from a class taught at Redemption Church (Peoria).
**Additional resources for this class are found HERE.

Introduction

1.     Key themes that connect the past few weeks

a.     Christian sexual ethics is dependent on the whole Christian worldview with all of its theological resources

b.     Crucial importance of the body for Christian thinking/theology

c.      1 Corinthians 6.12-20: Paul’s example of engaging the topic of sexual ethics in the body of the Christ with the full resources of the gospel

2.     In one sense this is the topic that was the beginning for this series


b.     In preparation: Nancy Pearcey’s Love Thy Body

3.     My goal today:

a.     Orient us toward the topic by examining some of the philosophical assumptions and consequences of Transgender ideology

b.     Cannot cover all aspects of this issue!

4.     Crucial distinction: transgender ideology vs. transgender individuals

a.     Individuals: need pastoral sensitivity, wise discipleship centered in Christ, and a community of loving fellow-pilgrims

                                               i.     See Andrew Walker’s God and the Transgender Debate (The Good Book Co., 2017)

b.     Ideology: needs refutation

                                               i.     Rooted in an alien worldview and seeking to deconstruct sexuality in our culture

                                              ii.     “So members of the church who do not experience gender dysphoria should not assume that all transgender persons want to deconstruct sex and gender per se.  There are voices in our culture that do want that, to be sure.  But the average person who identifies as transsexual is unlikely to be that person.”

                                            iii.     “However, most people sorting out gender identity concerns do so in a cultural context in which a culture war has been taking place.”[1]

c.      Ideology manifests itself in cultural conflict but it is ultimately a worldview issue

                                               i.     “Fate, not God, has given us this flesh.  We have absolute claim to our bodies and may do with them as we see fit.”  --Camille Paglia in Vamps and Tramps[2]

                                              ii.     Entire worldview wrapped up and presupposed in that statement!

1.     Nancy Pearcey à need to address the issue at level of worldview

2.     “…every moral system rests on a worldview.”[3]

3.     Components of a worldview: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics

5.     Components of a worldview: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethic

·      Consider the statement by Paglia…

Metaphysics
“Fate, not God,… we have absolute claim to our bodies…”
Epistemology
Paglia is implicitly claiming to “know” a lot about fate, God, our bodies, ethics, and our ability to “see” what is best for our bodies.
Ethics
“…we may do with them as we see fit.”



6.     Worldviews in conflict and conversation

a.     Proof: positive presentation of evidence and reasons for truthfulness of worldview

b.     Defense: answering objections to one’s worldview

c.      Offense: critically probing the internal structure and consistency of the other’s worldview



Transgender Ideology and Worldview

1.     Definitions of gender

a.     American Psychological Association—difference between “sex” and “gender”

                                               i.     Sex is assigned at birth, refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy. 

                                              ii.     Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women.  These influence the ways that people act, interact, and feel about themselves.  While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.”[4]

                                            iii.     Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression, or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex which they were assigned.”[5]

                                            iv.     “Notice the politicized language: a person’s sex is ‘assigned at birth.’”[6]

                                              v.     “The phrase ‘sex assigned at birth,’ i.e., imposed from outside, is now favored because it makes room for ‘gender identity’ as the real basis of a person’s sex.”[7]

b.     More radical definitions

                                               i.     “From a medical perspective, the appropriate determinant of sex is gender identity.” –Dr. Deanna Adkins (Duke University School of Medicine and director of the Duke Center for Child and Adolescent Gender Care [2015])

                                              ii.     Shifting paradigms[8]

Older Paradigm
Newer Paradigm
Sex à biological reality
Gender identity à destiny
Gender à social construct
Sex à social construct

c.      “The Gender Unicorn”


                                               i.     According to TSER: “Biological sex is an ambiguous word that has no scale and no meaning besides that it is related to some sex characteristics.  It is also harmful to trans people.  Instead, we prefer ‘sex assigned at birth’ which provides a more accurate description of what biological sex may be trying to communicate.”[9]

                                              ii.     This diagram “deconstructs sexuality into five separate factors that call all contradict one another.”[10]

2.     Gender is fluid and a social construct … even the body is a construct!

a.     “It is a choice to refer to some bodies as male and some bodies as female, not a fact. … It is an ideological position—and not a scientific fact.” –Trans Activist quoted by Nancy Pearcey[11]

b.     This view “treats the body itself as infinitely malleable, with no definite nature of its own.”[12]

c.      Goal of gender ideologues à de-naturalize gender

                                               i.     Deny that gender has any grounding in nature.

                                              ii.     “Why do postmodernists want to de-naturalize gender? Because once we reduce sexual morality to merely a social construction, then we are free to deconstruct it.”[13]

                                            iii.     “Why would anyone hold such an extreme view?  What’s the appeal?  If the body cannot be defined, then it places no constraints on our gender identity. The goal is complete freedom to declare oneself a man or woman or both or neither. 

“The sovereign self will not tolerate having its options limited by anything it did not choose—not even its own body.”[14]

1.     Latest echo of the Serpent’s lie: “You will be like God!” (Gen. 3.5)

2.     God-like quest to be our own Creators—to create ex nihilo simply by an act of one’s will

                                              ii.     Manifests a low view of the body


2.     “As someone with a petite body and a chest that was once measured as a 32C, period swelling makes my chest stick out significantly further away my body and that makes it difficult for me to bind that part of my body. Binding is something a lot of transmen and nonbinary menstruators do to flatten our chests if we have not had top surgery. Personally, I bind because the sight of my chest pushing out against my shirt makes me feel as if the world is seeing someone I am not. My breasts feel like incongruous growths that do not belong on my body –- like giant skin tags that have nothing to do with who I am. Until I can get them removed, the only way to make myself feel more at home in my own body is to press them down, making my chest as flat as possible. To do this, I use what’s called a binder, a specially made article of clothing that looks like a much tighter cross between a tank top and a sports bra.”[15]


7.     Nancy Pearcey’s concept of “Two Forms of Reductionism[16]

Postmodernism
Gender is of product of social forces.
The human will creates reality
Modernism
Sexuality is a product of material forces.
Materialism; no teleology (purpose)

                                               i.     “Postmodernism thus takes modernism to its next logical step.  Modernism denies any purpose or teleology in nature.  And if nature reveals no purpose, then it cannot inform our morality.  Morality is de-naturalized.  Both are forms of reductionism.  Modernism reduces the human body to product of blind, purposeless material forces.  Postmodernism responds by reducing gender to a product of social forces.”[17]

8.     Transgender ideology rests upon key philosophical concepts: postmodern, antirealist assumptions

a.     Gender is fluid

b.     Transgender activist Judith Butler argues in her book Gender Trouble

When “gender is theorized as radically independent of sex, gender itself becomes a free-floating artifice, with the consequence that man and masculine, might just as easily signify a female body as a male one and woman and feminine a male body as easily as a female one.”[18]


c.      “At the heart of the transgender movement are radical ideas about the human person—in particular, that people are what they claim to be, regardless of contrary evidence.  A transgender boy is a boy, not merely a girl who identifies as a boy.  It is understandable why activists make these claims.  An argument about transgender identities will be much more persuasive if it concerns who someone is, not merely how someone identifies. And so the rhetoric of the transgender movement drips with ontological assertions: people are the gender they prefer to be.  That’s the claim.”[19]

d.     “At the core of the ideology is the radical claim that feelings determine reality.”[20]

e.     Philosopher Elliot Crozat argues that…

“These claims appear to rest on the postmodern antirealist assumption that what one takes as reality is a mere subjective or sociocultural construct.”[21]

f.      Professor Crozat goes on to give the implications of such a view…

“Hence, there are no objective natures, no human nature, no male nature, no female nature, and no such thing as human flourishing that results from the proper functioning of the essential properties and capacities of a human nature.”[22]

The Christian Worldview’s Response: Proof, Defense, & Offense

1.     PROOF: Biblical, Theological, and Natural Law Arguments

·      As the church responds to this revolution, we must remember that current debates on sexuality present to the church a crisis that is irreducibly and inescapably theological. This crisis is tantamount to the type of theological crisis that Gnosticism presented to the early church or that Pelagianism presented to the church in the time of Augustine. In other words, the crisis of sexuality challenges the church’s understanding of the gospel, sin, salvation, and sanctification. Advocates of the new sexuality demand a complete rewriting of Scripture’s metanarrative, a complete reordering of theology, and a fundamental change to how we think about the church’s ministry.[23]

a.     Creation: “God makes ‘male and female’ in Genesis 1 and 2”

                                               i.     Texts: Genesis 1.26-28; 2.7, 21

                                              ii.     “There is much to unpack here, but for our purposes, the Lord is showing us that manhood and womanhood are the product of his super-intelligence, and his desire to be glorified by unity (one human race) in diversity (two sexes).”[24]

                                            iii.     “We cannot thus see manhood and womanhood are evolutionary outcomes, but rather as the very intention of God from the beginning of our world.”[25]

                                            iv.     “This passage shows us that manhood and womanhood are essential properties.  We do not see them as fluid, but in fundamental terms as fixed.”[26]

                                              v.     “The fact that Genesis 2 reveals God as the maker of the sexes leaves us with the unmistakable conclusion that they are called to own their God-given identity as a matter of obedience. They cannot, for example, fulfill the dominion mandate of Genesis 1:26-28 without living in marital union. They must act as a man and a woman in their God-created marriage; they have the joyful duty of being “naked and not ashamed” in one-flesh union (Gen 2:24). The man and woman have no way to fulfill this mission without full-fledged recognition of their distinctive design, their complementary physiology. Manhood and womanhood as essential realities are the ground for the survival and growth of humanity, the enactment and sustenance of marriage, and the faithful pursuit of the missio dei in its early form: populating and ruling the earth coram deo.” [27]

                                            vi.     God creates male and female (Gen 1 and 2)

1.     Ordered toward reproduction (one of their tasks)

2.     Ordered toward this goal in different but complementary ways

                                           vii.     Transcendent goal: be an image of God’s relationship with his people

1.     “Gender identity and gender expression is about God’s glory and about maintaining the God-created distinctions on earth that in turn point to the ultimate distinction between God and his bride.”[28]

2.     “It is not just Hosea and Ephesians 5 that highlight the symbolic and doxological nature of gender roles.   The Pentateuch itself explicitly identifies the parabolic nature of human marriage and of male-female interpersonal relations when it portrays Israel, God’s covenant partner, as ‘whoring after’ and ‘committing fornication with’ other gods (Exod 34:11-16; Lev 20:4-6; Num 15:38-40; Deut 31:16).”[29]

3.     “The stress in Genesis 1-2 on the way males and females image God and the Pentateuch’s depiction of YHWH’s relationship with Israel as a marriage pushes the reader to view one’s biological sex and gender identity and expression as first and foremost about God.  The rest of the OT highlights this parabolic purpose of sex and gender distinctions in books like Hosea (chs. 1-3; cf. Judg 2:16-17; Isa 1:21; 57:3; Jer 2:2, 20; 3:1; 3:8-11; 31:31-32), and then the same is carried into the NT (see Matt 9:15; 12:38-39; 16:1-4; Mark 2:19; 8:38; Luke 5:34), most clearly where Paul portrays the church as Christ’s bride (Eph 5:22-27; cf. Rev 19:7-9; 21:9).  To the level that we flatten the inborn distinctions between maleness and femaleness we flatten the distinction between the sovereign savior and the saved, between the exalted and the needy, between the blameless one and the sinner.  We take glory away from God and his Christ when we act as though distinctions between men and women are non-existent.  And we hurt the entire community both in the way we fail to point them to the gospel righteousness and in the way we open them up for God’s just wrath.”[30]

b.     Fall: “The fall of Genesis 3 represents an attack—a successful one—on God’s plan for the sexes.”

·      The judgments handed down to Adam and Eve are centered in their respective spheres of dominion-taking capacities

c.      Law: “God forbids cross-dressing in the old covenant law.”  (Deuteronomy 22.5)

                                               i.     “Separating Deuteronomy from Genesis 1-2 leaves Deuteronomy without meaning.  Connecting the two texts, however, brings fresh light.  God created men to present themselves as men and women to present themselves as women.  The Israelites glorified their Maker by their personal presentation.”[31]

                                              ii.     “With every law in the OT, we should, therefore, be able to boil it down into a single principle of love [Rom 13.8, 10; Matt 7.12].  In Deuteronomy 22:5, loving others and God means that people will maintain a gender identity that aligns with their biological sex and will express this gender in a way that never leads to gender confusion in the eyes of others.  We should always be able to distinguish boys from girls.  When our biological sex aligns with our gender identity and our gender expression, we express love for both God and our neighbor.”[32]

                                            iii.     NOTE: P. J. Harland responds to those who interpret Deuteronomy 22.5 in cultic or military terms.

1.     Against the cultic interpretation:

“First, Dt 22 contains no other cultic legislation.  Of course one must not make too radical a distinction between sacred and secular, but even in this collection of miscellaneous regulations a cultic rule would be out of place in a section which deals with sexuality and the protection of life.  The context therefore suggests that the motivation is to be found not in the cult, but in the realm of marriage, the family and sex.”[33]

2.     Against the military interpretation

“However, this seems to read too much into the text. The immediate context of Dt 22:5 is not of warfare, since 22:6 is not explicitly linked to military life, and if the purpose of the verse was to maintain discipline in the army, would not the prohibition have been more clearly linked to a military context?  As it stands the rule is general and not tied to specific circumstances such as war or cult.  No explicit military connection is made.  The term keli can, but need not, refer to a weapon, and may just mean a utensil or garment.  The suggestion that Dt 22:5 is about military rules seems a little far fetched.  It is credible to believe that this was a serious problem for Israel?”[34]

3.     “In short the prohibition of the wearing of clothes of members of the opposite sex was not given for cultic or military reasons, but to safeguard the division between male and female.”[35]

d.     Jesus: “Jesus affirms the goodness of man and woman in Matthew 19.”

                                               i.     “Marriage, however, depends on men being men, and living out God’s plan for them, and women being women, and living out God’s plan for them.  If we wanted to use modern terms here, Christ—not shockingly—held an ‘essentialist’ or ‘integrity’ perspective on the sexes.”[36] 

                                              ii.     “This passage has great import for understanding gender dysphoria.  We are not free to remake marriage, as Jesus teaches; we are not free to remake the sexes, for marriage depends upon the essentialist foundation of two sexes.  The text does not speak directly against the inborn instinct to cross gender boundaries, but it does help to build a foundation, a backdrop, by which to reason our way to a biblical perspective on ‘gender identity’ and gender dysphoria.  Those looking to the teaching of Christ himself for a softening of old covenant theology find none; instead, Jesus not merely underlines the ancient witness, but adds the fullness of his doctrine-norming authority to it.”[37]

e.     Apostolic Witness: “Paul calls men and women to represent their given sex in 1 Corinthians 11.”

                                               i.     “This passage has sparked much discussion, and rightfully so.  It is material to our purposes, for it shows us that the new covenant vision of the sexes is precisely the same as the old covenant vision, in that it accords with essentialism.  Men and women are not the same. They are united as God’s creation but distinct from one another.”[38]

                                              ii.     “Paul clearly taught that men and women are called to own their God-given sex in order to glorify their maker by the power of Christ in them.  We do not know, of course, the specific hair length that the apostle desires in his teaching on differentiation between the sexes.  We feel some cultural tension here.  But we must be careful not to press too quickly the ‘First-Century Teaching Only” button here.  An apostle of the new covenant cut in Christ’s blood reinforces the kind of sex distinctions found in the formation of humanity and the teaching of the old covenant.  It is to the glory of God that men and  women display the distinctiveness of their sex.  This is a matter of obedience; it is also a matter of joyful, satisfied, God-blessed Christian living.”[39]

                                            iii.     New Covenant teaching maintains role distinctions between man and women

1.     Instructions to husbands and wives: Ephesians 5.22-32; 1 Peter 3.1-7

2.     Instructions to local churches regarding corporate worship, teaching, and leadership: 1 Corinthians 11.1-6; 14.33-35; 1 Timothy 2-3; Titus 1.5-16

3.     “It also calls for men to live as men, women to live as women, and for the young to be trained to live out the gender role related to their God-given sex (Tit 2:2-6).  Paul exhorted Timothy to respect and encourage older men as fathers, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, in all purity (1 Tim 5;1-2).  All this instruction assumes that we can rightly identify those who are men and those who are women.”[40]

f.      Eternal State—eternality of sexual differentiation

                                               i.     John Frame’s answer to the question, “Will We Be Male and Female in Heaven?[41]

“Scripture doesn’t explicitly address this question, so we should not be dogmatic in trying to answer it. But some broad Biblical principles may lead us in one direction or another.

“We might be inclined to answer “no” to this question because of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 22:30 that resurrected saints will neither marry nor give in marriage. In the resurrection, earthly families will be overshadowed by the great family of God (cf. Luke 20:36).

“I am, however, inclined toward an affirmative answer: (1) Those who appear after death in Scripture always appear similar to their earthly forms (1 Samuel 28:11-15; Matthew 17:1-13; 27:52ff.; Revelation 11:1-12). I would assume that the men continued to appear as bearded (if they wore beards on earth), speaking with masculine voices. This fact seems to yield some presumption, at least, that we retain our sexual characteristics after death.

“(2) Even angels (whom Jesus says we will resemble in the resurrection) tend to appear in Scripture as men, rather than as women or as asexual beings (Genesis 18:2, 16, 22; Joshua 5:13; Hebrews 13:2).

“(3) Jesus’ resurrection body also resembled the form He bore on earth, even down to the wounds in His hands and side (John 20:25, 27), although His new existence is mysterious in many ways. At the resurrection appearances, I have no doubt that the disciples saw a male figure.

“(4) Sexuality, as we have seen, is part of the image of God, part of what it now means to be human. It is possible that this resemblance might in the next life be replaced with other kinds of resemblance. (“Image of God,” we will recall, covers much territory.) But if we lose our sexuality, why should we not also lose our arms, eyes, and brains?

“(5) Our sex organs and secondary sexual characteristics have functions other than procreation. They also image different attributes of God and express the variety of human personality. Sex, after all, is not just reproductive capacity. Stereotypes aside, men and women do differ in personality and in the distribution of their spiritual gifts. The body of a godly woman often serves as an appropriate accompaniment to her personality, reinforcing our impression of her inner meek- ness and quiet strength. Similarly for men, mutatis mutandis. We would, I think, sense something odd if Mother Teresa’s personality were found in the body of, say, Sylvester Stallone, or vice versa.

“So here’s a weak vote in favor of the affirmative: I rather suspect that we will still be male and female in the resurrection.”

                                              ii.     Daniel Heimbach also discusses this issue in his essay “The Unchangeable Difference: Eternally Fixed Sexual Identity for an Age of Plastic Sexuality”[42]

“The argument that God’s promise of bodily resurrection presumes the essential nature of human sexual identity has additional scriptural validation in accounts given by those who recognized Jesus after His resurrection. It also finds validation in Paul’s revelation of an immediate connection or relationship between sexual activity and the bodies we have now and the purity of the eternal bodies we look forward to having after the resurrection. Following Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples recognized the same male human being they knew and loved before the crucifixion. Peter boldly declared that ‘God has raised this Jesus [i.e., the very same man] to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact’ (Acts 2:32). After Jesus’ resurrection, angels also testified to His continuing male identity when they said, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

“These accounts show that all who saw Jesus after His bodily resurrection just assumed that He remained a male human being. As strong as this evidence may be, we must acknowledge that it is indirect. The evidence is based on natural assumption with no clear evidence to the contrary. But there is further evidence in the New Testament that goes beyond conjecture. We also have direct evidence of continued sexual identity after the resurrection in something Paul explains to new believers in Corinth. Writing to the Corinthians Paul says something about a link that is both strong and direct:

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are mem- bers of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!
—1 COR. 6:13B-15

“Here by divine inspiration Paul links sexual sin involving the bodies we have now with the purity that must and certainly will characterize the bodies we will have after the resurrection. Our sexual organs themselves, in Paul’s bold language, are said to be “members of Christ” and thus are parts of our future resurrection bodies—bodies that in their entirety God ‘will raise’ from the dead—bodies that in their entirety God wants us to use now for His glory and that someday He will also perfect for His glory through the resurrection. The logical connection Paul makes here between our pre- and post-resurrection bodies makes absolutely no sense (there is no logical lever connecting one with the other) unless human sexual identity does in fact continue to characterize human embodiment on both sides of the resurrection.”[43]

g.     Biblical Summary: Concluding thoughts from Strachan

·      “All through the Bible, we are confronted with an essentialist vision of the sexes.  From the first pages of the Scripture, to the witness of the old covenant law, to the words of Christ, to apostolic counsel from the apostle Paul, we learn that God cares about his people owning their God-given sex.  In no era do the people of God have freedom to blur the sexes; at no point in holy writ does God soften or modify his anthropological design due to overwhelming neo-pagan cultural pressure.”[44]

2.     DEFENSE: Answering Objections

3.     OFFENSE: Critically Probing the Internal Consistency and Practical Implications of Transgender Ideology

·       Note: The following stresses the negative consequences flowing from Transgender ideology.  There is a place for “prudential” types of arguments as well as deontological arguments.  Consider the example in Daniel chapter one.  The argument Daniel makes is a prudential argument:

Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.  Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king's choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.  Daniel 1.12-13

This is a not a "we must obey God; not man" argument.  Rather, it is an appeal to pragmatic issues.  There are times when these types of arguments can be used and used effectively.  This is not to deny that explicit Scriptural arguments ought to be used.  And at times we should speak of our fundamental religious commitments as constraining our obedience--this happens in Daniel chapter three when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego simply refuse to bow before the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar.

The words of Old Testament scholar Christopher Wright are also worth considering:

“It is interesting that a consequentialist view of ethical decisions is found precisely in the Wisdom literature, which tends to be grounded in creation rather than a redemption theology.”

“Possibly the most interesting example concerns the Wisdom tradition’s sexual ethic.  It is in full accordance with the law, of course, but it is not explicitly sanctioned by law.  Whereas the law simply says, ‘Do not commit adultery, on penalty of death’, the Wisdom teacher says, ‘Do not commit adultery because of the appalling consequences that you will expose yourself and your whole family and property to.  It isn’t worth the risk’ (cf. Pr. 5; 6:24-35; 7).  Common sense itself warns against what the law prohibits.”[45]


a.     Hurts and undercuts women’s rights

                                               i.     “To protect women’s rights, we must be able to say what a woman is.  If postmodernism is correct—that the body itself is a social construct—then it becomes impossible to argue for rights based on the sheer fact of being female.  We cannot legally protect a category of people if we cannot identify that category.”[46]

                                              ii.     Not just a philosophical abstraction

                                            iii.     Ashley McGuire—Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female—“the unintended consequences for women”[47]

                                            iv.     Example: Kimberly v. Vancouver Rape Relief Society

1.     Fight to keep a biological man out of a woman’s rape crisis center

2.     Kathleen Sloan—prominent liberal feminist and pro-choice activist

“The threat that the gender identity movement poses to women is that ‘gender’ is detached from the biological differences between males and females (present in all mammalian species) and consequently male supremacy and the oppression of women is obscured and ultimately erased… Without being able to name humans male or female, women have no hope of being able to protect ourselves from the violence men commit against us, much less overturn the patriarchal misogyny that has oppressed and terrorized us for millennia.”[48]

3.     “The gender identity movement, she [Sloan] said, is just and abstraction of Descartes (in)famous line, ‘I think, therefore I am.’  Today, she argued, it’s become, ‘I think, therefore I demand that society recognize who I say I am based on my subjective interpretation.’”[49]

b.     Undercuts human rights

                                               i.     Remember Professor Elliot Crozat’s contention about the postmodern, antirealist conceptions of transgender ideology…

“Hence, there are no objective natures, no human nature, no male nature, no female nature, and no such thing as human flourishing that results from the proper functioning of the essential properties and capacities of a human nature.”

                                              ii.     But this postmodernist view is at odds with the concept of rights in general.

“If the concept of natural human rights is sensible, then reality is not a mere construct; there must be something objectively real and valuable to serve as the basis of these rights.

“Objective rights do not exist on the postmodernists worldview, regardless of how vigorously one believes in them.  For a postmodernist to believe in objective rights is like believing in centaurs (the character of Greek myth that are half-man and half-horse).  One can believe in them, but doing so makes no significant difference in the world.  Consequently, the supporter of transgenderism cannot deny human natures and rights but at the same time assert the right to define himself or to use a preferred restroom.  Nor can he legitimately claim that his rights are violated by gender dichotomist policies.  To do this is intellectually inconsistent, and perhaps an example of a performative contradiction.”[50]

                                            iii.     Deep internal contradiction between transgender philosophical presuppositions and the quest for rationally grounded human rights.[51]

c.      Redefines the nature of family relationships.  Nancy Pearcey states:

o   “When gender is de-naturalized, parenthood will also be de-naturalized.”[52]

o   “Until now, the family was seen as natural and pre-political, with natural rights.  That means it existed prior to the state, and the state merely recognized its rights.  But if the law no longer recognizes natural sex, then it no longer recognizes natural families or natural parents, only legal parents.  You, as a mother or father, have only the rights the state chooses to grant you.”[53]

d.     “Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity”—SOGI laws—lead to an increased interference by the government into public philosophy and law

                                               i.     “By sheer logic, SOGI laws must deny the importance of biology.”[54]

                                              ii.     “These legal changes do not affect only homosexual or transgender people.  In the eyes of the law, no one has a natural or biological sex now; all citizens are defined not by their bodies but by their inner states and feelings… Your basic identity as male or female, husband or wife, mother or father, son or daughter, sister or brother no longer follows metaphysically from your biology but must be determined by an act of will.

“But whose will?  Ultimately, it will come down to who has the most power—which means the state.”[55]

                                            iii.     SOGI laws—presented as opening up rights to a discriminated class

1.     But, in truth, SOGI laws serve to impose certain philosophical assumptions upon all…

2.     Under threat of punishment and civil sanction.

                                            iv.     “Every social practice is the expression of fundamental assumptions about what it means to be human.  When a society accepts, endorses, and approves the practice, it implicitly commits itself to the accompanying worldview.  And all the more so if those practices are enshrined in law.  The law functions as a teacher, educating people on what society considers to be morally acceptable.”[56]

e.     Harms children by legitimizing unhealthy medical procedures and penalizing alternatives that recognize the reality of gender desistance

                                               i.     Washington Post (2012) article “Transgendered at Five”

                                              ii.     Transgender activists plan of action: (Anderson, 120-121)

* Form of treatment…

1.     Social transition—new clothes, name, pronouns
2.     Puberty blockers
3.     Around 16—cross-sex hormones (the rest of their lives)
4.     Age 18—sex reassignment surgery

                                            iii.     NOTES…

1.     Age for each phase is getting lower

·      July 2016 Guardian reported that “a doctor in Wales is prescribing cross-sex hormones to children as young as 12…” (Anderson, 121)

2.     “There are no laws in the United States prohibiting the use of puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones for children, or regulating the age at which they may be administered.”[57]

                                            iv.     These medical practices are not driven by science but by a postmodernist ideology.

§  “That postmodern view is filtering down to even younger ages.  The mother of a twelve-year old told reporters, ‘Some days Annie is a girl, some days Annie is a boy, and some days she’s both.’  When the pair went shopping for Annie’s graduation outfit, they purchased both a dress and a suit because they were not sure which gender the child would align with for the evening.  The article helpfully explains, ‘Annie believes gender is more of a mental trait rather than physical.’  Gender has become a purely mental trait with no grounding in physical reality.”[58]

                                              v.     Dr. Michelle Cretella—board certified pediatrician and president of the American College of Pediatricians writes in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons in 2016:

“To be clear, this ‘alternate perspective’ of an innate gender fluidity arising from prenatally ‘feminized’ or ‘masculinized’ brains trapped in the wrong body is an ideological belief that has no basis in rigorous science.”[59]

                                            vi.     What is known?  What does the evidence show?

                                           vii.     The fact of gender desistance among children as they move into late adolescence.

§  “Experts on both sides of the pubertal suppression debate agree that within this context, 80 percent to 95 percent of children with GD [Gender Dysphoria] accepted their biological sex and achieved emotional well-being by late adolescence.”[60]

§  Dr. Kenneth Zucker—psychologist who ran the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto along with its Gender Identity Clinic for 30 years—described by Ryan Anderson…

§  “He is perhaps the most frequently cited name in research on gender identity and the editor of the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.  Zucker has been at the forefront of developing treatments for people with gender dysphoria, and he headed the group that wrote the entry on gender dysphoria for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the official handbook of the American Psychiatric Association.”[61]

§  In an interview with NPR, Dr. Zucker noted…

“But the follow-up studies I’ve done, and others too, show [that] a substantial majority of kids seen for GID Gender Identity Disorder] in childhood show desistance—that is, when they’re older they don’t want to be the other sex.  We just published a study of 25 girls we first saw in childhood and found that only 12 percent seem to have persistent gender dysphoria when they’re older.  We find similar rates of persistence in boys.”[62]

                                         viii.     The fact of the side-effects of puberty-blocking hormone therapies… some known and some unknown

Ryan Anderson summarizes the research on this issue in this way:

“No one really knows all the potential consequences of puberty blocking as a treatment for gender dysphoria, but there are some known effects of puberty suppression on children who are physiologically normal, and these carry long-term health risks.  Children placed on puberty blockers have slower rates of growth in height, and an elevated risk of low bone-mineral density.  Some other possible effects are ‘disfiguring acne, high blood pressure, weight gain, abnormal glucose tolerance, breast cancer, liver disease, thrombosis and cardiovascular disease.’  And, of course, all of the children who persist in their transgender identity and take puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones will be infertile.”[63]


                                            ix.     The fact of the “self-fulfilling nature” of transgender activists’ protocols for puberty suppression

·      “In a follow-up study of their first 70 eligible candidates to receive puberty suppression, de Vries and colleagues documented that all subjects went on to embrace a transgender identity and request cross-sex hormones.  This is cause for concern.  There is an obvious self-fulfilling nature to encouraging a young man with GD [Gender Dysphoria] to socially impersonate a girl and then institute pubertal suppression.  Given the well-established phenomenon of neuroplasticity, the repeated behavior of impersonating a girl alters the structure and function of the boy’s brain in some way—potentially in a way that will make identity alignment with his biologic sex less likely.  This, together with the suppression of puberty that further endogenous masculinization of his brain, causes him to remain a gender non-conforming prepubertal body disguised as a prepubertal girl.  Since his peers develop into young men and young women, he is left psychosocially isolated.  He will be less able to identify with being male and more likely to identify as ‘non-male.’  A protocol of impersonation and pubertal suppression that sets into motion a single inevitable outcome (transgender identification) that requires a life-long use of synthetic hormones, resulting in infertility, is neither fully reversible nor harmless.”[64]

                                              x.     Transgender ideology subjects children to experimentation with life-long consequences

“The treatment of GD [Gender Dysphoria] in childhood with hormones effectively amounts to mass experimentation on, and sterilization of, youth who are cognitively incapable of providing informed consent.  There is a serious ethical problem with allowing irreversible, life-changing procedures to be performed on minors who are too young to give valid consent themselves.”[65]





     [1] Mark A. Yarhouse, Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture (Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity Press, 2015), 42.
     [2] Quoted in Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 8.
     [3] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 9.
     [4] American Psychological Association, “Answers to Your Questions About Transgender People, Gender Identity and Gender Expression,” (2014), 1—online: http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.pdf.
     [5] From the APA pamphlet “Answers to Your Questions about Transgender People, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression.” Quoted in Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 29.
     [6] Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 29.
     [7] Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 29.
     [8] Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 30.
     [9] Quoted in Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 32.
     [10] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 207.
     [11] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 210.
     [12] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 210.
     [13] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 207.
     [14] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 210.
     [15] Cass Bliss, “Here’s What It’s Like To Get Your Period When You’re Not A Woman” HuffPost Personal (August 20, 2018)—online: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nonbinary-period-menstruation_us_5b75ac1fe4b0182d49b1c2ed?ncid=engmodushpmg00000003.
     [16] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 206-207.
     [17] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 206-207.
     [18] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 202.
     [19] Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 29.
     [20] Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 48.
     [21] Elliot R. Crozat, “Reasoning About Gender” Evangelical Philosophical Society Website (2016), 3.  Online: http://www.epsociety.org/userfiles/art-Crozat%20(Reasoning%20about%20Gender-final).pdf.
     [22] Elliot R. Crozat, “Reasoning About Gender” Evangelical Philosophical Society Website (2016), 3.
     [23] Albert Mohler, “Why the ‘Concordance Reflex” Fails in Sexuality Debates,” The Gospel Coalition (September 10, 2014). Online: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/concordance-reflex-sexuality-debates/.
     [24] Owen Strachan “The Clarity of Complementarity: Gender Dysphoria in Biblical Perspective” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.2 (Fall 2017), 35—Online: https://cbmw.org/topics/complementarianism/the-clarity-of-complementarity-gender-dysphoria-in-biblical-perspective/.
     [25] Owen Strachan “The Clarity of Complementarity: Gender Dysphoria in Biblical Perspective” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.2 (Fall 2017), 35.
     [26] Owen Strachan “The Clarity of Complementarity: Gender Dysphoria in Biblical Perspective” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.2 (Fall 2017), 35.
     [27] Owen Strachan “The Clarity of Complementarity: Gender Dysphoria in Biblical Perspective” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.2 (Fall 2017), 35.
     [28] Jason S. DeRouchie, “Confronting the Transgender Storm: New Covenant Reflections on Deuteronomy 22:5” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.1 (Spring 2016), 64—Online: https://cbmw.org/topics/transgenderism/jbmw-21-1-confronting-the-transgender-storm-new-covenant-reflections-from-deuteronomy-225/.
     [29] Jason S. DeRouchie, “Confronting the Transgender Storm: New Covenant Reflections on Deuteronomy 22:5” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.1 (Spring 2016), 64.
     [30] Jason S. DeRouchie, “Confronting the Transgender Storm: New Covenant Reflections on Deuteronomy 22:5” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.1 (Spring 2016), 65.
     [31] Owen Strachan “The Clarity of Complementarity: Gender Dysphoria in Biblical Perspective” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.2 (Fall 2017), 37.
     [32] Jason S. DeRouchie, “Confronting the Transgender Storm: New Covenant Reflections on Deuteronomy 22:5” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.1 (Spring 2016), 66.
     [33] P. J. Harland, “Menswear and Womenswear: A Study of Deuteronomy 22:5,” The Expository Times 110 (1998), 74-75.
     [34] P. J. Harland, “Menswear and Womenswear: A Study of Deuteronomy 22:5,” The Expository Times 110 (1998), 75.
     [35] P. J. Harland, “Menswear and Womenswear: A Study of Deuteronomy 22:5,” The Expository Times 110 (1998), 76.
     [36] Owen Strachan “The Clarity of Complementarity: Gender Dysphoria in Biblical Perspective” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.2 (Fall 2017), 37.
     [37] Owen Strachan “The Clarity of Complementarity: Gender Dysphoria in Biblical Perspective” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.2 (Fall 2017), 37-38.
     [38] Owen Strachan “The Clarity of Complementarity: Gender Dysphoria in Biblical Perspective” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.2 (Fall 2017), 38.
     [39] Owen Strachan “The Clarity of Complementarity: Gender Dysphoria in Biblical Perspective” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.2 (Fall 2017), 39.
     [40] Jason S. DeRouchie, “Confronting the Transgender Storm: New Covenant Reflections on Deuteronomy 22:5” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.1 (Spring 2016), 66.
     [41] John Frame, “Men and Women in the Image of God” in Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1991), 232—Online: https://document.desiringgod.org/recovering-biblical-manhood-and-womanhood-en.pdf?ts=1471470614.
     [42] Daniel R. Heimbach, “The Unchangeable Difference: Eternally Fixed Sexual Identity for an Age of Plastic Sexuality,” in Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood, edited by Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2002), 281-287—online: http://www.waynegrudem.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Biblical-Foundations-for-Manhood-and-Womanhood.pdf.
     [43] Daniel R. Heimbach, “The Unchangeable Difference: Eternally Fixed Sexual Identity for an Age of Plastic Sexuality,” in Biblical Foundations for Manhood and Womanhood, edited by Wayne Grudem (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2002), 284-285.
     [44] Owen Strachan “The Clarity of Complementarity: Gender Dysphoria in Biblical Perspective” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 21.2 (Fall 2017), 39.
     [45] Christopher J. H. Wright, Walking in the Ways of the Lord: The Ethical Authority of the Old Testament (Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity Press, 1995), 121.
     [46] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 211.
     [47] Ashley McGuire, Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female (New Jersey, Regnery, 2017), 166.
     [48] Ashley McGuire, Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female (New Jersey, Regnery, 2017), 168.
     [49] Ashley McGuire, Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female (New Jersey, Regnery, 2017), 168.
     [50] Elliot R. Crozat, “Reasoning About Gender” Evangelical Philosophical Society Website (2016), 5.
     [51] For more on the general issue of grounding human rights see John Warwick Montgomery, Human Rights and Human Dignity (Dallas,Texas: Probe Books, 1986 and Paul Copan, “Grounding Human Rights: Naturalism’s Failure and Biblical Theism’s Success” in Legitimizing Human Rights: Secular and Religious Perspectives (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013)—Online: http://www.paulcopan.com/articles/pdf/Paul_Copan-Grounding_Human_Rights_in_Menuge_2013.pdf.
     [52] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 213.
     [53] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 213.
     [54] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 214.
     [55] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 214.
     [56] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 214-215.
     [57] Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 121.
     [58] Nancy R. Pearcey, Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2018), 203.
     [59] Michelle A. Cretella, “Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons vol. 21, no. 2 (Summer 2016), 51.  Online: http://www.jpands.org/vol21no2/cretella.pdf.
     [60] Michelle A. Cretella, “Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons vol. 21, no. 2 (Summer 2016), 51. 
     [61] Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 22.
     [62] Alix Spiegel, “Q & A: Therapists on Gender Identity Issues in Kids” NPR (May 8, 2008).  Online: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90229789.
     [63] Ryan T. Anderson, When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment (New York: Encounter Books, 2018), 128.  Anderson is relying on the research of Paul W. Hruz, Lawrence B. Mayer, and Paul R. McHugh, “Growing Pains: The Problems with Puberty Suppression in Treating Gender Dysphoria,” New Atlantis 52 (Spring 2017)—online: https://www.thenewatlantis.com/docLib/20170619_TNA52HruzMayerMcHugh.pdf.

     [64] Michelle A. Cretella, “Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons vol. 21, no. 2 (Summer 2016), 53.
     [65] Michelle A. Cretella, “Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons vol. 21, no. 2 (Summer 2016), 53.