Saturday, 25 April 2015

A "female soul" - ?

The following paragraph, from an article promoting (the only word to use - there's zero journalistic critique, only breathless passing on of every utterance as fact) former Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner's decision to declare that he is in fact female, contains a very important element which a lot of people have missed in considered the question of "transexuality":
"Breaking his silence in his first interview on the subject, the 65-year-old decathlon gold medalist told ABC's Diane Sawyer that he explained it to his six children by describing the feeling he was born with a male body and a "female soul"."
The entire theory behind "gender re-assignment" is that sex and gender are separable. i.e. That your body may be male, but that "the real you", your "gender identity", can be female (or vice-versa).

Have you ever considered what's implied by that?

Let's take a step back. According to atheistic materialism - the dominant way of thinking in our society - you are your body. We are genes, we are DNA, we are physical beings only, controlled by physical laws. There is no soul - or, to use their pejorative phrase, no "ghost in the machine". Do you see the implications of that? If that's so, then there is no "real you" - you are your body, and your body is you. This being so, it follows that the whole idea of gender identity, as something separable from body sex, is a myth. It is a mental construct, but mental constructs correspond to nothing ultimate: they are simply chemical states in your brain. They are only the arrangement of different entities in the lump of meat in your head. All talk of "who I really am" is essentially meaningless. And neither can there be, in an atheistic, materialistic universe, any objective ideal of the "male" or "female" to tap into. There is nothing out there that "the real you" can correspond to. Atheism and Platonic ideals do not mix. In materialism, there is only matter, and everything must eventually be described in terms of the arrangement of matter and the physical laws governing matter.

If you believe that you have "a female mind trapped in a male body", then you cannot do so, without denying materialism. The idea of a "real you" essentially implies the real, objective existence of the non-material. In particular, it implies that humans are not simply matter, but are a duality - or, in other language, there is a body and there is a soul. There is a "real you" which is very closely related to the body, but which is not the body.

Our society both promotes materialistic atheism, and complete sexual autonomy. You can both choose your gender identity... and you also are nothing beyond a body. These two don't go together. Whenever the language of transsexual theory is used, body-soul duality has to be affirmed - as Bruce Jenner shows us. It's impossible to explain the idea that Bruce Jenner, who is plainly male, "is actually female," unless you refer to ideas which necessarily imply the actual, existence of a non-material part to human beings. Body and soul.

And having conceded that, it's time to abandon the idea that sexuality is a global free-for-all in which we choose our own identity, and ask what the will of our Creator is. On that question, the Bible is clear. God made mankind male and female, and instructed us to embrace what he had made us. Body and soul may be separable as intellectual concepts, but the concept of "male body, female soul" has absolutely zero Biblical basis. It is the ancient heresy of Gnosticism which seeks to separate God's physical world from its unseen underpinnings, as if you can prefer one to the other, or use one to over-throw the other. The two, in Biblical thought, are simply not in conflict: they are in harmony. We are created, and we can either embrace the facts of our creation, or rebel against our Creator. There is no middle ground where we can embrace the Creator and reject creation.

The Bible contains many clear commandments for us to embrace what we have been made - e.g. Deuteronomy 22:5, Leviticus 18:22, Ephesians 5:21ff, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 11:1ff, Romans 1:26-27. For such reasons, our forefathers in the faith warned men against the sin of effeminacy, as documented here:

A man is not to masquerade as a woman, or a woman as a man. "Gender re-assignment surgery" is a myth: it mutilates the body that God made. It cannot change us from male to female (and even on atheistic grounds, that must be conceded: XY doesn't become XX just because you pump in hormones and wield surgical knives). It is a lie, and it is a lie which insults our Creator.

In a fallen world, all kinds of confused feelings and desires can arise, and circumstances and life experiences can twist them in all kinds of ways. But the gospel redeems us: it straightens out what is bent. It teaches us to struggle to be what God has made us to be, not what our sinful desires are leading us into. It tells us that we are not to be identified with the helter-skelter of emotions and desires within us, but can be identified instead with the Son of God as he re-makes us. We are not our desires: we are fallen but being rescued. Men are not called upon to decide that they are women, and to abdicate their manly responsibilities and burdens: they are called, equipped and enabled by the saving power of the Son of God to embrace them. That may not be easy - that narrow way never is. It does, however, lead to life. It affirms God's good creation, and looks forward to its recovery and restoration. It accesses the soul-saving power of Jesus Christ, sitting at God's right hand. On the other hand, embracing the evil practices of transsexualism is creation-denying, and leads only to spiritual and eternal death. Our forefathers in the faith warned of this plainly, as does the Bible: let us take heed.

Monday, 6 April 2015

The day after Easter...

Christ has been crucified... Christ has been raised... Hallelujah!

What next?

That's actually the question posed by the structure of the gospels. They end rather abruptly. There's a great task: to call the world to discipleship - to come to Jesus Christ, receive his forgiveness, and learn at his feet. The abrupt ending is a challenge: well, reader, what of it? The gospel writers don't say "and, all this was done." Because, it hasn't yet been done. Even Luke, who continues the account in Acts, ends that book in a similar situation: the gospel has reached Rome (then, the centre of civilisation). But what next? It must go from Rome to the ends of the earth. How will that take place, reader?

And therein lies the challenge, on the day after Easter. Christ has been crucified, Christ has been raised: and you, reader, are invited into the story of grace and the reclaiming of the nations. What of it, reader? Are you taking your part in the story, or are you still toiling away in your unreal, self-centred personal story that ends in unforgiveness and doom when Christ returns again?