Transgenderism

Transgenderism, New Coke, Snake Oil and Other Dumb Ideas

There is so much wrong with the idea of transgenderism that it seemingly defies full expression. As the discussion goes on the focus has shifted in some circles to those reacting to the Bruce Jenner affair. I wrote the following in response to a friend who thought that Christians should stop posting memes regarding the Bruce Jenner transgender issue. Somehow it was considered in poor humor, lacking compassion, and not comporting with the way Jesus would have acted. I began by writing a fictional piece of Scripture imagining what Jesus might have said to a transgender man. Since Jews of the time were banned from cross-dressing (Deuteronomy 22:5), homosexuality was not practiced among the Jews, and there was no equivalent to hormonal therapy and sex-reassignment surgery it is not surprising that Jesus never encountered such a person. Hopefully that sets the scene for what follows.

JESUS MEETS THE TRANSGENDER MAN
“What is this? Do you think that by changing the form you change the substance? If a husband changes clothes with his wife does he then bear children for her? Though he grow out his hair and adorn himself with makeup and perfume can he suckle the little ones? No! Are you so blind that you cannot see that what God has made cannot be changed? For it is written, ‘in the beginning, God made them male and female.’ Are you, O mortal man, therefore, greater than the God who made you? Can you change the nature of a man by your own power? Wheat does not become a tare nor a tare become wheat though they grow side by side in the field. So it is with men and women. It would be far easier for an ox to become a donkey than for a man to become a woman. These are the things that were done by the pagans who did not know God. For the Law says, ‘A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.’ Therefore, repent! Go home! Cut your hair and change your clothes! Wash away all feminine vestiges. Adorn yourself as a man! Be robed in the glory of God according to your creation.”

So far I haven’t seen anything that hasn’t amused me and nothing vulgar or even mean-spirited. Jesus had a sense of humor, and a lot of it was dark with sarcasm and irony. He also enjoyed puns. Jesus never encountered the weirdness of calling a male a female. Leviticus 22:5 had a strict prohibition against cross-dressing. Had he ever encountered such, I’m quite sure it would have appalled him as the blurring of gender distinctions in Corinth did the Apostle Paul. Jesus once asked, “Can a leopard change its spots?” That was a rhetorical and humorous question. The answer was obviously “No” and I wouldn’t be surprised if people chuckled when they heard it. “Can a man turn into a woman?” is an infinitely more bizarre and equally rhetorical and humorous question in any context. The absurdity of it should be mocked because it is outrageous. It holds a minimalistic view of femininity: enlarge breasts, take some hormones, give yourself a feminine name – magically you are a woman! Ignore the fact that you still have a penis and testicles. Ignore your psychological disorder. Ignore the research that shows gender transformation doesn’t work. Ignore the fact that hospitals like Johns-Hopkins quit doing such surgeries. Ignore the fact that you can’t change your XY chromosomes to XX chromosomes. Ignore the fact that you will never have ovaries or a womb, never experience menstruation, hot flashes, or become pregnant. But still claim that you are a woman! This is OUTRAGEOUSLY absurd!Capture

 

We laughed at this stuff growing up because it was ridiculous. We heuristically knew that there were intrinsic differences between males and females. We laughed at the Three Stooges when Curly was dressed like a woman. We laughed at performances of a Womanless Wedding where men played all the parts because it was absurd. We laughed when Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari masqueraded as women in the sitcom Bosom Buddies. Weird Al Yankovic tickled our funny bones with his cross-dressing truck driving song. The absurdity of the whole situation needs to be ridiculed. The social stigma on this action needs to be reinforced. The absurdity needs to be taught to the people who think it is normal, laudable, brave, and courageous.

Humor is a great way to open a dialogue. In the posts I’ve made and the ones that I’ve seen my friends make, there is a call for Bruce Jenner to get help. There is an educational aspect that says “this is not normal”. There is the expression that being female requires more than minimal outward changes. This is a dialogue that is needed at present as there is a popular wave of sentiment which permits anything no matter how irrational or contrary to fact.

I can only imagine the puzzled look and what Jesus might have said had he been confronted with this situation. I’m sure it would have been priceless. In short, I don’t see Christians being less than compassionate to Bruce Jenner. All I’ve seen have called for serious therapy and restoration for a man they view as very, very mentally ill.

The Church needs to distinguish itself very clearly on these matters because God does hold human beings responsible for their sexual behavior. He created them distinctly male and female and has expressed his desire that they remain so. Concepts such as transgenderism (also transracialism) should be mocked and ridiculed because they are outrageously absurd in the extreme. The people who would do these things need to be met with ministerial compassion. Were I ever to meet Bruce Jenner I would approach him in that fashion. As a public figure and through his media appearances he has made ill-informed theological statements regarding his transformation. These leave him open to public critique and ridicule. As things stand now, our society is open to absurdities that not even the Twilight Zone ever imagined. Secularists have used humor to mock religion and done so successfully for years. Taking such an obvious freak show as the Bruce Jenner affair (and the transracial idiocy now foisted upon us) and turning it around to mock secular society is very appropriate and, I think, effective in the long run. The emperor has no clothes. These things need to be said publicly. Desperately.

“Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.”
Proverbs 26:5 NLT

8 thoughts on “Transgenderism, New Coke, Snake Oil and Other Dumb Ideas”

  1. And here’s how a transgender man might’ve responded to Jesus:

    “Lord, how can You be hypostatic Wisdom and yet lack understanding? I am not ‘trying to change the nature of a man by my own power.’ To the contrary, I simply do not HAVE the nature of a man within me. I clearly see that my body is that of a man, but inside, my mind and spirit and soul simply do not align with my body. And did You not imply that the soul is in a sense more significant than the body, when You said that we should not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul?

    ‘How can I adorn myself as a man when the very presence of my male body parts causes me to feel intense distress? How can I be robed in the glory of God according to my creation when that physical aspect engulfs me in constant torment? I prayed to You every day, asking You to relieve me from my suffering and agony, but You never answered. I desperately craved peace and joy instead of unceasing pain inside–is attaining peace and joy not among Your desires for us? After all, did You not say ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the fullest?’ By no means do I expect a life of constant bliss, but surely You didn’t desire the opposite extreme–a life of constant despair?’

    ‘But even more importantly, I long to serve you with all my heart and all my soul and all my mind and all my strength, and I simply could not do so when my body was inflicting upon me such misery. So I modified my body in an effort to alleviate that pain. Of course I don’t believe that my male body has literally been transformed into a female body–but it IS, at last, a body that no longer burdens me with internal torture. For the first time, I have a sense of freedom. For the first time, I feel infused with life.”

    1. And here is how Jesus might respond, “As it is written, ‘Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.’ (Prov. 12:15) A mirage in the desert appears to offer life to those who pursue it. But instead it brings only despair and death because it is not real. Do not chase after what is not but what is. Drink from the living water that is at hand so that you may live.”

      Historically speaking, there are a number of problems with your scenario. Pious Jews did not cross-dress as it was an “abomination” to God. Also people did not talk back to Jesus. They were either convicted of the error of their ways and repented, as did the prostitute and the tax collector, or they refused his advice, like the rich young man, who refused to give away all that the had in order to follow Jesus. Following Jesus is a life of sacrifice and conformity to Christ. It is taking up your cross and crucifying your passions and desires in order to be in unity with him. One can not be a Christian and continue being an adulterer, prostitute, thief or such. The pious Jew would have responded to the Scripture and brought his life into conformity with God’s will.

      But perhaps the biggest problem is still the minimalistic view of what is considered “male”. When the overwhelming evidence is that the body is male then what the mind perceives needs to be brought into conformity with the reality of the body. The body is immutable; the mind is not. Even if a man were to perceive himself as a bird and miraculously grow feathers, he still could not fly because the human body is not designed for flight regardless of what the mind perceives. This is what Bruce Jenner illustrates. He cannot become female no matter what he does. He can only mutilate his body to ape feminine features. It really is a mockery of what it means to be female.

    2. And here is how Jesus might respond, “As it is written, ‘Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.’ (Prov. 12:15) A mirage in the desert appears to offer life to those who pursue it. But instead it brings only despair and death because it is not real. Do not chase after what is not but what is. Drink from the living water that is at hand so that you may live.”

      Historically speaking, there are a number of problems with your scenario. Pious Jews did not cross-dress as it was an “abomination” to God. Also people did not talk back to Jesus. They were either convicted of the error of their ways and repented, as did the prostitute and the tax collector, or they refused his advice, like the rich young man, who refused to give away all that the had in order to follow Jesus. Following Jesus is a life of sacrifice and conformity to Christ. It is taking up your cross and crucifying your passions and desires in order to be in unity with him. One can not be a Christian and continue being an adulterer, prostitute, thief or such. The pious Jew would have responded to the Scripture and brought his life into conformity with God’s will.

      But perhaps the biggest problem is still the minimalistic view of what is considered “male”. When the overwhelming evidence is that the body is male then what the mind perceives needs to be brought into conformity with the reality of the body. The body is immutable; the mind is not. Even if a man were to perceive himself as a bird and miraculously grow feathers, he still could not fly because the human body is not designed for flight regardless of what the mind perceives. This is what Bruce Jenner illustrates. He cannot become female no matter what he does. He can only mutilate his body to ape feminine features. It really is a mockery of what it means to be female.

      1. And perhaps this, in return:

        “Lord, I agree with You about Proverbs 12:15. That’s why I underwent years–nay, decades–of counseling, trying to see if there was anything I could do to make those feelings leave me. But nothing ever worked. Finally, after much discussion and research, my counselor told me about the option of modifying my body in an effort to remove the distress. I didn’t just go along my own way; I asked experts–I listened to others.

        ‘You say a mirage in the desert is not real, but that in a sense is inaccurate. A mirage itself IS real; it is no mere hallucination in my mind. Other people can objectively see it. Rather, the CONTENT of the mirage is what isn’t real. Likewise, the feelings of distress in my mind are very much real. You tell me to drink from the living water, but how can I do such a thing, when the presence of my Adam’s apple is like a stone choking me in the throat so that I cannot drink?”

        I didn’t say anything about cross-dressing. And who cares about whether our hypothetical transgender man is a Jew? Jesus interacted with non-Jews as well, such as the Samaritan woman at the well and the Canaanite woman at Tyre and Sidon–the latter of whom certainly talked back.

        Many have tried to bring their mind into alignment with the body, but it usually seems that the mind simply cannot be changed in cases such as these, no matter how hard one tries. People like Jenner aren’t trying to literally become female; they’re trying to express the femininity that they perceive as existing inside them, or simply trying to reduce their distress and finally have some peace.

        I don’t know if surgical operations are the way to go, but there is an understandable reason that many people seek them–they seek an end to their suffering. You claim to have compassion for them, but that statement doesn’t come across as particularly persuasive when you consistently misrepresent the nature of their experience.

        1. I never said a mirage wasn’t a real thing: “an optical illusion caused by atmospheric conditions, especially
          the appearance of a sheet of water in a desert or on a hot road caused by the refraction of light from the sky by heated air.” The mirage does not offer the water that it appears to hold. That is the point. It is a false pursuit of salvation even though it appears to offer hope. The contrast is between the false water and the true, living water.

          Also the studies show that the surgery does not solve the problems. Suicide was a big issue in the hospitals ceasing to do the procedures. That is when it went to the private sector where people do it for fun and profit. Of course, the idea of “therapy” was non-existent in that world and surgery was not possible other than castration. The fictional distress which you describe does nothing but demonstrate the problem is in the man’s mind. It’s not a problem with his body.

          Transgender people cross-dress. That’s what they do. Pious Israelites would not do that. Jesus did have interactions with non-Jews but his primary ministry was to the Jews and in the scenario that I created I had a Jewish man in mind.

          There are a lot of delusions and mental issues that people suffer with. The surgery route has been explored and it has failed. Just because someone suffers from a delusion does NOT mean that we should entertain that delusion, reinforce that delusion, or celebrate that delusion. Bruce Jenner is striving in vain to become female. In the process he is mutilating his body and will quite possibly live to regret it. I hope it does not lead him to suicide.

          My compassion is for the person, not the concept. The concept is idiotic and absurd in the extreme. It needs to be condemned because it is detrimental to those who undergo the surgeries. The popular wave of acceptance and celebration of anything that anybody wants to do is nonsense. That wave needs to be confronted and condemned in no uncertain terms.

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