• Jake

A Christian Perspective on Transgender Ideology

Updated: Mar 18


Good morning. The alarm is going off! You fumble around to hit the snooze button to snatch a few more moments of rest before the day begins. As you roll back over, the sheets feel differently than usual as they tug across your skin.


Still drowsy, you get up and wander over to your dresser, stretching, and letting out a yawn. “That was a strange yawn,” you think to yourself as you slide open a dresser drawer. What is this? These aren't my clothes! Looking around the bedroom in confusion, a mirror captures your stare. Who is that? Why is that face looking at me?!


This, dear reader, is where I want your mind to begin. Regardless of your political, theological, or physiological views on transgenderism, take a moment to imagine the terror, confusion, and deep pain of feeling like your body is not your own. Of course, this realization may not happen all at once, but nevertheless, go ahead and fill in the next few hours of your own life, starting with the events I wrote above. Can you imagine going to work that day? What about meeting your friends? The clothes you saw in the dresser feel foreign; which ones actually match who you are? How do you plan to present yourself to the world?


This is a thorny and sensitive subject, but that is no reason to shy away. It is incumbent upon all of us to live authentically according to the Truth. If we feed a false self, we go hungry. If we clothe a false self, we are left naked and exposed. If we build a life and a home for a false self, we are left destitute and alone. Therefore, few questions take on such importance as the question of who we really are.


Such questions back us up all the way to philosophy, where our examination begins. As you may have noticed, trans-activists are most likely to see Christians, particularly traditional ones, as standing athwart their movement. That is why we will be contrasting these two views.

If you listen to the rhetoric from the trans movement, it is easy to spot hallmarks of Marxist thought. Their struggle is largely viewed through an oppressor vs oppressed paradigm, where structures of power must be systematically dismantled. Springing out of the sexual revolution of the 60’s, which was heavily influenced by Marxist thought, it is no surprise that they inherited certain philosophical ideas. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself, how many trans-people do you know are advocates for radical free-markets, and how many are socialists?

Hegel:


As you can read in more detail in my article on Marxist philosophy, Marxism is a derivative of Hegelian thought. His dialectical approach is meant to be an alternative to traditional Greek logic that is subsumed by Christian, and by extension, Western thinking. As a result, trans-thinking and traditional Western/ Christian thinking don’t run on the same philosophical operating system at all and are thoroughly incompatible. So, what is Hegelian thought in a nutshell?

Hegel is an idealist, meaning that ideas are real things and that the understanding of the mind is more real than the reality of external beings. In contrast, a realist would say that beings outside of our minds exist and have natures that are entirely independent of our minds.


Example: If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound? Most of us would respond, yes, of course it would. Hegel, as an absolute idealist would say no. Furthermore, he may go on to say that since it was never perceived by a mind, it never existed in the first place.

You may already see where this dovetails into transgender thought. We Greek and Christian thinkers identify a transgender person’s body as a mind independent reality that will retain its nature, regardless of one’s perception of it. The Hegelian would say the mind’s conception of an idea is the definition of reality. In the Hegelian view, a transgender person’s self conception is not up for debate, it is, in fact, the basis for reality itself.


So, who is right? There are a variety of arguments against absolute idealism but I’ll try to outline one of them:


Imagine two minds: one is mine, and one is yours. As you are reading these words, we are transferring information from my mind to yours. If you accept that this is the case, you are acknowledging that there are not two but three, existing things in this scenario: my mind, your mind, and the information. Without a separate existence from my mind, the information in this paragraph would not be able to be transferred to you, or if it was, it would have to be transferred by somehow fusing my entire mind with yours, which obviously isn’t the case.

Here is a more tangible example. You could experience using a pencil that is made out of wood. This wood is a result of a logger felling a tree in a forest which you have never perceived. Either the wood exists regardless of a mind conceiving of it, or it doesn’t. If the first case is true, then this means that absolute idealism is false and realism is true. If the second possibility is true, then the wood must have gone out of existence after the logger ceased thinking of it, only to come back into existence when you are using the pencil. I could try to explain why this is absurd, but this should be self-evident. Taking this second view would be proposing that there is no real causal connection between the pencil and the tree from which it came, nor is there a connection between you the pencil user and the pencil producers. As we can see, this is entirely incongruent with any of our experiences with reality, nor is it the result of rational deduction.


These examples are meant to show that without mind independent realities, there is no way for minds to interact with one another. But they do interact, and within the same structure of reality, and therefore realism is true.


A realist view of transgenderism would say that there is a “truth of the matter” about a person’s sex or gender that is not dependent on their, or anyone else’s, mental conception.


Hegel is also an ontological monist meaning he believes that only one thing really exists. He calls this thing, “The Great Spirit”. All of the diverse parts of reality are ultimately a small sliver of this great spirit. Our job is to reassemble these parts and therefore come to a higher understanding of things. The way this is done is through the process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.


There a a few basic “Means of negation” that are tools to find synthetic truths. His first one is called the “Division of Being”. Here the task is to take two unlike things and smash them together in order to show that they are actually united. The transgender movement uses this first means of negation to set up Man vs its antithesis, Woman. Transgenderism is an attempt to create a synthetic third that resolves the inherent tension.

Marx:

Marx takes Hegelian philosophy and attempts to make it strictly materialist. Whereas Hegel would say that only ideas, logical propositions, math, and such things exist, Marx says the opposite. He claims all things are strictly material, while attempting to retain much of the rest of Hegelian thought. In this respect, the transgender movement is taking a cue from Marx. The tension of the dialectic process is not limited to their mind, but played out by reshaping their bodies.


You may have noticed that both of these philosophies seem hamstrung by a one dimensional view of reality. In contrast, Aristotelian thought sees reality as a composite of matter and form, material and immaterial. Christian thought sees the world in the same way: people have a body and a soul. Something like a wooden chair is the same material as a tree, but differs in form. If the chair is smashed, the material remains but the from is removed.

The one dimensionality of Hegel’s idealism doesn’t make sense because we clearly witness that material things are real and different in nature from immaterial things. Furthermore, mind independent realities are the only way to make sense of the interrelation with other minds.


Likewise, the one dimensionality of materialism doesn’t match reality either. We know that numbers, logical propositions, emotions, consciousness, and intentionality are all not material, and yet they exist and influence reality.


In either of the systems above, if you hold an idea, in a very real sense, you are the idea. For Marx, the idea itself doesn’t really exist; what we would call an idea is synonymous with you acting according to what you are. If you act evil, you are evil. End of story. For Hegel, the idea doesn’t have a separate existence from your mind. So if you have an evil thought, then your mind is evil; since you are only a mind, this means that you are evil.


This type of one dimensionality makes it impossible to attack an idea without attacking the person who holds that idea. Under an Aristotelian hylomorphic view, a Christian could say that homosexual actions are evil, but not believe that a given homosexual person is evil. Or they could think socialist ideology is evil without believing the socialist down the street is evil.


One of the few statements in Christianity that is both popularly quoted and true is, “Hate the sin and love the sinner.” This is actually ontologically impossible without the mater and form distinction.


When a transgender person hears a Christian say they are wrong to act the way they do and wrong to believe what they do, this is often understood as a condemnation of them as wrong and messed up people. Worse yet, if a Christian says there shouldn’t be transgender people, this is understood as a threat, a declaration of war, an intent to destroy.


Have you ever changed your mind? If you did, did you stop being yourself and suddenly become a different person? If you answered no to that question, then you understand there is indeed a difference between a person and an idea. Here is another example; I could chop down a tree in a forest one day and write with a pencil the next. Engaging in these activities does not change my identity.


This seems like an obvious point to make when placed in these terms, yet it can be harder to put into practice. There are in fact ideas and actions that we hold close to our heart. It is natural to feel like we are attacked as people when these ideas and actions are the real target.

Gnosticism:


Transgenderism seems not to have borrowed exclusively from the philosophers aforementioned. After all, the movement sprung up in a largely Christian nation. One of the earliest heresies in Christianity was called Gnosticism. Devotees believed that a privileged class could gain secret saving knowledge. To become holy enough to learn and understand it, one had to chastise their body and privilege their souls. Although they believed in both spirit and matter, they saw matter as evil and the spirit as good.


I am a straight white man writing these words. Some would say that I could never understand the plight of, say, a trans-gender black woman. This, like Gnostisism, sets up classes of understanding according to the sinfulness of our flesh. I have whiteness and therefore I am believed to be part of the oppressor class. Because some of Hegelian and Marxist thinking has been thrown into this philosophical salad, this means that because white people have done oppressive things, whiteness is oppressive. Because I have whiteness, I am therefore an oppressor.


Gnostisim offers straight white men salvation from this sin, but only if we listen to those with less sinful flesh, chastise and spurn our maleness as toxic, our whiteness as oppressive and racist, and our straightness as offensively hetero-normative.


Transgenderism continues with the gnostic theme by privileging their self conception over and above their material body. In fact, their body has betrayed them, lied to the world about who they are, and must be reshaped to match the pure spirit that tells them the truth of who they are.


Gnosticism as a religious view was by many measures larger than orthodox Christian belief in the beginning of the church. The religious arguments that finally defeated it were two fold. First, because God became man in the person of Jesus, an infinite dignity is now assigned to the human body. The Incarnation means the body is not evil. Second, the Gospel message discriminated against no one, neither Jew or gentile, man or woman, rich or poor. There is no privileged class that ought to hold secret saving knowledge.


From a philosophical standpoint, we might say truth is the equation of intellect and being. As such, a truth about the world can be held by a variety of minds and have the same truth value because it is rooted in the mind independent reality of existing things in the world. Truth is not greater or lesser based on the speaker. This is the genetic fallacy. Furthermore, even if it was speaker dependent in its truth value, since the idea is necessarily detached from the mind of those in conversation such that it can move from one mind to the other, a straight white man could fairly claim to be offering the opinion of a homosexual black woman, or any other type of person, so long as it is not logically impossible that such a person could hold that view.

If you are transgender and reading this, what Christianity's early defeat of Gnosticism means is that we believe your body is good the way it was made, and truthful in telling you who you are. It is absolutely true that because of your body, you can feel pains that we will never feel, pains of confusion, sorrow, and isolation. What the Incarnation means is that God choose to be in a body that was rejected, beaten, spit on, flogged, and crucified naked on a cross. God knows exactly what it is like to be a spirit that doesn’t match His body and to be rejected for it in the most cruel manner possible. Far from rejecting you as a person, Christianity invites you to join your pain and sorrow with Christ’s in a special way. You have been plunged headlong into the mystery of Christ’s suffering; why not participate fully in His resurrection?

Language:


Now that the groundwork has been laid, we move on to deal with some specific issues. Remember, I am not attacking anyone just because I am attacking a set of beliefs, nor am I denying any person’s importance of dignity as a person. So without further ado, what is gender, and is it different from sex?

Gender comes from the same root as “Generate”. It literally means “mode of generation”. For this reason I say there are two genders, because there are two modes of generation: the male mode and the female mode. If you were to generate a child, would your body do so in a male or female mode?


If, theoretically, a male had a fully functioning womb, such that they could perform the female mode of reproduction in addition to the male mode, it is possible that they are both genders, since they possess the potential for two forms of generation.


That said, some might say the ability to donate a Y chromosome is the characteristically male mode of generation. With this interpretation, only those who posses a Y chromosome could do so- and this makes sex and gender always perfectly linked.


Some say that gender is a social construct. However, the definition of gender is “mode of generation”, and it wouldn