Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Gnosticism emphasized personal spiritual knowledge over Orthodox teachings and historic church traditions. Gnosticism was more about self-determination than truth. This is illustrated in the reality that many of their religious texts do not deal with sin or repentance but rather enlightenment, and some would say self-delusion.
The familiar belief that “the truth will set you free” has been exchanged by some for the idea that personal peace is protected when people are insulated from the truth and left to live inside their own reality construct.
On January 20, President Biden signed the executive order referenced above. There is some in this executive order that all Christians will agree with. For example, “Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love.” Certainly, Christians would agree with most of that statement although there is a need to set some boundaries and definitions on the phrase “whom they love.”
First, as Christians, we should not surprised when sinners do what sinners do. All thinking Christians understand the reality of immorality in a fallen world and we do not hope for a Christian monarchy, despite the headlines. I know of no professing Christian advocating for it. Christians believe every person should be treated with respect and dignity from the weakest and youngest, to the strongest and oldest. “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight...”
In his treatise, Whether Heretics Should Be Persecuted, Sebastian Castellio, writing in response to the execution of Michael Servetus in Geneva, quoted at length a passage from Lactantius, a fourth-century Christian writer: “There is no room for force and violence because religion cannot be compelled. Let words be used rather than blows, that the decision may be free.” [Wilken, Robert Louis. Liberty in the Things of God (p. 3). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.]
Jesus was very clear that His kingdom was not of this world—hence the need for the gospel.
Second, what is meant by the word “love?” This EO focuses on sexual orientation, not merely gender identity. So, if this EO is referring to a sexual relationship, then shouldn’t there be greater clarification regarding “whom they love?” Adults should not be free to love children or animals in that way. I know I run the risk of being categorized as crass or salacious but I only mean to illustrate the need for greater clarity in such an order and in such a culture as ours—unless the ambiguity is intentional. In the absence of clarity, people imagine information and then draw conclusions based on that imagined information.
The very next sentence of President Biden’s EO states, “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom...” The juxtaposition of these two sentences within the same paragraph implies interconnectivity. The Civil Rights Movement resolved this issue regarding the Jim Crow laws, and since this EO concerns gender identity and sexual orientation, it is fair to assume the point of this part of the EO is to provide a safe space for children with gender dysphoria.
Remembering that we are a nation of liberals and conservatives, people of faith and people without faith, and everything else in between as Americans we should ask the question, “Is there any possible compromise that would facilitate unity among all, rather than division? Absolutely! Follow the lead of your nearest international airport—add a third private, one person at a time, restroom facility—problem solved
However, the larger issue is not about providing a safe space, it is about how we deal with those suffering from gender dysphoria. Transgender ideology does not perceive gender identity to be biologically absolute. Instead, much like the early Gnostics, “the real you, is your unique perception of self” –feelings overrule genetic reality.
The real and lasting danger is not merely “who is going to be in the bathroom with my child,” or “mediocre male athletes will identify as females thereby excluding opportunity to biological females,” or as a recent blog read, “this will be the end of female athletics.” Those certainly are legitimate concerns, but they are merely symptomatic of a deeper issue.
Rather than help people overcome their self-imposed reality construct, we are sentencing them to it. Here is one of the hypocrisies in our present culture. We attack anyone who body shames someone on social media and then respond encouraging the attacked person to have body positivity—to love who they are. “God doesn’t make junk.” And yet, instead of providing the same support for those suffering from gender dysphoria and helping them learn to embrace the bodies they are born with, we tell them to despise that body and then we celebrate those who do so successfully.
Our culture’s impulse to normalize this particular brand of personal body shaming has pushed us to encourage and even affirm it in children. In October of 2019, the news reported a prominent court case in Texas regarding this very issue—a divorce involving a 5-year-old child diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
I would never want to marginalize anyone’s struggle, but as any parent knows, a child knows very little. In anger, children will break their toys and spite themselves to demonstrate their childish fury. Left unchecked a child will eat candy until they get sick, go out in the rain without a coat, and even run into oncoming traffic. If a young child is left at home without parental care child services will remove the child and charge the parents with negligence. We don’t let children drive cars, operate heavy machinery, purchase cigarettes, or drink alcohol. And yet some advocate giving children carte blanche over irreversible modifications to their very body. We’re not that cavalier with vaccinations.
Not only are we leaving these precious children unprotected from themselves when that Adamic flaw called sin impels them to hate the body God has given them, we are encouraging it. We are passing laws and funding programs to provide them with drastic treatments such as puberty-blocking drugs, hormone treatment, and sex-change surgeries.
Are we so far gone as a society that we’ve lost the capacity to love our children enough to tell them “no” when something threatens them at the very core of their personhood?
I may be accused of being narrow or caring. I may garner the “appalled reaction” that seeks to shut down any conversation before there can be meaningful debate, but we need to force ourselves to think through this issue. Before we set this ship to sail, jump on the bandwagon, and rubber stamp the activists’ agenda, we must consider the long-term consequences to our culture and the individual in advocating the use of medical technology and public policy to destroy our true selves.
I leave you with a quote from President Biden’s EO. “Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear...” even those citizens who disagree with the dominant culture and believe our children should be protected from themselves.