Gender Ideology and the Sanctity of Truth
The Bible reveals God to be a God of truth. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, said of Himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, ESV; emphasis added). Therefore, Scripture requires that followers of Jesus be a people who are committed to the sanctity of truth. As God requires of us in the ninth commandment, “You shall not bear false witness…” (Exodus 20:16, ESV); in other words, don’t lie, either in court or (by implication) in any other arena of life.
Today a dangerous, anti-Christian, anti-reality ideology has taken root in almost every aspect of our society, including many of its’ most influential institutions of academia, the government, the entertainment industry, and even many businesses. It is an ideology that flies under the noble-sounding banner of “diversity” and “tolerance,” yet intolerantly requires a total, unquestioning, totalitarian conformity to its dictates, acceptance of its propaganda, and which threatens severe consequences to non-conformists, who are branded in broad-brush fashion as “haters.” Most dangerous of all, it requires that you lie about reality, or else!
To what am I referring? Answer: Today’s trendy gender ideology, as promoted by LGBTQA+ activists.
Today’s gender ideology denies that gender is “binary” or necessarily rooted in the biological and genetically-grounded categories of sex (namely, male and female). It claims that such “cisgender” categories are “assigned” at birth (rather than viewed as givens), but denies that such categories are fixed and immutable.
In gender ideology, if a biological male “identifies” as a “girl”, such an individual is to be regarded as a girl, addressed with female pronouns (“she,” “her”), allowed to use the women’s restroom, allowed to participate in female sporting events, etc. To refer to such a “transgender” individual using male pronouns is to be guilty of “misgendering” such an individual. And, for such a sin against today’s gender ideological orthodoxy, its’ more radical adherents want “heretics” (i.e., nonconformists who do not buy into their ideology) to suffer severe consequences for their nonconformity, such as being marginalized and demonized as “haters,” losing their jobs, possibly even facing fines and imprisonment, and other unpleasant consequences.
For example, it is my understanding that a recent gender-pronoun law proposed in Canada threatens fines and/or imprisonment to individuals guilty of “misgendering” others – i.e., not referring to them by their chosen gender pronouns. The controversial Canadian psychologist and professor Dr. Jordan Peterson has faced a great deal of nasty vitriol, criticism and ridicule for opposing this law on grounds of civil liberties and freedom of speech.
Why should Christians be concerned about this trend? Why not just “go along to get along”? First of all, because this ideology is grounded in a deeply anti-Christian doctrine: The doctrine of self-sovereignty. In other words, it is based on the lie that “we create our own reality.”
Today’s gender ideology says that your gender is what you say it is, based on which gender you identify with. Such a doctrine is pure, unadulterated humanism, and involves a deeply narcissistic worship of self. Faithful, biblically-consistent Christians cannot bow to today’s gender ideology because it is idolatry, and loyal followers of Jesus will not worship idols (including today’s idolatry of the self and of self-identity).
In contrast to today’s gender orthodoxy, the Holy Scriptures, the historic church, and all consistent biblical Christians past and present believe, confess and teach that God sovereignly determines and defines reality – including the reality of gender. And what does God have to say about gender? How many genders does the Bible (God’s Word) say there are? “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27, ESV; emphasis added).
God in His Word defines gender reality in gender-binary terms. You are either male or female, a boy or a girl, a man or a woman. Period. God’s Word does not give any credence to the idea that gender is “fluid,” or that gender is a “spectrum.” Scripture grounds gender in objective, biological reality – the reality of “male” and “female.” To go along with the speech codes that today’s gender ideological orthodoxy seeks to impose is to engage in blatant rebellion against God’s created order (and thus to live in rebellion against the Creator Himself), to commit idolatry (by bowing to the idol of self-identity), and – perhaps most significant for today’s culture of speech codes – to bear false witness (i.e., to participate in a lie). Since Christians are called in Scripture to be a people of truth who are committed to the sanctity of truth, the faithful, biblically-consistent Christian cannot and will not embrace or bow to the lies of today’s gender ideology.
But not only is gender ideology contrary to Scripture and historic Christian doctrine. Not only is there a religious problem with today’s gender orthodoxy. It is also anti-science. Science and objective everyday reality itself identify human beings under the categories of male and female. All of us know in our heart-of-hearts that this is true (and thus that gender ideology and transgenderism are false); and on a practical, everyday basis all of us live our lives and relate to others through the objective lens of gender binary reality. Biology, genetics, human anatomy & physiology (in other words, science) identify you as either male or female, boy or girl, man or woman. Science and objective everyday reality show an inseparable link between gender and biological sex. To claim otherwise is to claim raiment for the emperor when in fact the emperor has no clothes.
Now, in stating the above I would be remiss if I did not make some important clarifications, lest the reader misunderstand.
First of all, let the reader understand that I am not denying that there are some men who exhibit feminine qualities, just as there are some women who exhibit masculine qualities. And that’s fine. Though God created each of us either male and female, He also created us all with unique personalities and qualities, so we might express our maleness or femaleness in somewhat different ways. But that does not thereby mean that gender is somehow “fluid” or relative or arbitrary. (I’m also not denying that there are extremely rare instances where persons are born without a clearly identifiable biological gender, though such is an exceptional condition and deformity, and an exception cannot prove a rule.)
Furthermore, I also recognize that the way we are taught to express either our masculinity or our femininity can vary from culture to culture. For example, in many western societies historically men typically wore slacks and women typically wore dresses. But such societal norms are (at least to some extent) culturally relative, and not of themselves definitional of “maleness” or “femaleness.”
In addition, I am not suggesting that Christians should speak or act harshly toward individuals who suffer from gender dysphoria or gender confusion. Gender confusion is a profoundly painful, deeply real struggle for some, and as followers of Christ we should seek to be sympathetic, compassionate and understanding toward such persons. Let us remember that individuals who suffer from gender confusion are human beings created in the image of God, and thus should be treated with kindness, tolerance and compassion. At the same time, it is neither a loving nor a kind thing to reinforce the delusions of those who suffer from gender confusion by (for example) referring to them by their chosen gender pronouns. (My personal recommendation when interacting with such individuals is to avoid pronouns and to refer to them by name.)
For example, if I were under the sincere delusion that I was in fact Jesus Christ, and thus insisted that everyone address me as “my lord and savior,” would it be a loving thing to concede to my wishes and address me in that manner? Absolutely not! In fact, to do so would be one of the most unloving and unkind things you could do for me in such circumstances, for you would only be reinforcing my delusions and thus hurting me further.
Dear Christian reader: Today we are facing increasing pressure from our culture to conform to the new gender orthodoxy, especially its’ speech codes. This includes pressure to break the ninth commandment through participating in lying by referring to “transgender” individuals according to their chosen pronouns – even though such pronouns do not reflect objective biological and genetic reality. We will be told that we are “unloving” – even “bigoted” – if we don’t conform to these speech codes. But truth speech is not hate speech, and it is in fact unloving to speak lies to our neighbor, especially if such lies only serve to reinforce a harmful delusion. God in His Word calls us to “speak the truth in love.” Let us love our neighbor as ourselves by defending the sanctity of truth and refusing to speak lies – even politically correct ones.