Right Opinion

The Religion of Transgenderism

Guest Commentary · Dec. 19, 2019

By Caleb Backholm

I thought it was a bad idea from the start. WASDA, the school-board association, had recommended we adopt a transgender policy that would allow students to use the opposite bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers of their biological sex.

I thought this was crazy and that the board would reject it. But it passed 3-1.

I was so dumbfounded that I nearly resigned from the school board that night.

How did this pass, I wondered? Every mammal is divided into two genders. Even insects are able to figure out their sex and behave accordingly. But we humans, the highest of earthly life, were suddenly confused about the topic? What happened?

I’ve learned a few things since that night.

What I didn’t fully grasp at the time was this wasn’t a conversation about science or tangible reality. It was bigger than that. Transgenderism is a religious view, a religion that was just beginning a massive culture revival. And only through that lens can it be properly understood.

Why do I call it a religion? Religion is man’s attempt to answer the deepest questions of life, of which science only offers partial answers at best. Questions like “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?” are two of them, and those two questions in particular are answered directly by the religion of transgenderism.

Transgenderism rests on two primary pillars of belief.

The first is that biological sex and gender are not the same.

The second is that biological sex and gender are the same.

If this seems counterintuitive, stick with me.

Premise one:

If there is one certain truth in life among transgenderists, it’s that sex and gender aren’t the same thing. However, there is no falsifiable evidence for this belief. You either believe it or you don’t.

Biological sex is easy to define. It’s determined by your role in the reproductive cycle and seen in your chromosomes and physical makeup.

But gender is different and harder to explain. In fact, it can’t be fully explained. The only thing transgenderists will say with certainty is that gender and biological sex aren’t the same.

But that’s not really a definition and leaves a big problem.

Look up the word “gender.” Use an old dictionary, or Google, or even go to a transgenderist website. They start by defining sex. Search “gender.” Instead it defines “sex.” Isn’t that odd?

But after defining sex (even though you asked for the definition of gender) it will talk about gender as the social relations between the sexes, or, most importantly, how you identify yourself.

But this definition means nothing. There are no limits to it. This is why if you ask a transgenderist how many genders there are, they will almost never give a number. If you ask, “What is a woman?” they will never answer. 
Gender is a belief, a feeling. You can identify however you feel. Your gender can be anything. But that creates a massive logical problem. Something that can be anything is actually nothing. Is gender nothing? Anything? Or is it something specific with definable boundaries?

What if I identify as a Seahawks fan? Does that mean my gender is “Seahawks fan”? Ask transgenderists that and they will likely try to avoid answering. On one hand, they’ll want to say “Yes,” because their inclusive beliefs are supposed to allow anyone to identify as anything. But on the other hand they will want to say “No,” because gender usually has something to do with biological sex, so “sports fan” shouldn’t count as gender.

It’s like they have taken a term from science, “gender,” and changed the meaning entirely. In a greater sense, it has a spiritual meaning, not a physical one. Their view of gender can be likened to the Native American “Two Spirit” religion, where some people spiritually transcended their typical human nature of male and female. Also compare it to Gnosticism, which gained popularity in the second century and claimed the physical body was bad and the spirit was good. This dualism is also very present in transgenderism.

In this sense, transgenderism may be similar to theistic religions and differ from atheism in teaching that humans are more than just a physical body. But such similarities are short-lived.

On more than one occasion, I have asked transgenderists this question: If sex and gender are different, what is the sex of Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner, and what is his gender? (If you are a transgenderist, you may have bristled at my use of the pronoun “his.” More on that in a moment.)

Believe it or not, I have gotten different answers. Recently, however, I was told that Jenner’s sex was male and his gender was female. Caitlyn Jenner is a male woman.

Of course, the idea of a male woman seems ludicrous to the non-believer. But all religions have beliefs that seem very odd to outsiders. I believe that God is actually three separate persons, but still one God. That seems illogical, but I still believe it.

Atheists are convinced life sometimes comes from non-life, even though it is biologically impossible. Yet by faith they believe one day they will be proven right.

So it is with transgenderists. Even though there is no evidence that humans have a gender that is linked to but separate from their biological sex, they believe it anyway.

In some ways, looking at it this way helped me understand where they are coming from. And if this was all there was to it — if they really did believe that sex and gender were different — it would also help with the societal conflicts this worldview has been causing.

The whole bathroom/locker room debate would be a non-issue. It doesn’t matter how you identify your gender. Believe what you want about yourself, but just use the locker room that corresponds with your sex. Easy fix.

Imagine if I went into the women’s shower at the YMCA, and when the ladies objected, I said, “It’s okay, I’m a Christian. I can shower with the ladies.” That would be ridiculous. They would tell me it doesn’t matter how you identify or what you believe. Your sex is still what it is, and you need to use the proper public shower.

Same thing for sports. In recent years, a number of girls and women are losing sporting contests to males who believe their gender is female. It would be a simple matter to say that sports should be segregated by biological sex, regardless of one’s belief about gender.

The pronoun controversy would also be settled. Pronouns follow biological sex, not gender. So Caitlyn Jenner should be referred to as “him,” not “her,” since he was created male and sex is immutable. The English language doesn’t use pronouns to describe one’s beliefs.

But, alas, this is not the case and brings us to the second pillar of transgenderism. Sex and gender are the same thing and should be treated as the same thing by everyone, believer or not.

Again, the religious premise — the issue of one’s true identity. Back to that earlier question about Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner. On another occasion, a transgenderist answered by saying that both Jenner’s sex and gender were female. And the evidence of this was that Jenner believed it to be true. Therefore it was true.

What you believe about yourself is reality. If you believe that the “real you” is female, then you are female. Your gender is female, and your sex is female. All of you is female.

And that is the heart of it. It is not just gender, but both gender and sex, that are determined by your beliefs, not by empirical outside evidence. That means they are the same thing, unless you don’t want them to be. Then they aren’t.

Make sense?

No, not really. But it doesn’t have to. Sometimes faith doesn’t make sense.

More examples:

  • In Washington state last month, a law was passed that allowed people to put their self-identified sex on their driver’s licenses: male, female, or other. Not gender, but sex, because sex and gender are the same thing. Just like gender, your sex is what you feel it is.

  • You’ve noticed the sudden drive to treat transgender (or gender dysphoric) kids with hormones and even surgery. This is because sex and gender are the same thing. If you identify your gender as female, but your body was assigned to you as male, you are best off changing your body to make it more female. Because you ARE female.

This wouldn’t be an issue if sex and gender weren’t the same thing. Gender is female, sex is male — what’s the problem? No need to alter the biological sex. But because they are the same thing, or should be, it is only proper to “fix” the body that was improperly formed in the womb.

So, what to do with this info?

It is important to understand transgenderism for what it is — a religious belief — but to also understand it is a belief that is hostile to the theistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and even contrary to the humanist religion/philosophy of rationalism.

The rationalist will point out that no human (or any mammal) has ever transitioned into the other gender. No one has ever gotten pregnant and also impregnated another, or vice versa. The transgenderist believes it is possible to change genders, but not because of scientific observation. They believe only due to their faith in self-identity.

The transgenderist believes his sex and gender are what he feels it is, and the individual can never be wrong. From the Judeo-Christian viewpoint, this view is blasphemous.

In the popular song “You Say,” singer Lauren Daigle encapsulates the message that our identity comes from God.

“And I believe. I believe what you say of me,” she sings. This song answers the “identity question” from the Christian worldview — we are who God says we are. God determines who we are and then we choose to believe it.

If God says He created mankind as male and female (Gen 1:27, 5:2, Mark 10:6) then that is what we are. We don’t get a choice. We don’t get to transition to the other gender, or decide to be no gender at all. And when we want something other than what God wants for us (as we all do), we learn to submit to Him and say as Christ did, “Not my will but yours be done.”

Not everyone believes this, of course, but that is the Judeo-Christian view. The teaching of transgenderism is the opposite of this: I decide vs. God decides.

Note that though this transgenderist view strongly opposes the major theistic faiths of the nation, it is still openly being taught now in public schools and throughout popular society. I strongly believe schools should not be undermining fundamental doctrinal beliefs of their students.

The Nature of Transgenderism

As a worldview, transgenderism is both progressive and egocentric. By progressive I mean subject to change (progress), and by egocentric I don’t mean “selfish,” but determined by self. For transgenderists, when it comes to one’s self, it is impossible to be wrong. There is no Holy Scripture for absolute guidance (the Bible, Koran, Book of Mormon, etc.), nor is there empirical evidence to appeal to. No science, or data, or third-party observation is relevant. Whatever you feel is correct really is correct. When it comes to feelings about yourself, it assumes human inerrancy.

But because humans can be wrong, even about themselves, this makes transgenderism very dangerous.

I once asked, “If you would affirm a boy who thinks he’d be happier as a girl (transgender), why not affirm a boy who thinks he’d be happier dead (suicidal)?”

“Those are very different,” I was told. “Suicide is clearly self-harm,” thus we should oppose it. But I think transgenderism is self-harm. It’s biologically impossible, contrary to nature, and contrary to the will of our Creator. So I should oppose it?

“Of course not,” they would say. “It’s not up to you. It’s up to them.”

Remember, because the view is egocentric, it is impossible to be wrong about yourself. “You do you,” “don’t let anyone else tell you who you are,” and “my body, my choice” are popular slogans that reinforce this belief.

What, then, is the difference between “I’m unhappy and would be better off as a woman” and “I’m unhappy and would be better off dead”? If they cannot be wrong about who they are and what is best for themselves, both statements are equally valid. Reality is determined by my feelings/beliefs about myself, and nothing else.

This leads me to predict that if transgenderism continues this popular revival, suicide will have a rise in acceptability in coming years. Right now it is unpopular among transgenderists because they feel like it is harmful. That is the only reason they oppose it. If they “progress” to the point where they no longer feel suicide is harmful, it will be accepted and even championed like trangenderism is today.

Consider abortion in this same light. Have you noticed that at the same time transgenderism has risen, the political left has quickly progressed from “safe, legal, and rare” to “anytime, anyplace, any reason”? If feelings determine reality, then the fetus becomes a baby when I feel like it does. Science has nothing to say to it. And right now, the popular feeling is that the non-human fetus turns into a human baby the moment it leaves the womb, and not a moment sooner.

And if eventually the feeling progresses so that life begins a day, or month, or year after birth … well, that will also be true, and for the same reason.

This is not a slippery-slope argument. It is a fatal flaw in the worldview.

The truth is our feelings are irrelevant when it comes to reality, even to realities of self. Sometimes our feelings lie to us.

From the Judeo-Christian perspective, suicide is wrong, not because we feel it is harmful but because it is contrary to the will and nature of God. It is harmful, but that’s not what makes it wrong. Even if I thought it were beneficial, it would still be wrong. It’s not up to me to decide for myself. It’s up to me to discover God’s will and accept it. Re-read that last sentence. I believe it is the ultimate difference between the Judeo-Christian worldview and postmodern secularism (of which transgenderism is the latest denomination).

To contact Caleb Backholm, email him at [email protected]

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