This article discusses the concepts of truth, relativism, and critical theory in relation to gender confusion and the rejection of biblical teachings. It also critiques the ideas of Alfred C. Kinsey and John Money, and explores the scientific and biblical perspectives on gender dysphoria. The conclusion emphasizes the importance of submitting to God's authority and design for true flourishing.
The Truth vs. truths
Have you ever been in conversation with someone and no matter how long you spoke to them, even though you were both using a lot of the same words, you just seemed to miss each other?
Perhaps that other person subscribes to Oprah Winfrey’s encouraging words: “Speak your truth … [it’s] the most powerful tool we all have.”
But, as Dr. Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries counters, “There is a world of difference between speaking your truth by telling your story and speaking the Truth and illustrating it with your story.” I recall a time when we used a different term for “your truth.” We used to call it: “your opinion.”
In philosophical terms, Oprah’s viewpoint is called: relativism. Relativism maintains that “what is true for one individual or social group may not be true for another, and there is no [objective] vantage point”; within relativism, the truth is always subjective (which itself is a self-canceling statement) and absolute truth is a myth.
Another closely-linked worldview, critical theory, “sees the world as a struggle between oppressed groups and their oppressors … it prioritizes ‘lived experience’ and identity rather than rationality in discovering and determining what is true.”
Due to these two prevailing worldviews, many people today misunderstand those who hold differing opinions to themselves. And because the relativist mindset doesn’t allow for absolute, objective truth, it claims that the only possible motivation someone can have in asserting that we can know what is absolutely true, is to somehow gain power over another, and thereby oppress any- and everyone who holds an opposing view.
Ironically, this way of thinking makes oppressors of those who perceive themselves to be “oppressed.” Anything short of conforming to relativist critical thinking and affirming each individual’s “truth,” appears to be unacceptable. And the very voices insisting that everyone has a right to live “their truth” reject out of hand those who question the new would-be status quo.
Sadly, it’s not surprising that these philosophies have taken hold of many hearts and minds in the West, and especially in America—this land of the fiercely independent, home of the radical individualist. Truth is, because so many in our society do not acknowledge the authority of their Creator, the authority of the created individual must fill the void.
“When a society dispenses with God, with the Absolute, and rejects all the binding moral imperatives, the only binding power that remains is sheer physical force itself” History saw the veracity of this statement play out violently across the world throughout the 20th century—in Nazi Germany, the former Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and more. And we’ve borne witness to it in our own nation (and in so-called autonomous zones) in more recent years.
The search for truth is nothing new. Pontius Pilate asked Jesus Himself, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).
Christian apologist, Alisa Childers, gives us a simple, clear definition in her 2022 book, Live Your Truth and Other Lies:
“Truth is a thought, statement, or opinion that lines up with reality … [t]ruth is true for people in all places and times. It’s also something you can’t invent, think up, or create. It is something you discover. It doesn’t change, no matter how much people’s beliefs about it do. Truth isn’t altered because of how it makes someone feel. Truth is entirely unaffected by the tone and attitude of the person professing it” [emphasis in original].
Christians who submit to the authority of God have been given His Spirit and know Absolute Truth in the person of Jesus Christ (1 John 2:20). He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” (John 14:16). And we look to all of His holy Scripture—the Bible—to teach, reprove, correct, and train us to live righteously (2 Timothy 3:16).
I wish I could tell you that the Church is united on the issue of gender confusion. But sadly, there are some who profess to be our fellow believers who have deceived themselves and seek to reconcile Scripture with how they feel about themselves. Some, such as the Reverend M Barclay, even insist that the modern “gender identity spectrum” was part of God’s original design.
“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” — Romans 1:28 (ESV)
When embarking on seminary studies, Barclay found in the works of church scholars and clergy through the ages, an array of ways to interpret the Bible. Fair enough. But in Barclay’s own writings about interpreting what the Bible says concerning gender confusion, the focus begins and ends in Genesis 1.
Analyzing the Genesis 1 creation story, Barclay posits that the poetic duality, which is used throughout, does not allow for the many variations within every facet of creation. For example, the separation of land and sea in verses 9-10 does not mention the in-between (specifically, swamps and marshes). Barclay’s supposition for this omission is that the Bible simply does not have space to list out the full gamut of God’s design of land and sea, nor of the many assorted species of bird or beast, and therefore, neither that of every human gender expression … drawing the conclusion that: gender confusion must be part of God’s design. And because we are made in God’s image, He/She/They/etc… must also exist along a gender spectrum.
First of all, God is bigger than either language or gender. However, in the original Hebrew and Greek texts, God is always—and has always been—referred to as “He.” So rather than reinterpreting His inerrant Word based on new ideas, I propose we defer to its historical interpretation.
Secondly, when we try to make God fit into a box we’ve created, we inevitably create an idol to worship in His place. We are admonished throughout Scripture to seek the Lord rather than seek how we can be “true” to ourselves or to our feelings and desires. Seeking the latter amounts to “the exact opposite of the teachings of Jesus and the historic Christian faith.”
And thirdly, Barclay’s argument is flawed in the following ways:
So, what does the Bible say about sex and gender?
Let’s go directly to the Creation account in Genesis 1–2 where humanity is established as male and female—two different beings who are compatible with each other for the purpose of unity (which is also the closest expression we have of the Church’s intimate relationship with Jesus).
This original design was pronounced to be “very good” (Gen 1:31). Note that God pronounced His creation to be very good before the Fall, before Adam and Eve stepped outside of the boundary He had set for their benefit. Within that boundary (i.e. abstaining from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil), they had every opportunity to flourish. But once they ate that fruit and stepped outside of God’s boundary, they forfeited their (and our) access to God’s “very good” creation, and therefore, the opportunity to truly flourish. Interesting that the first consequence of the fall was their feeling shame over their naked bodies (Gen 2:7).
“ You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it … You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!” – Psalm 139:13-14, 16-17 (NLT).
Throughout Scripture we are specifically reminded how valuable we are to God, and how He made humans male and female. In Matthew 19 and Mark 10, a group of Pharisees (religious leaders of the day) try to trick Jesus with a question about divorce. His response is telling:
“Haven’t you read the Scriptures? They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, ‘This explains why a man … is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’”
If there had been anything further to say, anything to elaborate on, in terms of gender identity, why didn’t He take the opportunity?
Furthermore, Matthew 6 and Luke 12 point out how much more God values mankind over the birds and the flowers. Human beings are God’s most beloved creation. This being the case, if gender identity, fluidity, or confusion were part of His design, wouldn’t it also be important enough to mention somewhere in His Word? Yet nowhere in the entire Bible (nor in 2,000+ years of Church history) is there any mention of gender beyond how He made us male and female.
Trust the Science
Perhaps you’ve noticed, as I have, over the last few years, phrases like, “Science is real!” and “Trust the science!” being thrown around haphazardly in response to the slightest skepticism to relatively new ideas.
Well, yes, science is real, but I’m not confident that these cries are always based on a belief in actual science. So really, science is real … unless its claims are inconvenient. For instance, the claim of the immutability of biological sex.
The word science comes from a Latin word meaning “knowledge;” it uses evidence to provide a testable explanation of natural phenomena.
For dissenting academic psychologists, sexologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists, the so-called “science” of the current trans zeitgeist is lacking. And though they approach the overall issue with much diversity of thought, they are all in agreement that gender confusion (and dysphoria) is a mental disorder which requires treatment, rather than an identity to applaud.
“[T]he entire issue of gender dysphoria ought to be a matter of evidence. Rigorous empirical study should guide diagnosis, understanding, and treatment. [But] the language swirling around the [gender confusion] debates has [made] such science all but impossible.”
When it comes to rigorous research into gender dysphoria, Dr. Kenneth Zucker was once recognized as a leading expert, having devoted over forty years to that field of study, writing three books, and publishing hundreds of papers in peer-reviewed journals. His volumes of research concluded that, left to themselves, the vast majority of adolescents suffering gender dysphoria eventually outgrow it and learn to accept their bodies
Perhaps this phenomenon is due to the fact that adolescence—those years from puberty until, roughly, age twenty-four—is, classically, the age of identity formation. Journalist and author Abigail Shrier notes, “Erik Erikson called identity formation the key task of adolescence for a reason: identity isn’t already formed. More than adults and even young children, adolescents typically engage in a profound period of tumultuous self-discovery. So why on earth would we presume they have already discovered everything about themselves?”
Dr. Zucker’s evidence aligns with what is generally understood about the development of a person’s prefrontal cortex: that it only reaches full maturation at age twenty-five (or even as late as age thirty in some natal males). This period of development and identity formation is famous for its risky behavior, boundary-testing, and a general lack of consideration for consequences of our decisions.
Given all of this, along with the traditional understanding that puberty is the gateway to a person’s sexuality, why are we now being fed the line that children are sexual from as young as infancy, and that they are capable of making adult decisions, even though there’s no way they can possibly comprehend the short- or long-term ramifications?
Enter: Alfred C. Kinsey and John Money. These men’s ideas are largely where our society gets its assumptions about who’s having sex, how often, and with whom.
Kinsey laid the groundwork for our society’s non-biblical understanding of human sexuality in two massive volumes (one published in 1948 about men, the other in 1953 about women). Unfortunately, few in the general public actually read his work, instead, getting their information second-hand from the likes of Time Magazine. Major problems with his “research” were only unearthed forty years after the fact by morals-driven sex researchers, Dr. Judith Riesman and Edward Eichel.
For a start, Kinsey’s philosophy about healthy, normal human sex practices centered around the idea that humans should be free from the encumbrances of societal limitations. He believed all sexual acts were permissible, regardless of age, gender, or even species. Hardly surprising then that portions of his “research” includes hundreds of instances of child abuse, documented meticulously by known pedophiles. Other sections of his “research” were based upon data purported to be compiled from a cohort of average American men and women. Instead, many of the men chosen to participate were prison inmates, while others were male prostitutes; meanwhile, data representing “married” couples was actually gathered under a broadened definition of marriage: “any man who lived with a woman for a year,” including pimps living with prostitutes.
A key piece of his work, which is often cited in transgender literature, is his “Heterosexual—Homosexual Rating Scale,” a scale illustrating his idea that human sexuality exists on a spectrum.
Picking up where Kinsey left off, John Money introduced the related concepts that sex and gender are somehow disconnected, and of course, that gender identity also exists on a spectrum. According to Dr. Miriam Grossman, author of Lost in TransNation: A Child Psychiatrist’s Guide out of the Madness, without John Money’s “contribution” to the “research,” the gender-confusion crisis, as we know it today, would not be what it has become. And like his predecessor, he too saw nothing wrong with pedophilia>.
In fact, I’ll let him speak to this in his own words:
You get the gist.
Notice how these men’s philosophies are aided by the ideas behind relativism (what is true for one individual or social group may not be true for another).
Notably: None of Kinsey’s or Money’s work is available within my local library system. And I live in one of the top ten most populous cities in the nation.
Though these “sex research” giants’ legacies live on in the very individuals suffering from gender confusion today, the most vocal among this growing population—charismatic trans influencers on TikTok, YouTube, and the like—disregard science altogether. They claim that the point of “transitioning” is to feel comfortable in their body.
In one video, these influencers will present their lives as though they’ve found optimum fulfillment and coach their audience in how to circumvent concerned or skeptical parents in obtaining whatever they need in order to reach their end goal. In their next upload, they may offer a vulnerable confession that they’ve had trouble posting regularly due to bouts of poor mental health.
As someone with not only a family history of anxiety and depression, but a personal one as well, I point this out (not to vilify these individuals, nor to further stigmatize those suffering from poor mental health, but) merely to suggest that even the most seemingly composed and confident amongst us may not have everything as figured out as they profess (and may even believe) they do.
I propose that they (and we) may benefit greatly from some scientific findings which line up with Scripture.
As I mentioned in the “Dilemma” section, Dr. Caroline Leaf has dedicated her professional life to studying the science of thought. According to her research, thoughts are measurable, physical things taking up “mental real estate.” The more a person travels down a particular train of thought, the stronger the neural connections along that route become, and the more strongly that person will hold onto and act on resulting beliefs. If a person’s thoughts are healthy, that individual will thrive. However, if the thoughts are toxic, they “can become physically, emotionally, or spiritually dangerous.”
What thoughts could be more toxic and dangerous than those which cause someone to mutilate their body in order to be comfortable within it? Yet this is not only acceptable with regards to gender dysphoria, anything else is ridiculed and bewailed as transphobic.
I’ll leave you with this: God has given you your body. And because you also have free will (that God-given right to pursue what you most desire), your body is yours to do with as you please.
That said, it is only when we submit our bodies back to Him and place ourselves under His authority, and His design for what is best, that we can hope to thrive. Anything outside His design that we choose to cling to is sin. Left to itself, sin will destroy us. We must turn from it ourselves, and help others do the same.