If any human society—large or small, simple or complex, based upon the most rudimentary hunting and fishing, or on the whole elaborate interchange of manufactured products—is to survive, it must have a pattern of social life that comes to terms with the differences between the sexes.
—Margaret Mead, anthropologist1—
John and Beth had lived in their home for fifteen years before they saw it. Beth noticed it first—a long, thin crack in the living room wall. John made an appointment with a repairman and painter, and after the hired man completed his work, everything looked as good as new.
Then, six weeks later, the crack was back. John called the painter and asked him to return. The painter did so. With putty and paint, he repaired and touched up the wall once more, and all appeared to be well…until about a month later, when the fissure in the living room wall reappeared. This time it was larger and longer than before.
When the repairman came back, he carefully studied the wall and the network of cracks that had infected it. Then he said, “John, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you. You don’t have a crack-in-the wall problem; you have a foundation problem. The cracks are symptoms of a bigger issue. The foundation of your house is shifting, and until you repair it, cracks are going to continue to form.”2
In America, we can see “wall cracks” in a great many places. Often we will try to repair the cracks, but our best efforts produce no long-term positive results. Our core problem isn’t one crack here or another there; the breaks and ruptures are symptoms. The real problem is that nationally, our country rests on a shifting foundation. We must repair it!
For the last few weeks I’ve written about transgender bathroom policies that will allow a man who self-identifies as a woman to use the women’s restroom, and a woman who self-identifies as a man to use the men’s room. The fact that such policies make women vulnerable to predators is a real problem—no bathroom policy should compromise women’s safety. There’s another important matter, however, and it relates even more directly to America’s main difficulty. Nationally, we have grown unwilling to affirm the truths that nature declares through biology about being male and female.
Please do not misunderstand. We must have loving concern for the man who feels he is really a woman, and for the woman who believes she’s a man in a female body. Yet, if we’ve come to a place where we’re unwilling to say a biological male is a man even if he feels he is a woman on the inside, then our unwillingness is like a crack in the wall resulting from a soft foundation. Moreover, this reluctance is symptomatic of a much bigger stumbling block: an unwillingness to accept and affirm the truth.
Nationally, the debate over gender identity reflects an unwillingness to accept and affirm the truth.
You may remember that several months ago, Ben Shapiro received a lot of heat for publicly challenging the idea that a biological male who claims to be a woman ought to be called “he” rather than “she.” Calling him “she,” he said, is “mainstreaming delusion.” The other panelists on Dr. Drew’s show were offended, but Shapiro was absolutely right. Watch the most heated part of the exchange below, and read about it here.
The truth, at times, offends. Nevertheless, hearing the truth also can be a first step toward addressing the core problem. Just how bad is our national inability to recognize and declare the truth? Take a look at this video from the Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) and see for yourself.
Note especially the sobering concluding words words of interviewer and host Joseph Blackholm.
It shouldn’t be hard to tell a 5’9” white guy that he’s not a 6’5” Chinese woman, but clearly, it is. Why? What does that say about our culture? And what does that say about our ability to answer questions that actually are difficult?
You see, this brilliant clip showcases America’s real problem. It also demonstrates how we as believers can and should challenge erroneous cultural assumptions. On the April 26th edition of his one-minute radio commentary series “The Point,” John Stonestreet highlighted not only the truth the video exposes, but also the gentle, good-natured prodding Blackholm used to expose it:
These students have been so brainwashed that they’re willing to affirm obvious nonsense. But most laughed at themselves even as they said it. Why? Because they know it’s not true. Even in the midst of so much cultural pressure, self-perception doesn’t change reality.
It’s a good reminder that Christians still have home court advantage, because this is still God’s world. And a few well-placed questions, as Blackholm demonstrated, can reveal nonsense for what it is.
You can hear the entire commentary here.
Another FPIW video also illustrates powerfully the surreal place to which relativism has taken us, as well as our nation’s desperate need to embrace reality, despite our feelings.
As a society, we indeed have come a long way from acknowledging what biology tells us about our lives and identity. Take, for example, the medical community’s approach to someone who is confused about his or her gender. A man’s self-identifying as a woman or vice versa once was called “gender identity disorder,” but now it is called “gender dysphoria.”
One medical website states,
Diagnosis and treatment are important. People with gender dysphoria have higher rates of mental health conditions. Some estimates say that 71% of people with gender dysphoria will have some other mental health diagnosis in their lifetime. That includes mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and suicide attempts.
Instead, might these problems result because, at its root, the individual actually is denying reality? I submit that this is the case. You won’t find that assertion in the popular culture or even, generally speaking, among a great many medical professionals:
The goal is not to change how the person feels about his or her gender. Instead, the goal is to deal with the distress that may come with those feelings.
Talking with a psychologist or psychiatrist is part of any treatment for gender dysphoria. “Talk” therapy is one way to address the mental health issues that this condition can cause.3
Beyond talk therapy, many people choose to take at least some steps to bring their physical appearance in line with how they feel inside. They might change the way they dress or go by a different name. They may also take medicine or have surgery to change their appearance.4
Note this statement in the material quoted above: “many people choose to take at least some steps to bring their physical appearance in line with how they feel inside” [emphasis added]. This may provide some temporary relief, but ultimately it won’t resolve the issue. Living by feelings and continuing to deny reality only deepens the problem, both for the individuals experiencing it, and corporately, on the national level.
Here are three among eight key points made on gender confusion by the American College of Pediatricians, a group of medical professionals that, thankfully, hasn’t succumbed to political correctness. (You can read the entire list here.)
- Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of health—not genetic markers of a disorder.
- A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking.
- Rates of suicide are twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBQT- affirming countries.
The word health in the first point is a critically important word. Actually, one finds authentic freedom in accepting and affirming the gender of the biological sex he or she was assigned genetically, even before birth. While moving from gender confusion to acceptance of biologically determined reality can be very difficult, the one confused about his or her gender identity won’t find real resolution and freedom without it. Let’s put it another way: Once we affirm the truth, our feelings eventually will align and stabilize. Actually, in embracing truth, we will find fulfillment and contentment that otherwise would prove elusive. Again, the journey is difficult. It often requires professional help, and it certainly cannot be made overnight. Yet the destination makes the journey worth the effort.
In the first hour of Thursday, April 14, 2016 edition of the Eric Metaxas show, Eric interviewed Navy Seal Commander Rorke Denver, author of Worth Dying for: A Navy Seal’s Call to a Nation. During the interview, Metaxas and Denver discussed the current assault on masculinity in American culture, and the importance of a man’s affirming his masculinity and a woman’s affirming her femininity. Note in particular the words I’ve chosen to emphasize with bold type in this exchange.
Metaxas: What I’ve written about sometimes also is this issue of celebrating manliness, for example, has gone out of fashion—except in the warrior class. I mean, when you watch a move like 13 Hours, or whatever, you see it, right there in front of you. You can’t deny it. But in the wider culture, we don’t talk about what it is to be a man, to be a woman. Those things are sort of politically incorrect. And it’s amazing because it saps the strength that men and women both are meant to have by owning their gender and saying I am this, I am that. And it matters.
Denver: My bride and I talk about it all the time. I feel like we’re a throwback couple. She wants me to be a man and she has no desire to be one herself, as much as she knows she can’t be. And I don’t want to do the things that she does for our family and our kids, these things that I’m absolutely incapable of doing. So we split those jobs, I think traditionally and appropriately, and we’re healthy because of it. I hold things dear that I think, exactly like you’re saying, we don’t value anymore. I mean the fact of the matter is our world has become so litigious and so combative in the wrong way. If somebody says something disrespectful to my bride, they’re going to get punched in the mouth. That’s going to happen. I’ll deal with the fallout after the fact. And she knows she’s with a guy that’s going to do that. And she likes that. And I want to be that type of person. You mess with my kids, you’re going to have a bear to deal with. We’ve gotten away from that, and that’s not a good thing.
Metaxas: In my mind, you’re exactly right, and it amazes me that we’ve so quickly moved away from that kind of thinking.
Many years ago, addressing the issue of sexual roles, an issue that arises from gender identity, psychologist W. Peter Blitchington observed, “The strength of a nation can be fairly effectively gauged by the strength of its families, and the strength of a family can be estimated by the quality of its sexual roles.”5
The strength of a nation can be fairly effectively gauged by the strength of this families, and the strength of a family can be estimated by the quality of its sexual roles.
—W. Peter Blitchington—
In Genesis 1:26-31, we read not only of God’s creative activity, but also of the purposeful assignment He gave to His highest creation, the man and the woman:
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, it still is true: In these statements from Genesis reside principles that, when embraced, foster fulfillment with regard to gender identity. God created humanity male and female, and aligning ourselves—individually, corporately, and culturally—with this reality is essential for wholeness and good health.
Because, as long as we keep denying reality and pretending to live contrary to the truth, the cracks on the living room wall of our national “house” will continue to appear.
Related post: Ten Ways Same-Sex Marriage Denies Reality
Copyright © 2016 by B. Nathaniel Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture has been taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
1Quoted in W. Peter Blitchington, Sex Roles and the Christian Family, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1981), 174.
2Adapted from Tony Evans: http://tonyevans.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/OneFamilySermonNotes.pdf
5W. Peter Blitchington, Sex Roles and the Christian Family, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1981), 13.