Transgenderism may be a difficult concept for many of us to comprehend. Many claims of the movement are confusing, contradictory, and contrary to what most individuals know to be self-evident. However, when transgenderism is understood as a theological claim rather than just a scientific or biological one, the arguments being made about human nature begin to fall into place.
The most common argument we hear can immediately give us insight into some of the philosophies of transgender ideology. Many of us have heard the phrase, “I am a man trapped in a woman’s body.” When viewed through the theological lens, the claim begins to be clearer than simple talking points. In fact, transgender ideology itself has admitted the existence of the soul and the body. Most Judeo-Christian religions believe that the soul and the body are inextricably linked, but transgender ideology immediately counters this claim by saying the soul and the body are, in fact, completely separate entities, and the body is merely a house for the soul.
If the body is merely a house for the soul, then the ramifications become that the body is second to the soul in the sense of self identity. If the soul is the true self, then that means the physical body is not true or good. It is here that we can then begin to define and see similarities between ancient pagan religious tenets known as gnostic dualism and transgender ideology. Gnostic dualism arose at a similar time as Christianity, and began as a way to understand the world around through the rigorous study of the metaphysical realm. The Gnostics concluded that all physical matter is evil and corrupt, and created by either an ignorant or malicious deity (the Demiurge). The only way to salvation from matter was to discover secret or hidden spiritual knowledge. Here we see the claim that the soul is the true self and the body is evil, not that the body is inextricably linked to the soul.
When transgenderism is viewed through this Gnostic lens, we can better see how it comes to its essential conclusions. When the body and the soul disagree, the body must be cast aside in favor of the expression of the soul, even if that means pursuing the truth through barbaric means such as self-mutilation. These Gnostic ideas have even begun to be spread within our schools, as children are taught that the true self is how one feels inside, rather than acknowledging the basic truth that the soul and the body together make up the self.
Of course, our understanding of sex and gender depends on the physical realm as well as the metaphysical realm. The biological reality of sex is as self-evident as ever, but to understand the true premise upon which the claims of transgenderism are based, soul-body duality, we must view it first through this theological lens. Science is the rigorous study of the world to explain how and why the world works the way it does, and theology is the rigorous study of the metaphysical world to explain it. Consequently, the two practices of obtaining knowledge must go hand in hand to understand both the world we can see, and the world we cannot.
Simply because something is theologically wrong does not make it inherently dangerous. However, as we use this knowledge and apply its knowledge to the physical world, we see the complete and utter logical failure when applied in practice. For example, an individual who truly felt as though they were a paraplegic could also make the same underlying claims that the soul is paraplegic whilst still being able-bodied. To affirm this delusion would be inhumane and medical malpractice, especially if we were to cut off someone’s perfectly healthy body parts. Or, consider individuals with anorexia. If we were to affirm their delusions that they were overweight to appease their self-conception at the expense of their physical reality, it would lead to death and tragedy because of the erroneous theology underlying the false claim.
The essence of mental illness is the dissociation from reality. Gnostics assert that reality is evil, but by divine revelation Latter-day Saints know that reality—while sometimes flawed due to the fall of Adam—is fundamentally good, and created by an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent Deity. So whilst reality may be difficult to understand and comprehend, we must learn to live within it and acknowledge objective truths about both the physical and metaphysical worlds, rather than try to mold reality to our impossible delusions.
The dangers of transgenderism for both the individual and the society stem from the same lie told in the garden of Eden, that we shall be as gods who can mold reality to our perception. Consequently, it becomes our moral duty in our own societies to fight back against the original lie, and preserve both physical and theological truth so that we may pursue ordered liberty instead of disordered slavery.
Written by: Ian Farris
Contributor at The Cougar Chronicle
The opinions of this piece are those of the author
The Cougar Chronicle is an independent student-run newspaper and is not affiliated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints