CNN recently did a story on the “gender fluid” movement. People who believe they are gender fluid believe their gender can change daily or even more than once per day. Lee Luxion, featured in the story, prefers to be called “they” rather than “he” or “she.” Per CNN, Luxion “might wake up as a man or as a woman, sometimes as both and sometimes as neither.”
This was not an April fool’s prank but a serious article by a major worldwide news organization.
How did we get here?
I occasionally travel to South America with others from the church to support our missions efforts there. Upon arriving in Colombia if I asked, “How did we get here?” the answer would be multifaceted. I could say, “We got on a plane in Miami and flew south.” While that’s true, there’s more to it. We only got to Miami because we got on a plane in Atlanta and we only got on a plane in Atlanta because we drove to the airport and we only drove to the airport because we left our house. You get the picture.
Cultural journeys are similar to geographical ones.
Just as you don’t wake up one morning in South America having gone to bed the night before in Atlanta, you don’t wake up one morning with men in women’s bathrooms having gone to bed the night before in a culture that understands gender is fixed and binary.
So how did we get here? You could say we got here because of some cultural tipping point reached in the last twenty, fifty or a hundred years – there would be many to choose from. But, again, like my trip to South America, that would only be part of the story. You must go all the way back to when we left the house, so to speak.
Western culture “left the house” on its journey to where everything is relative around the middle of the eighteenth century with the beginning of the Enlightenment.
Until that point the glue that held culture together in the West was Christianity. With the enlightenment, that changed. Rather than the ultimate source of truth being God and His word, the source of truth shifted to human reason – and not just some truths. Human reason was deemed capable of understanding everything.
Alister McGrath in his book “Historical Theology, An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought,” says:
“…an emphasis upon the ability of human reason to penetrate the mysteries of the world is rightly regarded as a defining characteristic of the Enlightenment.”[i]
Of course we didn’t notice a difference right away. When I’m five miles from my house things look pretty much the same as they do at home. Initially Enlightenment thinkers still claimed belief in God. But, when they subordinated Him to human reason he began to change. Christianity gave way to Deism and over time Deism gave way to atheism giving man full autonomy.
I have no doubt these Enlightenment thinkers would be appalled by the notion that men can become women and vice versa not to mention the idea that there are more than two genders and people can switch among them at will. They were, after all, enamored of science. Unfortunately, however, these beliefs are a direct result of the course they set for us when they uncoupled truth from an absolute external standard. Just as with God, eventually science too must be cast aside when it becomes an impediment to the demands of man’s depravity. When you pull up the anchor of a ship and lay it on the deck no amount of drift should surprise you.
Beginning with Genesis, scripture is replete with examples of the consequences of casting God aside. In the Book of Judges we see the God’s people Israel go from a nation that loved and served Him to one that is indistinguishable from the pagan nations they’d driven out. We also see why that happened and it’s the same reason our culture is where it is today: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6, emphasis mine).
Thankfully scripture doesn’t end there. It both outlines the problem and offers the solution. The only hope for nations as well as individuals is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For only when men and women stop doing what is right in their own eyes and submit themselves to Christ’s rule are they free to say no to the tyranny of self that demands autonomy in all things, even things as innate and unchangeable as gender.
[i] Historical Theology, Alister E. McGrath, p. 220