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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Changed Hearts Make Changed Lives

Nancy Pearcey wrote an insightful piece on Transgender Politics vs. the Facts of Life about California's new law giving transgender students access to same-sex settings. Her point in the article is that the new law has an underlying worldview, and that overturning the law will not alter that worldview.

In the case of California Assembly Bill 1266, the worldview is "biology is irrelevant." Who you are -- your gender, your sexual preferences, your behavior, etc. -- is not connected in any way to your sex. It is what you feel like. That's the notion. "What you feel like" determines reality1. It's interesting that while one end of the modern continuum places science -- the materialism version -- as the core of reality, this other end, still closely connected to the first, rejects the materialist baseline in favor of the emotional baseline. "I feel like this is right, so it is." So while religion and science both fix sex as clear and defined, our society is aiming at a postmodern version where definitions don't matter, science doesn't count, reality is fluid, and "what I want to think, feel, and do" is all that matters. Pearcey wrote, "The autonomous self will not tolerate having its options limited by anything it did not choose -- not even its own body." You think I'm overstating? Look a this NPR story about how young people are rejecting all gender definitions. Some of these people "might be Jimmy one day, and Deloris the next2." Others "reject the gender binary as an oppressive move by the dominant culture." You see, this isn't a problem of facts. It isn't a rational problem. It isn't even a problem of laws. It's a problem of worldview. "I determine what is right and true and good by what I desire. You will be required to agree."

I find the concept horrifying, but this is not about the concept. I am appalled at the lack of logic and the clear senselessness, but I'm not writing about these features. I'm writing to point out a common issue here. We who are believers are often outraged at the laws being passed or the court rulings foisted on us by a society growing more and more ... insane. We want to complain about the courts. We want to complain about the legislators. And since we vote in the legislators, we want to complain about the voters who do. We want to overturn the rulings, change the laws, and, apparently, fix these errors by some sort of political power. This is what I'm writing about.

Note that the fundamental problem is not the courts, the legislators, or even the voters. It isn't the liberals or the gays or the transgenders. It is the worldview. Changing rulings and laws might change the rules, but it won't change the thinking. And the thinking is the problem.

We might be able to petition the courts or lobby the legislatures, to get out the vote to gain political power for our side. And I'm not saying not to do it. By all means feel free to fight our sure loss of religious freedom in the courts and work at blocking immoral laws in the legislatures and all that. What I'm saying here is that the real solution, however, is not found in those actions. The real solution is found only in Christ. And if your efforts are primarily consumed in these political efforts, you'll be simply slowing the cultural progress to what is a sure end.

Humans, by their sin nature, reject God in favor of their own self-interests. They are hostile to God (Rom 8:7). Attempting legislation and court rulings to make them more friendly to God simply ignores the worldview problem. Our primary method of affecting our society, then, has to be the Gospel. Only God changes hearts, and it is changed hearts that are necessary to change our society, its laws, its courts, and its standing on these matters. By all means defend the faith. By all means give an answer. By all means petition legislators and stand in court. But remember that the problem is not the law you wish to enact or change or the court ruling you wish to obtain or overturn. The problem is sin. And remember that you know the answer to that problem. A primary focus on that solution will be far more effective and helpful than any legislation you might wish to effect.
1 I was fascinated by the language of one cited law. "Gender . . . includes a person's gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth." "Assigned sex"? In what sense? The idea sounds like an arbitrary lottery in some government office. "Birth #15602 -- female. Birth #15603 -- male ..." But to me it screams "God!" God assigns sex. Who are you to answer back to God?

2 Am I the only one that is confused by this concept that someone can choose to be one gender one day (or, in the article, one event) and the other the next? Is it only me that finds it baffling that they are claiming you can choose to be homosexual today and heterosexual tomorrow (and "something else" -- whatever that may be -- another day)? I mean, I thought the claim was that we are "born that way" (which they use to tell us that it's the same as race). Now they're telling us it's a choice?? So you can choose to be whatever sexual orientation you might be and, in the process, remove the rights of others? Is anyone else but me having trouble following the logic here?


Marshal Art said...

I can't disagree with your sentiments except to this extent: Worldview shaped the laws that those like us wish to change. The laws, once in effect, solidify that worldview and thus, act as an agent of change as well. So, we change the laws where we can so that at least that aspect of influence on the culture leans in the proper direction, while we "attack" other areas of influence at the same time.

Stan said...

I continue to urge repentance and vote for people who will legislate more closely to Christian values (although it seems to be harder and harder on that point). That's why I said "By all means feel free to fight" using the legislature and courts. And you are indeed correct that the snowball effect is that a debased worldview produces a debased legal system which solidifies and advances a debased worldview ... etc. I just don't want us to lose sight of the real solution while we seek to find legal solutions that won't solve much.