Sunday 29 December 2019

The trans agenda as a metaphysical challenge to Christians ('things coming to a point', again)

Regular readers will know that I have embraced CS Lewis's term and concept of 'things coming to a point' as characteristic of these times in The West. In general terms, this means that the challenges of the mainstream, dominant mandatory atheistic Leftism have created a situation in which good and evil are separated further apart and with clear water between them.

Discernment is, in a sense, easier than ever before; nonetheless the majority have already embraced evil, and this time in a situation where evil entails value inversion - the reversal of good and evil.

One way this happens, is that the corrosive scepticism of modern thinking (sooner or later) strips all issues down to the level of fundamental metaphysical assumptions; and ruthlessly reveals any incoherence or lack a full conscious endorsement of the assumptions upon which we base our living.

In practice this means that most people are deeply uncertain about their convictions, such that they lack the motivation and will to resist the corruption that is imposed upon them as carrots and sticks, as inducements and punishments, as feel-good attitudes and harsh coercion.

The trans agenda is perhaps the major current example. The situation now (and this developed rapidly over just a few years) is that adherence to the trans orthodoxies about sexual identity has become a litmus test of social status, and enforced by the weight of government, the law, the media and a licensed mob sustained by these.

Now, the claims of the trans agenda fly in the face of both common sense and personal experience (of the overwhelming majority of human beings throughout history and across the world) - but that makes no difference. The trans agenda wins.

The claims of the trans agenda are refuted by a vast mass of biological, medical and psychological science, over many decades - but that makes no difference. The trans agenda wins.

The issue of the difference between a man and a woman has therefore been driven all the way down to the level of fundamental conviction - that is of metaphysics. And, at this level, most people, including most Christians, find themselves confused and uncertain - or else in agreement with the trans agenda. At the metaphysical level, most people are weak, unsure, malleable when it comes to men and women being different.

This arises mostly because metaphysical assumptions are unconscious, denied or misunderstood by nearly everyone. Therefore most people are helpless in the face of false metaphysics when it is backed-up by overwhelming social pressure; by propaganda and force.

Most people in this situation reach for 'evidence' only to find that any and all possible evidence falls to pieces in face of assumptions that deny the validity of evidence as such. This happens because it is the metaphysical assumptions that determine what counts as evidence and shape what strength evidence is allowed - so that when assumptions are contradicted by evidence, it is the evidence which gives way.

Yet even among Christians who are aware of their own metaphysical assumptions, and endorse them - the discovery is often that the trans agenda is consistent with the ultimate beliefs derived from their theological understanding of the human condition.

Because mainstream Christians do not really regard sexual differentiation into men and women as a fundamental aspect of reality. It is of mortal significance only; and in the infinity of time after mortal life, as resurrected Men in Heaven - for the mainstream Christian sex has essential no role or significance - it is mostly a matter of memories of our mortal life.

In my opinion, the trans agenda strips reality down and back to the dichotomy where sex (the distinction between man and woman) is either regarded as 1. a fundamental attribute of ultimate reality - or else 2. sexual identity is ultimately unfounded.

Among churches, I think only the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) have a theology that takes the position that the distinction between men and women goes all the way down; begins with an eternity before mortal life and continues through the etermity of post-mortal life.

(Roughly) We began as primordial intelligences of two kinds, and this continues through becoming children of God, incarnation, death and resurrection (or whatever comes instead for those who cannot or will not love, or otherwise reject Heaven).

Sexuality - the division between man and woman - is an ultimate fact of existence.

For Mormons, Man is dyadic - the unit of full-personhood is a man and women - potentially (among those with highest spiritual development) bound for eternity in celestial marriage by love, but always as a two - never separated and never fused - like a binary star.

If not in detail, then in essence something like this Mormon view is - I infer - the only alternative to an ultimate and eventual spiritual capitulation to the trans agenda in all its incoherent and evil extremity.

And as such, here we have an example of the way that modernity is acting upon Christians like a refiners fire, burning away all that used to be fudged or held on superficial grounds (such as 'evidence' from science or common sense, or by obedience to external authority).

We are forced into a situation in which we either make a self-aware statement of fundamental belief - or else (by our lack of conviction, our confusion, our cognitive dissonance) we get swept along by the modern agenda - which is the agenda of satanic evil.

We are her in this mortal life to learn from our experiences; and this is one of many ways in which God has used evil triumphant to provide experiences that may - if people are honest and chose well - lead to growth towards a higher divinity.


Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Unfortunately, I don’t think even Mormonism is trans-proof. The idea that the spirit has an eternal sexual identity which existed before incarnation, gives a coherent meaning to such claims as “I am a woman trapped in a man’s body,” and it is not immediately obvious why all such claims must be false.

Certainly the trans agenda presents a unique spiritual challenge, since it is so easy to recognize it as evil but so hard to rationally justify that intuitive judgment.

Bruce Charlton said...

As the politicians say to interviewers - 'I'm glad you asked me that, Wm!'

We need to think this through in relation to what metaphysics really is, and what we 'expect from it'. Your point betrays that what you require from fundamental metaphysical assumptions is that they will strongly entail all the specific proximate decisions that Life throws up - so that for every moral dilemma, an answer can be derived by a series of inferences from the assumptions.

The way I think it works is that the Mormon metaphysics (if one believes it as I do) tells us primarily that sex is *real*. There really is a difference between men and women that is not reducible to a series of definitions or traits - there is a difference in kind - and, indeed, the difference is most clearly seen in the need for both in order that there be completeness.

So, when a person asks whather I, that is my eternal spirit, is a man spirit or woman spirit - there is a real and objective answer: this person is either man or woman - one or the other and not both. And this truth applies whatever their body or psychology may be, whatever they think about things or whatever other people think about things.

Now, in this world, this mortal life, there can never be ultimate empirical *certainty* in response to specific questions. There never are in any area of life, not even in science or mathematics - there is always potential for error, insanity, or dishonesty, or ignorance.

We simply must do the best we can to answer specific questions. Our best friend is honesty (and, tellingly, the Left is systematically and neccesarily dishonest, and so will never reach the highest pragmatic levels of certainty); but there are constraints of information availability, competence, time etc. And it is not possible to rule out a change of decision in future, in response to greater knowledge, time or whatever.

In fact, I presume this is also a fact of life even post mortally - certainty of absolute knowledge is excluded forever since creation grows and individuals develop toward greater divinity, capacity and in experience. Therefore, to ask for certainty is a false ideal - a badly-formed question.

In the end we are pragmatic in proximate understanding, decisions etc - BUT there is a vast difference between doing the best we can to make decisions in relation to sexual identity in a context that sex is real and objective and fundamental; and, on the other hand, trying to live (as now) on the basis of pure pragmatism when all issues of sexual identity are presumed to be matters of opinion, or continuously varying dimensions, of to have no essence but be merely arbitrary and with labile conventions.

To try and make decisions about sexuality on the basis of pure pragmatism reduces to a bastard utilitarianism of competing assertions about what leads to the greatest happiness, the least suffering; and whose happiness or suffering is to be given priority and whose to be disregarded (or who is to be made miserable as a punishment for badthink).

This is another example of how context, the Big Picture, makes a difference to how specifci matters are understood. It is analogous to the Christian's view of the episodes and issues of mortal life, in context of his expectation of the resurrected life everlasting to come.

It is not a matter of an algorithmic mapping from the reality of eternal life onto everyday mortal life; but a whole different way of regarding mortal life as a result of living in an eternal context.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

“Your point betrays that what you require from fundamental metaphysical assumptions is that they will strongly entail all the specific proximate decisions that Life throws up - so that for every moral dilemma, an answer can be derived by a series of inferences from the assumptions.”

I’m not sure how you got that from what I said! That would reduce the moral agent to a robot that follows rules.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - OK sorry - I wasn't really talking about You specifically, but more generally about what people tend to expect from metaphysics.

It is non-obvious, at least to our modern minds, how assumptions work in relation to evidence; and we are so trained to assume that evidence is primary that we take for granted that our assumptions both derive from facts and also that any significantly useful (genuine) assumptions will 'rigidly dictate' all evaluations and decisions.

William Wildblood said...

I believe we are created as twin souls, a male and a female dyad, two halves of one whole. This is fundamental to our true nature. It may be that sometimes the male soul is born in a female body and vice versa but if that is the case then it is what God has ordained for our spiritual growth and to try to change it is therefore to go against the will of God. By any yardstick it is an irreligious act, an impious act, that puts self ahead of God, typical of the narcissism of the present day.

Cererean said...


Such an argument can be levied against any attempt to improve ones circumstances. Perhaps, instead, it is in discerning the correct response that we are drawn closer to God and become more and more reliant on direct revelation from our relationship with Him.

Bruce Charlton said...

@C - Yes, you are right that discernment is needed.

Sometimes we are right to improve our circumstances. Of course, that response makes no sense when there is no answer to the problem. For example, as a matter of fact, one cannot change sex - so that is not an objective possibility. Treatment is *actually* about superficially passing for the opposite sex and about various attempts at changing subjective psychology (in the recent past, mainly pharmacological treatment of distressing psychopathology; nowadays reinforcing it), and attempts at enforcing certain social responses.

A much more frequent example is the implicit intent to reverse ageing, or to prevent death. These are impossible goals, but commonly pursued on an everyday basis.

Sometimes the proper response is not to try and cure the impossible, and sometimes - and this is what gets excluded even as a possibility - the proper response is to learn from the experience one is in.

This is, surely?, one of the main ways in which God shapes our lives on earth. We have sustained lives in order to learn from them; and intractable problems *may* be lessons that we are meant to learn from, or blessings in disguise, or have some other function role in our lives.

My understanding is that only the affected individuals (and maybe a few people who love them) are able to discern the divine meanings from life; but everybody is indeed able to do this - if they try, and are open to learning.

William Wildblood said...

Cererean, fair enough but changing sex is not improving one's circumstances. It's much more radical than that. You are right though that on all occasions the correct response is to listen inwardly for God's word. The trouble is our desires and will frequently corrupt our ability to hear that correctly so we also need to use common sense, and common sense tells us that there is a right and a wrong approach to meddling with natural things. For instance, curing sickness and finding ways to grow better crops are right but only within reason. We have to know what reason is. How far do we go with such things?

Nathaniel said...

A theory I would like to repeat on the Trans agenda:

For the evil one to win your soul, you must accept evil against God. God is Truth, so knowingly accepting and promoting evil is directly opposing oneself to God. This is generally forgiven or does not really transgress to a mortal sin as it is done without "full knowledge" of the transgression.

So as things "come to a point" the matters of contention will become more and more obvious, more irrefutable, more undeniable. At first it was okay to "abort" a clump of cells with no soul, then we can see ultrasounds of healthy viable babies, than infanticide, etc.

Same with marriage, and now this - the most basic, undeniable truth, that everyone is aware of. As you pointed out, things are speeding up. First it was a grown man - "whatever, do what you want!" - now mutilation and hormone treatments forcibly imposed on the most vulnerable members of society, etc.

The evil must be in your face, obvious, undeniable, and for those who still go along, give conscious choice to accepting and advocating it as good have sold their souls. They have already chosen Hell *under the full knowledge* of its opposition to Truth Himself. They have given up their godhood and the spark of divinity and accepted an inversion in its place. May they repent by the grace of God.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Nathaniel, good comment.

As well as what you describe; I think there are also some people who are born evil, incapable of love; and these people reject and hate God regardless of what happens to them. But they are a fixed number - and the people who could be saved but choose damnation are the ones we need to focus upon.

I see a big problem in the modern 'pragmatism' which is almost universal - which judges all decisions in terms of what they regard as probable public, objective outcomes. As The System becomes ever more monolithic, they see 'no point' in rejecting it, because The System is billions of times more powerful, outnumbers me, the vast consensus is against me etc.

In other words, if The System is impregnable, and political action is futile, 'then' we ought to conform to the system as fully as possible. And so a person changes sides, joins with evil, from despair (which is why despair is a sin).

This is wrong because it denies the primary importance of thinking, and the primary reality of eternal life beyond biological death. Because it rejects those realities as wishful thinking, or something.

Despair comes from errors in assumptions, from exclusion of realities.