Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Feminism, Freedom and agreeing with Dawkins

I am going to lay my cards on the table and I doubt that I will make myself popular.

I do not believe that human beings have the right to choose their own sex, nor do I believe that the obsession with gender is healthy. Indeed, since gender is merely a grammatical term, I think that's the only place where it should remain. My table is feminine whether or not I am masculine. Further, I believe that men and women are different, equal in humanity but not interchangeable. I do not believe that a society can legislate that a man can "identify" as a woman and vice versa, or "identify" as neither. I believe this on the basis of theological reasoning, and scientific reasoning.

Theologically, the argument is simple.

1) God created male and female at His pleasure.
2) If we truly worship God, we value His decisions over our own desires.
3) If we truly worship God, we value His decision to make us what we are over our desires.

If we truly worship God, then we should allow Him to make the decision over who we are despite any feelings we should have to the contrary. If we feel differently, then this is clearly an aspect of our free-will that needs transformation in God, not in ourselves.

Of course, the cry goes up, "a loving God wouldn't want His children to be sad." But then we point to the suffering of so many in the world and how we Christians trust that although we cannot fully grasp the problem of Evil, God is working so that our suffering is given the greatest value and respect in His eyes which He expresses through the Cross. If we are in pain, we trust that God will give that pain a great meaning for us in Eternity. We trust God by submitting to His will and not to ours where we have the freedom to subvert this loving grace by forcing our demands over His.

The Christian Life is hard because transformation is hard. We need to learn to submit to God freely from our heart and allow Him to give His worth to our pain and sorrow as we labour to find Him in our lives.

Scientifically, the argument is simple.

1) The characteristic of male and female is written into every cell in the human body.
2) Surgery does not alter every cell in the body.
3) Surgery cannot change a person's sex.

Any "sex-change" that happens without altering every cell in the human body is superficial and technically changes nothing. Men cannot have babies: only women have wombs as the BBC finally admitted despite championing the contrary:
We can't change the fact that only women have wombs, but we can try to change workplace culture.
These are two different arguments. I believe both because I believe in God and I have a measure of faith in what Science says about the world that God created.

To make sex "fluid" in law means something deeply disturbing. Women have fought for a long time for their rights, even something as basic as the right to vote for their government. Only recently have they received the right not to be raped by their own husband. I remember that when the original television production of the Forsyte Saga aired Soames' rape of his wife, the audience reaction was fifty-fifty. In those days, people believed that Soames had a right to assert himself when his wife had consistently refused him. In the recent television adaptation of the same, it was clear that Soames had indeed raped his wife and was therefore culpable of a vile crime against his wife. Women have been struggling for equality within marriage, and protection from rape for ages and it was in the last century that advances were made.

These advantages gave women the right to separate bathrooms which formed a safe place away from men. Women-only groups have been set up to ensure that they have the support network that they need.

Of course, like every movement, there are extremes and errors have crept in. Some Feminists have worked at belittling the male sex at every opportunity. Some even want the eradication of men as far as possible even championing attempts at male-free conception. Yet, the reasonable feminist will recognise that men and women need to live together as being equal under the law and will accept that this equality does not mean interchangeability.

If biological men then earn the right to "identify" as women, then this means that the women-only bathrooms become accessible to these men. Thus, the man in winning the right to identify as a woman actively wins by taking away the hard one rights of women. Transgender rights are gained by eroding the rights of the established sexes.

It is said that violent crime is rising among women but decreasing among men. Is it any wonder why? Men are more violent than women by biology - we have natural testosterone to thank for that. If a male "identifying" as a women commits a crime, he has earned the right for that crime to be recorded in female numbers.

The Government are looking to enshrine the right to self-identification in Law and make it easier to do so. The Church of England is supporting this. In so doing, they are going against rigorous Science, undoing Women's Rights, and defying Almighty God Himself. This makes these institutions morally and intellectually deviant.

There. I said it! Cue the backlash!

Yet, this is not why I'm actually writing this. I have been criticised by my own students for holding this view. They have tried to re-educate me by quoting stories from Reddit of those with Gender Dysphoria - a condition that they recognise as being medical but, rather than treatment and accepting that it is a disorder, want Society not only to allow them the right to persist in this condition but also accommodate its symptoms. IF it is a medical condition, then the same argument must therefore hold mutans mutandis for other medical conditions which have even more severe consequences.

I have seen no arguments that would convince me to change my mind. Are there arguments that would? I keep an open mind on that, but by far the majority of arguments that my former students are giving me are anecdotal, non-medical, non-scientific, illogical, and charged with emotion which is not an authority. I don't doubt that there are people who are suffering terrible depression and anxiety because they are not the sex that they want to be. Yes, they need help, compassion and love, but that doesn't mean that the problem will go away by letting be the sex they think they are. That's like curing the symptom without curing the condition.

The biggest argument will be that from human freedom. We have a right to be free from all forms of oppression. Of course we do! The Christian must help the oppressed go free. Yet, Society doesn't seem clear on what constitutes oppression nor what freedom is. Indeed, the human obsession with freedom is always a freedom-from. We have the right to freedom from illegal captivity, from being raped, from being terrorised. We never discuss what our freedom is for. What purpose does it serve? Are we free so that we can live our lives how we want to live? Sure, but what does that entail? What does living a free life mean? Free from outside influences? What good would that do for society?

We could seek to be free from social norms, duties and expectations. We could be free not to pay our taxes, free from the warden telling us not to park. St Paul sees the situation so clearly.

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient : all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.(I Corinthians vi.12)

All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient : all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. (I Corinthians x.23)
Unless we start seeing our freedom as the freedom to be the best person that we can be, we will effectively legalise ourselves out of society. Our ability to live together as a coherent, respectful community comes about by each of us exercising our freedom to benefit everyone even if this binds our desires through commitment and curtailing what we want to do.

Surely, this is a first world problem that seems to forget about those living in poverty and degradation. Before we start campaigning for the right to self-identification, shouldn't we look to the right for people not to live in poverty or degradation?

I find myself in agreement with one who stands usually on the opposite side of the table. Professor Richard Dawkins has had his recent address at Berkeley University cancelled because of his "Islamophobia" despite the fact that his address was on the topic of science and not religion. This is becoming typical in American and British Universities when a teacher or a lecturer espouses views that students do not believe are politically correct. Any professor who is in anyway critical of liberal views is regarded as persona non grata. The way that the politically correct agenda is being enforced is by vilification and social shunning rather than engaging sensibly with the arguments. The only thing I have heard is "you disagree with me: you're just like Hitler." It is anti-intellectual and demeaning to the pursuit of knowledge in which universities should be engaged. I honestly hope Professor Dawkins gets his apology.

To accept this gender fluidity in Law, it must be shown that the right to self-identification does not take away any rights already established from anyone. This includes the freedom to object without vilification and social stigmatism, the freedom to a safe environment, the freedom to consent or dissent to a sexuality relationship,  and the freedom of speech. I have already seen the statistics of women assaulted in bathrooms in places which allow self-identification and it is frightening.

No doubt, I will be called a "hater" or a "-phobe." I think Islam is fundamentally wrong in its claim to know God - I suppose this makes me an Islamophobe too! However, nowhere have I said that I hate anyone! I have Christian love for all people and I seek to improve my ability to love my neighbour as myself. It doesn't help when those who want to redefine what maLe and female mean also attempt to redefine what Love means.

 Let me be as clear and as simple as I can be: to love is to will the good unconditionally of the other. By "good", I mean that property which is characterised by the existence and purpose of our common Creator. What He wants is the purest, Eternal and most powerful good for us which is why He created us as He did. I want every human being, alive, dead, and to come, to find that most the supreme joy and love that exists. If people think that I hate them because I disagree that such love and joy can be found by the free exercise of everyone's desires then that is their problem.

It seems I must also agree with another who is usually on the other side of the table from me. For:

Here I stand. I can do no other!

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