Are trans people ‘on a sacred journey’?


As preparation for hosting an international conference on LGBT+ rights, the Government committed to introduce new legislation banning ‘conversion therapy’. Despite significant lobbying pressure from some LGBT+ groups, others objected, on three main grounds: that the basic terminology of ‘conversion therapy’ was unclear; that the initial proposals effectively criminalised anyone with a ‘gender critical’ view who did not subscribe to a particular view of gender ideology, including an unqualified support for transgender ideology; and that as a result there would be ‘unintended consequences’ in criminalising both religious leaders and parents who questioned these approaches.

In response, the Government decided to rethink, and had plan to announced this in May alongside a raft of other issues in the Queen’s speech, in order to keep objections to a minimum. But Paul Brand, an ITV journalist whose same-sex partner is a Civil Servant, leaked the plans for a u-turn, which prompted a u-turn back: the Government would introduce legislation banning so-called ‘conversion therapy’ but only in relation to gay identity, and not in relation to trans identity. There followed a further backlash from trans supporters, including an open letter from Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis Trust, signed by other religious leaders including Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Sam Wells, vicar of St Martins-in-the-fields.

The key phrase here is:

To be trans is to enter a sacred journey of becoming whole: precious, honoured and loved, by yourself, by others and by God.

This is an extraordinary claim to make, and it pushes the conflict of views to a completely new level—though perhaps one that was always present. In his excellent critique of this statement (in, appropriately enough, The Critic), Matthew Roberts comments:

In one sentence this brings into the open what a good deal of the LGBT+ movement has become: it is now a sacred quest, an agenda no longer driven science, common sense, or simple compassion; but by a transcendental vision, a desire for mystical fulfilment and a metaphysical belief in unseen realities. This is, more than anything else, a religion.

It is important to offer this kind of analysis, but it is also vital to connect this with the painful pastoral realities not only for those who are on this journey, but friends, relations, and especially parents of those affected. The claim by Chalke and others is making a move at three levels.


First, the claim is being made that those who hate their sexed bodies are best pastorally supported and cared for by being affirmed in that hatred and supported in changing their bodies to appear to be the other sex. (We need to be clear that no-one can change the sex of their own body; what is being done is that the obvious and socially significant external markers of bodily sex are being changed or removed, either by hormone treatment or with the addition of surgery.) There are many groups and campaigners who dispute that this is actually appropriate as a pastoral and parental response, including the non-religious Transgender Trend, who focus on biological and research evidence to oppose this. The problem with any discussion on this, for those involved, is that, if as a parent I have supported my child in undergoing this process of transition, and if TT and other groups are right that this is a mistake, then I have been complicit in the irreversible damage to my child’s body. On the other hand, if I don’t support my child in this, I risk breaking my relationship with them as they are drawn into groups who will support them in this action. This is a desperately painful and unenviable situation to be in.

But part of the argument of TT and others is that the political and ideological support for this approach actually creates the context in which this kind of action becomes acceptable, and allows young people to be drawn into this action without proper critical reflection.

Second, the claim is then being made that this response is justified because hatred of one’s own sexed body, rather than being a response to social and cultural pressures, is actually the result of ‘being born in the wrong body’. This assumes that our true sex identity is found in our inner life—that it is possible to have a ‘sexed brain’ or a ‘sexed soul’. The problem here is that this is a far-reaching metaphysical claim, not simply about ‘trans’ people, but about all of us, and it is without any supporting scientific evidence. Some feminists argue that is eliminates the importance of biological sex difference, and thus undermines the place of women in society.

This concern is explored extremely well by Andrew Bunt in his excellent Grove Booklet People not Pronouns: Reflections on Transgender Experience. He begins with his own early experience of feeling deeply uncomfortable with his own sex, and leads into the need for a compassionate response to young people in that kind of situation. But he then moves on to explore the reality behind such feelings, and the best way to respond.

My experience of continued discomfort with my masculinity in adolescence and early adulthood was the result of stereotypes. I had a set idea of what a real man was like, and I very clearly did not fit into that box. I did not make the cut. Recognizing that my identity as a man is something given to me by God, and is unchangeable, helped me to become comfortable in my masculinity. I realized that I am a man because God says I am a man, not because of some ability to live up to a certain set of standards. I am a man and therefore I can live out my identity as a man with the unique personality and preferences that God has given me. This means I do not need to worry about not liking sport, hating aggression and usually finding it easier to develop friendships with women than with men. And it means I can embrace my love of musicals and Downton Abbey, and my sometimes flamboyant nature, as none of these things change my identity. I can be how I am, without it changing who I am.

I suspect that many people would be helped if we recognized the given nature of our sexed identity, and avoided unbiblical and unnecessary gender stereotypes.

But what does all of this mean for those who experience more acute gender dysphoria and for those who identify as transgender?

First, it means it is not possible to be born in the wrong body. This idea relies on a separation between the body and the true self which, as we have seen, does not fit the biblical picture of human identity. Our body is part of our true self. It is not possible for it to be in conflict with the truth about us.

It also means that transitioning to live in line with experienced gender is not the right or the best approach when an individual experiences a strong conflict between sex and gender.

This is not an easy thing to say. Every time I say it I can see in my mind’s eye the faces of those who live with the pain of gender dysphoria. I think of those who cannot look at themselves in a mirror. I think of young people who have said that life will not be bearable if they have to remain living in line with their sex. I think of adults who have said that they wake each morning not knowing whether they will be able to get through the day still winning the internal battle against the urge to cut their own body. I think of the pain, the strain, the tears and the anguish.

Sometimes it all makes me wish the answer was different. But I continue to believe that what God says about our sex and gender is right and good. And this is not just blind obedience—it is trust (pp 17–18).


This leads to the third level claim in the Chalke letter: not only is there a metaphysical basis for trans ideology, but this is a sacred quest. I was surprised to see that Rowan Williams had put his name to such a claim, not least because I had corresponded with him about this three years ago. When the House of Bishops commended the use of baptism liturgy to welcome a trans person to church in their new name, a large number of us protested, and Rowan Williams signed a counter letter in support. I asked him:

I am writing to express my surprise at your signing the letter which criticised the open letter responding the House of Bishops’ Guidance on welcoming transgender people into the Church, making use of the liturgy for the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith.

I know from your writings that you regard bodily identity as a key aspect of theological anthropology, and the lack of reflection on this issue was one of the key concerns expressed in the open letter, which has attracted more than 3,000 signatures, include more than 1,000 licensed clergy. We were also concerned at the appropriation of liturgy which, connected to one of the two dominical sacraments, is of foundational importance to the Church, but which now appears to be being put to another use in ‘marking the gender identity transition’ of individuals, rather than celebrating faith in an unqualified way.

Those who signed the open letter state quite clearly that we are committed to offering a welcome to all, and those of us involved in drawing the concerns together in the first place (from a wide range of traditions in the Church) were all motivated by our personal and pastoral experience of engaging with people for whom this is a live issue.

I was also surprised that the response letter which you signed actually showed no interest in engaging with the important theological, liturgical and pastoral issues that we raised. In case you have not been able to study it in detail, it is still online here https://www.responsetohob.co.uk

His reply included this explanation:

I don’t think and have never thought that the fact of gender dysphoria simply relativises dimorphism, only that it gives reason to acknowledge that this dimorphism is not in all instances an absolute binary distinction – indeed the desire for transition in a sense recognises that some sort of dimorphic distinction is real, but also that how it is established and realised may not in every case be straightforward. So to respond in the way the bishops do to ‘transitioning’ individuals doesn’t seem to me by any means to weaken a commitment to the centrality of bodily identity, and I have never been persuaded by the idea that gendered identity is a mental or social construct; and that isn’t actually what I hear from most trans people I know.  I realise that the popular language about ‘being in the wrong body’ can be profoundly misleading; but I interpret it as saying not that there is a bodiless identity indifferent to the gendered particularity of an individual, but that the complex of bodily and psychophysical data in this particular organism is in some way unbalanced – perhaps mislabelled, perhaps developmentally non-standard – and would benefit from therapeutic intervention.

It seems to be rather odd that Rowan Williams is happy to attach his name to an approach based on the idea that some can be ‘born in the wrong body’ whilst dissenting from what most people who use that phrase actually mean by it. I replied:

I would very much agree with you that transgender understandings do not undermine sex dimorphism; ironically, there is a sense in which they commonly accentuate it, especially based on cultural stereotypes of sex identity, and this is where such an approach comes into conflict with feminist perspectives, which will often want to downplay binary gender identity especially in relation to social roles. I would also agree with you that there is a sense of ‘unbalance’ or ‘developmental’ issues, but the fact that the typical approach of therapeutic intervention is to surgically and medically attempt to alter bodily reality (though of course this is only ever partial, since we can never alter chromosomal identity) to align with the psychological perception, rather than the other way around, is the issue of concern. This is a concern to the medical profession, since most consider there is no clinical evidence identifying why this direction of travel is the best; gender transition does alleviate some of the symptoms of gender dysphoria, but there remains a much higher morbidity in relation to many other mental health issues, suggesting from a medical point of view that this intervention is not well founded.

From a theological point of view, the concern is that no-one has articulated any understanding of what we think is happening in terms of theological anthropology. Sex dimorphism based on bodily identity is important in relation to our theology of God as creator (as we can see in Paul’s appeal to it in Romans 1) and underpins a Christian understanding of what marriage is. I am not aware of any theological work having been done on this in the Church of England which would allow us to agree that someone who undergoes gender transition is or is not ‘truly’ in any sense changing their sex identity.

I received no further response.


Martin Davie picks up on this theological issue about how we understand the relation of body and soul in his response to the Chalke letter:

The Anglican tradition agrees with the wider Christian tradition that human beings consist of bodies and souls.

We can see this, for example, in the words of the Holy Communion service in The Book of Common Prayer. The Minister gives people the bread and wine so that Christ’s body and blood may ‘preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life.’ The people ‘offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies’ and pray ‘that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in both body and soul.’

Likewise, in the Burial Service a distinction is made between the soul of the departed ‘which it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself ’ and their body which is committed to the ground, ‘earth to earth, ashes, dust to dust.’

So, ‘who am I?’  Paul, and the Christian tradition following Paul, says that ‘I’ am a single self, a psychosomatic unity consisting of a body and a soul. I am a material body, including a material brain, but that is not all I am. I am also an immaterial, conscious, rational, soul that is aware of God, other people, and the world in general, a mind that acts in and through my body in the light of this awareness.

As Nancy Pearcey notes in her book Love Thy Body there is a tendency in contemporary Western thought to regard the soul, the conscious part of our existence, as the ‘authentic self’ with the body ‘demoted to a nothing but a ‘meat skeleton’’ extraneous to who we truly are. This is not the Christian view. The Christian view is that while I am not simply my body, nevertheless, I am my body and my body is me (as when I say, ‘I am going to sit down,’  or ‘I fell off my bicycle,’ both acts directly involving only my body but nonetheless involving me as a whole).

One day my material body will die (unless Jesus returns first), but my soul will survive that death, and because disembodiment is not its proper state God will re-unite my soul with my resurrected body in the general resurrection of the dead at the end of time.  Just as the human body that Jesus assumed at the incarnation is an integral part of who Jesus is and will be for all eternity, so also the bodies which we have are going to be an integral part of who we will eternally be. Even if we would like it to be the case, there is no escape from our bodies.

Furthermore, in accordance with God’s creation of human beings as male and female (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:18-25, 5:1-2, Matthew 19:4-5, 1 Corinthians 11:2-16) a central part of what it means to be created by God in his image and likeness is to be male or female.

Contrary to what is often suggested today, being male or female is something that is determined not by our feelings but by our biology.

It is worth noting in this how serious is the claim that ‘trans people are on a sacred journey’. This claim is no mere pastoral response; it actually touches on central theological issues of creation, incarnation, atonement, salvation and eschatology.

Matthew Roberts therefore summarises the chasm in thinking between Chalke and Williams and orthodox Christian belief:

Christianity teaches that the body is good, a good creation of the good God. The sexual differentiation of male and female bodies is held up in Scripture as of first significance in what it means to be the image of God. It is not a prison to escape from, as the Greeks thought, nor meat to be slashed to gain the attention of the gods, as the Canaanites thought. Our God himself took a human body, and though he offered it as a sacrifice, that was to save our bodies from the grave. And so like his body, ours will be raised again to eternal life, with their wounds healed, that we may live as bodies and souls united eternally in God’s presence. Christians know that our bodies are made to be temples of the Holy Spirit, not sacrificial victims to be offered in the hope of satisfying the Sacred Self.

And this brings us right back to the thing that prompted the letter in the first place—the Government’s plans to ban ‘conversion therapy’.

What has now become clear is that the proposed legislation has been aiming at the wrong target. It is not orthodox Christians, who teach that we should live not for self but for the Holy God, restraining sexual desires to the marriage of one man and one woman, who pose a risk of harm. No, it is those who promote a religion of enlightenment by bodily modification. Christians teach children that their bodies are good, to be loved and cared for; they tell them that they are to be carved up to match the mysterious “gender identity”. Christians teach that bodies are God-given, to be valued and accepted, whose very nature and design teaches precious truths about who we are; they teach that bodies are mere “walking meat skeletons” (to quote one BBC video for teens), a mere container for the Self, whose structure and function mean nothing and should be ignored, blocked, or even disposed of altogether. Who, do you think, is more likely to cause harm?

When chemical sterilisation and physical mutilation are promoted as a “sacred journey to wholeness”, it is time to realise that those who say such things are not offering the rest of us solutions. It’s time to begin to see them as, just perhaps, part of the problem.

I think he is right.


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302 thoughts on “Are trans people ‘on a sacred journey’?”

  1. Ian – with apologies – could we have something on issues related to Ukraine – e.g. pacifism, the concept of just war, turning the other cheek in its proper context and why it doesn’t apply to Ukraine, etc ….

    I do appreciate that the trans issue is very important, but there are other things going on in the world right now (i.e. Ukraine) which provide major challenges to faith. (I also appreciate that there isn’t exactly a world shortage of coverage of the Ukraine crisis, but it would be very interesting to discuss it with the regulars here).

    Reply
    • Yes, these things need commenting on. But I am not an expert on Ukraine, and I try to refrain on this blog from commenting on everything that is happening in the world.

      I comment on things I know about, and where I feel I can add some value. I think others will have better things to say on politics and war, so I will leave them to comment.

      Reply
      • But apparently we were knowledgeable enough to comment negatively on the actions of the USA and the UK in Afghanistan?

        Despite the Covid pandemic and the manifestation of what today (at least some) see to be President Putin’s ‘evil’ actions in Ukraine (which seem to follow the same path as the atrocities of the 20th century’s two World Wars) —in the Christian West we remain fully embedded in a long, demythologised reception history. For example, N. T. Wright in his consideration of the pandemic does not engage in an apocalyptic perspective, ‘Alongside [the] Israel-and-God story there runs the deeper story of … [a] dark power … I do not claim to understand that dark power’ (God and the Pandemic (London: SPCK, 2020), 14).

        Thus, by and large, ‘sin’ and ‘evil’ are seen to be on the same spectrum—that is, they are both seen as symptoms of Adamic humanity’s disobedience to God’s law (but where Covid fits into this nobody seems sure). The church as been wrong footed in its reponse to these big issues of our day.

        Reply
        • I published a guest post on Afghanistan by someone who had served in the forces there.

          I published ‘with some hesitation’ some brief observations about policy in Syria.

          I am sticking with my policy.

          Reply
          • Well said, Ian. It’s your blog and there is nothing wrong with requests courteously phrased, but you are under no obligation to accede to them. Keep up the good work!

          • ” I am sticking with my policy.” ….. and so you should.
            To assume that you know enough about Russia attacking Ukraine to be able to add worthwhile comment would be tantamount to an ex Archbishop of Canterbury thinking he knows enough about trans to comment usefully. Unless, of course, he is now a prophet.

        • where Covid fits into this nobody seems sure

          Surely just the same place that Ebola, SARS, influenza, Marburg disease, and under the common cold fit into it?

          Indeed there is good reason to think that a pandemic towards the end of the nineteenth century was caused by the previous animal coronavirus to make the jump to humans, one which still circulates giving people sniffles to this very day (and will continue to do so for as long as there are people).

          Reply
      • I’ve always wondered why you’re so vociferously against the gays. Is it personal to you? Is it internalised homophobia?

        Reply
        • Most people were “against the gays” as little as 30 years ago – including many people who are now clanging cymbals about being for them (Penelope?)

          Gay desire/sex is sinful. It doesn’t really matter who says that. It’s the truth. Although it probably helps to be gay to say/believe that today. Straight Christians are too scared of the stigma of not being “for the gays” to accept it (Andrew?)

          Reply
          • Goodness Joe 30 years ago when I was in London Diocese it was perfectly accepted that a great number of clergy and churchgoers were gay or lesbian. In many ways it was more accepted within the CofE than it is now. We have become less accepting, if anything.
            And over 40 years ago in my previous career it was considered entirely normal. Not sure what kind of world you have been living in. And as Penny says, there are many – if not most – of CofE members whose theology would not permit them to be “against the gays” – whatever you might mean by it.

          • 30 years ago would be 1992. The Village bar in Soho opened in 1991. It was the first gay bar in central London to have clear glass windows (or no boards up). And that was in the heart of the most gay friendly part of the UK. It was still common for straights wandering through Soho to shout abuse at the people inside the bar. I think you might be misremembering how easy it was to be openly gay 30 years ago. Which might be a convenient narrative if you want to maintain that only ‘out of touch’ people cling to conservative values.

  2. False claim in the article:
    ‘The problem here is that this [sexed brain or a sexed soul] is a far-reaching metaphysical claim, not simply about ‘trans’ people, but about all of us, and it is without any supporting scientific evidence.’
    The internal sense of gender identity has strong supporting scientific evidence. In particular, it is at least in part genetic in origin, as studies on monozygotic twins show (Diamond, 2013). I have presented Ian with this evidence before, so it is surprising that he continues to make this kind of claim.

    Put simply, gender identity is at least partly biological. Any talk of ‘biological sex’ needs to take this into account.

    It is no surprise that Martin Davie is anti-transitioning; he supports conversion therapy not only for those who wish to transition but also for those who are intersex (quote: ‘In cases where there is distinct male or female genotype but where problems have occurred in the development of the corresponding phenotype, the proper way forward would seem to be for them to live according to the sex of their genotype, receiving spiritual and psychological support and (where necessary) medical intervention in the form of reconstructive surgery to help them live more comfortably in their given sex…’ Davie, 2018, Glorify God in Your Body, p.118).

    The article fails to consider the actual evidence of the harm that conversion therapy does. Here, consider Turban (2020). Lifetime experience of conversion therapy was associated with 50% greater likelihood of severe mental distress, and double the risk of attempted suicide. For those who had experienced conversion therapy before the age of 10, the lifetime risk of attempted suicide was four times greater.

    It is for reasons such as this that every mainstream medical organisation (eg Royal College of Psychiatrists) and counselling professional bodies (eg BACP) supported the proposed ban on controlling or coercive gender conversion therapy.

    Good trees produce good fruit. Bad trees produce bad fruit. The fruit produced by being anti-transition is rotten.

    Reply
    • The internal sense of gender identity has strong supporting scientific evidence. In particular, it is at least in part genetic in origin, as studies on monozygotic twins show (Diamond, 2013). I have presented Ian with this evidence before, so it is surprising that he continues to make this kind of claim.

      But as was pointed out to you before, this kind of genetic correlation is not evidence that gender identity is in any way real; it may simply mean that some twins have a shared predisposition to the same kind of delusion. Indeed we know this to be the case with other mental illnesses that have a genetic link.

      Reply
      • I don’t think you understand how strong this type of evidence is. Dizygotic (non-identical) twins do not show anything like the same numbers where both twins transition. This is scientific evidence that gender identity is in males about 20-30% genetic. Calling it a ‘mental illness’ is just giving this biological phenomenon a negative label, and ignores the science. The phenomenon is real and partly biological. Pretending it isn’t is anti-science and anti-truth.

        Reply
        • This is scientific evidence that gender identity is in males about 20-30% genetic.

          No; it’s evidence that gender dysphoria in males is about 20-30% genetic. It is no evidence whatsoever for what is the mechanism by which the genetic factors cause the dysphoria, or for the existence of this mysterious force called ‘gender identity’.

          Reply
          • You can’t have gender dysphoria if gender identity doesn’t exist. It’s built into the definition: ‘…a sense of unease that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity.’ (From NHS website).
            If gender dysphoria exists, then so does gender identity. I don’t get what’s so complicated about this. Do people have an innate sense of their gender identity? Yes.

          • You can’t have gender dysphoria if gender identity doesn’t exist. It’s built into the definition: ‘…a sense of unease that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity.’ (From NHS website).

            That’s a question-begging definition. The actual symptom of gender dysphoria is distress due to feeling that one’s gender is somehow ‘wrong’. It sits alongside other types of body dysphoria such as anorexics who think they are obese and those poor rate individuals who think that they should have a limb amputated.

            But just because you have a(n intense and distressing) feeling that your body is ‘wrong’ doesn’t mean it actually is. Lots of subjective distressing feelings do not in fact indicate anything about objective reality. A paranoiac has an intense and distressing feeling that people are plotting against them, but that doesn’t mean people actually are.

            The mere fact that someone has an intense and distressing feeling that they were ‘born in the wrong body’ doesn’t mean they actually were. And indeed we see that some people who have this intense and distressing feeling do eventually decide they were not in fact born in the wrong body (sometimes, tragically, after they have mutilated themselves trying to conform to what they think that body ‘should have’ been).

            If gender dysphoria exists, then so does gender identity. I don’t get what’s so complicated about this. Do people have an innate sense of their gender identity? Yes.

            No. All your evidence shows is that the tendency to have a subjective feeling that one’s body is wrong is influenced by genetics. It doesn’t prove, or even come close to proving, the objective existence of a ‘gender identity’.

          • Quote: ‘That’s a question-begging definition. The actual symptom of gender dysphoria is distress due to feeling that one’s gender is somehow ‘wrong’. ‘
            It’s the NHS definition, not mine. How can you feel that your gender is wrong without having a sense of what your gender identity is?

            Quote: ‘It sits alongside other types of body dysphoria such as anorexics who think they are obese and those poor rate individuals who think that they should have a limb amputated.’
            If you think this is anything like anorexia then either you know nothing about gender dysphoria or nothing about anorexia.

            Quote: ‘But just because you have a(n intense and distressing) feeling that your body is ‘wrong’ doesn’t mean it actually is.’
            This misses out why it is distressing. It is not feeling that the body is wrong that leads to dysphoria; it is having a gender identity different from the body that leads to the distress.

            Quote: ‘And indeed we see that some people who have this intense and distressing feeling do eventually decide they were not in fact born in the wrong body (sometimes, tragically, after they have mutilated themselves trying to conform to what they think that body ‘should have’ been).’
            I note your use of the unnecessarily emotive word ‘mutilate’.
            We do see some people detransition. But the regret rate after transitioning is less than 1%. For comparison, the regret rate for childbirth is upwards of 8%.

            I don’t know if there is anything I could do to convince you of the existence of the reality of gender identity. But for others, consider that people consistently express that they have such an identity, and that it is partly biological in origin has been backed up scientifically. (See also my comment later in the thread about the seven baby boys raised as girls, six of whom transitioned back to male).

          • It’s the NHS definition, not mine.

            It’s still question-begging.

            How can you feel that your gender is wrong without having a sense of what your gender identity is?

            You could have, for example, experienced a sexual assault that caused intense feelings of distress with the sexual aspects of your body. That’s just one possibility among many.

            This misses out why it is distressing. It is not feeling that the body is wrong that leads to dysphoria; it is having a gender identity different from the body that leads to the distress.

            Question-begging, and none of your evidence suggests this. Your evidence just suggests strongly that there is a genetic predisposition to feeling this distress.

            We do see some people detransition. But the regret rate after transitioning is less than 1%. For comparison, the regret rate for childbirth is upwards of 8%.

            The rate doesn’t matter: the point is that it is clearly possible to (if we accept your ‘gender identity’ idea) wrongly think you have a gender identity of (say) male, only to later discover you were mistaken and that your gender identity is actually female.

            But if ‘gender identity’ is something fixed that the individual innately knows, then it shouldn’t be possible to be mistaken about it, should it?

            Hence your ontology is contradicted by the evidence. If gender identity really existed, then no one would ever be mistaken about what their gender identity is. But some people are mistaken, so gender identity can’t be something everyone automatically knows about themselves —it’s something that is possible to be mistaken about. And once you admit that possibility, you have to admit the possibility that the ones who are mistaken are the ones who do perceive themselves as having a gender identity at variance with their body,

            I don’t know if there is anything I could do to convince you of the existence of the reality of gender identity.

            You could address the point above about people being mistaken about their gender identity.

            But for others, consider that people consistently express that they have such an identity, and that it is partly biological in origin has been backed up scientifically.

            The fact that people feel they have such an identity has been backed up scientifically yes. The existence of the thing as anything more than a subjective feeling has not.

            (See also my comment later in the thread about the seven baby boys raised as girls, six of whom transitioned back to male).

            Dealt with below.

          • How is gender dysphoria really any different from General Body Dysphoria and why is it afforded special status? Both have commonalities in as far as there is a mismatch between the physical body and the individuals perception of what it should be. What they perceive themselves to be and what they physically are, do not correspond in their own minds and leads to a great deal of mental distress and conflict similar to that experienced by trans people.

            Therapeutic intervention for GBD has included deliberate amputation of limbs and radical surgery to help them feel more at ease with themselves, although I think this is now strongly resisted and denied to them by the medical profession these days.

            One wonders if there is a similar neuro- mechanism at work.
            Should they therfore have the same rights as trans individuals?

          • Even if something is the HNS definition, how many individuals actually crafted it?

            They could be hiding behind the institution.

            Very many people alas are willing to stand against the media/government culture. Before abortion was legalised, for example, how many doctors (whose job is to heal and to save) would have gone anywhere near it? Now many do, because they don’t want to lose their jobs and their chances of promotion, which is sick and sickening. One should not expect sense or logic from the NHS necessarily.

        • If people grow up in sexual revolution cultures and families they will be disaffected and estranged from healthy normality even before they start. So there will be a compensatory reaction in their behaviour as night follows day.

          This is shown by the Frisch & Hviid Archives of Sexual Behavior 2006 large-scale Danish study, among others. Things like divorce in the family are among the chief correlates of against-biology sexuality. They have (like, obviously) an at-root hard-to-heal disruptive effect which will naturally awaken compensatory behaviour expressing the estrangement.

          And there we have it for why such issues are being screeched and trumpeted in our own day having scarcely been mentioned in many other ages. It is because our day has seen the sexual revolution. But sensible people have never had anything to do with that (why jettison the good in favour of the bad?) and the more stable the culture the less one will see what people call transition. It is all to do with instability. We are scarcely going to commend something that is not only intrinsically unstable (the quintessence thereof) but also correlates with other types of instability in culture and background.

          Reply
          • This study is about sexuality. Not transgender.
            The disgraced Ray Blanchard was involved, which is troubling.

          • He wasn’t involved in it; rather his own follow up study modified one of its conclusions, and not in a direction you would probably be unhappy with. And in any case, if a person is or is not disgraced, it is relevant to ask whether that disgrace or otherwise is connected to the study in question or unconnected. This is all immaterial, since your apparent claim that Blanchard had any involvement in the researching or writing of Frish and Hviid is untrue.

          • No. He amplified it. And if someone is professionally disgraced – lawyer, medic, politician – it behaves us to ask why.
            In Blanchard’s case, the evidence is clear.
            But, still, the survey was about sexuality. So moot in this case.

          • Blanchard is not disgraced. His ideas may not be popular with some activists, but that’s not the same thing at all.

          • Bernard

            Blanchard has ties with a eugenicist group, his research has been repudiated by WPATH, he popularised AGP, which many clinicians believe is an invention and which is very much a part of his disease model of ‘transsexualism’.

          • Penelope,

            “ties to a eugenicist group” sounds very much like a smear – how many such groups genuinely exist nowadays? I’m not saying you’re responsible for smearing him, but what evidence do you have of it? I’ve seen lots of discussion about him, and not come across this claim before.

            WPATH is not a wholly apolitical organization – the fact that it takes one particular side on a controversial issue doesn’t mean that those who take a different view (and repudiate WPATH in their turn!) are “disgraced.” Just in disagreement.

            Similarly, his popularization of AGP “which many clinicians believe is an invention” means that some disagree with him. That’s not the same as “disgraced.” And many do agree with him, including clinicians and lots of male-to-female transitioners – Debbie Hayton for one has spoken very clearly and openly about this.

            And lastly, holding a “disease model of ‘transsexualism'” is surely not a disgraceful idea, regardless of whether some disagree or not. Unless you want to wholly reject medical transition, if medical care is appropriate for something, then in a broad sense it makes sense to think of it as a disease (or condition, or syndrome, or various other possible terms). That implies no moral judgement. Indeed, for Blanchard, identifying AGP was key to enabling some people to access medical transition which was previously denied to them. He wants them to have access to medical services.

          • Bernard

            The Human Biodiversity Institute is the name of the eugenics think tank.
            No organisation is apolitical, but WPATH is the largest grouping of medical experts in this field.
            Most researchers question or reject Blanchard’s own research and typologies. His gatekeeping, rejected many trans people because they didn’t fit his particular theories.
            Most researchers don’t accept AGP as a scientific category, though some trans women do refer to themselves as AGP. Hayton, as you observe, is one, but they are very much an outlier in the trans community. Hayton believes she is still a man. Some trans people find Hayton deeply transphobic.

          • The Human Biodiversity Institute is the name of the eugenics think tank.

            It’s quite difficult to find information about this that isn’t from a biased source, but assuming this is an accurate record of its website:

            https://web.archive.org/web/20000817214428/http://www.humanbiodiversity.org/

            Then ‘Our only chance of foreseeing the potential world-shaking impact of Galtonian artificial selection rests in the honest, unstifled study of Darwinian natural selection’ does sound pretty damning. I honestly thought Galtonianism had died out with the likes of Maries Stope, H.G. Wells and those Stalinist useful idiots the Webbs.

            I can’t find any details on the extent of Blanchard’s involvement though.

          • Penelope,

            thank you. I haven’t found much about the Human Biodiversity Institute, but it doesn’t look like much more than a few fringe types with a private email group. As far as I can tell one or more of that group might like the work of Michael Bailey, which draws on Blanchard. No sign that I could see that either Blanchard or Bailey were ever members of the group (why would they be, since their work doesn’t touch on racial issues at all?). So this would appear to be guilt by association. But by that measure Darwin would be disgraced, because the same group likes Darwin.

            As for the rest, you’ve simply pointed to disagreements with Blanchard – but these are not universal. In a highly politicized field such disagreements are liable to be vociferous, but that is a long way from anyone on either side being disgraced.

            This may seem a trivial thing to go into, but I do think it goes to the heart of any good discussion – do we try to find the best motives in those with whom we disagree, or do we pounce on any hint of having feet of clay (or feet-of-clay adjacent) as a way to avoid engaging with the difficult questions.

            Again, as far as I can tell, Blanchard introduced AGP to open the gates to some who had previously been excluded.

            Hayton self-identifies as having AGP. Do you think it’s OK to dismiss someone’s self-identification because it doesn’t fit a preferred model of what’s going on?

          • Bernard

            No, I don’t think it’s really fair of me to question Hayton’s identity. They have the right to self diagnose with AGP. Maybe someone diagnosed AGP. I do know that Hayton’s views have wounded a number of trans people and I am confused about their identity. Hayton claims to be a man, but uses women’s facilities.

    • Am I missing something? It’s quite possible in the run of things…

      “It is no surprise that Martin Davie is anti-transitioning; he supports conversion therapy not only for those who wish to transition…. ”

      It appears that you are using the phrase “conversion therapy” to describe helping someone to live with their “state”. (Forgive this short hand term). Isn’t this the opposite of “conversion”?

      Reply
      • Hi Ian, in his book Davie considers the case of someone who is intersex. Let me give you a practical example. People with androgen insensitivity syndrome have female physical external bodies (including vagina and breasts) but XY chromosomes. In some rare cases people with AIS are capable of childbirth, having fallopian tubes and uterus.

        Often, such a person may not even be diagnosed until puberty (if at all). They have been born as a baby girl, raised as female, consider themselves female, look typically female.

        For such a person, Davie recommends that they should be encouraged to transition such that they instead live as a male, undergoing surgery and therapy to accomplish this, and that they should either be single or marry someone who is female.

        This is not helping someone live with their state; it is actively encouraging them to convert their state. Sadly, this toxic pastoral nonsense was in an official Church of England Evangelical Council submission to the Living in Love and Faith project.

        Reply
        • Jonathan… Thank you.

          It’s a reminder that these things/terms are, in themselves, a recipe for confusion.

          Many times we do not have a clear common vocabulary or (certainly a current concern) that politically convenient viewpoints, social engineering agendas, anything external to the core issues can distort the argument….

          Reply
    • So when someone like Phillip (Pippa) Bunce identifies as female on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and male on Mondays and Thursdays how does that work? Does that mean people can have more than one biologically determined gender identity? Are any number possible? Is the soul likewise real and is that also biologically determined? Just for the sake of good etiquette does this scientific evidence exist anywhere online you could link to, so that a discussion could proceed from the same page? If so does it bear rigorous scientific scrutiny? Is it all truly independent research or is it in truth a little closed clique of like-minded ideologues cross referencing and backing up one another’s papers each referring to the same few sketchy statistical analyses? As others have written correlation is not causation, and any number of complex combinations of life events and circumstances might produce a distress phenomenon of the type you have in mind without deference to some as yet merely hypothesized biologically existent ‘gender identity’. Just how can ‘gender identity’ be at once both immutable and fluid?
      As for ‘conversion therapy’ I don’t think anyone is considering coercive measures to convince trans people they are not trans, but the ideologues proposed ban on ‘conversion therapy’ for so-called ‘trans kids’ would be a ban in the breach as it were; i.e. therapists and doctors who refuse to go all in for ‘affirmation’ but instead recommend the watchful waiting tactic for kids who may have expressed some confusion about gender, og demonstrated a predilection for playing with the ‘wrong’ toys or dress codes, could be censured for malpractice or worse. But in truth is not affirmation itself really a kind of ‘conversion therapy’ since – even if we accept the existence of something called gender identity – we can never pretend that we can glean any reliable truth about the gender identity of a six year old boy from statements such as “I think I should have born a girl” or a pre-occupation with doll’s houses. That would not only be arrogantly dismissive of any alternative interpretation – the kid could just be a developing gay man for example – it would be dangerously irresponsible. The government has been wise to listen to the voice of caution on this matter, and I believe the latest statistics on suicide belie what you are trying to convince us of.

      Reply
  3. Thank you.
    Keep on keeping on.
    A few years ago now and I think I’m recalling correctly, Bishop NT Wright categorised this correctly as Gnosticism, or neo – Gnosticism.
    Two or three years ago, that ITV journalist Brand, produced for News at Ten a short series on converstion therapy, designed to focus on the extremes. There certainly was no balance and as such, it was highly unbalanced, one- sided journalism.

    Reply
  4. Ian
    On a recent FB post on the letter you wrote:

    Ian Paul
    Where can I find the best theological explanation of why taking a knife to my body in order not to change my sex (that can’t happen) but to conform my body’s appearance to match my psychological perception of my gendered social role is a ‘sacred journey’? Is this based on the idea that we have sexed souls to which our bodily sex identity must conform?
    to which I responded:
    Penelope Cowell Doe
    Ian Paul perhaps because being trans isn’t taking a knife to your body to conform to a gendered social role.

    Perhaps talking to cis theologians like Davie and Williams isn’t the best approach. I sugesst that you speak to some trans christians, maybe trans priests about their ‘sacred path’.

    Reply
    • I’ve no idea why you think I haven’t.

      The question I often ask, and to which I have not yet received an answer, is ‘On what basis? Do we have a sexed soul? If not, what is the biological or theological basis for believing that my body should be conformed to an inner perception? What is the body being conformed to?’

      Do you have an answer?

      Reply
      • That is because you continue to deny the reality of ‘gender identity’ as something innate to a person.

        Let’s imagine an (awful, unethical) experiment. We take baby boys, castrate them, operate on them so they look female, and hand them to adoptive parents without telling the parents, who then raise them fully as girls. If gender identity didn’t exist, we would expect these (biologically male) girls to be happy as girls and to consider themselves girls and then women.

        The experiment has been done – this happened to seven baby boys in the USA. Six of the seven transitioned back to male (see Bailey et al, 2016, which also notes that their sexual orientation was to females, showing that orientation does not depend on your social environment).

        It looks very much like gender identity is real, innate, and partly biological. I’m happy to defer to others as to whether it should be categorised with the body or the soul theologically, but to ignore it is to ignore reality.

        Reply
        • Let’s imagine an (awful, unethical) experiment. We take baby boys, castrate them, operate on them so they look female, and hand them to adoptive parents without telling the parents, who then raise them fully as girls. If gender identity didn’t exist, we would expect these (biologically male) girls to be happy as girls and to consider themselves girls and then women.

          Well, no, you wouldn’t, but the reason for that isn’t that they have something called a ‘gender identity’ that is separate from the maleness of their bodies (and remember this is that central claim of trans ontology, that ‘gender identity’ is totally independent of bodily sex, so someone with a male body can have a female gender identity).

          In your example the boys do not have a ‘gender identity’ of male separate from their male bodies; they simply have male bodies, and therefore know they are male.

          Reply
          • Except they didn’t know they had male bodies… for example, one declared at age 7 that they were male. Two others declared this at age 9, despite the parents refusing to accept this and continuing to make the children live as female. Note that this is before puberty.
            This makes no sense at all, unless there is such a thing as gender identity.

          • Except they didn’t know they had male bodies… for example, one declared at age 7 that they were male. Two others declared this at age 9, despite the parents refusing to accept this and continuing to make the children live as female.

            Clearly at some level they did know they were male, then.


            This makes no sense at all, unless there is such a thing as gender identity.

            It makes perfect sense. They didn’t have a gender identity of male, they just were male due to their male bodies, and at some level they were aware of that fact. There is no such thing as gender identity; the ID such a thing as sex, the sex of their bodies was male, therefore they were (and were aware they were) male, and that’s why efforts to bring them up as girls were doomed to fail: because they were male.

            Nothing to do with any non-existent ‘gender identity’. Just the simple fact that a boy is not a girl.

      • I believe (because I think you mentioned it at GS) that a member of your family is trans.
        But I was suggesting that, instead of engaging with Martin Davie, whom we know to be anti trans, you might engage with some trans theologian.

        I am not quite sure where you get the idea of a sexed soul from. The biological, anthropological and theological basis for being trans is, as Jonathan has observed above, that people have an innate sense of their gender identity.

        Reply
        • The biological, anthropological and theological basis for being trans is, as Jonathan has observed above, that people have an innate sense of their gender identity.

          But as responded above, a subjective ‘innate sense’ does not at all prove anything about objective reality.

          Reply
        • Penelope: that people have an innate sense of their gender identity.

          That idea has been popularised recently but clinicians have long noted that only a sub-set of trans women, and very few trans men, express cross-gender identities before puberty.

          Reply
          • Hi Joe, the studies I’ve seen suggest that this occurs much earlier than puberty. For example, in one recent study, the average age for first gender non-conforming for trans women was 6.7 years, and for trans men 6.2 years (Zalisnyak et al, 2020).

          • For example, in one recent study, the average age for first gender non-conforming for trans women was 6.7 years, and for trans men 6.2 years (Zalisnyak et al, 2020).

            What’s the methodology? I’m pretty sure everyone has done something gender non-confirming, by some definitions, when they were any six or seven. I know I did, and I’m not trans. How are they distinguishing between the study and control groups?

          • Yes, and puberty is, particularly in a nonchristian culture, a time of confusion and mixed-up-ness and experimentation. When else do people start smoking, drinking, swearing, turning away from God, dabbling in harmful things? So what authority is held by those who are in transit between one more sensible age (time of life) and another?

          • Jonathan: …the average age for first gender non-conforming

            That’s not quite the same thing as expressing cross-gender identities – saying “I’m a girl (or boy)”.

            A subset of the male-to-female trans women will have been obviously gender non-conforming as children. These are the “trans kids” and you would be in doubt about their identity if you met one – as they are very (naturally) effeminate boys who will say “I’m a girl!” at a young age. Of this group some will go to be trans identified adults (attracted to men) but many will ‘desist’ after puberty and go on to identify as gay men.

            The other kind of male-to-female trans women are autogynephilic – a sexual paraphilia that doesn’t occur until after puberty. They often *claim* to have always thought of themselves as girls but nobody else will have noticed this. Instead they tend to present as very masculine boys before puberty – and typically many years after that.

            Trans men are a different group again. Many will have been masculine girls and most are attracted to women as adults. But again, very few will have said “I’m a boy” before puberty. There is growing evidence that dissatisfaction with being female is the main driver behind female-to-male transition.

      • Jonathan is saying genitals and appearance are the *only* identifiers of whether someone is male or female? But everyone would agree that there are others, and those others include some on a large scale. Every cell of their body will remain male. The puberty their body is programmed to go through is a male one, isn’t it? (Correct me if I am wrong.) The whole muscular structure is male. And so on.

        Reply
        • Since Jonathan observed that women with XY chromosomes can, occasionally, give birth, that is not what he is saying.

          Reply
  5. Penelope,

    May I ask your reflection around the language of ‘sacred journey’?

    Putting aside all the myriad questions these articles raise in the comments about the validity (or not) of trans theologies, do you, from your perspective as someone well versed in quer theology, think this phrase from Chalke and others is helpful or appropriate? Second to that, is ‘Sacred journey’ a common descriptive paradigm for trans individuals navigating the transitioning process?

    I am not asking you to justify your opinion (this is not a trial), but I think it would be helpful context for the discussion that is likely to explode here.

    Blessings,
    Mat

    Reply
  6. that as a result there would be ‘unintended consequences’ in criminalising both religious leaders and parents who questioned these approaches

    The bill, in its current form, was shelved because a grass roots movement of secular pro-gay activists (mostly gender critical feminists) have been very successful in drawing attention to another form of conversion therapy – the transing of gay and lesbian teens. Ozanne and Chalke never saw that one coming.

    I doubt the government really cares what religious leaders think about anything. If the bill had been an attempt to outlaw gay CT only it might have passed without scrutiny (which I think was Ozanne’s aim) as a kind of virtue-signalling easy win. Gay CT doesn’t exist anymore in this country and senior politicians wouldn’t be have worried about any unintended restrictions that a gay CT bill might place on conservative Christians. The government however is fully aware of the ‘real world’ problems building up around gender healthcare (see Cass Review) and cannot risk passing a very flawed bill on trans CT.

    A gay CT bill is still on the cards (which will now partly serve as a ‘face saving’ compromise for questioning the trans part) and conservative Christians really need to think how they can make sure the revised bill doesn’t do what Ozanne and Chalke want it to do – which is make it impossible to teach the historic Christian sexual ethic.

    Reply
  7. Mat

    I think sacred journey might be an appropriate term for some trans people (trans experience is not univocal). Rachel Mann’s ‘Dazzling Darkness’ might be a good source for this although I can’t recall whether she uses this phrase.

    Your comment on queer theology is interesting. Queer theory certainly seeks to disrupt all fixed identities (I don’t think queer theology necessarily follows this). I think queer is helpful in that this disruption troubles the idea of cisheteronormative identity as normal, natural, canonical; the unmarked identity which renders other identities as aberrant and abject.
    I hope that answers your question.

    Reply
  8. I simply can’t work out why having a delusion is “to enter a sacred journey of becoming whole” – especially if it’s going to involve permanently distorting your body with cross-sex hormones and mutilating it, in order to make yourself into a counterfeit member of the other sex.

    Reply
    • William – well, I’m reminded of the opera `Parsifal’ and the brief summary I read about the story that preceded the opera.

      It seems that Klingsor wanted to join the knights of the Holy Grail, but they wouldn’t let him, because he was too sinful. He therefore cut off his own goolies in order to quench his sinful desires, so that he could join the knights of the Holy Grail. He applied to join them again, but they turned down his application anyway.

      So it seems that there has been a long tradition of cutting the goolies off within certain branches of Christianity.

      To get his own back, Klingsor then planted a beautiful garden, which he filled with highly attractive naked ladies, in order to lead the knights of the Holy Grail into temptation and he seems to have met with some success in this endeavour.

      This is the point at which the curtain goes up and the opera starts.

      In the opera, Klingsor is a bass-baritone, so the act of self-castration doesn’t seem to have affected his voice.

      Reply
      • LOL. Once your voice has broken, whether you’re a tenor, a baritone or a bass, castration won’t “unbreak” it.

        One of the problems (out of a great many) about giving cross-sex hormones to a girl with the trans delusion is that if she’s on them for any appreciable period of time, they lower her voice (vide Keira Bell). If she later comes to accept her immutable sex, that voice change can’t be reversed. As Professor Ray Blanchard said, she’s going to be mistaken for a man on the phone for the rest of her life.

        Reply
  9. I appreciate those who take the time to work out carefully how to appropriately think about these issues. I am no longer able to engage in the order of thinking this requires.

    I find I must adopt a basic response. My response is this. Both gay and transgender dispositions are at the very least disordered and if engaged in they are sinful. I would hope to put this more gently to any it may involve. I would hope to be careful in how I would speak to an inquirer. However, this would be my basic position.

    It may be helpful to have some help on how we can address these issues with any gay or Trans people we may seek to evangelise.

    Reply
    • Should we accept the world’s terms of ‘gay person’ or ‘trans person’? After all, that would be to say that the person is so intrinsically, so therefore was so as a baby. That is neither likely nor meaningful.

      Reply
      • Should we accept the world’s terms Christian, or atheist, or evangelical, or English, or mathematician, or female, or slender, or rich, or …?

        Reply
        • The unexamined life is not worth living. Test everything. Anyone who does not test will sometimes be duped. Whoever controls the language controls the culture. And very many people want to control the culture for sure. Accordingly it is certain that there are people who are trying to control the language, and the way to do that is to alter it in the preferred direction. Only media people and people with exposure on the media have the platform to do that, by and large. So society will change in the direction of the very particular demographic that works in and appears on the media.

          Reply
          • Yes, exactly.
            And that is why we in the global North live in a white cisheteropatriarchal society, which still valorises whiteness, maleness, marriage and reproduction. All those things which you constantly extol as ‘natural’ are very much the product of our cultures and our contexts for a few thousand years.
            When some people try to examine life and ask why *this* is the norm, you are horrified.

          • And that is why we in the global North live in a white cisheteropatriarchal society, which still valorises whiteness, maleness, marriage and reproduction.

            Surely you would agree that two of those (marriage and reproduction) ought to be valorised, and we must be careful when de-valorising things that ought not to be valorised we don’t end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater (literally in the case of reproduction) and de-valorising things that ought to be valorised (like the above, and also virtues like honesty, loyalty, courage, etc).

          • PCD’s recitation of the creed of woke is spot on, and watch how she updates it ‘progressively’ (ahem) through time according to fashion.

            But did we not know already what the creed of woke is? After all, it is all around us. What we were discussing was something different: to what degree that creed is accurate to reality and to what degree inaccurate to reality.

          • But if the level of definition is exemplified by ‘patriarchal’ = ‘any society where it is decreed that a child does not need a father’, then we have a long way to go.

      • Hi Christopher. Im gay myself, and I dont have a problem using the word ‘gay’ regarding my sexuality. It simply describes the reality that Im physically attracted to men (well the attractive ones!) and not to women. Im a gay Christian, or a Christian who is gay. Of course perhaps more so these days it would be common to assume if ones calls oneself a gay Christian that that automatically means open to a sexual relationship, but that’s not necessarily true.

        What I do dislike are people referring to ‘gays’ because that to me does basically define the person, when sexuality is just one facet of humanity.

        Reply
      • Of course. You are of an age where habits and opinions have become set, i.e. older than the mid twenties. But it is inaccurate, of course, to use ‘settled’ adjectives for unsettled ages (adolescence) let alone for pre-sexual ages. And the whole thing for some unaccountable reason leaves out (as mentioned elsewhere on this thread) the incredibly important circumstantial, cultural and environmental correlates.

        Reply
        • It is a very deluded view that there is only one age when such people were not a recognised category – the 1950s (in which countries?). So far as I know there have been whole tracts of history and geography where this has been the case. It is just that those stuck in the modern world can remember only one of these. Or the caricatures of it anyway. Thereby they just show their ignorance.

          Reply
      • And, on reflection, it doesn’t matter what terms you accept.
        There are gay people and trans people. And bi, and ace, and pan and demi and all sorts of identities.
        They won’t go away because you’re living in an idealised version of the 1950s.

        Reply
        • Among all your inaccuracies this one rates highly.
          PCD says or implies that there was only one age that did not have the categories (demi, trans, gay, ace, pan, bi), the dreaded 1950s. In every other age they have been present to the fore.

          Er – no. What you are saying is not only untrue, but the opposite of the truth. For there is only one age that *has* had most of these categories, and that age is therefore in a stark minority.

          Reply
          • Er, that’s not what I said.
            I wrote that *you* were living in an idealised version of the 1950s when, even if such disgusting things existed, nanny or housemaster kept them quiet.

          • But if those 2 officials were the prerogatives of the minority, it follows that in most cases they didn’t. Many things savoury and unsavoury are universally known to exist in every age. But just because unsavoury things exist, what sort of person would magnify their existence (as opposed to the existence of the savoury things) by means of publicity?

            The more publicity and normalisation, the greater the degree to which they will exist. Which is exactly what we are seeing.

          • Only if you find being trans and/or gay ‘unsavoury’.
            Which, to use a word popular on here, most ‘normal’ people don’t.

          • Only if you find being trans and/or gay ‘unsavoury’.

            Well, no. The question of whether such things are unsavoury is entirely independent of whether, if you normalise them, there will be more of them.

            For example, someone who thinks they are savoury might well want to normalise them in order that there would be more of them, which they would regard as a good thing. Whereas someone who thinks they are unsavoury will want to keel them not normalised, in order that there would be less of them, which they would regard as a good thing.

            But one thing they can both agree on — that I think seems obvious — is that if you normalise something, then it will happen more often.

            They just disagree on whether it happening more often would be a good thing or a bad thing.

          • S correctly identifies the point I was making.

            Savoury is, obviously, as savoury evidentially and statistically does.

  10. What a tragic mess.
    Some may be aware of a row in cycling, where a trans woman who had recently competed successfully at a high level as a man was allowed by British Cycling to compete in the women’s national championships. It didn’t happen due to a decision by the governing international cycling body the UI, perhaps on what may be seen as a technicality.
    But this has rumbled on. Today, it is reported on a cycling website that the PM Boris Johnson has said that he does not believe “that biological males should not be competing in female sporting events.” Not sure how reliable the report is. Even if the report is reliable, how much is the speaker on this matter?

    How about an article on the theology of sport?

    Indeed, which human bodies can have PSA tests, as one such body in our church group is having?

    Reply
    • It’s on the front page of the Daily Telegraph (viewable via the BBC roundup of the front pages) so is reliably sourced. If there is to be a pushback against this stuff it will start with elite sportswomen, who train their guts out day by day and are consequently more motivated than the invertebrates at Westminster and in Town Halls and schools.

      Reply
    • Sacred Journey:
      I do wonder how and what the *soul *of the body of our church group member is feeling about the PSA test; how, precisely, it will separate from the body in this life, this journey.
      It reminds me of a joke I heard as a student, that is desperately unfunny, applied to the turmoil of trans on a sacred journey-
      There was a car dashboard model of St Christopher, that when the speed limit was exceeded, spoke out, “You’re on your own buddy.”
      Does the soul say to the body undergoing PSA tests, You are on your own buddy on this sacred journey!
      It sounds like a load of theological ovaries to me. Not on my *t(u)rf*. Desperately unfunny, though it is – a tragic theological -reckless- driving- hands -off the wheel terminal car crash. An eschewal of all responsibility for eternal destiny at the Vehicle (body) Dismantler and Body Parts premises in the sky!
      This is directed towards some Church theologians, or rather the theology sought to found the support of transitioning.

      Reply
  11. I had an experience during part of my school days with the very best of the best of liberals in charge of a particular regime. The end result was still catastrophic.

    In the Church Rowan Williams is the very best of the best of the liberals. And he is calling genital mutilation, breast binding, and all kinds of things that disintegrate rather than integrate, dissociate rather than associate, estrange rather than nurture – he is calling these things ‘a sacred journey’. They are not even positive, they are highly negative.

    This tends to show the bankruptcy of *all* liberalism if even its best exponents end up in a place like that.

    Reply
  12. What Ian is doing by entering into dialogue with church leaders who present what seems to be strange or unaccountable teaching is good work – it is the same that was several times done by John Stott in his day.

    Reply
    • Was that the same John Stott who had a predilection for young male researchers who did all the legwork for his commentaries? Who was unmarried and celibate but had intense relationships with the aforementioned researchers?

      It’s funny how religious bigots claim him as one of theirs when in reality he was actually one of us!

      Reply
  13. Just everything is wrong with the presuppositions.

    The person they really are – this concept shows no understanding that we are people in time in a process of development.

    And to say that somehow this settled (yet simultaneously counterintuitive) identity is found at a time of flux and change (adolescence) of all times – what a clear contradiction of sense.

    Why can’t people see that the common denominator is an attack on male and female to compound the attack for the last 60 years on the family and its precious members young and old – a target where Satan’s darts love to aim at.

    Reply
  14. Quote: ‘another form of conversion therapy – the transing of gay and lesbian teens.’
    First, there is no evidence that this actually happens. Secondly, and ironically, any controlling or coercive therapy to ‘trans’ people would have been illegal (quite rightly) under the proposed bill.

    Quote: ‘ Gay CT doesn’t exist anymore in this country’.
    I’m sorry to be blunt, but I just find this statement incredibly naïve.

    Quote: ‘ conservative Christians really need to think how they can make sure the revised bill doesn’t do what Ozanne and Chalke want it to do – which is make it impossible to teach the historic Christian sexual ethic.’
    Simply untrue.

    Quote: ‘ I doubt the government really cares what religious leaders think about anything.’
    I agree (finally!). My perception is that Johnson thinks his best chance of re-election is to stoke culture wars (cf GOP in USA). He’s chosen trans issues as the issue to use. So he ditches the promised legislation (without even telling Liz Truss, the minister responsible), and starts giving interviews where he gives his opinion on biological sex and sports and makes anti-trans jokes to his MPs.

    Reply
      • It’s a soul and body of text separation, perhaps. Does making a joke, of itself, amount to being anti?
        Monty Python was funny when it poked fun at what was perceived as ridiculous, preposterous, even when it may have been hurtful to those on the receiving end, and to those who couldn’t see the funny side of their own lives and governing practices and beliefs. As did the initial Spitting Image series, and we laughed along or were repulsed in our own, judgmental superiority at not being in any way like them, not seeing in them spitting images of ourselves. Sinners, one and all, just in different ways and categories.
        But we are trespassing onto another territory here – humour. And flippancy is far from being a one way street in this matter, a ploy adopted by some intransigent trans activists, advocates from within theological circles, let alone secular political circles.

        Reply
    • Jonathan,

      I happen to have read your post immediately after the latest selection from Thinking Anglicans.
      They include this one from Jayne Ozanne:
      https://www.viamedia.news/2022/04/05/truth-the-first-casualty-in-war/
      where she says:
      “These are dark days, where there is a spirit abroad that seeks to want to ignore the evidence of harm caused and instead cling to certain falsehoods and ideology.”
      She frames the current debate as a spiritual war, and it is no surprise that she endorses what Rowan Williams et al said in their letter.

      There’s also this from Colin Coward:
      http://www.unadulteratedlove.net/blog/2022/4/5/house-of-bishops-overrides-trans-concerns
      He says:
      “Homophobic and transphobic teachings have no place in the Christian Church. They are no longer acceptable as authentic, valid expressions of the teachings of Jesus. These beliefs about gender and sexuality are not legitimate, orthodox variants of Christian teaching and doctrine but remnants of church traditions from the past that reflect an understanding of biology and anthropology that has long been rejected.”

      I, for one, read these as desire to do away with “the historic Christian sexual ethic” which would make it impossible to teach – in Ozanne’s piece because it should be banned as conversion therapy along with all the rest.

      For what it’s worth, it seems to me that knowledge of the biological differences between the sexes is alive and well in most quarters, and it is belief in gender identity which has the more ideological character. I cannot recommend enough the podcast “Gender: A Wider Lens” especially that Pioneer series over the last eight or so episodes – interviews with those who did most of the earliest research. There is a great deal that still remains to be understood.

      Reply
      • Hi Bernard, while I hesitate to speak for Jayne, I was commenting on the specific accusation that the proposed legislation was intended to prevent conservative sexual teaching. This is different from wishing more generally that the teaching is different.

        Reply
        • If you want the teaching to be different, you will have to take that up with Jesus Christ, always supposing you know better than Him.

          Reply
        • I was commenting on the specific accusation that the proposed legislation was intended to prevent conservative sexual teaching.

          Though some people supporting the legislation (eg Penelope Cowell Doe of this parish) have been explicit that they would like to see conservative sexual teaching made illegal, as pointed out at: https://www.psephizo.com/life-ministry/where-is-discontent-in-the-church-of-england/#comment-405842

          So while the specific proposed legislation may not do that, it is a long-term aspiration of some and that’s something that those who wish conservative sexual teaching to remain legal need to be aware of and counter.

          Reply
          • Stop bearing false witness, there’s a dear.

            Did you, or did you not, write that you think that it should be illegal to teach that the only proper context for sexual intercourse is within an opposite-sex marriage?

          • Ok stalker, cite it.

            Well, I deliberately provided the link so that I couldn’t be accused of taking things out of context; but if you like:

            In response to: ‘Do you think churches encouraging celibacy should be criminalised, as you said above?’

            Penelope Cowell Doe: ‘I think priests encouraging celibacy for gay and bi people and not for straight people should.’

            Someone teaching that the only proper context for sexual intercourse is within an opposite-sex marriage is, in your terms, ‘encouraging celibacy for gay and bi people and not for straight people’; so that’s someone using the same name* as you, saying straight out in black and white that a ‘priest’ who does that ‘should be criminalised’.

            But again I encourage everyone to follow the link to check that I haven’t taken anything out of context.

            * if it’s not you, just someone else using the same screen name, I apologise; that sort of thing does happen on the inter-net.

          • Nice try stalker. But, by your own citation that doesn’t say what you want it to say.

          • Bless you, stalker. They can’t

            As above, I invite everyone to follow the link and read for themselves.

          • If I may, it looks as if you are both right, in some sense at least.

            The linked item doesn’t say what S says Penelope is saying, but it does link further to a Twitter thread from which S quotes accurately.

            The full sense of what Penelope is saying in that Twitter thread is a little unclear – as is often the case it’s two people not quite understanding that they’re not quite understanding each other. But as far as I can tell Penelope is saying that the belief in traditional Christian sexual morality should not be criminalized, and nor (it seems) should teaching it. But what Penelope does say is:
            “You should not be able to teach that those who do not/cannot confirm [sic] to this heteronormative type are sinful/in need of conversion.”
            I take “conversion” here to be Christian conversion, not conversion therapy as such (i.e. inner change, not external attempts to produce change).

            So Penelope wants to say that:
            one may teach the traditional Christian ethic;
            but not that departure from the ethic is sinful;
            because teaching that it is sinful is inherently coercive (even if done in broad terms, rather than in a one-to-one setting?);
            and such teaching, being coercive, ought to attract criminal penalties.

            Penelope, have I got that right?

          • one may teach the traditional Christian ethic;
            but not that departure from the ethic is sinful;

            I don’t think it’s possible to teach an ethic (in a normative way, ie, ‘this is what how I think we ought to live our lives’ rather than a descriptive way ‘this is what some people used to think but they were wrong’) without also teaching that departure from the ethic is sinful.

            So if you want to criminalise teaching that departure from the ethic is sinful, you necessarily want to criminalise teaching the ethic.

          • Bernard

            Yes, I think that’s what I claimed in my argument with Tiffer.
            We did keep missing each other’s meanings though.
            I certainly do not believe the Church should teach that being gay or trans is disordered or evil, or that it can or should be ‘corrected’, through prayer or any other means. That, I believe, is coercive and abusive.

          • They don’t teach that. They question that such intrinsically settled states (as opposed to acquired settled states) exist. They also strongly question whenever people say they have the right to impose concepts on others who may see the world differently and 50% of the time more accurately too.

          • I certainly do not believe the Church should teach that being gay or trans is disordered or evil, or that it can or should be ‘corrected’, through prayer or any other means. That, I believe, is coercive and abusive.

            What about teaching that the only proper context for sexual intercourse is within a single lifelong monogamous opposite-sex marriage, and any sexual intercourse outside that context is sinful? Do you think it should be legal to teach that?

        • Hi Jonathan,

          you did appear, at least to me, to be commenting on the bit of the earlier comment which is “what Ozanne and Chalke want it to do.” If that’s not what you meant, then fair enough.

          I agree what Ozanne and Chalke seem to want (the former more than just seems as far as I can tell) is different than what the framers of the legislation seem to want. This is surely why the legislation needs to be very carefully written, so that it covers only what is intended, and nothing more.

          There is a clear danger that activists will try to push it further – as for example has been done by those claimed the Equality Act covers gender identity (the view of Stonewall et al). If the legislation cannot be framed to avoid misuse, it is better not to have it, and to rely on existing laws. I take it this was the reason for the policy change before the U-turn.

          Reply
          • If the legislation cannot be framed to avoid misuse, it is better not to have it, and to rely on existing laws

            No one has, as yet, given any concrete example of any deficiency in the existing laws. If there is no deficiency in the existing law, then a new law should not be created, as we should not multiply laws without good reason. This test should come even before it is checked whether the law can be framed to avoid misuse.

          • (I have seen it suggested that the reason activists are so keen to have this law passed is that it would be the first time that the concept ‘gender identity’ would ever appear in a statute, and that this would help them in their quest to redefine other laws such as the Equality Act, which do not use that concept, in those terms, efforts which have so far been hindered by the fact that they cannot point to any law which admits such a concept exists; and I find this frighteningly plausible, and a good reason to keep working to make sure that such a nonsensical concept never does make it into a statute.)

          • S

            Since you seem to lurk on Twitter, Instructor Florence Ashley @ButNotTheCity has a good thread on anti trans conversion ‘therapy’.

          • Instructor Florence Ashley @ButNotTheCity has a good thread on anti trans conversion ‘therapy’.

            This one?

            https://twitter.com/butnotthecity/status/1513157543559901187

            I can’t see a single example in that if something which ought to be illegal which isn’t currently illegal. Of the list:

            ‘ talk therapy, private prayer, verbal abuse, behavioural conditioning, emotional healing, prayer with close friends, exorcisms, counselling with a minister, beatings, isolation, plea bargaining with god, religious fasting, food deprivation or forced feeding, corrective rape, and forced nudity’

            The following are already illegal:
            ‘Verbal abuse, beatings, isolation, plea bargaining with god, religious fasting, food deprivation or forced feeding, corrective rape, and forced nudity’

            And the others ought not to be made illegal, as long as they are done with informed consent (and doing them without is already illegal). It certainly ought not to be illegal to pray with someone who asks to be prayed with!

            So again there doesn’t seem to be any deficiency in the current law that would require new legislation to correct.

          • S

            Some kinds of prayer are coercive and potentially abusive.
            I would be relieved to see them being made illegal.
            Of course, some would still practice them, but it would be better for the vulnerable if those were made more reluctant to be abusive.

          • Some kinds of prayer are coercive and potentially abusive.
            I would be relieved to see them being made illegal.

            If it’s coercive it is already illegal, under the legislation outlawing coercive control.

            And I hope you’re not suggesting things should be illegal just because they are potentially abusive. Things that are actually abusive should be made illegal, of course, but nothing should be made illegal just because it could potentially be abusive.

          • One thing I alluded to above is internalised homophobia. For me it occurred through being involved in the evangelical movement. It wasn’t so much people trying to persuade me to get conversion therapy, rather I was seen as the best example of someone with SSA who was actively pursuing healing off my own back rather than being coerced.

            This is the insidious nature of religious fundamentalism, to fit in and be praised you will subject yourself to the most harmful of situations.

            In the end I had a breakdown and through therapy through the now infamous Tavistock Clinic I was told to reconcile my faith and sexuality or face further disintegration.

            The harm that is promoted by the wicked ‘Rev’ and people like him has to stop, and these people who abuse the vulnerable must be legislated against.

      • It is unclear why as much attention needs to be given to Jayne Ozanne or to Colin Coward as neither has the qualifications that would merit such attention.

        Reply
          • S

            It’s a false equivalence. Anecdote and experience are not synonyms.
            Experience is being, doing, feeling, observing learning.
            So, an experienced surgeon, for example, would be preferable to an inexperienced surgeon.
            The Church and the Academy are resistant to first-person knowers, I think perhaps because they have been suspicious of subjectivity, as if all theological reflection and academic writing weren’t subjective.
            I believe some areas of medicine, for example, are becoming more cooperative than ‘top down’.
            It’s not an either/or; the best reflection is that done through community/cooperation.

          • Experience is being, doing, feeling, observing learning.
            So, an experienced surgeon, for example, would be preferable to an inexperienced surgeon.

            Depends what they have experience of. An surgeon who has lots of experience of performing surgery is good, yes. A surgeon who has experience of suffering from the disease they are treating, well, that doesn’t make them any better or worse a surgeon. It might make them more understanding and empathetic, of course, but I don’t want a surgeon who is empathetic, I want one with a steady hand.

            Similarly a doctor who has lots of experience with objectively and dispassionately studying disease would be good. But a doctor who allows subjective experience to cloud their judgement, bad.

            The Church and the Academy are resistant to first-person knowers, I think perhaps because they have been suspicious of subjectivity, as if all theological reflection and academic writing weren’t subjective.

            I think they are, rightly, resistant to first-person knowers because in the theological sphere the vast majority of claimed ‘first-person knowers’ are nutjobs, actually.

          • S

            I was going to respond that you must read some odd stuff to find the ‘nutjobs’. Then I remembered Jordan Peterson.

          • I was going to respond that you must read some odd stuff to find the ‘nutjobs’. Then I remembered Jordan Peterson.

            I once tried to read some Jordan Peterson, because I’d been intrigued by what I’d heard about him. However it was jargon-heavy mumbo-jumbo that I couldn’t make head now tail of. Not as obviously rubbish as Judith Butler (what could be?) but about the same as the time I tried Slavoj Žižek.

            But no, I meant nutjobs like the various ‘mystic’ whackdos down the centuries who claim to have met God.

          • S

            Gosh, yes, I had forgotten you despised St Paul and most Christian saints down the centuries.
            So much for centuries of Christian belief.

        • You listen to people whose analytic powers have been accredited. Because such people exist, and if you listen to Ozanne, Chalke, Coward, you are promoting lesser analysis above better, which is extremely unfair on the better.

          Reply
          • Oh, do tell me who is ‘better’. And on which criteria you judge them to be ‘better’. And at what?

          • Analysis, as I said. You are not surely questioning the universal practice of questioning first those who know most on the topic, and have the brains to analyse it and the credentials to prove it.

          • Experience is important too. So we should listen to first person knowers. They have qualifications and know the most on the topic.

          • Experience is important too. So we should listen to first person knowers. They have qualifications and know the most on the topic.

            Rubbish. If you had cancer, who would you rather have treating you: someone who’d had the same type of cancer so had first hand experience, or a doctor who had never had cancer but had spent their entire career studying and treating it?

            Personal knowledge is interesting as anecdote, but it’s far far inferior to proper study.

          • If you had ME would you rather be treated by someone with experience of ME or by a doctor who didn’t believe in it or prescribed something dangerous like graded exercise therapy?

          • If you had ME would you rather be treated by someone with experience of ME or by a doctor who didn’t believe in it or prescribed something dangerous like graded exercise therapy?

            The doctor, obviously. Because the doctor knows what they are doing, and someone with ‘experience’ will probably have an utterly wrong idea of what is the matter with them and give me ridiculous quack treatments.

          • Moreover, of course, who I personally would want to be treated by is irrelevant. If I believed I was hypersensitive to electromagnetic fields such that 5G radio signals were sapping my energy, then I might want to be treated by a quack who claimed to experience it too. But seeing as that is actually a totally fictitious ‘illness’ with no basis in reality, someone with personal experience of it is by that very fact clearly an unsuitable person to be treating anyone, because they are suffering from a delusion and we really don’t want delusional people practicing medicine.

            So in general on any topic is it those who have studied the topic objectively and dispassionately who know most about the topic, and those who have personal experience who should be distrusted as their personal involvement is likely to lead to them being unable to be objective and dispassionate.

          • “So in general on any topic is it those who have studied the topic objectively and dispassionately who know most about the topic, and those who have personal experience who should be distrusted as their personal involvement is likely to lead to them being unable to be objective and dispassionate.”

            Funny you should argue that S because when it comes to biblical studies you argue quite the opposite. You don’t think biblical scholars are any more informed about the methods of composition of books of the bible than enthusiastic amateurs like yourself. And hence when asked to find a scholar who agrees with your idea about God spilling ink on manuscripts – surprise surprise you can’t find one.

          • Funny you should argue that S because when it comes to biblical studies you argue quite the opposite.

            No, I don’t. I put my ideas out there (not really my ideas, but what Christians have thought for centuries) and ask for them to be judged objectively and dispassionately, using logical arguments.

            I do not claim that I have some special privileged position whereby I know more than others because I have some persomal experience.

          • “No, I don’t. I put my ideas out there (not really my ideas, but what Christians have thought for centuries) and ask for them to be judged objectively and dispassionately, using logical arguments.”

            And your latest wacko idea that God actually stopped Hitler in the end falls into this category does it? The only objective judgment about that ridiculous idea must be to condemn it as offensive.

          • And your latest wacko idea that God actually stopped Hitler in the end falls into this category does it? The only objective judgment about that ridiculous idea must be to condemn it as offensive.

            Well who do you think provided the perfect landing weather on D-Day? Ike?

          • As Christopher Shell has said “The claim displays a simplistic teleological view of history, which of course has no basis for any student of history.”

          • Almost but not quite. Teleology in these sorts of discussions tends to arise in discussions of the silly phrase ‘the right side of history’. To understand that that phrase is silly is to understand that teleology of that sort is a house of cards. History has ups and downs and is open ended on the small scale. Some things however are so large scale that there is nothing anyone or anything can do to affect them. The actions of a God would be in that category.

          • Andrew – how is Hitler connected with a discussion of transmogriphication? Is it because of the number of balls he had? (which, as we all know, was strictly less than 2)

          • S claims to know that God out a stop to Hitler. I am interested in how S knows this ‘fact’ and of course S can’t produce any evidence or scholarship to support his claim

          • S claims to know that God out a stop to Hitler.

            Of course I don’t ‘know’ that (hours could I?) and I’ve never claimed to know it. I believe it, but I don’t know it.

          • What I do know (because it’s perfectly obvious) is that you can’t believe in a God who turns water into wine, stills storms, breaks prople out of prison with earthquakes, sends plagues, destroys armies, and so on, and also believe that that God was incapable of stopping Hitler. A God who has the capacity and is willing to do all those kind of things clearly could have stopped Hitler.

            So if you believe that God was incapable of stopping Hitler (not just that He was capable but chose not to, which is clearly pudding, but if you believe not just that he didn’t but that he couldn’t, then you must believe in a God who cannot turn water into wine, cause earthquakes, destroy armies, and all those other things — in other words you do not believe in the God of Christianity.

          • S you are so quaint. You probably believe in Father Christmas.
            But to believe that God killed Hitler but couldn’t be bothered to do it until 6million Jews had been slaughtered is offensive nonsense. That god of yours is a monster. Like Baal, he was probably asleep.

          • You probably believe in Father Christmas.

            Did you really just come out and say that you think believing in the God of Christianity — the God who changes water into wine, who destroys armies, who still storms and stirs up earthquakes, who raises the dead, is like believing in Father Christmas?

            I mean I worked out long ago, as I’m sure so did everyone else, that that’s what you really think. But I never expected you to just come out and say it!

            But to believe that God killed Hitler but couldn’t be bothered to do it until 6million Jews had been slaughtered is offensive nonsense.

            Well, of course God killed Hitler, but then, God also killed Churchill, and Stalin, and St Paul, and will eventually kill you and me, in the sense that God controls everything that happens in the world, right down to the fall of every sparrow — or don’t you believe that?

            As for ‘couldn’t be bothered’, well, I don’t presume to second-gues God like you do, but there are a multitude of reasons why He might have acted as He did. It’s been remarked, for example, that Herr Hitler was an evil man but an incompetent general. Perhaps if God had caused a piece of shrapnel to sever young Adolf’s artery in 1917 the Nazi party would have been led by someone just as evil but also competent, who wouldn’t have started a war on a second front, and as a result we would even now be living in the Greater German Empire. I don’t know. Perhaps we shall discover the reason when we stand in glory and see Him face to face; perhaps we shall never know. But I trust God; you apparently do not. I don’t think I know better than God; you apparently think you do.

            That god of yours is a monster. Like Baal, he was probably asleep.

            You keep asserting this but you still haven’t explained how you can believe, as you claimed to, that God has the power to turn water into wine but could not have stopped Hitler. You simply cannot, logically consistently, believe both. Ranting about monsters doesn’t change that simple logical truth.

            (That answer, of course, as is plain to all though you affect not to see that, is that you were lying when you claimed to believe that God turned water into wine, and that actually you think that all the stories of the supernatural in the Bible are metaphors or fairy stories — as real as Father Christmas — and that people who take them literally are credulous fools. The god you believe in is a Deist god, unable or unwilling to affect the material world, who just wound the universe up and then blindly let it continue on its way. There’s nothing wrong with believing in a Deist god of course — some fine people have been Deists — but you ought to be honest that’s what you believe and not claim to be something you’re not)

          • Well there is a major difference between believing in the God of Jesus Christ and Father Christmas but you don’t believe in such a God. You believe in a god of your own invention who does magic tricks as opposed to performing signs and miracles. So there is no difference between your god and Fr Christmas.

            Your god was asleep while Hitler killed 6 million Jews but then woke up to fiddle with the weather.

            You said:
            “You keep asserting this but you still haven’t explained how you can believe, as you claimed to, that God has the power to turn water into wine but could not have stopped Hitler. You simply cannot, logically consistently, believe both. Ranting about monsters doesn’t change that simple logical truth.”

            Well I’m very surprised you can’t see the difference but let me spell it out one more time. Changing the nature of water into wine is attested to in Holy Scripture, was part of the tradition of the early Church, has been part of Christian tradition and so believed for 2000 years. The idea that God killed Hitler – which you assert de definitely did – is the invention of someone on a website, is believed in by no other witnesses and has never been the subject of any kind of scholarship. So the two can not possibly be compared as bearing any similarity.

            God gives people Free Will – the ability to makes choices and go on making choices without divine intervention. You don’t believe in that. You think we are all puppets of your magic trick god. It’s sub Christian.

            And yes Penny – the idea of God making the weather nice on D Day is another of S’ little jokes. A very sick one at that.

          • You believe in a god of your own invention who does magic tricks as opposed to performing signs and miracles.

            Please explain the difference between a ‘magic trick’ and a ‘sign’ and/or ‘miracle’.

            If God were to cause an earthquake which collapsed a bridge in Ukraine just as a Russian armoured column was passing over it, would that be a ‘magic trick’ or a ‘sign’ or a ‘miracle’? What about when He did the same thing to free Paul and Silas from prison? Was that a ‘magic trick’ or a ‘sign’ or a ‘miracle’? Or when He drowned the Egyptian chariots under the waters of the Red Sea? ‘Magic trick’ , ‘sign’ or ‘miracle’?

            Your god was asleep while Hitler killed 6 million Jews but then woke up to fiddle with the weather.

            My God never sleeps. Yours, though, is apparently so puny, weak and powerless that He may as well be asleep.

            Changing the nature of water into wine is attested to in Holy Scripture, was part of the tradition of the early Church, has been part of Christian tradition and so believed for 2000 years.

            And in order to do it, God must be able to change the arrangement of matter at a molecular level. Agreed? So God is capable of Testament matter at a molecular level. That means as well as turning water into wine, Good must also be capable of turning ink into water, or sarin into perfume. Agreed? Otherwise you need to explain what the difference is that means the same God is capable of one but not the others.

            The idea that God killed Hitler – which you assert de definitely did

            Yes, in the sense that every single thing that happens in the word happens because God at least tacitly allows it to happen. When you die, it will be because God has decided it is your time. Same for me, same for Hitler, same for every human being well ever lived (except for those whom God decided would not die, but that He would take into eternity directly).

            has never been the subject of any kind of scholarship.

            You really have a massive deference for the authority of ‘scholarship’, don’t you? I suggest you get over out and try thinking for yourself, if you haven’t forgotten how.

            God gives people Free Will – the ability to makes choices and go on making choices without divine intervention.

            Not always. Haman. Pharaoh. Ananias and Sapphira. All people God didn’t give the ability to go on making choices to — He killed them.

            And then there are many more records of people who God allowed to make choices, but then stopped their plans from succeeding. Herod. Paul.

            You don’t believe in that.

            Again, you either haven’t been reading what I have written or you are too stupid to understand it or you are deliberately playing dumb.

            You think we are all puppets of your magic trick god.

            Was Haman a puppet? Was Pharaoh? Were Paul and Herod?

            the idea of God making the weather nice on D Day is another of S’ little jokes.

            C.S. Lewis didn’t think it was a joke (though his example was Dunkirk, I think I misremembered):

            ‘Thus God must be supposed in predetermining the weather at Dunkirk to have taken fully into account the effect it would have not only on the destiny of two nations but (what is incomparably more important) on all the individuals involved on both sides, on all animals, vegetables and minerals within range, and finally on every atom in the universe. This may sound excessive, but in reality we are attributing to the Omniscient only an infinitely superior degree of the same kind of skill which a mere human novelist exercises daily in constructing his plot.’

            From the epilogue to Miracles

            ‘Joke’?

          • Changing the nature of water into wine is attested to in Holy Scripture, was part of the tradition of the early Church, has been part of Christian tradition and so believed for 2000 years.

            And I mean — it wasn’t attested too in Holy Scripture when Jesus did it, was it? It couldn’t have been, because He’d only just done it. It wasn’t part of the early Church’s tradition, was it? The early Church didn’t exist yet. And it hadn’t been part of Christian tradition for two thousand years, had it? It couldn’t have, because not a day, not an hour had passed since it happened, much less twenty centuries.

            So the idea that what makes turning water into wine different is things that were not true at the time it happened is obvious nonsense. What made it a ‘sign’ or a ‘miracle’ rather than a ‘magic trick’ at the time it happened?

            (Because to be honest … it would have looked a lot like a magic trick at the time, wouldn’t it?)

            (But of course the point is that you don’t really think it did happen.)

          • The weather was awful on D Day and made the landings very difficult.

            As I say (having looked it up), I evidently misremembered the perfect weather for the evacuation at Dunkirk with the weather on D-Day.

            Nevertheless, it’s certainly the case that on the days leading up to D-Day it was thought that the weather would be such as to make the landings impossible and the invasion would have to be postponed, which would have been a disaster. But just hours before the storms cleared enough that the landings were possible — difficult, but possible.

            A miracle? God’s providence? Or just very very very very very good luck? Can you rule out the first two? I can’t — and evidently neither could Lewis.

          • Yes you did. You looked it up.

            I did. Serve me right for relying on my memory of a book I read years ago instead of checking.

            But we’re you there?

            Was I where?

          • Normandy. Of course.

            I am not going to reveal whether I have ever been to Normandy. It makes no difference to the validity of my argument whether I have or not.

          • “validity of my argument”
            Your ‘argument’ S is that God killed Hitler so as to stop him killing any more Jews. And that we can’t presume to know why God looked the other way while Hitler killed the first six million.
            There is no validity to any of your argument. Hitler exercised his free will at each decision and killed himself by suicide.

          • S

            Perfectly lovely place, but my point, as even you must realise, is were you there on June 6 1944?

          • Your ‘argument’ S is that God killed Hitler so as to stop him killing any more Jews.

            No it isn’t. As you seem to be either hard of reading or hard of thinking, I shall spell out my argument once again:

            You claim that my position that God has, by providence, protected the text of the Bible to ensure that it is reliable, is impossible. You raise several claims as your object to this. I have demolished each in turn.

            (a) you claim that this is a view I have just invented. I have provided evidence that this view was not in fact invented by me just now, but has been believed by Christians for centuries.

            (b) you claim that God is incapable of protecting His word, because to do so would require Him to interfere in the workings of natural forces. I have pointed out many occasions on which God has interfered in the workings of natural forces, so this objection is demolished as it is clear that God is capable of interfering with the outworkings of natural forces.

            (c) you claim that God, even if He were capable, would not intervene to protect His word because to do so would take away the free will of humans, specifically those who wrote the Bible. I have pointed out several reasons why this objection is nonsense, most notably these two:

            (i) free will means the freedom to make choices; it does not mean that those choices must come to fruition. Free will is the freedom to make designs; it is not the freedom to know that those designs will come to fruition. Any number of things might stop your choices from coming to fruition, from the weather, to the actions of other humans, to the actions of God. None of those affect your free will.

            (ii) I have pointed out numerous examples where God has interfered to make sure that choices made by humans. These therefore prove that God in fact is perfectly willing to intervene in the material world in ways which frustrate the designs of human beings.

            That is my argument: that each and every objection you have made to my position is utter and obvious rubbish. And you have not managed to refute any of them. Every time I bring them up you instead change the subject. You are the one who originally brought up, and keep bringing up, Hitler, like you are some like of wind-up pound-shop Ken Livingstone. My argument has nothing to do with Hitler at all.

            Hitler exercised his free will at each decision and killed himself by suicide.

            And what about Ananias and Sapphira? Did they exercise their free will? Or were they killed by God?

          • Perfectly lovely place, but my point, as even you must realise, is were you there on June 6 1944?

            And my point is that it doesn’t matter whether I was or not, as it makes no difference to the logic of my argument.

          • Of course the real objection Mr Godsall has to my view — ironically, both the one against which I have no defence, and the one he dare not state explicitly, but only alludes to when his mask slips — is that he does not believe in a God who performs miracles at all. He is one of those Lewis mentions in chapter 5 of Miracles who ‘think that the Supernatural would not invade [the natural world]; they accuse those who say that it has done so of having a childish and unworthy notion of the Supernatural [by, say, comparing the God of Christianity to Father Christmas]’.

            If Mr Godsall were to simply come out and say that he doesn’t believe in a God who could or would interfere in the natural world, and that all the stories of supernatural events in the Bible are metaphors, or fictional, or ‘salvation history’, or any of a dozen genres, but the one thing they absolutely are not is accurate records of things that actually happened, then I would have to throw up my hands and leave the field, because I cannot, of course, prove that such a God exists.

            Mr Godsall’s problem is that for some reason I have yet to fathom, he wants to keep up the pretence that he is a Christian; and he doesn’t quite have the chutzpah of a David Jenkins to just come out and flatly deny every doctrine of Christianity and yet insist he is still a Christian. He can’t — who knows why — just come out and say that he doesn’t think a virgin ever gave birth (again, except for when the mask slips, as it did when he explained that he doesn’t think Jesus ever stilled a storm — an admission he presumably regrets as he has now tied himself up in knots trying to pretend that he thinks Jesus did turn water into wine).

            If he were to give up pretending to be a Christian, and admit that he believes in a Deist god who cannot or will not interfere in the material world, then I would have to say ‘Okay, well, if you’re right about that and I’m wrong, then of course such a god could not have kept the Bible reliable; and of course I cannot prove that I am right and you are wrong’.

            But so as long as he tries to pretend he is a Christian (ie, someone who believes that God performs miracles) who doesn’t think that God could, or doesn’t think that God would, intervene in the material world in order to protect His written word, I can and will point out that this is a logically inconsistent position.

          • S that is also just waffle because you can’t answer the objection to your hopeless theory. Your claim is that God killed Hitler. You’ve made the claim several times. It’s simply not true. Hitler took his own life very deliberately. Your claim is vacuous.

          • S that is also just waffle because you can’t answer the objection to your hopeless theory. Your claim is that God killed Hitler. You’ve made the claim several times. It’s simply not true. Hitler took his own life very deliberately. Your claim is vacuous.

            As I have just explained, my theory doesn’t involve Hitler at all; so could you explain exactly what Hitler has to do with it?

            (But as to the point about Hitler’s death: ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[‘ If not a sparrow dies outside God’s will, then no human dies outside God’s will either — which includes Herr Hitler, as well as you and me.)

          • Sorry, I should stop being disingenuous. I know exactly why you keep bringing up Hitler. It’s because you want to make an argument that goes like this:

            1. If God were capable of, and willing to, intervene in the material world to protect the text of the Bible, when God would also be capable of, and willing to, interfere in the material world in order to prevent the second world war.

            2. If God were capable of, and willing to, interfere in the material world in order to prevent the second world war, then He would have done so [because you presume to be able to tell God what He should do]

            3. The second world war happened.

            4. Therefore God must either be incapable of intervening in the world to prevent the second world war, or unwilling to do so.

            The problem for you here, as always. is that you cannot follow this to its logical conclusion because you want to keep up the pretence of being a Christian. Because the logical conclusion of your argument here is that — because God is, according to your argument, either incapable of or unwilling to intervene in the material world — so all the stories in the Bible where He does just that must be metaphors, or fictional, or ‘salvation history’, or any of a dozen genres — but they cannot be accurate records of things that really happened.

            Of course this doesn’t bother you, because you are a Deist and of course your Deist god cannot cause a to virgin give birth, or change water into wine, or part the Red Sea, or spring a couple of jailbirds with an earthquake.

            But you don’t want to admit publicly that you are a Deist who doesn’t believe in any of that uncouth supernatural stuff in the Bible that only credulous fools think is actually true.

            And that’s how you end up tying yourself in these logical knots.

          • Yes indeed you are being disingenuous.
            You simply can’t answer because you realise your claims is full of holes. You made the claim – and nobody else – that God killed Hitler.
            So how do you explain Hitler actually killing himself? Did God prompt him to do this? Is that what you are now claiming?

          • You made the claim – and nobody else – that God killed Hitler.
            So how do you explain Hitler actually killing himself? Did God prompt him to do this? Is that what you are now claiming?

            I simply pointed out that — as God is responsible for every single thing that happens in the universe, from the tiniest quantum jump of every subatomic particle, through to the fall of every sparrow, to the supernova collapse of every exhausted star and the formation and destruction of every galaxy — then God is also responsible for the death (and , indeed, the life) of every human being. And Herr Hitler is not special.

            But that’s just basic Christianity, so I could see why you would object to it.

          • Goodness you really believe in a make believe world.
            You claimed – several times – that Hitler had wanted to kill all the Jews but that God stopped him from doing so by killing him.
            It’s just nonsense – as is most of what you say.

          • I love that God can fiddle with the weather but couldn’t quite save 6 million Jews. Maybe God can only fiddle with the weather – I’m thinking of Peter in the fishing boat.

            The only answer that made sense to me was Tony Campolo who said that he thought that “God does his best.” So he does his best with the weather but he’s not very good with gas chambers.

          • Goodness you really believe in a make believe world.

            It’s called Christianity, and we know you think it’s all make-believe. What confuses me is why — given you have basically the same world-view as the many of my acquaintances who think I believe in a ‘magic sky fairy’ — you persist in trying to keep up the pretence that you believe in it too.

            You claimed – several times – that Hitler had wanted to kill all the Jews but that God stopped him from doing so by killing him.

            I haven’t actually claimed that. I’ve claimed that Hitler wanted to kill all the Jews, and that God stopped him from doing so by ensuring the Allied victory in the Second World War. Hitler’s death, by the time it happened, was irrelevant to the faster outcome of the war.

            Separately, I have pointed out that as God is responsible for everything that happens in the universe, He must have been responsible for Herr Hitler’s death in the same way He is responsible for the death of every other living thing. But that had nothing to do with the fate of the Jews.

            It’s just nonsense – as is most of what you say.

            Keep on blusterin’.

          • Of course you are now twisting what you claimed but that’s normal behaviour for you.
            The only person responsible for Hitler’s death was Hitler himself. He took his own life. God had nothing to do with it.

          • Pity God couldn’t be bothered to anything in 1940 then and save the lives of 6 million Jews, along with the Roma and Sinti people, gays and trans folk, political prisoners, and some priests and nuns. Must have been planning the weather for D Day.

          • Of course you are now twisting what you claimed but that’s normal behaviour for you.

            If you think that then you have only to provide evidence by linking to where I claimed something different. You won’t be able to, of course, because I never have; so you’ll just bluster again.

            God had nothing to do with it.

            You don’t think God had anything to do with anything much, do you?

            You really are the epitome of the modern idiot Lewis wrote about in his essay ‘God in the Dock’:

            ‘The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge; if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty, and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God is in the dock.’

            Having thus had God hauled up before you on charges, you’ve then invented His defence too: that He cannot be held responsible for all the evils you have laid on His docket, because He was powerless to prevent them! And I bet you feel all smug about your cleverness, managing to get God off — when anyone sensible looking on can just see how pathetic you are for thinking you had any jurisdiction over the almighty creator of the universe.

          • Pity God couldn’t be bothered to anything in 1940 then and save the lives of 6 million Jews, along with the Roma and Sinti people, gays and trans folk, political prisoners, and some priests and nuns. Must have been planning the weather for D Day.

            Yes, how very dare God not do exactly what you think He should have done. After all, He only created, designed, and sustains in being the entire universe. Clearly there’s no way He could possibly understand that things might be slightly more complicated than how you see them.

            I suppose on a smaller level you are confused by the current cost-of-living issues because if you were Chancellor you would simply outlaw inflation, right?

          • “You don’t think God had anything to do with anything much, do you?”
            Quite the opposite actually.
            But please do explain to use how God made Hitler take his own life? I’d really love to know

          • Quite the opposite actually.

            What has your god done lately, then?

            But please do explain to use how God made Hitler take his own life? I’d really love to know

            God could have prevented Hitler from taking his own life in any number of ways. Made the gun jam. Ensured the Red Army got to the bunker earlier. Encouraged a last-minute revolt among the Germans, so that they decided the man who led them to disaster should face trial rather than being allowed to escape Earthly justice. Among other options.

            God did none of these thing, though He could have. He is thus responsible for Hitler’s death in that He allowed it to happen — in the same way He is responsible for the death of every human being.

          • S

            Your god gets smaller and meaner. Can’t be arsed to save his chosen people but makes sure Hitler’s gun doesn’t jam.

          • Your god gets smaller and meaner.

            And what has your God done lately?

            Can’t be arsed to save his chosen people but makes sure Hitler’s gun doesn’t jam.

            Well, except that He did save His chosen people and Hitler’s gun didn’t jam, so zero out of two, but do play again.

    • I am glad that people are being light hearted and not taking themselves too seriously. Just like it was treated as screamingly funny that George in the Famous Five wanted to be a boy. That sort of thing is the sign of a healthy culture.

      Reply
      • I’m sure trans people who are experiencing daily abuse will be charmed that you find their harassment so hilarious.

        Reply
        • I don’t. Rather, I think they should lighten up, and their failure to do so is a sign of a less healthy culture. You and I know perfectly well that people scarcely used to talk about such matters, and there is very little evidence that there were anything like the numbers agonising about them that moderns might expect.

          The sexual revolution brings its own prudery, as has often been noticed, and feminism seems to have no sense of humour. Healthy cultures giggle light heartedly and don’t think twice about it, rather than being consumed with angst for months and years.

          Reply
          • Well, I’m sure your robust response to their suffering will be of great comfort to those enduring daily abuse. If only they could learn to laugh at their predicament all their ‘angst’ would be resolved and all their tormentors would disappear into thin air.

          • If they and all of us were growing up in a more healthy culture, there would be far fewer deeprooted symptoms of estrangement in the first place. As proven from several angles: for example, that the healthier the culture is the fewer such symptoms appear.

          • I dont think giggling about it is helpful. And I doubt it was a good thing that people previously rarely talked about such matters.

            Regardless of one’s views, a little more Christian love, mercy and grace is called for. And Jesus’ strong, loving arms.

            Peter

          • Thank you Peter. I am in despair at the callous frivolousness shown here. It is cruel and irresponsible. Far worse than an anti trans argument based on theology or science. At least there, we hope for good faith. This is just playground bullying, and its victims are the anonymous people who may be reading this shameful rhetoric.

          • Er no, what was said was that a light hearted atmosphere free from care is a good idea, and is only to be found in healthy-living cultures, since the others burden people down with their past, as chickens come home to roost.

            And that such an atmosphere is selfevidently better and more healing than one full of censoriousness, prudery and angst. And (as is the new victim culture trend) lack of forgiveness even in Christian circles that were renowned for forgiveness. What a volte-face is that.

          • Well, Christopher, trans people could happily live in a light-hearted atmosphere free from care of people would just stop abusing them.
            Why don’t you try advocating that and help ensure their light-heartedness?

          • But that would mean accepting the existence of what you call ‘trans people’. Which in turn would mean agreeing to the impossible proposition that thoughts and psychologies are more important than biological realities. In fact I cannot think of any ways that thoughts are more important. But there are several ways that realities are: (1) they are demonstrable, or more so; (2) they are testable, or more so; (3) they cannot be lied about; (4) people cannot be mistaken about them. It’s no contest, but some in our age are intent on showing themselves less intelligent than all the people of other ages and all the children of our own age who already knew that and regarded it as obvious.

          • Well, Christopher, despite your nonsense about ‘biological realities’, trans people exist.
            Some of them are Christians. And, yikes, priests!
            You can put your fingers in your ears, shut your eyes and sing lalala, but they are still here, as they have always been.
            So, do carry on in your delusions.

          • Well, Christopher, despite your nonsense about ‘biological realities’, trans people exist.

            Of course they exist. Some of them are just mistaken about what sex they are (some, like Debbie Hayton, aren’t).

          • It is perfectly obvious that people who identify themselves thus exist. Did you actually think I did not know that? And, secondly, did you think that your announcement of this was a particularly telling point.

            People will classify themselves in all sorts of ways, given that the world has 8bn people.

            It is also perfectly obvious that intelligent people will not just repeat the classifications that society hands down to them but will be critical, and will accept some as accurate and others as not. Anyone who accepts all the contemporary classifications just as they are with no modifications is showing no evidence of thought.

          • I usually do people the courtesy of accepting their self definition, even when I see very little evidence; some Christians, for example.

          • But evidence always trumps courtesy, when it comes to reality.

            sgd: 6foot tall Chinese woman who doesn’t like discourtesy.

    • ‘Gay CT’ is not even a unified reality – it is a lumping together of all kinds of disparate things, many of which do not currently exist. It is a concept that was carefully formulated to do the job the activists had in mind; and like many such carefully engineered concepts, it is a Trojan Horse.

      To speak of gay and lesbian teens is not scientific – because of the vast number of gay 16 who revert to type within one year let alone by 25.
      It also shows not the slightest understanding of what it is to have a body in flux or transit. Pashes have always been typically a passing phase.

      Reply
      • Pashes, to use your quaint terminology, can be transitory (whether they are heterosexual or homosexual).
        Conversion abuse, to change a person’s sexuality to what is regarded as the norm has, it is true, many forms. It still exists, in both secular and religious cultures. And it will continue to exist whilst people believe being gay or bi is disordered and/or immoral. When cultures think sexuality is ethically neutral, conversion abuse will disappear.
        But the blog, as has been pointed out, is about being transgender.
        It is not about sexuality. Trans people can be gay, straight, bi or ace.

        Reply
        • Why would it matter if something were quaint? Do you hate everything innocent or something. To hate everything innocent would be to love everything guilty. How contrary and unaccountable is that?

          A man is tempted to cheat on his poor wife having met a George Clooney lookalike. He must receive no counselling against that. After all, any prospective infidelity would be so great for his wife and children.

          It’s unreal.

          Reply
          • Do you hate everything innocent or something. To hate everything innocent would be to love everything guilty. How contrary and unaccountable is that?

            Actually I think what Penelope Cowell Doe hates is just the idea that there is such a thing as ‘normal’.

          • Once again, for the terminally hard of understanding, we are discussing the exemption of conversion abuse for trans people not whether some married bloke has the hots for another man. In which case, there would be nothing to stop his priest advising him not to commit adultery.
            Your frivolous comments both muddy the waters of a serious discussion and trivialise the very real pain of trans people and the abuse they suffer. These people are innocent and I love their innocence and authenticity. You, on the other hand, seem determined to drag everything down to the tawdry level of sexual sin. Being gay is not a sin. Being trans is not a sin. Please, please consider how your words may hurt (not me, but other vulnerable people who may be reading this). And please stop with your ill-judged frivolousness.

          • The very fact that the priest would be required to tell him not to commit adultery, whereas the state not only would fail to condemn the most ultimate of cruelties but would always support the splitter rather than the mender – what exactly is this ‘State’?

          • Once again, for the terminally hard of understanding, we are discussing conversion abuse for trans people. The tempted man was your illustration which was why I draw attention to it being quite legal to receive counselling for it.
            You seem very confused about what conversion ‘therapy’ is and what is being proposed in the legislation. May I suggest you do som research before commenting with further irrelevancies.

          • You seem very confused about what conversion ‘therapy’ is and what is being proposed in the legislation.

            While it is certainly true that in the past some really horrible things have been done to people who suffer from gender dysphoria, those things are all now — quite rightly — already illegal. There is no need for this legislation because there are no legal abusive ‘therapy’ practices left. Unless you can come up with an example of such an abusive practice which is not already illegal.

          • Yet again, the sexual revolutionaries show their intellectual level by failing to understand the function of an example (or that it is not compulsory – and is generally in fact rare – for examples to be autobiographical). Watch how they next show their failure to absorb and apply this point.

    • Transing away the gay is a jokey perspective on what some clinicians fear is inadequate concern shown for the reasons adolescents present as trans. It’s not meant to refer to coversion practices.

      What current examples do you have of gay CT?

      I think you are naive about intentions of those who are advocating for a ban.

      The Tories are as keen as Labour to virtue-signal over the gay stuff – so being seen to be ‘anti-trans’ at the same time seems contradictory. The gender critical feminists who can take much of the credit for scuppering the trans part of the bill are unlikely to be Tory voters (even after Boris said what he said). In terms of public understanding of this issue I’d say the LGBT groups like Stonewall etc still have the upper hand in promoting their narrative – that a trans CT ban is necessary.

      Reply
      • The GC fauxminists are very likely to be Tory voters. They have moved rapidly away from the left even though they still have some supporters there.

        Reply
        • The GC fauxminists are very likely to be Tory voters.

          Which is wishful thinking on behalf of those who cannot understand why GC feminists are winning. State sponsored LGBTQ activism is no match for real grass roots activism.

          Reply
          • Which is wishful thinking on behalf of those who cannot understand why GC feminists are winning.

            I mean, at the next election they probably will be Tory voters. And at every election after that until the Labour Party comes to its senses and dumps the wokitude. Basically Labour is now unelectable until they find a new Tony Blair who can win back the trust of the country by having some kind of Cultural Clause IV Moment where they publicly take on and defeat the trans / CRT / BLM voter-repelling blob, whose entryism has poisoned the party just like Militant’s did in the eighties.

          • Penelope: Most women support trans rights.

            They do – but only according to what is meant by “support trans rights”.

            The CT bill was shelved because the government is confident that most voters would have issues with Stonewall’s version of “support trans rights”.

          • Read the research. Stonewall’s ‘version’ of trans rights happens to be the Law. Read the Equality Act.

          • Read the Equality Act.

            The Equality Act says that you’re not allowed to discriminate against someone because they ‘ proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex’.

            Most people would indeed be in favour of that because such discrimination would simply be wrong.

            Stonewall’s version is different. Stonewall’s version is that you should enter into a grand delusion and pretend that people are the sex they say they are rather than the sex they actually are. Most people would not agree with that.

            For example, take the example of sport. Most people would agree that it would be wrong to stop people competing just because they have had, or are proposing to have, a gender reassignment process, as the Equality Act states.

            But most people would also say that it would be wrong to allow men to compete in the women’s category just because they say they are women.

            It’s a question of, in legal terms, the comparator. If you claim you were discriminated against because of some protected characteristic you have, the court has to decide whether you were treated differently from someone otherwise identical but who did not have the characteristic — the comparator. So if I claim I was discriminated against because I am a Catholic, the court will look at whether I was treated differently from someone who was the same as me in all respects, except they were a Protestant.

            Stonewall claim that if a man who identifies as a woman claims to have been discriminated against because of their gender reassignment characteristic, the correct comparator is a natural-born woman. But this is not in fact the case. The correct comparator is a man who does not have the gender reassignment characteristic.

            So if a man identifying as a woman applies for a job and I don’t hire him because ‘I don’t want a man in a dress around the office’ I would be, quite rightly, in breach of the Equality Act because I would have hired him had he been a man without that characteristic.

            But if I offer intimate grooming services for women only and a man who identifies as a woman asks for a bikini wax and I refuse, then I am not in breach of the Equality Act because I would have refused any man just the same, so I have not discriminated on the basis of his gender reassignment characteristic.

            That is the law and I think you will find most people, and especially most women, agree with it and not with Stonewall’s wrong interpretation of it.

          • S
            Stonewall’s interpretation of the Law was judged correct.

            Sport is more complicated because, as far as I can tell, each sport has different criteria. The whole thing seems to be a mess, often with cis women as collateral damage when their levels of T are deemed too high for certain competitions.

            But I do notice that much of the fuss is made by the men who both believe male puberty gives an ineluctable advantage and that they could beat Serena Williams at tennis.

          • Stonewall’s interpretation of the Law was judged correct.

            By whom? Themselves? Certainly not by a court or by any independent body such as the EHRC.

            But I do notice that much of the fuss is made by the men who both believe male puberty gives an ineluctable advantage and that they could beat Serena Williams at tennis.

            Most of the fuss is made by sportswomen who face unfair competition from men.

          • Of course Serena Williams could beat any random male. What she would find considerably more challenging is beating any of the top 200 (possibly 500) seeded male players. Letting men who identify as women play in the female catagory will be the end of womens sport. And all of the creeps stepping up to do that are narcissistic AGPs

          • https://www.thenational.scot/news/19353731.moral-panic-stonewall-trans-rights-fuelled-misinterpretation/

            That seems to be about the AEA vs EHRC case, which doesn’t actually back up your claim that Stonewall’s interpretation of the law has been found to be correct because of two things:

            (A) the case wasn’t about Stonewall’s interpretation at all, it was about the EHRC guidance. That was what was being challenged; Stonewall’s interpretation was not mentioned at all. So even if the guidance had been found to be correct, it still wouldn’t have meant that Stonewall’s interpretation (which went well beyond the EHRC guidance that was being challenged) had been found to be correct.

            ii. The court didn’t actually rule at all on the question of whether the EHRC guidance was a correct interpretation of the law; rather,
            it decided that because the guidance was framed as advisory and not compulsory, it was not a legal question whether it accurately interpreted the law or not. See: https://www.legalfeminist.org.uk/2021/05/10/aea-v-ehrc-an-explanation/

            Unlike the ‘independent’ EHCR ‘guidance’ recently published which is so misleading it may well lead people to break the law.

            See this is fascinating. Above you quote, as evidence your interpretation is correct, a case where EHRC guidance was challenged and the challenge failed. But now you are claiming that EHRC guidance is so wrong that it may ‘lead people to break the law’.

            So which is it? Do you think the EHRC is a reliable interpreter of the law, such that we should accept a challenge to EHRC guidance even on procedural rather that substantive grounds as evidence that the guidance is correct? Or do you think the EHRC is so bad at interpreting the law that its guidance might actually lead people to break the law?

            Because at the moment I’m afraid it looks very much like you think the EHRC is infallible when it agrees with you, but utterly wrong when it disagrees with you. Which you must agree is hardly a consistent position.

          • Twaddle. Most trans women do not win in the sports in which they compete (cf. the Olympics) because they do not have ‘male’ advantages. Some cis women have higher T than some trans women.
            It’s all catastrophising.

          • S

            You do realise it’s the latest EHRC ‘guidance’ I’m referring to (in the second part of my response) which i believe may lead to potentially unlawful interpretations of the EA. And I’m not convinced by legal feminist.

          • You do realise it’s the latest EHRC ‘guidance’ I’m referring to (in the second part of my response) which i believe may lead to potentially unlawful interpretations of the EA.

            I do. Unless I’m very much mistaken (in which case please correct me) your position is that the earlier EHRC guidance, which you agree with, is totally and utterly correct to the extent that the collapse of a case challenging it, even on a technicality, proves that your interpretation of the law is correct; but the current EHRC guidance is so wrong that it may be actively encouraging people to break the law.

            Can you not see the inconsistency here? Or to put it another way: do you think the EHRC is a reliable interpreter of the law, or not?

  15. Charlie Peters (‘The Church of England has drunk the trans Kool-Aid’) writes in Spiked:
    ‘Perhaps these governors of dwindling flocks have noticed that the only two growing religions in Britain today are Islam and progressivism. They can’t preach the former, so they have dived head-first into associating themselves with the latter at every available opportunity. … Now that another major social-justice issue is in the headlines, the Church is at it again. It is now using transgenderism in a desperate attempt to wiggle its way into relevance.

    ‘… Experimentation is normal during childhood and adolescence, but nowadays it is all too often considered a cry for help. Tomboyishness is no longer just tomboyishness – it is a potential indication that a girl is a boy and that medical intervention may be required.

    ‘… What the bishops describe as a “wrong-hearted notion of care” could in fact be the only thing that prevents a child from unnecessarily embarking on a journey of irreversible medical treatment – treatment which is often extremely harmful. Tellingly, the bishops spared no thought in their letter for all of the deeply confused children who believed they were trans and later regretted transitioning. They have paid an unimaginable personal price because they were not offered an opportunity to pause and reconsider.

    ‘… “To be trans is to enter a sacred journey of becoming whole.” Honestly. Every time I read that sentence it sounds worse. But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the bishops say. The concept of a “faith leader” is fast disappearing in Britain – and no wonder. As long as senior clergymen continue to align with the most extreme tenets of social-justice ideology, their irrelevance is guaranteed.’

    Ultimately this is what you get when Genesis is repudiated.

    Reply
  16. The Christian approach to gender dysphoria should be the same as the Christian approach to anything else – guided by the law of `love your neighbour as yourself.’

    If I’m to make any assessment at all, then I need information from people who actually have this difficulty – and not from people standing up for them, who basically see first and foremost an opportunity to bash Christians and Christianity – and secondary (and subservient to this) perhaps some sympathy with people who have this problem.

    I need to see information from people who actually have this problem (and not from straight married people piling in on their behalf who see an opportunity to attack Christianity) (a) how gender dysphoria affected them, (b) whether the various treatments (hormones, surgery) actually helped to solve their problems in some way or whether the results of the treatment were rather disappointing.

    Also, with the greatest of respect to Jonathan Tallon, I do know something of statistics, the huge difficulties of eliminating effects of common causes when you’re using observational data rather than data from controlled experiments. As Jonathan pointed out, in this case you cannot really actually do a controlled experiment.

    Testimony straight from the horse’s mouth (as it were) is much more useful than statistical studies and data collected by people with clip boards.

    While I do sympathise with people who have this problem, I personally cannot see how the current medical treatments (hormone therapies, surgery) can be a good idea. If they could do the *whole* job (and then reverse the *whole* job if the person thinks they made a mistake) then it would be much more convincing. As it is, their current attempts at best produce a `half way house’ (whereby a male who transitions to a female doesn’t actually have eggs and cannot give birth – and only becomes female in some generalised sense).

    So a priori, such treatment does not appear to me to be helpful and could, in fact, be very damaging, but I’m prepared to stand corrected if I hear direct testimony from real people who feel it has been helpful for them (and not testimony that is mediated through straight and happily married people who are simply looking for a stick to bash their image of what they consider Christianity to be).

    Reply
    • Well since you ask (and thank you), here: http://www.transition.org.uk

      The questions and answers posted there were with somebody here who I grew to trust. We were both enriched by our discourse.

      Suffice it to say that I have found medical treatment (and some Christian communities) to be profoundly helpful, and my personal faith has deepened and been enriched in what has indeed felt like a sacred journey for me. I explained some of that to this evangelical Christian minister, who sincerely wanted to listen and try to understand – as you say Jock, from someone who had lived through these issues and transitioned. There are complexities for churches who encounter trans people (and I’ve tried to outline some of those) but what I do believe (from my experience as a school nurse for 1200 teens) is that people exploring their gender identity deserve: Time. Space. Kindness. Respect.

      I should like to thank Penelope Cowell Doe in particular for her decency and concern in this thread.

      I am a registered nurse, married to a butch lesbian wife, and I am grateful for the love and acceptance so many people have given me in the 13 years since I transitioned, including the nuns who nursed me for 10 weeks after my surgery, who showed me so much kindness, care, and affirmation.

      Just getting on with my life…

      Reply
      • Thank you Susannah. I saw this on a post on FB. Thank you.
        I don’t deserve your praise. I get snippy far too easily when I am upset.
        And, I do get upset.

        Reply
  17. We humans are created physical beings whom God has made to inhabit and play a full part at the apex of life in his created world. But we also have minds which are mysterious, unfathomable in many ways, and which somehow are able to comprehend physical reality and also to relate to our souls (the immaterial expression of human life which can engage both with other people and God himself at a level which transcends physical existence).

    Minds can be balanced and generally healthy or they can be damaged and no longer deliver the full benefits of which they are capable. A central benefit is rational thought – the ability to make sense and live in harmony both with the realities of physical existence and with the life of the soul while not creating dissonance between the ideas which pertain to the two realms of existence. If the one God rules over both realms, there must be one comprehension within which both exist; it is reasonable to think that glimpses from one realm can help to enlighten things about the other realm.

    But, perhaps as a reflection of himself, God has made us to be curious: we are not disposed to live as ‘contented cows’. We want to know more, to know why and how, to ask ‘what if’, to imagine and invent. And of course all this involves the mind. But we’re only going to do this successfully, safely, positively, if our minds are working properly.

    I’d suggest that the collective Western mind is now seriously damaged; and that is evidenced by the growing dichotomy between the social / political world and the world of science. Whenever social and political theory / ideology are in conflict with science it now seems that science is likely to be rejected or marginalised or censored: the common sense derived from acceptance of how the physical world works is ignored.

    And what is particularly notable is how easy it is for Christians (whose thought should have been firmly grounded in acceptance of the reality of God’s created order) to construct wild notions using the language of Christianity to override the plain witness of creation. The intent to follow a particular social or political ideology has, in effect, removed the mind’s ability to think coherently and rationally. In such circumstances it isn’t reasonable to expect debate to achieve anything: damaged minds can’t do rational debate. Or, to put it another way, the mind cannot be rational if it floats around in a world of ideas that no longer have fixed reference points.

    Most people, if left to their own devices (unhindered by the media and general social chatter), would accept the created world around them, and its mechanisms, to be sound reference points and the kind of obvious basis for enough common sense to guide them through their mortal lives. But Western ideologues now ridicule that ‘simplistic’ approach: they think they know better, and in so doing they have lost the ability to think rationally. It’s hardly surprising that the actions of governments, mainstream media, and much public discourse are causing people to feel constant stress, anxiety, and no little concern for where things are heading and how everyday life could rapidly deteriorate from what we once took for granted as normal. Indeed some lost minds are even relishing a kind of ‘new normal’ which can only be described as dystopian.

    Of course I haven’t even mentioned the Bible yet: but any Christian should be well aware that it is the other (pre-eminent) great source of fixed reference points!

    Reply
    • The collective western mind is now damaged, and meanwhile the close-family cultures shoot ever further ahead. What a surprise, I mean Not a surprise.

      Reply
  18. One thing at least the law can never do: make people stay in a church that is led by somebody they don’t trust, whether it is because of the priest’s own sexuality or for any other reason.

    As the Church of England consummates its marriage with the spirit of the age, it is in steep decline. I predict that in a couple of decades the liberals will win this battle and end up with all of the CoE’s worldly wealth but no congregations. What does that profit a man?

    Reply
    • Possession of all that worldly wealth is the great tragedy of the Church of England: it guarantees survival as a zombie institution – impotent and irrelevant.

      If the church knew it could die, it would at least have pressing motivation for addressing head on why that is and what is needed to retrieve the situation. It might still fail to respond (as is the case in some other denominations) but at least the negative witness of being a dead church could come to a swift end. True Christians would then be unbound by continuing loyalty, and set free to regroup / build anew.

      Reply
    • Anton, neither can the law stop people breaking it, intentionally or unknowingly. It was ever thus.
      Today, it seems that British Cycling has banned trans athletes from competition, pending a full review, with an immediate suspension of the current policy. This is part of an article,today from Cycling Weekly:
      “An organisation set up to campaign for the “fair cycling sport for all female athletes”, the Union Cycliste Feminine (opens in new tab), has sent a letter to the UCI arguing that the governing body’s rule on trans athletes is not fair.

      The letter has at least 652 signatories, including former Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt, former world champion Mandy Jones, and Lotto-Soudal DS Cherie Pridham.

      The letter reads: “We believe that rule 13.5.015 does not guarantee female athletes “fair and meaningful** competition that displays and rewards the fundamental values and meaning of the sport” as the UCI has promised in rule 13.5.002-1 (** the only meaningful sport is fair sport, we request the word ‘meaningful’ be removed from this rule).

      “That it is the current consensus of experts in the scientific and sport medicine community the conditions of rule 13.5.015 cannot sufficiently mitigate all male sport advantage “in order to preserve the safety, fairness and integrity of the sport, for the benefit of all it’s participants and stakeholders” 13.5.002-1b.

      “We believe that the rule is asymmetric and thus discriminatory in that it advantages only biological male athletes by providing them greater opportunity to compete and enjoy the rewards of sport at it’s [sic] highest level.”

      It also says that female athletes were prepared to boycott British Cycling events if their policy was not changed.

      In their statement, British Cycling said: “As an organisation we remain committed to ensuring that transgender and non-binary people are welcomed, supported and celebrated in the cycling community.”

      Reply
      • Today, it seems that British Cycling has banned trans athletes from competition

        As I understand it no one is banned from competing by this ruling; they are perfectly free to compete in the races for their biological sex.

        Reply
        • ‘Biological sex’ is a tautology like ‘financial money’ or ‘supernatural miracles’. How could sex ever not be biological?

          Reply
          • ‘Biological sex’ is a tautology like ‘financial money’ or ‘supernatural miracles’.

            Or ‘annoying pedant’.

          • It’s buying into the idea that there can be different kinds of sex, or different kinds of family. So that ‘biological sex’ is comparable to ‘birth mother’.

          • Indeed Christopher. Today, I see that, that the word almost exclusively connotes activity as opposed to male, female.
            It is well known in professional cyling, that menstruation affects training and performance of female athletes.
            As the Cycling Weekly article points out that there is asymmetrical physical, biological factors, between biological male and female athletes.
            One of the signatories to the letter, Magnus Backstedt, a former prof cyclist, who won one of the most grueling cycle races, has as daughter, Zoe, who is a World Goldmedal, cycle champion.
            Former World Goldmedal cyclist, Nichole Cooke, has called for a separate category for trans.
            It is notable that this is a farrago only in one direction, male to female, so far, at least, rather than trans from female to male.

          • Biological sex is a nonsensical term, but not for the reasons you think.

            There are, and always have been many different types of family.
            Our modern nuclear family bears little resemblance to the families of the patriarchs, or of mediaeval Europe.
            There are different kinds of mothers. Not all mothers have given birth.
            This really should not need to be explained.

          • Geoff

            Nonsense. There are more females wishing to transition at GIDs.
            I know as many trans men as trans women.

          • Not sure who you are replying to as nonesence, in relation to cycling, Penelope.
            I do not subscribe to your Queer philosophy, social engineering, construct drivers especially in the guise of Christianity.
            There is nothing in the Gospels the whole canon of scripture to support trans.

          • And Penelope, you seem to be so trigger happy, triggered ny anything that you think opposes your activism, that you are not reading properly, the context. I don’t hold myself out to be a scholar but you do, even as you have rubbished others such as Tom Holland and Jordan Peterson.
            Your voice is shrill and carries little weight, authority in my life, an irritant it mostly is.
            I and my views and Christianity seem to be odious, anathema to you.

          • Geoff
            I was replying to your ridiculous assertion that there is more (or only?) male to female transition.
            However, as usual all I receive from you is gratuitous insult.
            There is nothing in the whole Canon of scripture to support motor cars.
            Nevertheless, they exist.
            The CoE has officially declared that trans people are beloved of God, and that they can be ordained and marry in their assigned sex.
            So that ship has sailed.
            And I am very tired of you making nasty, derogatory remarks about queer theorists, yet taking umbrage when someone has the temerity to criticise Holland or Peterson. I am not alone in my criticism of them.
            It’s the beginning of Holy Week. Do better. For Christ’s sake.

          • Geoff

            Could you not see that my answer was about your claim about men transitioning more than women?
            If you want people only to respond to particular points in your comments perhaps you could flag them, so we all know what we’re allowed to discuss.

          • The comment was in relation to cycling. You said it was nonsense. Not a very good reader. But I suppose it is a mere extension of reader interpretation. All in all I don’t see that it does credit to your learning. Evidence, I’d suggest that my trigger comment was on point.
            When you are in a hole, you can’t stop digging, it seems to me.
            Perhaps you’d care to comment on the sports science, that the Cycling Weekly article was refering to and perhaps as illustrated in the internationl athletic race that Jock linked.
            Goodbye.

          • Not all mothers have given birth.

            But every single person who ever existed had a famale mother and a male father (and was gestated by a woman). Not one exception.

            Although the gender Brahmins with their secret knowledge claim to know better.

          • Not all mothers have given birth.

            Actually all mothers have given birth. There is a legal fiction whereby it is possible to gain the legal status of a mother by adoption without having given birth, but that is a legal fiction, not reality.

          • Geoff

            I did not say your comment on cycling was nonsense. I was not responding to your comment on cycling. I was responding to your belief that more males transition than females. It’s not really difficult to see that if you read my replies.

          • Well, adoptive and foster and step mothers will be delighted to know that they are a legal fiction.
            Jesus wept.

          • Well, adoptive and foster and step mothers will be delighted to know that they are a legal fiction.

            How they feel about it is neither here nor there, it’s the truth.

          • In fact adoption is the first example given on the wiki-pædia page for ‘legal fiction’:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_fiction

            Foster mothers and step-mothers aren’t even a legal fiction, of course; they are just a loose use of language. They have none of the legal status of mothers (though they may act in loco parentis, a different thing) nor are they in biological reality the mother of their foster or step-children.

          • So you actually refuse to give mothers their own noun, but force them to share it with people in completely different categories.

            Considering that they are one of the most ubiquitous phenomena, your proposal that they cannot have their own noun is ideological in a very negative direction. Can you think of any phenomena so ubiquitous that do not have their own noun? Many have several.

          • Penelope,
            Just where in my comment, which was specific to cycling did I say more men transition to women. It is not true.
            As this is on my phone I can’t readily cross reference,
            If you could quote what I said that would be helpful.
            In the context of cycling or perhaps any competitive atheletics, I do not see many who trans from women to men, seeking to compete with biological men. Do enlighten me.
            Otherwise,keep digging.
            And I find your comprehension from someone of your intellect, unfathomably weak, does you no credit. It seems to be twitter -like, pugilism.
            Otherwise, it is a scatter gun technique, hoping something will hit, not addressing the specifics.
            You still haven’t answered the point relating to cycling.

          • Geoff

            Last sentence in your April 10, 9.34 am comment “It is notable that this is a farrago …

            I was attempting to correct your misapprehension on MtF transitioning. Just that.
            I have nothing to say about cycling.

          • Since adoptive mothers are legally mothers, no I won’t insist on some cruel linguistic apartheid where only women who have had the good fortune to successful gestate a child are called ‘mothers’.
            Likewise, step mothers and foster mothers who may not legally (or ‘biologically’) be parents.
            I suggest you read ‘The Dark Womb’, a theology of reproductive loss. It would be excellent reading for Holy Week.

          • Since adoptive mothers are legally mothers, no I won’t insist on some cruel linguistic apartheid where only women who have had the good fortune to successful gestate a child are called ‘mothers’.

            It’s not ‘linguistic apartheid‘, is simply facts. You’re trying to change the definition because you don’t like the facts, but reality defines language, not the other way around.

          • Nothing to do with my point.
            My point is that there is no limit on nouns that can be in the dictionary. Which means there can be no reason to begrudge nouns. Or to demote categories to subcategories.
            New ones can always be invented and assigned.
            Least of all to one of the most common phenomena there is (a woman who gives birth) – that really is utterly extraordinary.
            It would be extraordinary even if there were a quota on how many nouns the dictionary could have, but there is no such quota.
            It is not even just begrudging, it is stealing.
            So to you (unlike practically every age and society) a woman giving birth is just a sort of subcategory, not a particularly central phenomenon.
            I’m sure they feel not particularly central when they have just given birth? Which is after all an heroic act mostly.
            But the contemporary ideological reasons are not hard to find, and as usual they are illogical and agenda-driven. So this is an example of just drifting with the tide, without any critical attitude to what the trajectory of a given tide is. It must be good because it is happening in 2022, or some such non sequitur.

          • And ‘that ship has sailed’ is utter nonsense. It would be sense in a world whose history went in straight lines AND whose laws were always coherent rather than vote grabbing or culturally conformist AND whose laws never changed. Yet it is well known that none of those 3 things is close to being the case.

            The claim displays a simplistic teleological view of history, which of course has no basis for any student of history. It is more worrying that despite all the times this kind of teleology has been exposed this exposure is not mentioned.

          • I don’t see how it is tautological. It is defining the area of biology being discussed ie sex/gender. It is just as legitimate as saying biological male or biological female.

          • I didn’t claim there were subcategories or that birth mothers weren’t heroic.
            It’s simply that the word mother covers different types of motherhood.

          • John- –

            ‘just as legitimate’ – yes, i.e. illegitimate. The reason is that there is no other kind of male but a so-called ‘biological’ male (ditto female) so what is that qualifier doing there? Qualifiers cannot possibly be used when there is nothing to qualify, no subcategories.

          • Of course language defines the way people look at reality. Does it define reality. Yes. Sometimes accurately, sometimes inaccurately. In German dictionaries there are 3rd Reich words, either that or words expunged by the 3rd Reich. Whoever controls the language controls the people. Anyone who submits to whatever language is imposed on them is just the sort of person that could be duped.

          • The reason is that there is no other kind of male but a so-called ‘biological’ male (ditto female) so what is that qualifier doing there?

            Synonymia. Obviously.

          • Does it define reality. Yes.

            No. It doesn’t. This is obvious because there was reality for about fourteen billion years before language ever existed.

            Whoever controls the language controls the people.

            And again, no. Totalitarians would like to believe it is so, but it isn’t. Read Václav Havel. It is always possible to resist the imposition of language, to think the truth even if all attempts are made to deprive you of words for it.

            People misread Nineteen Eighty-four as ‘proving’ that whoever controls the language controls the people, when in fact it shows the opposite: the Party tries to control by language, but it fails, and in fact what really controls the population (as was and is really the case in Communist dictatorships) is spies, torture and fear.

            The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, is rubbish, the the stronger the form the more rubbish it is.

          • It wasn’t meant to be like this Penelope.

            If you have nothing to say about cycling, you had nothing to say about my comment, Penelope.
            I see this as an illustration of mangling, manipulating the text and context to serve your own purposes. And, to me, to is a further illustration of the methodology of biblical revisionism.

            And I know you won’t like this, an illustration of the mangling and destructiveness of Queer theory, that has no place in Christianity. Why?

            It starts, is sourced from outside Christianity and remains there, it is suggested.

            Well, I’ve worked into secondary mental health settings, and sure this is an oversimplification, but lives are messed -up broken. It wasn’t meant to be like this. The world wasn’t meant to be like this.
            Family, friends, work, no work, relationships: it wasn’t meant to be like this. I wasn’t meant to be like this.
            Queer theory, says yes, that’s right; It wasn’t meant to be like this- this is the way out of it. This is the way it is meant to be. You are shackled by society. This is the way to freedom. This is the exodus. This is the way to be yourself. – This is the way of your salvation. This is the way to save yourself.
            It is in the opposite direction to the way it was meant to be, and destructive of it ;-going your own way, my way.
            And this really does go back to the start of everything.

            It is a saviour god. It is a counterfeit Christ. A Christ replacement.

          • I agree with you S. I don’t think that whoever controls the language controls 100% of the people. There are always those capable of better independent thought. But what about the percentage that are not. Look at the percentage that are susceptible to rapid imposed culture change.

    • Pope looking out over Vatican City: Well no longer can we say ‘silver and gold have I none’
      Cardinal: And no longer can we say ‘Rise take up your bed and walk’

      Reply
  19. Gawd. It must be that time of the month. Time for the so-called ‘Rev’ to bash the LGBTs, as if there’s nothing else going on in the world.

    Why is the ‘Rev’ picking on 0.5% of the population? Yeah that’s the percentage of people who are trans in a population. You’d be forgiven if you noticed the power play at work, a cleric of the establishment bullying an oppressed minority. Reminds me of the Tsar of Russia.

    What would Jesus say? I’m reminded of his teaching where He says that those who abuse the vulnerable should have a millstone tied around their necks and drowned. Please note, this is Jesus not me. I’m a pacifist.

    Reply

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