Is there any limiting principle in the way people might identify themselves, and if so, what is that limit or that principle?
As the identity of a nation and culture becomes more obscure (through pluralism, which leads to relativism), the identity of the individuals within that nation and culture can become just as, or even more obscure. In a secular culture—where relativism is the prevailing philosophy and is considered the only absolute—any limiting principle in the way people identify themselves will be dissolved by relativism. Dr. Ravi Zacharias explains it this way:
“Secularization leads to loss of shame, pluralization [which leads to relativism] leads to loss of reason, and privatization [i.e., your religious and moral convictions must be kept to yourself] leads to loss of meaning."
Let’s see how this all works out with the issue of “gender identity.”
Secularization leads to loss of shame—today there is no shame in a man being a woman.
Pluralization leads to loss of reason—today there is nothing wrong or UNREASONABLE with a man being a woman.
Privatization (i.e., your religious and moral convictions must be kept to yourself) leads to loss of meaning—nobody should tell a man that (despite how he FEELS), his biological gender has a natural teleology (purpose) and therefore he shouldn’t try to be a woman.
Any limit proposed in a secular and relativistic society would be purely subjective. As one person I debated with on this issue said, “New mental machinery and concepts are forged when they're really needed.” Translation: Removing fences, blurring lines, and redefining normal and abnormal are all employed to appease whatever group of people (no matter how confused, or ill) who shouts loudest, "WHAT ABOUT US!"
Our culture is in the process of removing two fences at the same time: 1) the fence around marriage, and 2) the gender fence called “common sense” that divided clearly and OBJECTIVELY gender IDENTITY between male and female. This is being done to appease the “WHAT ABOUT US” crowds—homosexuals (who make up less than 3% of the U.S. population) and transgendered (who make up around 0.3% of the U.S. population). Unfortunately, there will always be a new group screaming ‘what about us” and our culture and government seems more than willing to accommodate and recognize them when their shouts are loud enough. I will expound on this more in the conclusion.
The fact is, the only way humans can be viewed in a way that has an objective essence, value, and teleology (purpose) that cannot be arbitrarily defined/changed/recognized by government is if the very essence of humanity is UNDERSTOOD AND ACKNOWLEDGED (by our government and the culture) to be grounded in something OBJECTIVE that transcends humans and is what we all have in common—regardless of age, ability, or appearance. There is only one THING that fits this description and that is that all humans are made in the image of a transcendent Creator/Designer (i.e., God). Our founders understood this and I will highlight the self-evident truth that grounds humanity’s essence below.
“WHO or WHAT determines which beings are human and which are not? What if government identifies some as "chattel?" Does that make them chattel? If we say, NO! GOVERNMENT IS WRONG!, then government is wrong according to...WHAT? WHY is government wrong when it labels people as "chattel?" Is it something in the NATURE of those people that truly identifies what they are?”
The Christian/theist philosophers who framed our Constitution understood there was something unique to humans that gave them an essence wholly distinct from animals and chattel.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” The Judeo-Christian worldview is the only worldview that would utter a statement like that. That is, this self-evident truth our founders acknowledged is that humans have transcendent and intrinsic value because we are made in the image of God (and is why we fumigate termites and not humans—no matter how little utility they might offer in return). Did our PRACTICES of treating some like “chattel” always reflect this self-evident truth? NO, but it is this self-evident truth that many referred to as why they opposed slavery. Furthermore, the natural teleology of gender and sexuality would also follow this self-evident truth that we have a Creator/Designer. Therefore, The U.S. government has the proper framework (from our founders) to determine the essence of humanity.
But what about our culture?
Sociologist Daniel Bell once said, “Culture is the effort to provide a coherent set of answers to the existential situations that confront all human beings in the passage of their lives.”
The insanity that surrounds us that gets more bizarre with each passing year is a result of our culture with no consistent and coherent set of answers to life’s most fundamental questions:
1. Origin--Where did we come from?
2. Meaning—What is our purpose?
3. Morality—How can we tell right from wrong?
4. Destiny—What happens when we die?
Matt Moore, a former practicing homosexual who has given his life to Christ, explained some of the insanity of our culture today:
“The message that our culture (not me, but the culture) puts forth is this:
- A homosexual disposition is determined at/before birth and therefore it is something that is good and does not need to change.
- Gender is determined at/before birth, but it is something that should be changed if so desired.
- A person didn’t choose their homosexual disposition; therefore God made them that way.
- A person didn’t choose their gender, but God didn’t make them that way if they don’t want to be that way.
- Attempting to change one’s sexual disposition is harmful for a person because they’re going against the way they are designed.
- Attempting to change one’s gender is healthy for a person because they are correcting their mistaken design.
Basically, the world says that God doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to gay feelings, but He does make mistakes when it comes to gender.
Our culture’s belief system is all jacked up from beginning to end. Not only is there no consistency, but there is no real objective basis for their presumptions. The world’s belief system isn’t founded on what is really true or what is untrue, but on what it wants. To put it plainly, the world says that homosexual feelings are God-ordained and unchangeable because they want them to be God-ordained and unchangeable; and they say physical gender is non-God-ordained and changeable because they want it to be non-God-ordained and changeable.”
Conclusion: In a secular society that widely subscribes to relativism (where there are no coherent and consistent set of answers to the nature of our existence), there is simply no limiting principle in the way people identify themselves. Some people, like the man pictured (who tried to make himself into a tiger and was known as "Stalking Cat"), do not identify as human; they identify as some other species (this is known as species dysphoria). The only reason this group (also called “Furries”) has not been given the recognition others with identity disorders have been given is because their “WHAT ABOUT US” shouts have not been heard past the louder groups that are closer to the gay community. As the gay community is continually catered to, their shouts are less frequent and quieter, so the shouts from other “WHAT ABOUT US” groups can be heard. With each new loudest “WHAT ABOUT US” crowd comes a new letter to be added to the community—one site has the acronym up to 12 symbols now (LGBTQQIP2SAA). For a community that has erased the lines of sexuality, gender, and has been on record trying to erase age of consent lines, can you really see any reason why they wouldn’t be willing to erase species lines and add an “F” (for "Furry") to their acronym of “social justice?”
“Whenever you remove any fence, always pause long enough to ask yourself the question, ‘Why was it put there in the first place?'"--G.K. Chesterton
Our churches have been silent on social issues for the sake of remaining relevant in a godless culture. These good intentions have only perpetuated the decadence we see in our society, as more and more people seek in vain to find their identity in created things (a different gender, a different form of sexuality, a different species, etc.) rather than find their true identity in THE Creator and Redeemer.
“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.