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What should be our Christian position toward society’s push for gender choice?

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February 14, 2018

What should be our Christian position toward society’s push for gender choice?

We thank one of our viewers that asked today’s crucial question. I believe that answering this question from an Orthodox perspective is more important now than ever. The question is “What should be our Christian position toward society’s push for gender choice?”

Why is this question important?

Well, recently in the West, there has been an excessive push toward liberality in choosing one’s gender. In Canada, there are already gender-neutral signs on bathrooms in schools and in the work place. How are we, as Orthodox Christians, ought to react to this?

Now, before tackling this topic, I want to be clear that we do not condemn or defame anyone. I am very conscious that some people are truly suffering from gender confusion as a result from sin and corruption in this world. And some are deeply wounded.  However, I am also aware that many more people adopt this attitude as a lifestyle. In either case, as Orthodox Christians, our objective is not to judge anyone but to speak the truth in love.  Having emphasized this, let us start answering the question by going back to the creation account.

In Genesis 1, God said: “Let Us make man [anthropos; human being] in Our image and according to Our likeness.  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” So, as we all know, humans are created in the image of the Trinitarian God.   It doesn’t stop there. God says, “in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Here, we find a direct link between gender and being created in the image of God. The key to understand the Orthodox position on this subject is to understand that the gender is much more than just a sexual organ.

Gender affects persons to the very core of their being. It goes beyond the physical body to affect the soul and spirit. In other words, all you do is affected by your gender. The way you think, the way you pray, the way you love your spouse or friends, the way you deal with your children, the way you deal with conflicts or deal with work.  Generally speaking, men and women deal very differently with these subjects and this is obvious from the many books out there that discuss males and females whether within marriage context or otherwise.

For instance, both men and women work and take care of their children. Their priorities are different. When there is a time-conflict between work and children, women tend to prioritize their children, while men tend to prioritize their work. Work is extremely important for a man and this doesn’t mean that it is not important for a woman, of course it is, but not at the same level as for the man. Of course, there are numerous such examples, but it is not the purpose of this video. The crucial point to take home here is that everything you do is shaped by your gender. Our gender is directly related to who we are and how we ought to live. It is an integral part of our identityThe question now becomes “well shouldn’t I be free to change my identity?” Well, from a Christian point of view, no I don’t have this option.

As humans, having been created in the image of God, we ought to be working into being transformed into His likeness from glory to glory within my person. God has called each one of us with a special calling. As described by St. Paul in 1st Corinthians 12, every member of the Church, the Body of Christ is given specific gifts for the edifying of the Church. And with these gifts, a purpose is given to each one. A purpose in life. A purpose in the service. A purpose to bring healing to others. A purpose in being the light of the world in our special own way. This purpose has been given to each one by God, through our personalities, for the sake of peace and harmony within the human community.

My personal purpose in this life is directly related to my gender. If I choose to change my gender, I will not be able to fulfill the purpose God has for me in this world. True life and personal fulfillment are found in drawing closer to God to be healed. Drawing away from God and giving in to my personal desires will not give me any true comfort, joy or happiness. A gender change will not heal my wounds. The wounds are still there but I just look different. In addition, my Godly purpose is now in jeopardy. However, the most crucial factor that must be considered is that as Christians, we believe that we keep our personalities in heaven. And, again, this personality includes gender.

When St. Ignatius, the disciple of St. Peter, was captured and was on his way to Rome to be martyred, some Christians wanted to stop his martyrdom. He, then, wrote his epistle to the Romans and, in it, he said the following: “It’s better for me to die in Christ Jesus than to be king over the ends of the earth. I seek Him who died for our sake. I desire Him who rose for us. The pangs of birth are upon me… [meaning he is about to born] Do not give the world one who desires to belong to God, nor deceive him with material things. Suffer me to receive the pure light. When I shall have arrived there. I shall become a human being. Suffer me to follow the example of the passion of my God.”   St. Ignatius is here affirming the true understanding of becoming a true human being. A human that is incorrupt, that is perfect just as God had created him in the beginning before the fall.  What is striking, is that he claims that this complete renewed perfected being will be realized in heaven.  what is St. Ignatius saying here? He is saying that he will truly become his real self in heaven.

St. Ignatius is not the only one that claims this. Actually, science claims the same. Dr. Thomas Fleischmann, an emergency physician, who dealt with over 2,000 cases of near-death experiences confirms this. He shares how those people died, having zero brain activity, and then came back to life and explained what happened to them during their near-death experiences. After much scientific analysis, he presented his findings in a very interesting TEDx video where he asserted that those patients kept their personalities once their soul was outside their body. It is a very interesting video that I encourage you to watch so I will include the link in the video description below. Given this understanding, that we keep our personalities in the after-life, it only makes sense to deal with our wounds here on earth. To seek healing through our encounter with God. Through prayer and partaking of the Eucharist. This is precisely the purpose of God’s incarnation: to heal suffering men and women. If you are personally suffering from this problem or suffering from any other problem that results from this worldly corruption we live in, let us all, together, as the Body of Christ, approach God and seek healing.

 

Remember know your faith, live your faith and teach your faith

 

 

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