Could Transgender Ideology Be a Blessing to America in Disguise?

Sep 29, 2023 by David Fowler

Could Transgender Ideology Be a Blessing to America in Disguise?
The growing transgender movement presents an opportunity for the kind of conversation we have not had in America for 100 years, and perhaps longer. I believe that conversation will prove to be healthy culturally speaking, and it could be the kind of conversation that gets us headed in a different direction. But that conversation won’t take place if Republicans and Christians in particular don’t understand the conversation that needs to take place.
To this point in time, it seems that Republican politicians have framed transgenderism as a political issue and Christian legal and policy organizations seem to have framed it as strictly a moral issue. Therein lies the impediment to the more important conversation we need to have if anything is going to change.
Some might say there is nothing to discuss. Transgenderism is wrong, and we can talk to proponents of transgender ideology until we are blue in the face, and they are not going to change their mind. Therefore, we just need laws to cut it off wherever it pops up. 
What Makes Me Think There Is Something More We Need to Discuss?
I see two problems with that truncated strategy. The first is that the conversation I am talking about is with those who know something is amiss with transgenderism but aren’t sure how to respond with anything better than a moralizing assertion such as “It’s wrong” or “It makes no sense.” And this ties into the second problem: not thinking through the issue at a deeper level means the salutary benefit those laws will be short-lived.
How can I be so sure about the ongoing efficacy of those laws?
My expectation starts with the fact that the fundamental questions answered by transgenderism go to the kind of cosmos we live in, and cosmology is the foundation for one’s ethics which is, in turn, the foundation for law.[1] 
For example, one could imagine a cosmos or universe in which we do not see all persons as the same kind of being as we are. Think about human chattel slavery. That kind of cosmology gives rise to tribalism (which is our current cultural milieu). In a tribal cosmology, you killing a person in your tribe is wrong because the members are the same kind of being as you. But those in the other tribe are not of your kind. In time, killing those in other tribes is not seen in the same way as killing someone in your tribe. In fact, removing threats to your tribe becomes a good.
So, if the prevailing cosmology that is driving transgenderism remains in place, then transgenderism will slowly begin to make more sense to more people, just as we’ve witnessed with the once strange idea that two men could marry, and each could be the other’s husbands.
The cosmology that produced same-sex marriage is the same as that which is producing transgenderism, and, therefore, it will be logical and understandable if those who came to embrace the former eventually embrace the latter. And when they do, they will either grow silent when those who do not embrace that cosmology are cancelled or will join in cancelling them. Other, more harsh remedies will be available if “cancellation” doesn’t work.
The Cosmological Questions We All Must Answer.
The fundamental questions presented to us by the transgender movement are not new, but ancient. That those questions were given a better answer than that which transgenderism now offers, and that those answers prevailed for centuries in the West, should be encouraging.
But cosmological conversations about these fundamental questions have not taken place for a long time. Therefore, I suspect many are as poorly versed in those questions and their answers as I was until the last few years, and for that reason we don’t “get” what the conversation over transgenderism is about.
That lack is what drives us into seeing transgenderism either moralistically or as a political or legal issue. And I believe that so long as we see the issues before us in only those two ways, nothing will change. It will be the same old, same old.
What the Cosmological Conversation is About.
The cosmological conversation we have overlooked or, at best, some have understood but sadly refused to join in goes back to the ancient Greeks. So, when Solomon emphasizes throughout Ecclesiastes that “there is nothing new under the Sun,” he was quite right.
A commentary is not the place for a full-blown discussion of the fundamental cosmological debate taking place (one-sided at the moment), and you can read my newest book on the subject if you want to understand how to think through those questions. But I do want to highlight the questions and the answers given by transgender ideology.
The First Cosmological Question That Must Be Answered.
Is the fundamental nature of the cosmos we live in, including what it means to be human, one of permeance or change? In other words, do things have any given nature or meaning or is everything in a state of change and flux? This is the debate between Greek philosophers Parmenides and Heraclitus.
Transgenderism’s Answer: We notice things developing and changing all around us. Thus, transgenderism says the fundamental nature of things is change. The transgender understanding of persons is simply us embracing the next development of human understanding as we move beyond binary thinking.
The Second Cosmological Question That Must Be Answered.
Is the true nature of a thing, including human beings, to be found outside of the thing (or outside of the individual persons) or is it to be found in the thing itself (or in each individual person)? Which is more fundamentally true about the kind of cosmos we live in? This is the debate between Plato and Aristotle.
Transgenderism’s Answer: We notice that no two people are alike and therefore, what it means to be human is to be found in each person and to be answered by each person. Male and female are real biological categories, but we are more than biology, and thus human meaning must be supplied by the human in question.
The Third Cosmological Question That Must Be Answered.
The third question asks whether unity or diversity (differentiation) is more fundamentally true about the kind of cosmos we live in.
Transgenderism’s Answer: When development and individualized meaning as fundamental coincide, then all differences are seen as illusions, all boundaries are removed, and all are really part of an organic whole. Therefore, to fight against development and individualized meaning breaks society apart, and it will become dysfunctional. Unity is more fundamental than diversity or differentiation. Thus, a transgendered understanding of persons must be embraced by all to preserve a unified humanity.
What the Cosmological Conversation Currently Looks Like.
Currently, the conversation revolves around power, namely, who has the power to impose its morals on the other? But even that puts the nature of the power struggle on too narrow a framework. The real question is who has the power to impose its cosmology on the other.
Put that way, Christians should quickly realize no human being or set of human beings has the power to impose a cosmology on the cosmos. Only God can establish a cosmology that cannot be manipulated beyond certain fixed boundaries. 
So, if Christians are thinking that getting political power is the way to straighten this thing out, then their thinking is, in principle, no different from that of their transgender proponents. 
Moreover, a cosmology cannot be “created” by civil laws; rather all law rests on and reflects an existing cosmology. And when all we care about is stopping what we consider bad via civil law, that is mere moralism, and a moralistic spitting contest does not pull anyone into the kind of cosmological conversation we need to have.
So, if Christians are to enact laws on this subject, they must at least rest them on principles that require the kind of cosmological conversation I have described. I’ve not seen every law on the subject, but those I’ve seen do not do that.
What the Cosmological Conversation Needs to Look Like.
In this regard, it would be good if legislators knew how to ask proponents of transgenderism the kinds of questions that would pull out their cosmological assumptions for all to see. But they must also be taught how to subject those answers to a penetrating analysis that shows their insufficiency and give an alternative.
For example, I will never forget a person who testified against legislation a few years ago that would have required use of public-school restrooms be designated based on a child’s biological sex at birth. She said, “We need to move past binary thinking.”
Oh, how I wished a legislator would have simply asked, “You said we needed to move past binary thinking. Yes or no are binary options. So, how do you propose I vote if I am to move past binary thinking?”
It would also be good if ministers would disciple their congregates on how to engage in these cosmological conversations or at the very least make sure they understand that transgenderism is evidence that the Christian cosmology is on its way out, if not already lost. At least they will know what hit them.
It is my view that the sooner these conversations begin in earnest, the better. Otherwise, the laws Republicans and Christians are getting passed now to bat down transgenderism may not hold any longer than did the laws batting down same-sex “marriage.”

[1] Cosmology is simply that branch of knowledge that seeks to understand what kind of thing our cosmos is (what kind of nature does it have), which necessarily entails what it is for and how it works.

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