Friendly Dialogue with a Transgender Atheist & Satanist

Friendly Dialogue with a Transgender Atheist & Satanist August 17, 2015

 

Jenner

Bruce / Caitlyn Jenner  at the 2012 London Olympics (July 2012) [Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license]

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This occurred on my public Facebook page (24-26 July 2015). I informed my dialogue partner that it was public and that I might later put up a dialogue on my blog. But I won’t use her name. Her words will be in blue. I have edited somewhat for brevity and easier presentation, and changed a few words of mine, but have not changed any of my opponent’s words.

We disagreed about everything, but it’s supremely important to keep the lines of communication open and to be loving towards all human beings; always exercising charity. I tried my best to do that, and the entire discussion remained civil and congenial.

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There is so much bravery in being female bodied, but it takes just as much to be who you are despite the critics. I am so tired of seeing hateful anti Trans messages in my feed. It makes it very hard to love myself as I have come to know myself, which is female-bodied, but not a woman at all.

Not all women or female bodied people can carry babies. Not all victims of DV are female bodied. Caitylin Jenner is a woman. I am not. I can biologically carry children, and plan to one day. She cannot. Neither of those facts defines who we are.

Bruce Jenner is a man, genetically, and as the way that God in His providence decided to create him (through the procreation of his parents). I don’t have any hate whatever for the man. I’m simply giving my opinion.

No, she is male-bodied, genetically, as I am female-bodied. Your anachronistic ideas of gender based in an Abrahamic faith do not change the fact that gender has nothing to do with sex. We are born with a sex that may or may not match our gender for many reasons. I am glad you don’t experience such a dissonance, but it is time to stop persecuting those who do. As a person of faith, you must believe that God made us this way for a reason.

That premise is disputable, and usually presupposes 100% genetic causation (by extension God “causing” it). I disagree and believe that there are profound effects from environment that help bring about such things.

I do not have that faith, but I hope it will help you find a place of understanding for people like us.

I need not appeal to “an Abrahamic faith” to know the difference between male and female. I know enough not to go into the “women’s” rest room or locker room. Catholics acknowledge the presence of same-sex attraction, which is not inherently sinful, as long as not acted upon. But we will not call a man a woman or vice versa; anymore than we would call a cabbage a water buffalo or an ear of corn a washing machine.

The most difficulty I experience as a Transgender person is people refusing to use the pronouns I prefer. This is not the experience that many Transexual people face. Most of them experience active hatred and disgust from their families and communities. I am very lucky.

1. I don’t hate anyone, and love all persons. Christians are called to love everyone as Christ loved us. If I met you, you would be as welcome in my home as anyone else, and treated no differently.

2. I profoundly disagree with the trans-gender / trans-sexual concepts.

3. #1 and #2 are not mutually exclusive.

4. Some Christians and moral traditionalists, unfortunately, do harbor hatred or prejudice towards various groups of people. I heartily condemn that.

5. I also condemn bigotry and prejudice coming our way from various groups of people. No one has a lock on hostility and bigotry.

I come from a very conservative Christian family. My struggle has been long, and filed with my own misconceptions. I knew I didn’t fit with the stereotypes of either gender when I was a child, but the environment I was raised in promoted traditional gender roles, and did not accept that a person may be of a different gender than they are sex. This point of view continues unabated, despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Your view is anachronistic and wrong. That is not an opinion, it is a scientific fact that many people who are a part of traditional conservative religious communities cannot accept. I am glad the world is changing and now recognizes the stigmatising and inaccurate place those views come from. You can disagree all you want. It doesn’t make you right, even if the majority continued to agree.

Of course mere disagreement doesn’t make me right. Nor is “gay marriage” right or “normal” according to natural and revealed law, just because five Supreme Court Justices say so.

Sole genetic causation is not an established scientific “fact” at all. Scientists differ on it, just like they do on many other issues. It doesn’t help you to deny that you are a woman, which is genetically determined, with female characteristics as God ordained them (complementarity of the genders).

You say (or might say, based on the above comment) that it is “hatred” if I disagree with you. I say it is a loving thing to do, flowing from a desire for what is best for you (according to natural law and God’s law), and for what will make you truly fulfilled and joyful. I don’t want to see you or anyone else suffer, and suffering derives in part from false ideas that are injurious to people.

Have you rejected the Christian faith because of this issue? I see from your page that you are an atheist. I’m sorry to hear that.

As for my religion, or lack thereof, the faith I was raised in has little or nothing to do with objective reality. I’m also a Chaos Mage, and Satanist. Have a good day. I hope you learned something.

I did learn quite a bit. I hope you did, too.

My mother is a Christian. I have learned a lot from her. A person’s faith doesn’t always reflect their capacity or desire to learn.

Your point of view completely ignores people like me. I am capable of raising a healthy child regardless of the fact that there is no place for me in Judeo-western binary concepts of gender. Our gender roles as a larger society are clearly evolving and our views about gender identity itself will clearly have to do so as well.

[responding to my reply to her friend, which I’ll be posting separately] Not even two paragraphs in and already full of inaccuracies. For you to even suggest we are atheist because of our upbringing is ridiculous.

As for the rest, the rate of homosexuality for children raised in homosexual households is actually slightly lower than the rate in hetero-normative homes. This means we have a lower chance of raising deviants by your societal standards. As for atheism, I really hope our children don’t choose to relate to superstitious nonsense, but I will leave it to their free will. Our society did not choose to accept gay marriage because of the Supreme Court. We choose it because it is wrong to deny rights to a loving couple based on anyone else’s religion.

You yourself back up my general point about lousy upbringing affecting later life and behavior, in your post of June 28th, discussing your various “traumas” in childhood.

I disagree that true Christianity was the cause of that. I could see, however, how a warped, unloving so-called “Christianity” could cause one to reject Christianity (as a straw man).

While I would disagree with that analysis in particulars, it is quite clear that (as a generality) background tends to lead one to certain views. If good Christian models weren’t present, there is a good chance of rejection of Christianity and espousal of atheism.

In my case, I grew up very nominally religious (if at all), but came to a deeper faith in my own studies: first as an evangelical Protestant, then as a Catholic. So my background affected me, too, but in the opposite direction. I rejected nominal religion and became more religious and spiritual, not anti-religious.

Backgrounds have their effect; this is my point. You help prove that in your own report of a terrible childhood.

My mother is on your friend’s list. Please refrain from saying she isn’t a “true” Christian. She is. She also believes that homosexuality is a sin, but recognizes that it is not her place as a Christian to legislate according to belief.

I’ve said nothing about your mother. She may have been a perfectly fine mother, for all I know. I was merely going by your report of your childhood. You claim that Christianity was some horrible, terrible thing that traumatized you. I said I disagree with that, but that if there was trauma, it did not come from true Christian teaching or behavior. Your report backs up my general point: backgrounds profoundly affect later life.

As I previously stated (Part I), Catholics don’t believe that homosexuality is a sin, but that homosexual sexual acts are sinful. The orientation itself is not.

As for the literal torture (on more than one occasion due to my sexuality) I endured at the hands of a fundamentalist Christian child care facility, not even that stopped me from espousing Christian beliefs as recently as a few years ago, although I went between attempts at belief in Christianity and my calling as a Satanic Magician since I was 13. I tried really hard to accept the Christian paradigm with the help of many good, healthy people. It simply doesn’t make sense to me.

Obviously, “torture” (whatever in the world they did to you) is not a Christian, loving behavior, so this again affirms my point. That was not without effect. You have an article linked on your page about how religion traumatizes children. I reply, “sure, corrupt, perverted, hypocritical religion does that. But a religion that models Jesus Christ in His behavior does not.”

Nor am I saying that there are no other factors in your atheism, or that you never thought it through: only that family background has an effect (environmental cause).

I don’t believe in sin, only harmful actions, of which neither orientation nor act of homosexuality count. Again, a difference in perceived morality. I don’t deny that you have right to feel however you want about anybody, for any reason. I deny your right to legislate my behavior and rights because of it.

We make such legislation all the time: that some people disagree with. Serial rapists don’t like anti-rape laws. Pedophiles don’t like laws against that. Heroin addicts are not enamored by laws against heroin; nor alcoholics by tough drunk driving standards. Burglars don’t like laws against their favored behavior.

It’s illegal to kill yourself or to destroy property. All these laws step on someone’s toes. Until recently, homosexual acts were actually illegal, and same-sex “marriage” was unthinkable.

Every law whatsoever is based on some moral assumption as to rightness and wrongness of this or that behavior. The proper observation is “whose morality is legislated?” Currently, radical secularism and sexual radicalism are ascendant in US jurisprudence (and have been for 50 years, since the Griswold case). This party has no problem imposing its morality on those of us who disagree with it. Now we have nuns forced to provide contraceptives or bakers forced to bake a cake for a “gay wedding,” etc.

Also, I was tortured for less than a year. It was not the first, not the last experience I had with Christians, and not typical of the Christians I have met.

I disagree with Christianity because the basic tenets of the religion are incorrect. That is a matter of science, and has nothing to do with my upbringing.

Then why did you write on your page on June 28th?:

I have endured many traumas, but it is so wonderful to see that there are others who understand that the way religion, particularly Christianity, affected me is not the least of why I am who I am -frightened, scared of and scared by life, . . . When you traumatize a child, the worst part for them is realizing, as an adult, that they will never know who they could have been without your interference . . .

This seems to contradict what you are saying now, because here you are saying that Christianity traumatized you and caused you serious misery. Yet now you are saying that all that has nothing to do with your rejection of Christianity and espousal of atheism? It seems to me that it clearly does.

It also doesn’t have anything to do with my stance on gay marriage, which is based on the equal treatment of all citizens under the law.

I hold by both positions. I was traumatized by Christians in the name of Christ, and in part because of my sexuality. That’s why I took as long as I did to reject it. I wanted to make extra sure I was rejecting the tenants of your faith, and not simply reacting to the way I was treated. I also tried the Catholic church as an adult, and got as far as the second rite of initiation. In the end I could not accept the idea of the divine nature of Jesus. It simply doesn’t make sense.

Fair enough. All I have argued was that upbringing is a major factor in one’s subsequent beliefs, not the only one. Nothing you have said about your beliefs or past contradicts that claim of mine in the least. And I say that you have said much to confirm it. We’re all affected by our upbringing. Mine certainly affected me, but I was much more religious than my parents, not much less, as in your case.

Equating homosexuality with pedophilia and rape is an old tactic. However, it has nothing to do with a consenting relationship between adults. I know that Christian morals were the basis of our laws for a long time. As the influence of Christianity and religion in general has dropped, our basis for legislation has also changed. What has not changed is the constant progress we have made on recognizing the rights of minority groups. It was also once illegal to marry outside of your race, with plenty of biblical precedent to back it up. That changed too, and is a much closer analogy to the prejudice experienced by homosexuals under the law until recently. I am so grateful that has changed.

I did no such thing. You are more or less continually not understanding the nature of my argument. I was giving many examples of laws that offend those who want to break them. I used pedophilia specifically because it’s one of the few sexual things upon which society still overwhelmingly agrees. It’s just about the last remaining “sexual sin” in this Utopia we now live in. When I said “serial rapist” I had in mind heterosexuals (the way that “rape” is usually envisioned: men raping women).

That has nothing whatsoever to do with saying all homosexuals are pedophiles. Please don’t project what others have said onto me. You also expected to be hated when you came onto this page, and that has not happened, either. We’re actually having a decent discussion.

The idea that homosexuality is a deviation from healthy human behavior in the same light as pedophilia (also a normal sexuality, but one without any evolutionary benefit, and therefore properly maintained as taboo) or rape is false. Homosexuality evolved as a way to up the number of healthy hunters vs. children in a primitive group. It increased the survivability of the group as a whole, and has many evolutionary benefits as a result. Rape is at best a primitive impulse to control and disseminate genes. These are not the same.

agree. I’m just making it very clear that it is not a point that I made. You only thought that I did, from misunderstanding the nature of my argument.

Again, in actuality, you reinforce my argument. I used pedophilia, because virtually everyone agrees that it is atrocious, evil, wicked behavior. You are now confirming that you agree with my premise. Thanks for backing up my argument once again!

I know how secularists think, because in most cases, I used to think in the same way (I was very liberal in every way imaginable). But secularists often don’t comprehend the way I am thinking. because (very often) they haven’t been in my shoes (as both an evangelical and a Catholic). One can still understand a view, never having held it, but it always helps to have personally once believed something, to better grasp it.

Now, back to the original post about being Transgender and the bravery that is a natural part of such an act of self-recognition. It takes incredible self awareness to become the person you know your are in the face of vocal bigotry. Caitylin Jenner being able to stand up and say she can’t lie to herself or the world another minute is incredibly brave. I am grateful to live in a country that recognizes the rights of people like us instead of the ostracism and marginalization that would be our fate in a Christian or Islamic theocracy.

I can agree that it is brave on one level, though gravely mistaken. It’s always an act of courage to go against a society that is largely against what you think.

Over time cannibalism causes kuru and will utterly destroy a society. It’s not a stable practice. As for your other points about Ancient Rome’s practice of infanticide, the Holocaust, etc. here is the thing—both of these were common practices in a number of societies. In fact, for most of human history the complete annihilation of your enemies, the rape of their women, and the enslavement of their children was the typical and normal outcome of war. This is in your Bible—“ But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.” That’s the Lord your God commanding mass murder, mass enslavement and mass rape. It is far from the only point in the Old Testament where this is said.

We as a society have evolved past that. We’ve decided it was wrong and immoral and that we shouldn’t do it. You see, feeling that something is morally and ethically wrong isn’t the same as saying that it is detrimental to society. America functioned perfectly well as a society despite chattel slavery being a thing. I don’t have to agree with something in order to acknowledge it as a trait that is normal (in the sense of that trait being something commonly found within multiple societies) or nondetrimental (in the sense that this trait being within a society does not prevent that society from succeeding).

Rome fell for a lot of reasons, most of which revolve around the inability of the Roman government to effectively police it’s empire due to political, economic, and religious changes. It didn’t fall because Roman citizens enjoyed having anal intercourse with each other. In the same sense, the Holocaust—while terrible and horrible in every way—was not special or unique in the history of warfare. In relation to the way war was fought for most of human history, it was “normal”. The sheer size of WW I and WW II were new, and the capability of communication we had developed was new—it was the first time housewives ten thousand miles away could see the effects of war with their own two eyes. That’s why it had and has the effect that it does. Not because it was somehow worse than what had come before.

Thus, by the same token, your examples prove nothing as to the fundamental question: what is gender?”

Yes, it does. My examples prove that successful societies the world over have developed, over the fullness of time, very different concepts of gender and sexuality thus showing that gender and sexuality are fluid social constructs. Homosexuality is natural and normal. It is natural in over 5,000 different species including human beings. Your moral and ethical judgement against it is your own viewpoint, not objective facts of the universe. So it is with your religion’s teachings regarding homosexuality—that is your religion’s teachings, and it doesn’t apply to anybody except those who choose to follow your religion.

As for my “radical” views on gender and sexuality, they really aren’t that radical. Not anymore. The generation coming up right now, the people who are 12 to 21 at this very moment, mostly agree with me on this. Scary, huh?

Even if it can be shown that same-sex marriage was and is present in many societies, this proves nothing ethically or morally, because morality isn’t derived from a mere head count.

In some societies same-sex marriage is considered morally and ethically wrong. In other societies it isn’t. In ancient Judea, the marriage contract put forth in the Bible is something of an ownership contract. It was in fact mostly secular; there was no official religious marriage ceremony until 1184 in the Christian faith. Marriage in the Bible is crazy – incest, polygamy, rape, beating your wife. These are all examples of marriage institutions in the Bible that are apparently approved of by God.

You can have the last word. This would obviously go on forever, as we agree on nothing besides: 1) the goodness of being charitable to those of different opinions, and 2) pedophilia, rape, and the Nazi Holocaust being wrong.

I could answer all the other stuff you bring up (already have in various papers, and these are standard, garden variety atheist arguments that all good apologists are acquainted with), but I don’t have unlimited time, and can’t do everything at once.

I’m delighted that we can talk in a civil fashion. Thanks for your thoughts. We agree on little, but you are eloquent and passionate, and I admire those qualities.

 

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