Clarity of thought

pretending to be a journalWhat is going on here? Just look at that cover: it mimics an academic journal so well! I can dismiss it, of course: it is the journal for “Biblical manhood and womanhood”, but there is no such thing, and its writers believe the Bible is consistent, when it is not; but what do they imagine they are doing?

I start with “Biblical manhood and womanhood”. The Bible affirms examples as diverse as the man carrying a water-jar- Peterson Toscano suggested that this was such exclusively female behaviour, shameful for a man, that she was a trans woman; David, collecting wives by conquest and murder; Junia the apostle, and Mary and Martha, so there is clearly an acceptance in the Bible of a wide diversity of gender expression. A quick Google of “Junia the Apostle” reveals hordes of silly Evangelicals trying to weasel round her clear leadership role. So much for that.

Here is an “essay” by a “professor of ethics”, forsooth, affirming “biblical sexuality” (see above) but also asserting that “transgendered people undermine the public agenda of the LGBT movement”. Oh, Professor? How? He alleges that a trans woman’s conformity to female gender norms undermines the LGBT narrative regarding gender that any gender roles evident in society are the result of outdated cultural stereotypes.

This is merely silly. Arguably the word “feminine” has some meaning, though there are men more feminine than most women, and women more masculine than most men- even some who are cisgendered. I am feminine. If you accept the word “feminine” has any meaning, then “feminine” roles are for “feminine” people, whether men or women. TERFs assert that trans women reinforce gender roles by asserting that we are women, but so what? I am clearly subverting everything my upbringing and society says about gender roles, because my society formed me to be a man.

However it is silly in a different way from fools who say “God did not make Adam and Steve”. It is an essay of several thousand words, with a clear argument and examples, and even though anyone who knows anything about it will immediately see it is worthless, the writer and most subscribers will not. They will accept its academic pretensions, and may even squirrel away its arguments so that they can repeat them for comfort when their false world-view is threatened.

I am grateful that Evan Lenow states some of the arguments he attacks. Mandatory celibacy corrodes gay Christians’ capacity for relationship in general. But it does something else equally harmful: by requiring gay Christians to view all their sexual desires as temptations to sin, it causes many of them to devalue, if not loathe, their bodies. That might get through to his readers.

However reasonable the essay appears, I am tempted to reply to it not with a reasoned refutation but with an angry expression of emotion- Pah! Or Pshaw! if I am feeling particularly Victorian. An emotional response is too little valued in intellectual society. JBMW needs more than the appearance of argument to be worthy of anything else.

John Lavery, Anna Pavlova in part

2 thoughts on “Clarity of thought

  1. This is so interesting! So many topics I’d never heard of before, let alone given any serious thought. That quick Google search of Junia (I’d never heard of her before) just brought up sooooo many questions. Thanks for posting!!

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    • Thanks, Ducs. It is one verse- and what could “Prominent among the Apostles” mean? Some, much later, thought it so impossible that a woman could be an apostle that they twisted her name to “Junias”.

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