Rejecting Your Maker Means Rejecting Your True Identity
Baskin-Robbins was my go-to place for ice cream when I was a kid. At the time, they boasted “31 flavors.” With that many options, I was sure to find one that would satisfy my craving.
Though it makes sense to choose your favorite flavor of ice cream, it seems strange to take this approach when figuring out whether you’re a man or a woman. Not long ago, that aspect of who you are wasn’t decided, but discovered. You were born either male or female and grew up to be either a man or a woman.
Not so today. Planned Parenthood (known for their abortion advocacy), recently posted pictures of over a dozen flags they claim represent “different [gender] identities” within the LGBT community. Not to be outdone, Northwestern University’s THRIVE Program created a graphic that names 40 gender identities. They claim these options allow different members of the LGBT community “to feel seen, heard, and celebrated.”
An Identity Vacuum Begs to be Filled
Although many factors probably play a role, the emergence of these “identities” is not surprising. Society has jettisoned belief in God. When you reject your Maker, you reject the one who establishes your identity. People, though, naturally want to belong. They crave to connect with a community of people who share their values and feelings. With the Maker gone, there’s an identity vacuum that begs for a new way to view oneself. It makes sense that the concept of gender identity was born. There’s a potentially endless offering of identities.
With no external Maker to tell them who they are, people look internally. Often, they tap into their inner thoughts and feelings in an attempt to create their own identity. They’re basing their identity on their internal experience, an approach that is fraught with problems.
Thoughts and Feelings Constantly Change
First, it presumes your inner thoughts are a reliable source for determining your identity. Everyone knows that thoughts and feelings change. What you experience one day can differ tomorrow, next month, or next year. If you base your identity on your internal experience, your identity will change on a regular basis.
Singer and actress Demi Lovato dated multiple men as a young adult but declared herself queer in 2020 and then pansexual in 2021. The next year, she claimed she was non-binary and changed her pronouns to they/them. Most recently, she’s returned to using she/her pronouns because she claims she’s been “feeling” more feminine lately. That’s at least three different gender identities, and she’s only 30 years old.
But why think your internal states determine your identity? Of all the aspects of a person, why ground identity in an abstract and ever-changing component? That’s why the body is meant to signal one’s identity. After all, if you ground identity in your body, then it’s hard to mistake what sex you are and impossible for it to change over time. This allows your identity to endure. You remain the same no matter how you feel or how you express yourself.
Identity Endures as an Objective Reality
Second, it presumes your identity is a matter of choice, not an objective reality. Choosing an ice cream flavor is a matter of preference — just pick what you like. Today you might want Oreo cookie ice cream, but next month it might be mint chocolate chip. There’s no problem with changing your favorite flavor because it is your prerogative to choose what ice cream you eat.
Identity should not be chosen, though. Modern gender theory wrongly bifurcates gender identity from your biological sex and grounds a person’s identity in the former. By doing so, identity becomes something decided upon by each individual based on an internal feeling.
If identity is an enduring part of who you are, then leaving it up to a personal decision is problematic. People end up identifying as one or more of dozens of possible identities based on how they feel inside. It becomes a subjective exercise. We allow children to do that when they role-play. They might pretend to be a pirate, prince, or princess. We recognize they might feel the internal bravery of a prince, but everyone knows they are not objectively a prince.
That doesn’t mean you won’t have different feelings, different preferences, or choose to express yourself differently than others of the same sex. That’s what makes you unique. Your status as a man or a woman, though, doesn’t change with varying internal states. Who you are is an objective reality and not subject to whim.
Enticed to “Be Like God”
Third, it presumes you are like God. You’re not the Creator, though. You didn’t make you. Determining who you are is, frankly, above your pay grade. If you create something yourself, you have full knowledge of the process, the materials, and the purpose of what you made. That’s when you can decide its identity.
Mere mortals shouldn’t take the role of the divine. Since the Creator creates the creature, it’s his prerogative to decide his creation’s identity. Transgender ideology subverts the role of the Maker by allowing the creature to determine its identity.
Although gender identity is a new concept, the core principle at play is nothing new. Since the Fall, humans have rejected their Maker because the Enemy instilled in our mind an ancient doubt: “Has God said?” (Gen. 3:1). Like Adam and Eve, we have been enticed to “be like God” (Gen. 3:5), a seductive lie intended to supplant God with ourselves. Modern gender ideology is only the latest flavor of that kind of deception.
Our Maker, though, knows best. He not only made us; he loves us. That’s why we can trust him and ground our identity in him.
Alan Shlemon is an author and speaker for Stand to Reason. He trains Christians to share their convictions in a persuasive, yet gracious manner. He has been a guest on both radio and television, and has spoken to thousands of adults and students across the country at churches, conferences, and college campuses.