Jon Noyes discusses the roles that identity, authority, and ever-changing morality play in today’s secular world.
At the very foundation of what people are calling the gender revolution is the idea that that we create our own reality. There are no objective standards, and this includes no objective reality or standards of sexuality and gender. This leads to the inability of very intelligent people to be able to answer very simple questions like “What is a woman?”
There’s one reality, friends, and we all live in it, and we have to live according to the way that the world has been set up. Reality is the way the world really is. Notice something, that when we get rid of the objective standards, we also get rid of the need to justify any action, and then when we become the standard—when we ourselves become the standard—we create our own reality, and we don’t need a justification for anything outside of our own personal preferences or feelings.
There are two significant issues we’re confronted with in this whole conversation. The first issue we’ve got to be concerned with is this all has to do with identity, and the second has to do with authority.
When we’re the standard of all things, people define who they are according to who they believe they are. It’s completely subjective, and it’s ever changing. This is why conversations quickly get heated, ideas are labeled “hate,” and failing to completely accept and encourage someone’s behavior, or even just their ideas, can be taken as failing to love the person or actively hating them.
The solution to this is the gospel, friends. The gospel is the great equalizer on both ends. One, we’re all made in the image of God. Two, we’re all sinners. We’re all broken. So, it places dignity on the person—we’re all made in the image of God—but it also shows that we’re all broken and sinful.
As Christians, when we move into the conversation, we can have compassion, understanding that we all get stuff wrong. We’re all fallen and broken apart from the grace of God. We’re all confused, but when we hang our identity on anything other than being children of God, we suffer. We suffer confusion and ultimately fail and fall.
Today, instead of the gospel, people are more concerned about being accepted by the world around them and identifying themselves according to their brokenness. Clarity on this issue will only come as the people of God help others understand what it means to have been designed by a Creator with a purpose, and then to be saved by that Creator, and this is where we place our identity. This is where we place our hope. This is where we place our satisfaction, our contentment, and our happiness.
But the question is this: Is there an objective reality that lends understanding to what a woman really is? Of course, there is. People, in an effort to bend reality to their own subjective proclivities, are willing to say literally anything in pursuit of their own ideologies. Once we stop believing in the big picture—God—it’s not that we won’t believe in anything; it’s that we’ll believe anything.
Why is this? Well, this has to do with the second significant issue we’re confronted with: authority. So, identity and now authority. People don’t want to be obligated to anything or anyone outside of themselves. For the Christian, God’s Word has ultimate authority in our lives. Our beliefs and actions are shaped by what the Bible teaches, and of course, this isn’t true of society. Culture is governed by the ever-changing whims of the self and the slippery slope of relativism.
This is where we should really try to bring the conversation. We should try to bring everything back to this question: Is there a standard outside of ourselves? Is there a standard we’re conforming ourselves to? And this is the more important question than even “What is a woman?” The answer to this question will inform that question.
I think there’s a lot of confusion in the culture today, and I think a lot of people don’t think it makes sense to even attach any type of moral significance to the issues related to gender or the issues related to sexuality or identity in general because they don’t understand that we’re accountable to someone outside of ourselves with respect to these things. Remember, we’re not completely autonomous beings. “You do you” doesn’t work. But that’s the mantra of the day. That’s what’s carried out. People think that we’re completely autonomous. We make our own way, and we do us, and then we don’t worry about the consequences. That’s not true. We’re accountable to something higher, and, in my opinion, if we’re going to have conversations with people about what a woman is or anything related to the gender revolution, we should also be pointing to something bigger, and it might actually be more productive that way.