As a new feature on ACL, we want you to have a voice. So we are providing a summary of one section from our latest podcast and want to hear from you; are we on track or did we miss something? In this weeks podcast, we answer a question from friend of the show, Tony Vance (@TonyVance1966), “Are transgender issues worth fighting?”

Gene: The issues at hand affect large groups and in a sense, we didn’t pick the fight but we are faced with it. Because this issue is before us, we owe it to the world to share the truth which will naturally conflict with other worldviews. In that way, it’s not a fight worth fighting but it is an issue worth educating even at the cost of conflict.

Nate: The ‘who’ in the fight should be referenced to the church. The church doesn’t need to advocate legislative change but we can see biblical models (specifically Acts) of the church speaking up against moral issues based on their personal convictions.

Anything that is a clear sin is a clear position for the church to stand in opposition

Logan: Any issue which contains moral implications are worth fighting. We aren’t fighting transgenders we are fighting the morality of transgender issues. The church has an obligations to stand up for the source of morality and the more we ignore it the more it grows.


Who do you agree with? What are your thoughts? Should the church stand in opposition of transgender issues? Leave comments below.

33 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Guys

    As Christians, we are in a war, of course not against flesh and blood, but we are fighting a spiritual war. I live by this statement: ” All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” – Edmund Burke. Because Christians are largely passive, hoping that the problem will go away by itself we find society in the sick state that it is in now. We live in a world of sin and evil has always been around but it is getting worse and worse.

    I agree with Gene that we did not pick this fight but that we are in it, and that we must share the truth even if it brings conflict, but I disagree with him that it is not a fight worth fighting in the sense that it is just one more thing we Christians disagree on in comparison to other worldviews. We have to fight this fight because there are huge implications if we don’t. This is not just a worldview issue (and I am still recovering from the shock that it should be any kind of issue at all) but it is also a practical issue especially for women having to put up with men coming to their restrooms for example. The situation is so absurd, that I believe not only Christians are upset by this but people having other worldviews as well.

    Nate’s viewpoint is difficult for me in the sense that he doesn’t believe that the church needs to advocate legislative change but simply speak up against moral issues that we disagree with. I am not sure that this will bring about the needed change although speaking up is better than doing nothing!! Christians spoke up against homosexuality but homosexual couples can get married and it is taught in our schools as normal. If the laws doesn’t change, the situation doesn’t. In my opinion, this seems like a “weak action” to me in the face of the severity of this crisis.

    Logan’s viewpoint resonates most with me and I completely agree with his viewpoint. I believe the church should stand in opposition to these issues. I believe we fight these issues through speaking up, praying with all our might and by advocating legislative change.

    • Thanks for the comment, Jana! Wow, I realize now that I didn’t articulate my position as clearly as I thought. I actually do agree with the idea that church and parachurch organizations should be able to advocate for legislation. Just didn’t say that very well in the episode. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify!

    • Hi Atheiststormtrooper

      I thought about your question. I guess for me the answer is yes, because God says so. In our Bible, it is written that God created us male and female. One of the good reasons for there having to be a male and female is for reproduction. Male and female were created in a way that makes us fit together perfectly. So from my viewpoint, God created everything in such a way that it makes sense and there is order and purpose to the way things are. When we move away from this order, there is chaos and unhappiness.

      But God is also the reason for there being any morality at all. No God, no morality. If there is no God, then everything is permissible and there is no wrong or right because there are no standards for determining what is wrong or right. Not only is there a standard, but we will also be held accountable for our decisions. I can’t say if I would have felt different about this subject if I were an atheist because I am not one, but I can understand why an atheist might see this as a non issue.

      • Thanks for the reply. If god created everything so it makes sense and has purpose, why create people who are homosexual or transgender? If there is no god-given morality, would you be running around stealing and murdering?

        • God did not create people as homosexual or transgender. Neither did God create people as robbers and adulterers. Because of sin and evil in the world things became twisted and each person struggles with his own weaknesses. For someone it may be homosexuality, but someone else may struggle with constant lying and stealing. The problem here is not that these people were created in the first place but the problem is sin. God addressed the problem of sin and evil when Jesus died on the cross in our place. Because we were born in sin we all wrestle against sinful desires but that does not mean that we should give into them when we are Christians. We were all created with a will and we have choices to make for or against God and His ways.

          If there was no God-given morality who knows what I would be running around doing!! I struggle with sinful thoughts and desires WITH a God-given morality!! No God, no standard or ultimate accountability to a Higher Person. I may have some run ins with the authorities but who says they are right and I am wrong? If I murder someone and I truly believe that it was justified, who are they to say that it is wrong? According to what/whose standard? Is wrong or right determined by the majority? In my country South Africa, the majority believed that Apartheid is right and in Nazi Germany the majority believed that Jews are less than human and look what happened. Without God-given morality, whether I am a good person or a bad person does not make one bit of a difference and whose to judge anyway?

          • I’m glad you believe in god since thats all that is keeping you from doing horrible things, apparently. Comparing sexuality to being a robber is silly and not even remotely similar. Did you choose to be heterosexual? Was there a point in your life when you thoughtfully considered, “Should I be sexually attracted to women or men?” If either of those answers are no, then why would you imagine anyone choosing to be homosexual if you didn’t choose to be heterosexual?

          • I am not comparing sexuality to being a robber but homosexuality. The reason for this is both is sin in God’s eyes. I did not choose to be heterosexual but since this is how God intended it, I was created that way. Why would God create people transgender or homosexual and then call it wrong? Because this is clearly what the Bible states no matter how people try to reinterpret or bend it and last time I checked, God does not have a split personality. I do believe that people who are homosexual can struggle with very strong desires as far as this is concerned, just as I can struggle with very strong desires that are wrong. I believe there is a difference between having desires (which is not yet sin) and acting on the desires (which is sin).

          • So homo”sexuality” isn’t related to sexuality? You know that sounds ridiculous considering the same word is in there. You’re asking the right questions. Why would god create something then call it wrong? That doesn’t make sense. Didn’t god create everything? Does anything happen that isn’t part of his grand plan?

          • The bible isn’t exactly a great moral guide. God committed global genocide and ordered the murder of numerous peoples. The bible has rules for legal slavery and rape. It calls for the murder of homosexuals. If thats your moral compass then I’m glad you’re in another country.

          • Atheiststormtrooper, I’m afraid you’re mistaken as to what mamabear100 is saying. What I believe is trying to be conveyed is that atheism has no objective, absolute grounds for understanding what is moral and immoral, right and wrong. Now, while atheists may adhere to moral code without believing God is the source of said moral code, they ultimately have no alternative for what is absolutely, inherently, objectively moral. You can “be good without beleving in God” but without a God, “good” would be nothing more than subjective opinion.

            As for the “genocide argument” I would like to ask you if there is anything inherently morally wrong or unjust with genocide. For example, if we have two Blorps, male and female, last of their kind, and they as moral agents choose to slaughter an entire nation of humans, with intent on wiping humanity from the earth, would it be just for them to be punished for their crimes? Absolutely! In fact, as they’re too dangerous, it would be ridiculous to try to keep them alive. So there’s nothing wrong with “genocide” in and of itself, so long as it has justification, just as there is a difference between “killing” and “murdering”

            As for the Canaanites, they were a race known as the Amalekites or Nephilim. They were an unholy race, half-breeds of human and fallen angels. They were not supposed to exist in the first place, and I see nothing “immoral” about God destroying the abominable beings and justly punishing them for their heinous practices, including child sacrifice. Many atheists complain about God’s “complacence” due to the evil in the world, yet when God puts a stop to it, they complain about cruelty.

            As for the remainder of the Law, with further study, these “allowances of rape and slavery” disappear once understood within the culture and context of the Law. Honestly, I know not what you refer to with the rape portion, but “slavery” in biblical context is better understood as “bondservanthood” This is not ownership of an individual, more of an employee/employer relationship.

            Further, “murder” is defined as one man raising his hand against another without just cause, whereas the death penalty established for homosexual acts was to be done by the governing authorities in a civil manner. Even further, this was a part of the Law God gave to HIS PEOPLE whom He had established a COVENANT with, meaning they had their end of the bargain, and God had His. This isn’t to say that God is passive towards homosexuality today, I just find it strange to judge the entirety of the character of God based upon a contract he made with some people thousands of years ago, seeing as how, without the Old Covenant, Jesus could not have been able to fulfill it to make the New Covenant.

            Those are my ranting thoughts, feel free to quote me anytime. Cheers!

          • I love how you so easily accept murder and violence as long as your god says its ok. Terrifying. If you can buy and sell a person, thats slavery. If you have sex with a woman against her will, thats rape. You claim a universal unchanging god given morality but clearly its changed significantly since the good old days of the OT. “Nothing wrong with genocide”. Just “wow” on that one.

          • A common objection to Christianity is the problem of evil and yet when God actually does bring judgment and do something about the evil then that is not good enough either. You seem to despise me because God is the only thing keeping me from doing horrible things but the truth is this is the true state of human nature without God. Atheists can not be good without God either because any sense that you have regarding wrong or right comes from Him. He has written His laws on your heart. I would like to know how you can judge God’s actions as immoral and judge the things that I could have done without God as horrible without there being any real moral objective truth? What standard are you using? Why should you be right and I wrong?

            I can not give a full answer to what you said above about God committing global genocide and the Bible regarding slavery and rape because I would have to write you an essay then. A lot has been said about it already and I am sure if you look around on Clear Lens you will find something on that. There are some answers though and I want to encourage you to find it.

          • Right and wrong is absolutely subjective. My sense of it comes from my parents, laws, social rules and my own opinion. I know killing someone is wrong because it causes harm. I know killing someone to protect another is right because it prevents harm. I don’t need an invisible fiend to tell me that. Do you believe slavery, rape and genocide are acceptable now? If it was fine then, why not now?

          • Earlier you said, “I love how you so easily accept murder and violence as long as your god says its ok. Terrifying.” Then you said, “Right and wrong is absolutely subjective.” AST, genuine question: Is it that you honestly don’t know how incoherent your comments are is or that you know your view is contradictory and are just saying whatever it takes to “win” this conversation?

          • What is incoherent about it? You accept violence and murder if your god says its ok. Right and wrong is subjective. Those statements are written in plain language and don’t contradict each other. You’re simply making personal slights to color my statements in a negative manner.

          • Ok so you honestly don’t know. AST, look at your entire premise. God is a “fiend” for endorsing murder and rape (both of which you misunderstand in the Scripture). Your explicit comments rest on your implicit claim that it is objectively wrong for God to do such a thing (or else why come on here and scold everyone?). Then you say, “Right and wrong is subjective.” In other words you just said, “Right and wrong is like how chocolate ice cream is the best flavor.” Your claim that morality is subjective now means that you’re getting upset with other folks because they don’t agree that chocolate ice cream is the best flavor. This is what others have been saying to you on this site for a while now. You have just undercut the entire basis for your outrage. So if you want to get upset with the rest of us then you need to bite the bullet and acknowledge that morality is objective. And if it’s objective then you need a standard upon which to base your claims. Either way, it would be in your best interest to snipe less and listen more. Your conversations will become much more productive.

          • Your condescending attitude must make Jesus proud. I never said god murdering people was objectively wrong. Based on my morality, murdering almost an entire planet of people because they disobeyed your rules is bad. Your morality says its good. Its clearly subjective. Yes, I am allowed to be critical of other’s morality. I’m allowed to disagree and voice that opinion. Acknowledging that opinions are subjective doesn’t make them inconsequential. People argue and entire countries go to war all the time based on subjective opinions. I’ ll determine whats in my best interest, thank you.

          • Hey storm,

            Let’s take a step back. The accusery tone is not going to sit well and may I respectfully remind you, this is our site–you are a guest in our home. Someone we invite to share perspectives and challenge or views and respectfully allow us to challenge yours. In this way we, as people, learn respectfully. This happens on both sides. Not many months ago I pulled a piece I really enjoyed writing because my opinion was wrong. It’s one of the reasons I,personally, engage in so many comments.

            With that said, you are welcome to a perspective but not welcome to call names or be disrespectful. You are allowed to leave having not had your mind or our minds changed.

            As it relates to subjective morality, the issue isn’t your perspective it’s on your application of it. How can we be expected to share a moral standard that you received from your parents? None of us had that opportunity. Would you care to share their wisdom? If possible, can you share how they got their morality? As it is likely to turn out, Christian morality is a foundational perspective (written on it hearts as mommabear100 shared earlier).

            I would challenge you to really investigate what and where your morality comes from. Not just what your morals are but why are they that way? Is there any reason why you would go against your morals in support of a higher morality? For example, if your morals involve not killing, would you kill a killer if he was threatening your family? Moreover, if you are willing (under extreme circumstances) to make exceptions, why can’t others? Or, if your not willing (ever), how do you think the world would look of everyone had your perspective (would anyone have stopped Staton, Hitler, Dahmer?).

            Morality is a highly complex topic and not so easily dismissed as the way you present it.

            Therefore, let me encourage you to take to heart your invitation to participate. It is extended as friend but the courtesy is expected in return. Do you care to dialog or will you continue slander?

          • AST, for examples of condescension, I refer you back to everything you’ve said on this site. You still don’t see how incoherent (and hypocritical) it is to defend yourself by saying, “I’ll determine whats in my best interest, thank you” and then ridiculing others for doing what’s in theirs. Instead of acknowledging your error and seeking to correct it, you’ve clearly chosen to double down on it. This is unfortunate. There are a number of careful thinking atheists (Ed Zavada is a perfect example) who are genuinely seeking truth and looking to engage people with different views in order to reflect and persuade. You are nowhere close to being this kind of atheist.

            Don’t bother writing back. You’ve proven that you’re not interested in seeking truth.

          • ATS can you say one thing without straw-manning someone? Nate is only demonstrating the fact that your reading against God ‘s alleged cruelty is simply self-defeating. If you’re mad at God for having a different morality than you, what makes your morality “better” than God’s?

            Further, if morality is subjective, why doesn’t “might make right?” If I can dominate others with force, why doesn’t my morality go? What makes it wrong for a psychopath to murder if he genuinely finds it acceptable? What about rape and child molestation? Surely, if one’s opinion defines their morality, why care what anyone else thinks? And who are you to say we’re wrong in “forcing” morality on anyone?

            On a subjective morality, nobody is wrong because everyone has an opinion.

          • I answered you… on Eli’s post. Sorry about that, I am struggling to wake up today!! Just read a bit further down 🙂

      • Eh…I would disagree with you mamabear100. You’re breaching the Euthyphro Dilemma (does God decide what is good, or does God acknowledge a higher moral standard?), and the either/or answer is simply mistaken.

        God bases morality not on what He decides, but instead on how He is. Most people think sin is “doing the dont’s” but this isn’t the case. Sin is simply the deviance of creation from God’s intent for creation. God created us for heterosexual, monogamous relationships, and when we deviate, we sin. God created us to have relationship with Him, and when we don’t, we sin.

        I think you touched on it briefly, but I want to emphasize on it. Think of it less like God’s opinion versus our own opinion of morality, it’s more like God creating a perfect system and us trying to change it, yet our efforts to change it only break the system and make it worse. Of course, no analogy is perfect, reality is more than a machine, but morality isn’t because “God says so”

  2. The problem in our culture, in my opinion, is that we are in the Laodecian age. The Church has grown weak, stagnant, and passive. She needs to burn for Christ again. Further, it would seem to me that allowing or condoning anti-Christian beliefs and actions while simultaneously trying to raise godly children is hypocritical at best. This is most certainly not an issue we need to sit down on.

    In light of all three views, I think all are correct to their own extent. It isn’t the responsibility of the church to make legislative change, but it is our place as the Church to fight for cultural change. We should educate others as to the Gospel and who God is and what He stands for, but we should also tear down actions and thoughts that exalt themselves over God. We should stand up and not back down on our moral convictions, and be aggressive in fighting for our beliefs, but also be respectful with it. There’s a time and season fro everything.

    We have our work cut out for us, but we aren’t the ones doing the heavy lifting. Keep sowing, fight for the Truth, but do so gently. Wise as serpents, harmless as doves.

  3. Wow, a lot of really great discussion. I came into this topic with an altogether different perspective from Gene, Nate, and Logan; I do not think the transgender issue is worth fighting. I agree with Eli, our culture is not on fire for God, but I disagree that the fire of God should manifest itself as hatred, which is the image the church has.

    That is not to say we should condone transgender issues or any immorality, but is to say publicly calling a boycott may not be the best way. Not baking a cake may not be the best way. Not issuing a state licences may not be the best way. Surely, we as Christians can find a better way to be morale agents than by agents of castration of an already hurting people group. I think of the story of the prodigal son. The father new the boy would squander his life and anxiously waited for his return. The dad didn’t say ‘No’, he allowed his transgression which made the feast that much better when he returned.

    These are my thoughts, what do you all think?

    Also, Mommabear100, thanks for sending atheiststormtrooper to look around ACL! Logan’s most recent post on morality is a great start https://clearlens.org/2016/04/21/villain-philosophy-102-lex-luthor-and-subjective-morality/ and Nate shared an awesome video https://clearlens.org/2016/02/08/where-do-good-and-evil-come-from/

    Really enjoying the comments here. Thanks everyone!! Keep it up. 🙂

    • Hi Roger

      As far as the Target boycott is concerned, I think that was a good thing. We should not just think of (as you put it) the hurting people group, but about other people that could get hurt as well. Women and children are very vulnerable and rape in such bathrooms is a definite possibility. I don’t think that Christians are the only people group upset by this. Why should the hurt of a few people be considered above the damage that could be done to a larger people group? I can only imagine taking my girls to a bathroom and there are men in there. What will I tell them and how will I explain this? I personally feel that this kind of absurdity has gone way too far and severe action needs to be taken. I think it is working, because Target’s stock prices already dropped. Maybe if they are put under enough pressure this madness can stop.

      As far as baking the cakes is concerned, I would not have done it either. But then again I still have trouble knowing how to deal with this. You made a good point about the prodigal son. Maybe I don’t have this grace thing down yet :). I think Christians are just very careful to not show any kind of support for this lifestyle and baking the cake might let people think that we are ok with this.

      When my husband and I got married, the elders in my church did not want to marry us because my husband is an atheist and the Bible says that we should not be unequally yoked. I fully understand where they came from although it hurt. If my husband wasn’t the kind of person that he is there was a big chance that it would not have worked out. So again, the issue comes up about whether we should still practically support people that does things we know to be wrong or not. I really struggle with this one. Maybe we should act according to context of the situation?

      • Great stuff mommabear100!
        First, you caught me. I definitely don’t want to downplay target and the safety of women and children; my family (with 4 young kiddos) are “boycotting”,too. My point wasn’t to support target. My point was, is publically chastising them the way to go? I think a boycott may be right and needed, but we’ve done so much harm up to this point my I think my compassion meter may be skewed.

        If I can use your story for example. How much different is a church that instead of saying “we didn’t want to marry you because the bible says….” Compared to a church that says, “the bible says,…., and therefore what your asking (this marriage) is going to be difficult. Would you mind if we add a few extra weeks of discussion just to make sure your hearts are ready for what you will likely face in the future?” I think both methods adhere biblically sound, but only 1 gets to the heart. So while I don’t know what was said to you and your husband, if what they said hurt you, I can only imagine how much more it drove a wedge between an atheist and the church. Similarly, how much more a public debacle like boycott target, no bake cakes, and marriage licenses have driven a wedge between LGBT (people) and Jesus. Because quite frankly, as much as I think we’re doing the right thing, I think we’re doing it wrong.

        I guess I’m trying to say, currently the church is seen as “against” a lot of stuff because of the way we’re going about fighting the culture, but we’re not seen to be “for” anything. When I think of Jesus, I think of a guy who cared about helping people more than following rules. So when it came time to draw a line in the sand, there was no question the fight was between God and man/good and evil. And if I could go so far to say, it was the church the killed Jesus, not the government.

        PS I love your heart. Seeing the things you’ve said and knowing the questions you’ve raised her and elsewhere, you’re heart and compassion is clearly full of grace and love. I have the greatest respect for you. Continue loving and praying for your husband ; we will, too.

  4. Thank you Roger 🙂 what you said definitely got to my heart! (Not just the good part but also the challenging part). I have always been very black and white wrong or right. There is a saying that we should rather err on the side of grace right? I think I need to read a couple of books on engaging culture I guess. The “how” seems to be important. Any suggestions maybe?

    • Yes! I love the book, “The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules” by Carolyn Curtis James. It’s written for women (specifically women’s bible study) but the applications are great.

      And just so I’m not misrepresenting myself, I’m learning this process, too. Another benefit of this type of discussion is finding these moments to challenge us to be better at what we are called to.

      Let me know how you like the book and let’s keep growing together.

  5. So, this issue sure got lots of traction (*self congralatory pat on back self administered-thank you*). For the orginal question, which was nicely parsed by the boys on ACL-PODCAST. Much of what has been said in relation to the issue is very true, we must and should defend truth, morality, and safety.

    But…as wise Roger Browning has alluded to (though I wonder if he is crawdaddying;) now) the issues of bathrooms is not a big deal-which ever side of the fence you sit. I wonder how many incidents of exploding bladders have been documented of trans-whatevers (because we have trans-species now too) in the last 200 years+ of our nation’s existence? Christian, we have bigger fish to fry (see I went MATT 4:19 there) in these debates. If it is just using the bathroom, sir/madam/creature go ahead…I’m cool with you pooing where you are comfortable. This is not to make light of the perverts , pedophilies, and generally stupid stunts, that potentially can happen.

    I think we must speak to the heart of the culture-sin is a real problem, the mind of our fellow man-crushed by the noetic effect, and the soul of people-dead in trespasses and sins. When people are brought into a proper alignment with reality much of these issues are negligible. All the while recognizing that living in a pluralistic society brings some hard issues to bear (and bathrooms just ain’t one of them).
    TONY VANCE

  6. We are fighting all the branches of the tree (fighting all the hundreds of little wrong battles) instead of fighting or addressing the one main thing which is the root (sin)? “When people are brought into a proper alignment with reality much of these issues are negligible”. Interesting answer Tony!

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