Many Christians consider James Lindsay an expert on Cultural Marxism and reading the culture war. Last week, Evangelical Dark Web reported that James Lindsay was using a Queer Theory tactic, attacking Christians as “homophobic” for rejecting his synthesis of accepting homosexuality into the mainstream. Additionally, we raised the issue of Michael O’Fallon’s sordid gain for monetizing James Lindsay’s anti-Christian content. Taking a deeper dive into the Social Justice Encyclopedia of James Lindsay and Michael O’Fallon’s joint venture, it would appear that the two go woke on the issue of gender.
It’s necessary at this time to establish what the biblical view of gender is. The 1828 Webster’s American Dictionary defines gender is synonymous with sex.
GEN’DER, noun [Latin genus, from geno, gigno; Gr.to beget, or to be born; Eng. kind. Gr. a woman, a wife; Sans. gena, a wife, and genaga, a father. We have begin from the same root. See Begin and Can.]
1. Properly, kind; sort.
2. A sex, male or female. Hence,
3. In grammar, a difference in words to express distinction of sex; usually a difference of termination in nouns, adjectives and participles, to express the distinction of male and female. But although this was the original design of different terminations, yet in the progress of language, other words having no relation to one sex or the other, came to have genders assigned them by custom. Words expressing males are said to be of the masculine gender; those expressing females, of the feminine gender; and in some languages, words expressing things having no sex, are of the neuter or neither gender
GEN’DER, verb transitive To beget; but engender is more generally used.
GEN’DER, verb intransitive To copulate; to breed. Leviticus 19:19.
Our usage of “gender” today has strayed far from this understanding due to feminism and emerging gender theory. But you’ll notice that these “anti-woke” liberal’s worldviews are post WWII constructions.
On New Discourses, gender is made distinct from sex, rather than interchangeable. Their so-called “Social Justice Encyclopedia” contains a list of terms explaining the Social Justice usage prior to providing New Discourses’ commentary. As these pages have no bylines, it is entire fair to yoke O’Fallon to what is likely Lindsay’s writing, as evident by the self-referential material.
After positing that the Critical Theorists view gender as entirely a social construct (thesis), New Discourses turns to the opposing view, that gender is determined soley by sex (antithesis), and brokers a middle ground (synthesis) whereby biology a mere contributing factor to gender.
The relevant question about gender is why gender expressions as social constructions are the ways they are. Gender studies, thus Critical Social Justice Theory, has only one (mostly wrong) answer to this: socialization into a system of power that perpetuates social inequalities and dynamics of dominance and oppression. In reality, it is very likely that human beings evolved tendencies (which need not be hard and fast) to maintain certain intuitions about what it means to be male and what it means to be female because of the vastly different roles the two sexes would have needed to occupy for most of humanity’s pre-technological history. These sorts of ideas are usually explored by the field of evolutionary psychology, which has its own severe limitations, but is considered extremely problematic by the Theory of Critical Social Justice because it hypothesizes that men and women are likely to have evolved to be somewhat psychologically different, at least on average. Similar disdain is offered to biological explanations that appeal to hormone levels and their effects on both development and behavior (despite the fact that hormone treatment is considered an essential part of gender-affirming, formerly gender reassignment, formerly gender transitioning, formerly sex change protocols, and the testimonies of the lived experiences of trans people, both psychologically and physiologically, are quite intense regarding the significance of their influence). [Emphasis added]
The entire basis for disagreement between James Lindsay’s view and the wokest view is that the more woke view is not accommodating enough to Darwinian Evolution.
Nevertheless, it seems exceedingly clear that some relationship exists between sex and gender, though it is not entirely clear what that relationship is. Accordingly, a number of different perspectives exist to try to explain this relationship. These are taken more or less seriously. For example, the arch-nemesis view to that of gender Theory would be sex essentialism (see also, biological essentialism), which would more or less posit that gender is a direct consequence of biology and thus there is no meaningful difference between sex and gender at all (and, in more extreme interpretations, any such disagreement is best attributed to mental illness). This view is also unlikely to be correct and is accordingly becoming quite uncommon and viewed increasingly as antiquated and even sexist or misogynistic (not wholly unfairly).
James Lindsay then denies that sex and gender are interchangeable terms, as was commonly understood 200 years ago. This would be the biblical notion of gender, that it is indistinguishable from sex outside of language. Yet New Discourses falt out denies this biblical reality. Linking his own material, Lindsay reference his own article titled, “The Pendulum Need Not Swing: Why Gender Roles are Not the Answer to Blank Slatism” He argues in that article:
The liberal approach has been a resoundingly successful overarching strategy to improving human flourishing, and thus it would be unethical to go back to morally enforced essentializations of gender, even if we could. The fact is that having been freed from the expectations laid upon their genders, few people would go back to a state where they are told how to be, even if they end up conforming strongly to what those roles would prescribe. At this point, there is no putting that genie back in the bottle, taking away equal opportunities, contraception, and all the rest and returning to an expectation that one’s genitals must define how one live one’s life and what one is interested in.
The argument that 2nd Wave Feminism which is largely associated with the Sexual Revolution has increased human flourishing is quite laughable, especially when you look at the rates of antidepressants usage, income vs inflation, decreasing birthrates, and an increase of broken families. Then it posits that contraception is essential to maintain. Presumably this includes abortion, as well.
It is essential, when considering gender relations, to recognize that we are still adapting to changes in rights, freedoms and expectations which have happened astoundingly fast in the last sixty years. Men and women are still working on optimizing the balance between work and family responsibilities since women have joined the workforce in vast numbers. We are also still working on our relations with each other since ideas of sexual morality have changed from expectations of chastity (particularly for women) and monogamy to expectations of consideration and clear consent.
Again, this isn’t something that Christians would celebrate. The article concludes:
The only thing which will help our current culture wars is to accept the reality that men and women are different on average but have the same psychological and cognitive traits in overlapping degrees, that individuals could fit anywhere along the spectrum of more typically male and more typically female traits, and that very few will conform to all averages for their sex. The most productive and ethical thing we can do to reduce social pressure one way or the other and enable individuals to realize their individual potential in both interests and abilities it to prioritize treating people as individuals.
The pendulum which so many see as swinging wildly disadvantaging one sex and then another need not do so if we make our stance on this evidence-based and liberal in the broadest sense. If we can accept that we are overlapping populations with much variation but significant differences on aggregate; if we can respect people’s rights to find gender roles meaningful and fulfilling to them and their right not to; if we can treat each other as individuals with the same right to every opportunity, dignity and respect, the pendulum can rest.
If this is your view on gender, that men and woman are on a spectrum with overlap, then what chance do you stand against transgenderism which posits that a man identifying as a woman thus becomes one.
Rather a the biblical understanding of gender and sex, but I repeat myself, is the most formidable view against such vain ideologies like transgenderism. James Lindsay’s view is a synthesis built on Darwinian Evolution and the parts of Gender Theory that he accepts. This view cannot hold up against the slippery slope of liberalism.