Sunday, 5 October 2008

Today's Battle

Over at Christian forums. The usual, trying to inform rather than argue.

This is a long-term campaign, but I really think progress is being made. I've noticed a distinct change of tone over the years, and even more people supportive rather than rejecting.

Change has to involve the grass-roots, or it's a mere temporary patch.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with this poster about the equivocation of eunuchs with the transgendered; they are not at all the same thing. Talking about eunuchs and the transgendered may help with confusing Christians who are not familiar with Scripture, but it would not pass even the sniff test of someone even remotely acquainted with the history of eunuchs.

Now about living with your body's shape and current state, that is something different entirely, and I do want to see Zoe Brain's response to it.

Zoe Brain said...

anon - please define "eunuch" and "transgendered".

They are not the same thing, but there is an intersection of the two sets.

"Transgendered" includes, but does not only include, the Intersexed and Transsexual. I consider IS and TS to be classed as "eunuchs" in the scriptural sense, but not other TGs.

Similarly, "eunuch" includes, but does not only include, the Intersexed and Transsexual. Normal men (for women were not so treated) who were castrated are eunuchs, but neither TS or IS.

Consider Matthew 19:12:
Those born eunuchs "out of their mother's womb" are Intersexed, and I don't see how there can be any argument about this. But go ahead if you disagree.

I'd also, using modern medical knowledge, include most IS conditions, and TS ones too.

Those eunuchs "made by men" arguably include post-ops, but I think that's a stretch. Both pre- and post-op TS people I already include in the first clause.

The eunuchs in the second clause are those barbarically castrated against their will, and often as children. So this would include those Intersexed children "normalised" and sterilised in order to make them conform to societal norms.

The third clause - those who become eunuchs "for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven", is the really controversial one. According to current dogma, this suddenly switches from being a concrete, physical definition to being a metaphoric one. There is good reason for this, you have to read all of Matthew 19 to get the context. Matthew 19:10 shows they are primarily talking in the context of marriage and divorce, but also about male and female.

You really have to look at the history of the early (pre-Nicean) church, and the crusades a thousand years later against various manichean heresies to see why this dogma became so entrenched.

I think though that there is an equally good argument for genital reconstruction surgery as being not just permitted, but recommended for those who can accept it. This is based on this scripture in conjunction with Matthew 5:29 and Matthew 18:9.

May I recommend which at least has the original Greek, as well as other translations.

I agree that what was mainly being talked about in the last clause of Matthew 19:12 was voluntary celibacy, not surgery.

I strongly deny though that the first clause does not apply to the Intersexed, and that includes the neurologically intersexed. "Lepers" in those days included people afflicted with a variety of conditions, not just Hansen's disease too.

Battybattybats said...

My memory of my ancient history studies is even older and dustier than of comparative religion.

The most important issue is the meaning at the time of writing of the words from which we now have translated as Eunach. I've heard it said that Eunach referred in the past not just to the castrated but to crossdressers and homosexuals too.

In which case the true teaching of the bible in this regard is even more radical.

Anonymous said...

Just don't take her to *that* site.

Maddie H said...

I came across that thread a few days ago, but my command of theology is shaky enough that I avoid most religious discussions.

Still, I am really really tired of people who wax on about how "god doesn't make mistakes." That assumes that trans people shouldn't exist and that no one is ever born with any kind of condition that needs to be dealt with. Would they say that "god doesn't make mistakes" about the liver condition I was born with that should have killed me? Was it morally wrong to provide medical care so I could survive?

But back to the mistake - since when are trans people mistakes and not part of the normal range of human manifestations? Why are we somehow exceptional and held to a higher standard than cis people when it comes to living as who we are?

I'm not a mistake, and I don't need people who don't live with being trans to tell me how I should live with being trans.

Keep up the good fight, Zoe.