There is an ancient philosophy that goes by the name of voluntarism. Voluntarism is the systematic favoring of the will over the intellect; where desire trumps truth. Broken down simply voluntarism is following what a person feels to be true over what is actually true. Of course, what I feel to be true and what is true are two very different questions. In other words under voluntarism, if a person holds to a deep desire from within, that desire then becomes an actual reality in the external world and can override the laws of nature. So, if I have a desire to be a millionaire, all of a sudden I really become a millionaire. It’s a kind of a wish-fulfillment way of thinking. This idea of voluntarism has been thoroughly refuted by philosophers over the years. However, I’ve noticed that it has popped up again thanks to the “brilliant” logic of the pop-culture.
Apparently, the pop-culture has decided that there is a new way for someone to determine who they are. All one has to do is to “self-identify” who they are based on their internal desires, and then their self-identity becomes an actual reality over and above their genetic makeup and the laws of nature. When I was in-between jobs and filling out applications, I couldn’t help notice how some applications asked in the gender section: “How do you self-identify your gender?” So, if you are biologically a male, but you “feel” like a woman, you really are a woman. Of course, this is all news to your DNA and to biology itself. By checking female your XY chromosomes don’t magically turn to XX – nor does your reproductive organs and chemical makeup magically change as well. In other words, your feelings of what you think to be true have no affect on what actually is true in reality.
Of course, this way of thinking is not new. It is a repackaging of the dated and debunked philosophy of voluntarism. Under voluntarism, the truth comes from someone’s feelings or personal experience. Then, a person’s feelings becomes a reality over and above the laws of the universe. But, how is it that your feelings know more than the very physical laws that made you? Wouldn’t it be the other way around?
In other words, a person’s identity must come from their origin. This is the case with every created thing. Suppose you came across a sophisticated machine. The best way to understand this machine’s purpose and identity is to consult the entity that created the machine – the engineer’s manual. And in the manual, you would see that the engineer constructed the machine from the laws of physics. In short, this machine’s identity comes from two key sources – the laws of the universe and the engineer. In the grand analysis of creation, this machine represents a human person. The engineer represents God and the laws of physics represent all the physical laws that were used in a person’s creation. Notice that the person’s feelings played absolutely no role in this process.
Moreover, if our feelings know more than the laws of the universe, we wouldn’t need to think anymore to obtain truth we would just “feel” our way to truth. However, no sane person uses their feelings as a way to knowledge. If this were the case, we wouldn’t need schools to learn. We would just consult our feelings to obtain knowledge and truth. Most people acknowledge that their feelings are ever changing and ultimately are flawed. If your feelings are flawed why would you use a faulty source to determine the critical question of your identity? That would be like betting your life savings on the advice of an inept financial advisor.
Not only are our feelings defective, but feelings also have nothing to do with understanding the truth. The fact is that feeling is a response to truth. It is not a way to get at the truth. Feeling only kicks in after truth has been established. And truth is established by knowledge, not feeling.
The voluntarism philosophy also reverses the notion that instead of discovering the laws of the universe, mankind actually creates the laws of the universe. However, common sense tells us this is impossible. For example, Isaac Newton did not create the law of gravity. The law of gravity was governing the universe and the rotation of the planets long before 1687. Newton merely discovered the mathematical formula that describes how the law worked. In other words, Newton uncoded the message that explains physical reality. Newton did not create the law. He did not influence how the law worked, and he certainly didn’t gain knowledge of the law by consulting his feelings.
Voluntarism is nothing more than a child saying I determine how reality should be. Instead of following the laws of the universe, I make the laws based on my feelings. Suddenly, the self is the author of it all. This idea is nothing more than old-fashioned self-worship. I get to play god. The idea of voluntarism destroys a person of their true identity and ushers in the death of their soul with a bland self-centered absorption of oneself. With self-worship instead of discovering the truth and being bound by physical laws, the self overrides the physical laws and tells the laws what to do. This self-centered way of thinking is simply the old sin of human pride.
To show how backwards and bankrupt this way of thinking is I’ve compiled a list that uses the same “brilliant” logic that a job application uses with how one self-identifies.
I told my bank that I identify as a millionaire – it didn’t work.
I told my flight attendant I identify as a first class passenger – it didn’t work.
I told my perspective employer that I identify as the VP of Sales and will start tomorrow – it didn’t work.
I told the law of gravity that I identify as Superman and can fly – it didn’t work.
I told the Tennessee Titans that I identify as their starting quarterback and look forward to being on the team this year – it didn’t work.
I told all of matter that I identify as being invisible – it didn’t work.
I told the law of thermodynamics that I identify as always being 30 years old and will never physically age – it didn’t work.
Notice in all examples that my internal desires of what I want to be true have absolutely nothing to do with what is actually true in reality. In all areas we see how problematic this logic is, but what it comes to gender and sex all reason goes out the door. G.K. Chesterton once said, “A society is in decay when common sense becomes uncommon.”
Even popular psychologist Jordan Peterson calls gender identity, “completely insane.” Incorporating the voluntarism idea into our society will lead to its collapse.
Besides voluntarism, the idea that one can override the biological laws with their thoughts comes from the ancient and debunked philosophy of Gnosticism. Gnosticism holds that the body and the physical world is corrupted and a mere instrument of the soul or mind. Through Gnosticism, a person obtains utopia from listening to the deep desires within the person. Therefore, to gain true fulfillment, one needs to break “free” from the restraints of the physical world (the body) in order for the soul (your thoughts) to be glorified. However, to break away from the physical laws that created you would be like cutting off the very branch you are sitting on.
In contrast, Catholicism teaches that the body and soul are closely bonded together and a person gains peace, and fulfillment when the soul and body unite with each other. That is, a person is most content when their natural dimensions of body and soul work in harmony with each other, not against each other. However, the concept of changing genders suggests that there is a disconnect between the body and the soul and a person needs to split these dimensions apart to gain happiness. Sadly, when a person divorces the unity of their body and soul and attempts to change it, that person will inevitably become confused and lost.
In fact, if you think about it, a human person is best identified by the inner connection of their body and their soul. If Jim has cancer, we wouldn’t say, “No Jim, you don’t have cancer your body has cancer.” Therefore, we instinctively know that the identity of a person comes from within their biological body. However, the idea of trans-gender reverses this common sense notion.
We also see clinical proof that the idea to change your physical body reveals mental disturbance within the individual. Dr. Paul R. McHugh, psychiatrist-in-chief for John Hopkins Hospital said, “Transgender is a mental disorder that merits treatment.” He later indicated that “sex change is biologically impossible, and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.” See here
What Dr. McHugh is getting at is the obvious, why would someone think that surgically amputating healthy functioning male organs is a good thing simply because that person “feels” their male organs should be female? Should we listen to the design of the human body that operates and sustains that person, or should we trust a person’s ever-changing feelings? Which source is more likely to be right – science or feelings?
Additionally, in a recent article published by the American College of Pediatricians titled Gender Ideology Harms Children it states:
“A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such.” (see link)
Both articles also stress the sad fact that depression rates are much higher in trans-people. Additionally, the suicide rates are 20 times higher in transgender individuals. These high depression and suicide numbers are precisely because of their confused mental state of not knowing who they are. Additionally, numerous other studies show that sex change is detrimental for people as it will cause more stress, more psychological confusion, and harm for them in the long run. (new study here – other studies below)
If these 8 different clinical studies are not enough to convince you of the problems associated in the trans-lifestyle, you can also read a story about a man who had a sex change and writes extensively about his/her regret to this decision – as well as other people who ended up regretting their sex change choice – article
In fact, research shows that the vast majority of children who think they are another gender outgrow their “transgender” idea by their teens (see here). In other words, studies show that 80-90% of kids drop their trans idea as they become older and more mature.
What all these studies and articles conclude is the people that believe they are another gender are extremely confused and suffer from gender uncertainty disorder. They don’t have a simple chemical or biological problem, but a mental confusion. As a prominent physician of Endocrinology stated about transgender state, “This is a psychological condition, rather than a biological condition.” (see here). This disorder brings them a constant mental instability and fake reality about who they are. This is a toxic environment for them to be living in. If we care for these people, we should want to help them out of this internal mess. What they don’t need is to be cheered on to continue their confused and self-destructive thought process and slowly loose grip of the knowledge of who they are. We don’t want them to continue in this self-destructive pattern of gender confusion. Yet, those who are proponents of transgenderism are doing just that. The proponents of transgender probably don’t know that when they are cheering for everything trans, they are simultaneously cheering for that person’s slow demise. What they’re really doing is using trans-people so they can look like a grand hero for the little guy, when, in fact, they are crushing the little guy.
We can also see the proponents methods of being a hero for trans-people is based on flawed logic. All these people do is chant the repeated slogan that trans-people need “rights.” However, before discussing rights, one first must ask what that action is that is demanding rights. It doesn’t make sense to talk about bulimic people’s rights or alcoholic’s right’s before knowing what the lifestyle of bulimia and alcohol does to that person. Once we know the fact that bulimia, alcohol, and transgender destroys that person, fighting for the very “rights” that destroy a person is highly problematic.
Let’s look a little closer into what is going on in the trans-person’s mind so we can actually help them; not use them. The psychology of gender misunderstanding reveals that there is something troubling within the trans-person that has created this identity confusion. As the John Hopkins study and Walt Heyer story indicates the confusion of trans-people is usually the result of some trauma from their childhood in which they want to run away from (bad relationship with parents, being bullied, social confusion, guilt, etc.). Instead of dealing with their past scars they create a fantasy world to leave the past behind and start fresh with a new identity.
However, when they are living in their fantasy world they are going to be confused, overly emotional, easily traumatized, and depressed. Why? Because their fantasy bubble doesn’t match up with the reality of who they really are. If I were to internally live as though 2+2=5, but the external laws of the universe kept communicating to me that 2+2=4, I would naturally experience a mental breakdown when “my reality” didn’t match up with actual reality. Thus, the on-going mental disorder is the by-product of the person’s internal fantasy within.
This idea is confirmed in psychology in what is known as, Cognitive Dissonance Theory. This theory shows that when people make up their own truth, a “dissonance” occurs in which they become in a fragile, anxious, emotional state because they have a fear “their truth” will eventually be exposed as a fraud. Trans-people will always be running scared away from reality. However, the problem is reality won’t go away. They won’t want to talk about or deal with the elephant in the room (reality) but eventually the elephant will talk. Once the elephant talks they will become mentally unhinged because they won’t want to give up their fantasy for reality.
While it might be hard to deal with reality, it is far better for them to accept the truth and face reality so they can avoid further emotional turmoil. On the surface, the truth may scare them because they will have to face traumatic emotional scars from their past. However, as they dig deeper, the truth will show them who they really are as a person and offer them resolution to their past wounds. In other words, the truth will offer them much better healing than a manufactured fantasy can ever provide. Once they deal with their internal struggles and accept reality, they will be at peace. And ultimately, peace is where we want people to be. Once people know who they are as a person they can begin to be themselves – not some fake version of what they are not.
To help people out of this confused emotional state we need to take them out of what is not true – the idea of voluntarism and into what is true. To better understand who a person is, that person needs to listen to the entity that made them – God. Voluntarism and Gnosticism are dead. Let’s not let some outdated, debunked philosophies govern people’s lives. Instead, let the entity that created your life govern your life.
When it comes to asking the question of “who am I” the obvious guide to answering that question would come from your physical makeup, the laws of nature, and the entity that created you – God. A person then responds to this question by accepting their real identity (I have male parts; I must be a male) or rejecting their real identity (I have male parts. I reject this; I am a woman). What this article has revealed is that when a person follows the former way of thinking and accepts their identity, they will be more secure, fulfilled, and at peace. However, when a person sadly rejects their real identity and becomes a fake version of themselves, they will become an emotional and psychological mess. Just like following a mirage in the desert will end up physically destroying a person, so too will following a mirage of your identity will end up destroying your mental psyche.
Jesus said he was the truth (John 14:6 18:37), and he also said, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Wiser words cannot be said in today’s desperately confused culture.
Note: A prominent study by Brown University researcher concluded that the primary reason teenagers think they are “really” another gender is because of outside influence of peer pressure, social media, and the pop culture assessments of what they should be. Sadly, teens are going to the pop culture to understand their identity while bypassing the very entity that created them – God.