On Religion, pt. 1

I’ve somehow, once again, gone over a month without posting. It’s so hard to find the time during the school semester, but this past month has been especially tumultuous, and so it’s been even more difficult than usual. At any rate, here I am.

I’ve thought about this particular post for several weeks now, but in light of how much this topic has been brought to my attention since becoming more public about my transness, I have finally become inspired to actually write it. Where I am from, if you are anything but the white cishet normative, you best be ready to talk about religion, and so here we are now.

I have mentioned before that I am actually a pretty spiritual person. That has not changed since accepting myself as trans. In fact, I attribute my deep spirituality largely to the struggle I have had over the years as a trans individual. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is the truth. I may talk more about this in a future post, but for now, simply accept it as my backstory.

To date, I have tried to make this blog as much a personal narrative as possible, documenting my own view as best I can without muddying up the picture with too many citations or academic restraints. With that in mind, I am going to continue to do so when talking about religion, and assume that if you want Bible verses or other citations, you are capable of finding them on your own. What follows, therefore, will simply be the ruminations I have had in trying to understand where I fit on this mote of dust in the middle of the infinite universe.

So, without further ado, let’s talk about predestination vs. free will, and how being trans does or doesn’t fit within that debate.

Historically, this has been one of the most-fiercely debated topics within Christianity, though like any such debate, it is often fraught with contradiction and paradox. I am going to talk about this from a monotheistic standpoint, but conceivably, it could probably apply to any religious belief or tradition.

Basically, if one accepts predestination as Truth, then one accepts that God willfully and intentionally created and shaped every aspect of every thing, and there is no free will. God in this scenario is omniscient, and every act committed by every living thing is known before it occurs, and was decided by God long before it was ever done by whatever agent.

If one rejects that, and accepts rather the model of free will, then God may have had a hand in all things, but choice is ultimately up to the agent. If someone commits murder, for example, that was their choice, not God’s. However, God is no longer omniscient in this scenario. He cannot know what might happen in the future, because people are basically free to act as they will.

Both of these views are problematic, for obvious reasons. In the first, God created evil people to do evil things, and he cursed untold numbers of people to be born only to suffer every day of their existence from lack of food or water. He created cancer, and He decided who would contract it. The list goes on, but you get the picture.

In the second, as mentioned, God is no longer omniscient, which is a view rejected by most all Christians I know, and likely many others, as well. Perhaps he is all powerful, but He chooses not to exercise that power, because now there is “random” chance affecting all things.

So why do I mention this in a blog about being trans?

Well, basically, being trans (or gay, or anything else the religious right of the bible belt labels an “abomination”) complicates this debate even further. According to many (again, bible belt) Christians, being trans is a choice, and a wrong/evil one at that. However, if it is a choice, then that automatically means rejecting the predestination model, which also means rejecting God as omniscient/omnipotent, which would be a downright heretical assertion to many in this part of the country. Not that that really means anything, because rejecting predestination while accepting the omni-everything model seems more common than completely adopting one side or the other outright, which is a contradiction unto itself, but still…

Basically, was I made to be trans by a God who would have me burn in hell for it? Or was I made trans, and only now that I have accepted it and decided to transition am I condemned?

It’s an endless, circular argument, like any conversation on religion. I guess true to form, I don’t really accept either of those options. I think that some things are well and truly outside our ability to comprehend, and this is one of those things. Science and religion both attempt to comfort us by making us feel less small and stupid than we are, but really, pretending to know all the answers or all the Truth is simply human arrogance.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t matter which option you choose to believe, if either. Getting caught up in dogma tends to lead to unnecessary hate, and is the means by which so many wicked things have historically been justified. We describe God and Heaven and all such things in terms we can understand, but ultimately, He is not a “he”, and whatever exists after this life is completely unfathomable. I hope that in this little sliver of time I’ve been given, I can be worthy of the gift of life, and I don’t think being trans is in any way a hindrance to that.

Anyway, it has officially been one month since I started HRT, which is something I’ve also just realized I’ve not written about. I’ll have to do that eventually, too; for now, I’ll just revel in the fact that I finally had time to shave my legs again, for the first time in two weeks. Man, do I hate how long it takes to do, but God do I love how it feels.

If nothing else, I get to experience that sliver of time in a much more unique way than most choose to do.

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