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Christianity and LGBTQ-ism

Updated: Feb 8

The LGBTQ movement has gained traction in the 21st century, and in recent years sparked vigorous debate in what some would consider "conservative" churches. In particular, the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa was at the centre stage of the debate in recent years.

LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning), and others. Sometimes a "plus" is added to represent other sexual identities. The first four letters of the acronym have been used since the 1990s, but in recent years there has been an increased awareness of the need to be inclusive of other sexual identities to offer better representation [1].

In 2015, the general synod of the Dutch Reformed Church decided to allow individual church councils to recognise same-sex marriages and also scrapped a rule that gay ministers of the church had to be celibate. However, in 2016, this decision was overturned only to have the overturning challenged in the High Court by some high-ranking members of the church. The court overturned the 2016 decision stating that "The differentiation caused by the 2016 decision does inherently diminish the dignity of (pro-LGBTQ individuals) because same-sex relationships are tainted as being unworthy of mainstream church ceremonies and persons in same-sex relationships cannot be a minister of the church".

The high court, therefore, determined that the church is not allowed to discriminate (that is, differentiate) against people who identify as LGBTQ. The court reached this decision because according to the South African Bill of Rights chapter 2, sections 9.3 and 9.4, no unfair discrimination is allowed on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, religion etc.

This controversy in the South African church has rattled many Christians in South Africa and turned our attention to this pressing cultural issue. After listening to a panel discussion of those within the LGBTQ community (which included a trans-female and a person who identifies as gay), numerous debates, and engaging in discussion with people who are sympathetic to the LGBTQ community, I was driven to write this article. The purpose of this article is to delve into and clearly lay out the implicit conflict of worldviews when the church is faced with challenges like the LGBTQ movement in the present day.

Do you consider yourself LGBTQ?

  • Yes

  • No

I believe that if the worldview issues can be clearly laid out, it might facilitate better future discussions between Christians and those who find themselves allied with the LGBTQ movement. The reader should note the distinction in the previous sentence: I do not believe that a consistent Christian can identify as LGBTQ, as this is what Jesus taught:

If you love me, you will keep my commandments

John 14:15, ESV

[i.e. God's moral law that is still applicable today]

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11, ESV

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Matthew 19:4-6, ESV

I am fully aware that some who consider themselves Christian and LGBTQ will differ greatly from the plain translation, reading and meaning of the above texts. However, the main thrust of this article will not come from presenting a great wall of Bible verses, but from presenting views that look holistically (at a worldview level) at the issues at stake. Once the holistic views have been considered, it should become clear why the plain readings of Scripture above hold, where the antithesis lies between Christians and those in the LGBTQ community, and how we can find a way to move the conversation forward.

Now, before we go deeper, I want to make clear that I don't believe that those engaged in LGBTQ activities are committing some "special sin" that makes them worse than your cut-of-the-mil pre-regenerate totally depraved Christian. Nor do they need a unique Gospel. All people everywhere need Jesus Christ - the one and the same Gospel. We are all made perverse by the fall, and we all need Jesus to redeem and renew us. For this reason, this article will purposefully steer away from making judgements and will only focus on the underlying antithesis between the worldviews that feed the phenomena we experience in today's world regarding the issue at stake.

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Suppose we don't reckon with the broader worldview considerations. In that case, it is inevitable that both sides of the debate would label each other "bigots" and end up simply being antagonistic toward each other because of their particular beliefs. Whenever we engage with people who have differing beliefs from our own, we need not sacrifice the truth on the altar of peace. We can actively debate and challenge, but throughout the whole process, we ought to respect the person we are debating with. This is because each of us, whether Christian or not, is created in the image of God, and is wonderfully and fearfully made (Ps. 139). This remains the case even if the person does not like to think of themselves as created in the image of God.

The Reformation wall was vandalised in recent years by a pro-LGBTQ group

A brief history of philosophy (ancient to modern)

Most people would be ignorant of something like a "history of philosophy". Most people have not read any philosopher (or any work of philosophy) in their lifetime. Despite this lack of awareness, the ideas coming from the prevailing philosophy schools have an unquestioned impact on the culture of the subsequent generation.

A brief overview of the history of philosophy is useful for our purposes here, as the argument will be made that the current wave of LGBTQ activism/pride that was not in any way explicit (or even existent in any meaningful way) or celebrated in history as it is today, is due to the prevailing post-modern philosophy of our time. The history of philosophy will assist us in uncovering how our societies have developed to the current state where LGBTQ activism and pride are celebrated.

Philosophers across the ages struggled with the concept of change and unity. Philosophers want to get a view of "ultimate reality", such that they can give an account of "something" that links the multiple experiences (that differ) we have every day together so that they form some kind of unity in experience. For example, our vocabulary consists of certain words that we apply uniformly to a vast number of different individuals (e.g. dog, cat). Moreover, we apply these words to the same individual at differing points in time. Given that no two individuals are exactly the same, and that no individual stays the same - is it proper to name them as such?

Let's see how philosophers over the years thought of "ultimate reality" that answers the big questions relating to our existence.

Parmenides (5th century BC)

Parmenides was a pre-Socratic philosopher who was born in Elea, Italy. He is best known for his philosophical poem, "On Nature," in which he argues that reality is a single, unchanging, and indivisible whole. According to Parmenides, change and motion are illusions, and the world is in fact a static and eternal being. This view is known as monism, and it is in contrast to the idea of pluralism, which holds that the world is made up of many different things. Parmenides' philosophy had a significant influence on the development of Western philosophy.

Heraclitus (5th century BC)

Heraclitus was a pre-Socratic philosopher who was born in Ephesus, a city in ancient Greece. He is best known for his philosophy of change and flux (the concept of impermanence), which he expressed in the famous saying, "No man ever steps in the same river twice." According to Heraclitus, the world is constantly in motion and change is the only constant. He believed that the underlying reality of the world is a dynamic, ever-changing process and that all things are in a state of flux. This view is known as process philosophy, and it stands in contrast to the more static and unchanging view of reality put forth by Parmenides. Heraclitus' philosophy also had a profound influence on the development of Western thought. His philosophy is usually contrasted with that of Parmenides.

Plato (approx. 428 BC - approx. 348 BC)

Plato was a student of Socrates and a teacher of Aristotle (who we will discuss next). He was born in Athens, Greece, and is considered one of the most important philosophers in Western history. Plato's philosophy can be seen as a response to both Parmenides and Heraclitus. In response to Parmenides, who argued that reality is a single, unchanging whole, Plato believed that there is a world of forms or ideas that exists outside of the material world. These forms are perfect and eternal, and they are the source of all true knowledge. In response to Heraclitus, who believed that the world is in constant motion and change, Plato argued that the forms are the only true reality and that the material world is an imperfect reflection of them.

Plato thus birthed the form-matter scheme. His philosophy ultimately combines elements of both Parmenides' and Heraclitus' ideas, seeking to reconcile their seemingly contradictory views of reality. His forms are reminiscent of Parmenides' one, and "matter" is reminiscent of Heraclitus' flux. Every physical object is a compound of matter and form which is called a "hylomorphism".

Importantly for our purposes, the concept of "form" (or "eidos" in Greek) referred to the essential characteristics or qualities that make a thing what it is. For example, the form of a chair is what makes it a chair and distinguishes it from other objects. Forms were seen as the organizing principles of the natural world, and Plato believed that understanding the forms was key to understanding the nature of reality. The concept of form is closely related to the idea of essence, which refers to the fundamental nature or defining characteristics of a thing.

And so, Plato believed in the form of a man and the form of a woman. Each form has essential characteristics. Even when the form comes into contact with matter in order to produce the particular, the essential characteristics of man and woman are maintained and cannot be changed.

Aristotle (approx. 384 BC - approx. 322 BC)

Aristotle was a student of Plato and later became one of the most famous philosophers in history. His philosophy was a response to the ideas of his teacher, Plato, and sought to provide a more practical and grounded approach to understanding the world. Unlike Plato, who believed in the existence of a separate world of eternal forms, Aristotle argued that reality is made up of the things we can see, touch, and experience in the world around us. He believed in the importance of empirical observation and the use of reason to understand the world. Overall, Aristotle's philosophy was less abstract (as he didn't believe in a separate realm of forms) and more focused on the concrete details of the natural world than Plato's.

According to Aristotle, forms are not separate from the material objects that embody them but are instead "embedded" in the particulars of matter. In other words, the form of a thing is not something separate from its material existence but is instead inherent in the thing itself.

Aristotle's development still maintained the realist view of his teacher. That is, the form of the thing still contains its essential characteristics.

David Hume (1711-1776)

Hume isn't traditionally seen as a philosopher who built on the works of Aristotle. He lived in the 18th century, long after Aristotle, and as such his context was far removed from Aristotle's. We mention Hume, however, as Hume's work was an important pivot in the history of philosophy. Hume was a consistent empiricist, who took empiricism to its limits and logical conclusion. Insofar as Aristotle was more of an empiricist than Plato, Hume is more of an empiricist than Aristotle.

What is notably missing from the work of Hume is anything that relates to the concept of "form". Remember, for the ancient Greeks, the form of the thing contains its essential attributes. Hume did not believe that universals or forms actually exist (contra Aristotle and Plato). He argued that all of our concepts and ideas are derived from our experiences and impressions (as a consistent empiricist) and that there is no such thing as an abstract universal that exists outside of our minds.

For Hume, there are no innate ideas, only experiences and impressions that are impressed upon our senses from the outside world.

Hume's work as a consistent work sent the philosophical world on a metaphorical scramble. His conclusions were disturbing, as consistent empiricism seemed to have destroyed the very foundation of the scientific method (i.e. inductive inference: read more here). Hume argued that our beliefs and knowledge are based on the observations and experiences that we have and that there is no such thing as certain truth. No one has ever had experience and impressions of all that is.

The resulting conclusion of Hume's empiricism seemed to have been radical scepticism.

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)

Immanuel Kant was traditionally a rationalist philosopher who was "awoken from his dogmatic slumber" by the work of David Hume.

Kant is known for his "Copernican revolution". Immanuel Kant's "Copernican revolution" refers to his critique of traditional metaphysics (that is almost every philosophy that came before his time) and his attempt to shift the focus of philosophy from the nature of the world to the nature of the mind. Kant believed that previous philosophers, such as David Hume, had been focusing on understanding the world as it is, rather than on understanding the nature of human perception and cognition. He argued that this approach was misguided and that philosophy should instead focus on the nature of the mind and its role in shaping our understanding of the world.

Hence, in order to escape the scepticism of Hume, Kant turned to the human mind for the solution in a very literal sense. Hence philosophical modernism began with Kant's “Copernican revolution,” that is, his assumption that we cannot know things in themselves (as triggered by David Hume) and that objects of knowledge must conform to our faculties of representation (Kant 1787).

Whereas Hume tried to understand how the concept of a causal or necessary connection could be based on experience, Kant argued instead that experience only comes about through the concepts or “categories” of the understanding [2].

To make his point, Kant distinguished between what he called the phenomenal and the noumenal. The phenomenal and the noumenal refer to the distinction between the world as we experience it and the world as it is in itself. The phenomenal world is the world that we experience through our senses and perception, while the noumenal world is the world as it exists independently of our perception.

Kant argued that the phenomenal world is shaped by the structures and categories of the human mind and that our understanding of the world is a product of our perception and cognition. The noumenal world, on the other hand, is the world as it exists independently of our perception, and is not subject to the structures and categories of the human mind.

In this way, Kant believed to have saved the scientific method and induction. There are certain a priori (concepts prior to observation) that give structure to our experience of the world.

Thus, Kant's “Copernican revolution” moved the place of the human mind from being receptive and reconstructive to being unreceptive and constructive.

The reader should not that in a certain sense (though this is a debate between Kant scholars) Kant's philosophy is indisputably subjectivist. G.W.F. Hegel (the father of absolute idealism after the time of Kant - whose philosophy is still influential today) consistently characterizes Kant's transcendental idealism as subjectivism. Subjectivism is the doctrine that our own mental activity is the only unquestionable fact of our experience.

Subjectivism is ultimately the predominant philosophy that reigns during our time. No longer is there a drive to understand reality as it really is (that has been determined to be impossible), but only a drive for the person to deepen themselves in reality as they wish or perceive it to be regardless of the actual state of affairs.

Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher (1768 – 1834)

It was only a matter of time before the “Copernican revolution” was brought to bear on Christian theology. If we abandon the idea that we can know reality as it is, and that all we can really know is our own mental activity and the reality that we construct from it, it isn't long before the knowledge of God himself and His revealed Word is questioned along with everything else. If subjectivism is all we are left with, it is impossible to know if God exists, and it is impossible for God to reveal Himself to us beyond all reasonable doubt in the Bible.

Enter Schleiermacher. Schleiermacher busied himself with Kant’s philosophy throughout his life but especially from his nineteenth to his twenty-seventh year [3].

Schleiermacher was a key figure in the development of modern theology. One of the key aspects of Schleiermacher's theology was his emphasis on the importance of religious experience and feeling. He argued that religious beliefs and practices were not based on rational argument or proof, but rather on the emotional and spiritual experiences of the individual. He rejected the idea that religious beliefs and practices were imposed from outside and instead argued that they were the product of the individual's own spiritual journey and experiences.

Kant gives us the background to understand Schleiermacher’s rejection of the traditional conception of Christian doctrine (objective knowledge of God, the world, sin and a final judgement) in favour of a subjective approach.

In following Kant, Schleiermacher set himself against historic Christian orthodoxy. When we read the first section of John Calvin’s (a prolific theologian and reformer) Institutes of the Christian Religion it is apparent that Calvin makes our consciousness of ourselves dependent upon our more fundamental consciousness of God. When we read Schleiermacher, our consciousness of God is made dependent upon our more fundamental consciousness of ourselves [4].

For Schleiermacher, all churches can readily unite on the basis of the ideals that human personality makes for itself, and the missionary task of the church is already accomplished in advance of the coming of the missionary to foreign soil [5].

Schleiermacher essentially reduces Christianity to whatever ideals any one person makes for himself. He sets the foundation for the ultimate inclusive Christianity, which will turn out to be no Christianity at all.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Friedrich Nietzsche was a strong critic of traditional moral and religious values and argued that these values were based on a lack of self-awareness and a failure to embrace the true nature of human existence.

One of the key themes in Nietzsche's philosophy is the idea of the "will to power" which is the fundamental drive of the individual to exert their will and influence over the world around them. Nietzsche believed that this drive was the fundamental motivator of human behaviour and that it was the source of both our greatest achievements and our most destructive actions.

Another key aspect of Nietzsche's philosophy is his critique of traditional moral and religious values, which he believed were based on a false understanding of human nature and a denial of the inherent struggles and conflicts of human existence. He argued that these values were based on a fear of the individual and their potential to exert their will and power and that they were ultimately detrimental to the flourishing of human life.


The history of philosophy (which we briefly outlined by looking at the above influential philosophers) is a long and complex subject, but in broad terms, it can be divided into several major periods and movements. In ancient philosophy, pre-Socratic philosophers such as Parmenides and Heraclitus laid the foundations for much of Western philosophy by debating the nature of reality and knowledge. Plato and Aristotle built on this foundation and developed their own theories about the world and our place in it.

In the modern period, philosophers such as Hume and Kant (among others) continued to explore these questions, but the focus began to shift from seeking objective knowledge of the world to examining the subjective experience of the individual. This trend continued into the post-modern period when many philosophers emphasized the relativity of truth and the importance of individual perspectives.

Overall, the history of philosophy has seen a gradual shift from seeking objective knowledge of the world to a focus on the subjective experience of the individual. This has led to the rise of absolute subjectivism in postmodernism, which emphasizes the idea that truth is relative, and that no one person's individual perspective is inherently better than another person's perspective.

Post-modernism can be defined as a philosophical movement that emerged in the mid-20th century (that is predominate in the public square today) and is characterized by a scepticism towards universal truths, and objective reality. Post-modernists reject the idea that there is a single, objective reality that can be known with certainty, and instead argue that our understanding of the world is shaped by our perspectives, experiences, and cultural backgrounds.

Do you consider yourself a post-modernist?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Unsure

The LGBTQ movement as a manifestation of post-modern thought

And this brings us to our main subject matter.

The modern LGBTQ movement is a manifestation of post-modern philosophy in at least two ways.

(1) First, postmodernism emphasizes the importance of individual perspectives and the relativity of truth. This is reflected in the LGBTQ movement's emphasis on the individuality and uniqueness of each person's gender and sexual identity.

(2) Second, post-modernism emphasizes the fluidity and flexibility of identity, as opposed to fixed and static categories. This is reflected in the LGBTQ movement's recognition of a spectrum of gender and sexual identities, as well as the rejection of the gender binary and the idea that people must conform to certain gender roles.

This commitment to subjectivism and personal experience and rejection of categories independent of an individual's own experience is what ultimately gave rise to the transgender (or gender identity) revolution. If you believe yourself to be a woman, that makes you a woman. If you believe yourself to be a man, then you are a man. Couple this with modern medical science and you get doctors who offer transition services and hormone therapy who help these people make their bodies conform to their perception. Similarly, it also gave rise to the recent controversy surrounding pronouns. If it is ultimately the individual's subjective experience that makes them who and what they are, it makes sense that we ought to be able to choose how we'd like others to refer to ourselves (either he/him, she/her, they/their, or recently, ae/aer, or any combination of pronouns you like).

Perhaps this can be best illustrated in a recently released documentary called "What is a woman?" by Matt Walsh. Walsh released clips where he would ask leading experts in the field of philosophy and biology this simple question - and none of them was able to provide a concrete answer. Unfortunately, these experts were subsequently mocked by right-wing viewers as, for them, the inability to answer the question signals some form of "stupidity" or "willful ignorance". This, however, cannot be further from the truth. Post-modernism cannot define what a woman is because post-modern philosophy is opposed to anything that resembles fixed and static categories.

Once a definition is given of what a woman is apart from a person's individual experience of what a woman is, they've abandoned post-modernism. If they were to define a woman apart from an individual's experience, they would do violence to the particular individual and invalidate them.

Indeed, one expert Walsh interviewed gave him this exact answer. A woman is someone who believes themselves to be a woman. Walsh then complained that this definition seems circular, but it's not really circular - it just means that there is no "universal" or "form" (as Plato and Aristotle believed) of "woman" that contains the essential attributes of what makes a "woman" according to post-modern thought. A "woman" according to post-modern thought really is someone who believes themselves to be a woman. The word has no content beyond what the individual experiences it to be.

Another example comes from a recent Tweet made by Matt Walsh. He wrote:

But this again fails to reckon with the post-modernism that underly the LGBTQ worldview. As we explained, it makes sense why they believe people can determine/have pronouns for themselves. There is no "objective reality" to which they ought to conform other than the reality they construct via their subjective experience. Walsh might not be incorrect in his tweet above (we'll get to that), but his tweet does not offer a valid critique of LGBTQ thought. Walsh clearly has a realist philosophy (as he should as a devout Roman Catholic), and this means that he believes in "forms" or "essences" as we explained earlier. His philosophy necessitates the rejection of LGBTQ thought, but this documentary and his tweet above do not amount to a valid critique. He is merely making statements that can be reduced to "your philosophy is wrong because mine is right", or, "you are not a realist, there you are wrong" - but this does not follow. It will necessarily fall on deaf ears and can only inflame controversy.

It is unfortunate that these broader philosophical / worldview level considerations in the debate are not taken into account when those who opposed the ideas of the LGBTQ community attempt a critique. The discussions then necessarily devolve into bigotry. You cannot refute LGBTQ ideas if you don't defeat its underlying post-modernism.

Now that we've given some practical examples and we can attempt to get a bit more technical by visualising the LGBTQ worldview. The visualisation will assist us when we provide a contrast with the Christian worldview later in the article. We can visualise the LGBTQ worldview as follows:

The LGBTQ worldview
The LGBTQ worldview

In the above diagram, the larger grey circle labelled as "reality" is the sum total of all that is. The darker smaller grey circles are certain individuals such as yourself, any other person, and a god if it exists. The brown/copper circles are the experiences of these different individuals. They don't overlap, because no one can possibly experience the experience of someone else. Their experience which forms their individuality is their own. No other person can impose anything on your "experience" which then forms your reality, as then they'd be unjustly imposing on your reality. Not even a god, whose experience is bigger and greater than your experience, can impose any moral law, identity, or gender, or label you in a way that does do not conform to your experience of yourself, as then he'd be imposing on you too.

The LGBTQ worldview visualised and summarised above will henceforth be known as a "one circle" reality. Reality (the big grey circle) is the sum total of all that is. Any god that might exist is included (encapsulated) in this reality, and cannot speak with any kind of authority in our lives. Each of us, in being constructive/creative of our own reality based on our experience, becomes like "little gods" as we get to determine our own identity and experience. Fundamentally, who we are and the experiences we have are uncreated and Chance generated. Subjectivism reigns supreme. One way to state this is that in the LGBTQ system no fact exists prior to it being known by the human (or divine observer). There is no objective reality with a meaning independent of the human observer. The facts (or experiences) are Chance-generated, and their meaning is solely determined by the observer after observation. Reality as such is unknowable.

The Christian philosophy of life

Now that we've traced the origin of post-modern thought and linked it to the recent LGBTQ developments in modern Western society, we can proceed to provide a brief outline of Christian philosophy (the Christian view of reality). Our goal in doing this is to bring out the implicit antithesis that exists between the underlying LGBTQ worldview and the Christian worldview. Once the antithesis is clear, we can seek a way forward that deals with the antithesis in a way that is fair to both sides of the disagreement. We don't want to disintegrate into a mere "he says she says", or "I'm right so you're wrong" type of disagreement here.

The Christian worldview is easy to understand, however, it does require a shift in the way many of us have been brought up to think about the world. The basic contention of the Christian system is captured in what we call the "Creator-creature distinction". As the word implies, the entire Christian worldview can be visualised as follows:

The Creator-creature distinction
The Creator-creature distinction

The Christian, therefore, believes in what we can call a "two-circle reality" (as opposed to a "one-circle reality), with an apparent distinction between Creator and creation. This means that God, as Creator, is absolute, self-sufficient, and original. God's existence is the ultimate reality. Everything that is not God, is creation. Creation is dependent on God for its existence (creation), and continued existence and operation (providence). Creation, in the Christian system, is, therefore, necessarily creation ex nihilo (from or out of nothing). God did not create by drawing upon concepts independent of His own being, nor did He create by re-arranging independent matter (as many non-Christian views of creation believe). Notably, God is not encapsulated or contained in a reality that is greater than Himself. God does not need to "experience" anything to form His identity. The simplicity of God's being means that God's experience is His nature and vice versa. His knowledge is coterminous with His being.

Thus, God is not affected by creation in any way. God is impassible, absolute, self-sufficient, immutable and personal (as He is a Trinity). Creation, in contrast, is dependent and mutable. Nothing in creation grounds its meaning or existence independently of God's intended meaning, creation and providence. Fundamentally, this means that nothing in creation is independent of God as Creator. God is not constrained by creation.

Therefore, where in the non-Christian system (or the LGBTQ system as explained above) the facts are Chance-generated with no meaning apart from the meaning the human observer attaches to the, in the Christian system all the facts (the ones we experience and the ones we don't) have been exhaustively pre-interpreted by God at the point of creation. No fact exists or finds its meaning independent of God's creative decree. It is God's knowledge of all created facts that make them what they are. This point is important enough for our discussion here that we must repeat it. It is God's knowledge of all created facts that make them what they are. The facts are not Chance-generated, our individuality is not Chance-generated. Our experience is not Chance-generated.

This is huge implications for the Christian view of knowledge. For the Christian, knowledge can never be unreceptive of reality as such and constructive of a subjective reality. Knowledge of any fact is knowing that fact as it is related to its Creator. In God, all facts are related and exhaustively pre-interpreted. If we want to understand any fact as true, it must reflect God's knowledge of the fact as close as possible. True knowledge, is therefore obedient and receptive to God's revelation of all facts.

God has, therefore, in eternity past determined what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman, what marriage is, what gender is, what sex is, etc. Christians, like the ancient Greek philosophers (but without adopting these pagan philosophies as is), can be considered "realists" in their view of reality. What this means is that the Christian believes all the objects of creation (that we can experience, like animals, people, and rocks) sustain the relations that God has intended them to have. Hence, two particular dogs will sustain the relation "dog" as determined by God, and this will not change because of God's covenantal faithfulness towards His creation. Men will always be men, and women will always be women. Marriage will always be between a man and a woman.

Absolute authority in the Christian system

We can insert a brief piece here to explain the Christian view of the Bible as an implication of this "two-circle" worldview. Many have mocked Christians for believing every word contained in the Bible as if it is irrational to do so. However, once you understand the Christian system, listening in complete obedience to God's Word is the most rational thing a person can do.

The absolute authority of the Word of God is an implication of God's nature. Because God is who He is, and creation is absolutely dependent on Him for meaning and existence, when God speaks, His Word comes with absolute authority, not expert authority. Expert authority (as the word implies), is the authority of someone who knows a lot more than you, but who knows in the same way as you (for example your boss at work, or your professor in the university class). Expert authority is something that changes and develops with time. For example, expert authority in medical science 2000 years ago is nothing compared to expert authority in medical science today. However, absolute authority is different in that it establishes all other authority of knowledge and cannot be questioned or verified using independent means. If absolute authority was up for questioning, it would cease to be absolute as it would mean that there is "some third thing" that is greater than the absolute authority to which it must conform in order to be an authority (which reduces it to expert authority). Whatever that "third thing" is, would then be the true authority (which would immediately bring us back to a one-circle non-Christian view of the world).

We can follow philosopher-theologian Cornelius Van Til when he connects God's absolute nature and the infallible nature of God's Word.

All facts of history are what they are ultimately because of what God intends and makes them to be. Even that which is accomplished in human history through the instrumentality of men still happens by virtue of the plan of God. God tells the stars by their names. He identifies by complete description. He knows exhaustively. He knows exhaustively because he controls completely... Such a God, and only such a God, identifies all the facts of the universe. In identifying all the facts of the universe he sets these facts in relation to one another... Such a view of God and of human history is both presupposed by, and in turn presupposes, the idea of the infallible Bible

Cornelius Van Til, A Christian Theory of Knowledge. (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1969).

The reason this is important for an article on Christianity and LGBTQ, is that the LGBTQ community generally fits the Bible in their "one-circle" view of reality. When they do this, they reject much if not all of what the Bible (God) says, because in the "one-circle" view it frankly doesn't matter what God says or thinks (as we explained above). This brings us to the antithesis, the place where the Christian - and the LGBTQ worldview clash.

The antithesis

It's no wonder that Christian apologists (like Matt Walsh) have been hitting their heads against the wall with the recent wave of unbelief rushing over most of the old Western world. We have to deal with the underlying antithesis else our labour will be in vain:

The Christian and LGBTQ antithesis
The Christian and LGBTQ antithesis

Let's moved on to compare these two worldviews side-by-side.




Two circle reality with God as the absolute Creator, and creation as dependent.

One circle chance-generated reality. God (if he/it exists) is also contained in this reality.


​Absolute, independent, Creator, has absolute authority, determiner and sustainer of all things.

Dependent, might have some expert authority, cannot reveal anything to us unfiltered by our own subjective experience.


Receptively reconstructive of God's thoughts and meaning He attached to the facts He created and sustains. God created the objects of experience, as well as our minds (subjects), and placed them in a natural relationship with each other.

​Non-receptive and constructive for each individual. The individual's experience is their reality, and this cannot be shared between two individuals.

Universals (categories)

Creation's particulars (objects) sustain the relationship that God determines. We might not exhaustively understand this relationship of categories, but they are real nonetheless and true as far as our knowledge goes.

No universals or categories. These do violence to the experience of the individual.

Sex and gender

Determined by God just like all other facts of creation

Determined by the individual just like all other facts of the Chance-generated reality

What is a woman?

Let's see what the antithesis looks like when we once again apply it to the trending question of our time: "What is a woman?" We've already discussed what the LGBTQ worldview answers: A "woman" according to post-modern thought really is someone who believes themselves to be a woman. The word has no content beyond what the individual experiences it to be. There is no "universal" category that contains what it means to be a woman.

But what is the Christian answer? In Walsh's documentary, he steered clear of trying to provide an answer from the Christian perspective and only tried to focus on "science". This isn't necessarily wrong (as science is a Christian discipline at its core), however, if you divorce science from Christianity you'll fall prey to David Hume which sets you on the course to Kant and post-modernism.

Now if you define a woman merely as a person with a uterus, an immediate question arises with regard to the status of women who had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus for medical reasons). If you implant a uterus in a man (which is possible today), does that make the man a woman? Science allows us to better understand biology and it can inform our views of creation's categories, but we seem to need more.

Walsh himself defines a woman as "An adult human female" - which is of course correct from a Christian perspective (as God created us male and female), but what does it mean to be "female", or "adult"? It just pushes the problem with the universals back on step and seems to remain impotent for the post-modernist who can still attach any meaning they'd like to the words Walsh uses.

For the fullest definition we can offer of "woman", we must turn to Scripture. In Scripture we learn how God created the first woman:

God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

Genesis 1:27-28, ESV

The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis 2:21ff, ESV

Earlier in Genesis, it is also mentioned that Eve (the woman) was created as a helper for Adam (the man).

The fact that God created mankind male and female, man and woman, is significant. So already from Scripture, we know that there is a real distinction between "man" and "woman", and we know that whatever "man" or "woman" is, is created. The concept of "man" or "woman" has been exhaustively defined by God's creative decree. God then created particular men and women (i.e. Adam and Eve) who are defined (at least in part) by those categories. Imagine if Eve, after being created, told God that He made a mistake and that she'd rather be a man (or nothing at all!). That is rebellion - and sadly this kind of rebellion on the part of Adam and Eve did happen, and it continues around us today.

We also read that a man and a woman were made for each other. Together, they are called to "be fruitful multiply". Hence, reproduction is another aspect of what it means to be a man and a woman.

After the fall in Genesis 3, God's punishment for the woman relates particularly to her unique ability to bear children. So, childbearing (or the ability thereof) is another aspect of what it means to be a woman.

Rebekah Merkle can assist us in getting a more concrete Biblical definition of a woman. Her recent documentary "Eve in exile", unpacks a fourfold definition of the feminine vocation: to subdue, fill, help, and glorify.

Subdue is part of her calling as a creation in the image of God. Together with men (and in particular together with her husband), she ought to subdue creation and rule over it.

To fill refers to a woman's unique ability to bear and raise children. For this purpose, God has created women with certain biological traits to fulfil this role. Women by nature are created with breasts to feed their children, with a uterus to carry their baby in a safe space as it develops. Merkle says fertility/procreation “is not a tiny side feature” of our design, and Christians need not apologize for the fact that God created women for this. Childbearing is a mind-blowing ability that God gave women. God should be praised for this.

But a woman raising her children is not only shaping the next generation, she is also shaping little humans who are going to live forever. The souls she gave birth to are immortal. Immortal. And somehow, our culture looks at a woman who treats that as if it might be an important task and says, “It’s a shame she’s wasting herself. She could be doing something important—like filing paperwork for insurance claims.

Rebekah Merkle, Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity

To help refers to a woman's calling to be a helper for her husband (as Eve was when she was first created). Merkle says we have been trained to think of “helper” as a negative role as if helping always implies a status or power differential when biblically this is not the case.

And lastly, to glorify ultimately means that a woman, as designed by God, delights in the body and role that she has been given, and glorifies God for His creativity and craftsmanship in designing her.

Now, what if a woman doesn't have the ability to bear children, or if she is unmarried? Does this make her less of a woman? No. A woman strives to fulfil these four aspects (which are by no means exhaustive) outlined in Scripture as best she can, given the resources her God has given her. If she cannot have children, it doesn't change God's command to multiply, and it might not change her desire to have children, but she still seeks the will of God for her life as far as it is in her means to do so.

In the same way, it is possible to have children in a way that is not glorifying God (e.g. outside of marriage). In these cases, it would be better not to have children than to have children out of wedlock. Womanhood all comes down to a certain attitude towards God's created order and Word, an acceptance of what God has said, and a seeking to glorify God given the role and body he has given the particular woman. Women who seek to rebel against God (by mutilating themselves via a sex change) don't succeed in making themselves less of a woman in God's eyes, they just end up being rebellious women who failed to live the life that God has intended for them to live (via His revealed will for their lives). As such, they deserve judgement, and their only hope is Jesus Christ.

The above Christian definition of a woman (which is by no means exhaustive) militates against the non-definition that the LGBTQ community has of a woman (and it should) because of the underlying conflict of worldviews that inform the way we answer the question. So, what does the way forward look like? Are the two camps stuck in their echo chambers with no other hope than to scream their contradictory definitions at each other until the issue is somehow magically resolved?

Do you think our definition of "woman" is a good definition?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Mixed. I think it can improve (let us know in the comments)

A critique

The LGBTQ community has been unjustly harassed and attacked over the past 50 years. This unfair treatment is mainly due to a fundamental misunderstanding of their underlying philosophy. If we disagree with their views (as we should if we claim to be Christian), we ought to disagree with them in the right way. Don't misunderstand me. I do believe that LGBTQ ideas are wrong, and I do believe that if they don't repent and place their trust in Jesus Christ they will face judgment when Jesus Christ returns again as the great judge, but I also believe that the way to resolve the controversy must be done in the right way.

The right way is to listen, understand, critique, and resist the integration of LGBTQ ideas into our own families and churches. Insofar as those within the LGBTQ community are created in the image of God, they deserve to be treated with respect as image bearers. The LGBTQ community, on the other hand, should understand that Christians cannot approve of LGBTQ ideas without fundamentally denying their own worldview. But this shouldn't be a controversial issue, as similarly those in the LGBTQ community cannot approve of certain Christian ideas.

So, how can Christians critique the LGBTQ worldview? We do so in the same way we critique any non-Christian worldview: By reducing it to absurdity and calling the person who adopted the worldview to repentance.

Given the emphasis on subjectivity and the experience of the individual within the LGBTQ worldview, the first issue that arises is that of purely subjective morality. In particular, if the experience of every individual is equally valid, there can be no objection against those who feel a sexual attraction towards children (paedophilia) or those who feel a sexual attraction towards animals (zoophilia). Although (currently) most in the LGBTQ community would reject this association (thank God's common grace), some within the LGBTQ community have already started on the road towards an acceptance of these kinds of behaviours. The LGBTQ community will have an incredibly hard time resisting the integration of these other two groups of people without being inconsistent in their thinking and philosophy. They might argue that "consent" is the defining factor, and that animals and children cannot give consent to sexual experiences, but in a world of pure subjectivity where there is no absolute truth, "consent" comes down to personal preference, and a preference for "consent" is no more valid or invalid than another person's dismissal thereof. If they were consistent, they would need to "respect" the other person's "personal experience/preference" (that uniquely defines them) which tells them that "consent" is not needed. Arbitrary standards seem to be a big issue. The fact that the LGBTQ community is against paedophilia and zoophilia (without them having a standard to do so) is a self-stultifying position, and it testifies that although they rebel, they still know and act in accordance with God's law.

The more devasting critique (with objective force) against the underlying post-modernism of the LGBTQ community can be presented as follows:

Remember that the fundamental principle at work in the post-modernist worldview of the LGBTQ community is that of subjective truth and personal experience. Your truth is not my truth and vice versa. What I intend to show now is how this conception actually depends on the Christian worldview for its own intelligibility, and in so doing ends up being self-refuting. When a Christian presents his beliefs to a post-modernist, the post-modernist (if he were consistent) would accept the Christian message/worldview as the subjective truth of the Christian. His own truth and experience (which is non-Christian) are just as valid as the Christian's truth and experience even though the beliefs might contradict. Who knows in a Chance-generated universe?

Note that the above is nothing other than the "one-circle" worldview that we've presented earlier (where there are different experiences, none can overlap, and all are equally valid).

Now, here's the kicker. Upon further scrutiny of the "one-circle, ultimate subjectivity" worldview, we realise that this worldview presents itself as an objective picture of reality as a whole that paints human knowers as ultimate (subjective knowers) and not creatures of God. This previous sentence is incredibly important. I'll repeat it. This worldview presents itself as an objective picture of reality as a whole that paints human knowers as ultimate (subjective knowers) and not creatures of God.

This worldview, in its supposed humbleness for claiming not to know anything, knows for certain that the Christian God does not exist and that the Christian worldview cannot be true. Because it starts with the assumption of the ultimacy of the human perceiver's thoughts and experiences, it has actually started by assuming that Christianity is false and thus begged the question. Claiming that the Christian worldview is true for one person but not for another is a contradiction. If the absolute God of Christianity exists, then his revelation presses upon all men everywhere such that He cannot be rationally denied.

The post-modernist, by definition of his own position, is not supposed to know and cannot know whether his position (which is that no one really knows) is true or not. If the post-modernist could be sure of his position, he would be sure that he is not sure about anything - which is self-refuting. It is a purely irrational worldview to hold to. The Christian, on the other hand, refuses to start with himself as the ultimate starting point in knowledge but rather recognises that the absolute God who is distinct from Creation is the final arbiter of truth.

Our post-modernist LGBTQ friends, based on their own principles of interpretation operating on a supposed Chance-generated world of brute fact have involved themselves in contradiction and intellectual suicide.

They have committed themselves to a worldview that empties all words of meaning. We have shown how they cannot define a woman in particular, but this also applies to all other words. Apples, humans, animals, good, bad, phones, nature etc. all lose their objective meaning. No one lives in a world that is committed to this form of subjectivity. Indeed, if you read this article and expected me to make a compelling argument (and perhaps found a compelling argument), you've abandoned post-modernism. The point is this: Post-modernists don't practice what they preach. They preach a world of pure subjectivity and discrete experiences, but they continue to live in God's world and they continue to enjoy the fruits of God's faithfulness, but they refuse to give thanks to God.


The LGBTQ community's attack on universal truth claims, their challenge to the idea that we might find a sure foundation for truth, and in particular, their redefinition of God's wonderful creation of man and woman and God's intention for them in marriage. However, this rejection of universal truth, of a foundation, and a commitment to ultimate subjectivity hasn’t stopped them from being dogmatic. Perhaps this is part of the problem. Their views aren't something you argue for or substantiate with an argument. it is something you fight for. Pride parades, child drag shows, de-platforming of dissenting voices, riots and challenges to free speech are great evidence of this.

But we as Christians do have a foundation. Our foundation is not human reason as such (as if human reason can be an authority on its own). Our sure foundation is Jesus himself, the Creator of the world, coming to us through the words of the Scriptures that testify to him.

Those who reject the Christian worldview and substitute it for the irrationality of the post-modernist do so not for intellectual reasons, but for rebellious reasons. All of us were once rebels, but Jesus Christ died for our sins whilst we were still rebels. There is hope in Jesus Christ for those who have adopted LGBTQ (non-Christian) ideas.


[1] Verywell Mind. 2022. What Does LGBTQ+ Mean? [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 13 December 2022].

[2] The Problem of Induction (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). 2022. The Problem of Induction (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 08 December 2022].

[3] Cornelius Van Til and Eric H. Sigward, The Pamphlets, Tracts, and Offprints of Cornelius Van Til, Electronic ed. (Labels Army Company: New York, 1997).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Cornelius Van Til, The Reformed Pastor and Modern Thought (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1980), 237.


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At Apologetics Central, we are committed to providing biblically grounded, Reformed presuppositional apologetics resources to equip believers in defending the Christian faith. As a ministry, we strive to uphold the truth of God's word and present it winsomely to a world in need of the gospel.

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