Losing Our Identity

Dear Swillpit,

Have you noticed how obsessed earthlings have become with protecting their personal information for fear of identity theft, oblivious to the fact that they’ve been losing their identity long before the digital age?

There was a time when they accepted their humanness as something innate, immutable, and ennn-dowed. Ulckk! That word never fails to give me gastric reflux.

Anyway, that notion has been undergoing steady erosion for quite some time. Why even in the Carpenter’s day, when he lectured the religious wonks about giving the State its due based on the image stamped on its currency, they failed to follow his line of thought: what they owe the One whose image is stamped on them. Delightful!

 

But once ol’ Strepped got to the ear of a prominent thought leader with three little words—“Existence precedes essence”—erosion turned to demolition. With all the force of a wrecking ball, human nature was dismantled as something intrinsic, fixed, and universal. Erected in its place was “identity,” a personalized sense of self that is emergent and malleable according to felt-needs and nurture.

Identity has become the diadem of the Self—a radically autonomous being that takes its cues not from Above, but from within—or, more accurately, from Below.

Just think, with one catchy jingle, we’ve snatched their true identity from them as something “GAHWD given,” and slipped in one that is Self-driven.

And how quickly they’ve taken to it! Seeing themselves through their kaleidoscope of likes, dislikes, behaviors, exploits, wants, and needs—yes, needs, to scratch every itch, sample every fruit, slake every thirst, pursue every passion, and to follow their hearts and dreams, blissfully unaware that their hearts and dreams are being dutifully conditioned to facilitate our Father’s will on earth as it is in Hell. Sweet, huh?

The way the Enemy set things up, his imprint was intended to draw them into wholeness, harmony, and unity with him and all creation. And for a while, it did. For a fleeting moment, they experienced union with him, each other, and their environment, all according to plan.

Then our Father took to tearing asunder what our Foe had put together. He threw the Couple into confusion about themselves and their place. It worked smashingly well, pitting them against their Maker and, in turn, each other. It wasn’t long before they were descending down the hellish vortex of hostility as husband rose against wife, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, son against father, and, eventually, mother against child. Early animosities led to divisions which sparked ever more animosities, and more divisions.

Today, those divisions include race, sex, class, nationality, religion, ethnicity, and politics. The result is a dizzying matrix of identities that has atomized the creatures into smaller and smaller tribes, arousing distrust, suspicions, and hostilities responsible for the continuing parade of revolutions, wars, pogroms, exploitations, and oppressions that have come to characterize their kind.

I hope you can see that if this continues apace, the number of tribes will soon equal the number of them, creating a maximum state of “otherness”—a true hell on earth. You know, that Lewis fellow was on to something with his Grand, or was it, Great Divorce? Gladly, it hasn’t awakened too many out of their narcissistic slumbers.

As of late, their atomization has accelerated with the concoction of two novel distinctions: “gender” and “sexual orientation.”

You will recall that until quite recently, they used “gender” in reference to their biological design as male or female. But a few decades back some influential thinkers began decoupling gender from its binary categories. Intent on liberating women from victimization “caused” by the traditional understanding, they argued that gender was not a matter of biology, but of one’s sense of maleness or femaleness, which can be anywhere along a continuum. And can you believe it, Swillpit, that argument is winning the day?!

For example, one of their most successful enterprises—MyFace, SpaceBook, whatever—lets its customers self-identify by 54 different genders! Things like, “Transgender,” “Trans Man,” “Trans Woman,” “Genderqueer,” and “Gender Questioning.” I doubt they even know what these mean. And yet, by our wiles, there are men who are truly convinced they are lesbians trapped in male bodies, and women who believe themselves gay men trapped in female bodies. It is the ultimate division, pitting them against their own (true) nature.

They’ve gone as far to invent a new right: the unfettered freedom to express their gender identity, which has resulted in laws requiring access for gender-confused boys in girls’ restrooms. And to think, this all began in response to the victimization of women.

But it gets better.

Their experts have further convinced them that their gender can change with time and stage of life. Imagine the poor rube who deems himself male yesterday, female today, and pangender tomorrow. Think of the collateral damage this inflicts on his wife and his children. With no social support to criticize his choice to live out his identity, his family have but to watch and wonder: his wife, about what this means concerning her role as a lover (lesbian or straight?); his children, about how they can relate to their transmogrified mom, dad, or mom/dad.

On a lighter note, think of all the forms holding their bureaucratic complex together—specifically, male/female checkboxes. These will need to be replaced with a matrix for them to mark their gender sensibilities, and a process for them to update and resubmit as those sensibilities change. That alone, is enough to keep them spinning plates for years.

Then there’s the category of “sexual orientation” by which certain sexual proclivities, previously deemed untoward, have been elevated from peccadilloes to virtues. In fact, if anyone wants praise from the leader of the free world, he doesn’t have to save a child from a burning building, thwart a terrorist attack, club a mob of baby seal clubbers, or do anything for the betterment of their kind or the world—all he has to do is utter two little words, “I’m gay.”

Why, one self-outed fellow, after being drafted nearly dead last in the NFL, was heralded by the media as “the most important football player in the nation.” (After one season he was cut from the league to fade into obscurity.)

At the same time, all someone has to do to be dismissed as a knuckle-dragger who clings to his guns and religion, is utter two other words: “I’m Christian.”

Now—and this is a real gem!—while the cultural mandarins insist that gender identity can change over time, they insist that sexual orientation does not and can not change, ever, whether by nature, nurture, strength of will, or the therapeutic arts.

Swillpit, only in the Alice in Wonderland world that we’ve created could something as patently innate as gender be considered a malleable product of feelings, while sexual desire is an unalterable fact of life.

I dare say that identity theft is, perhaps, the masterwork of all our devilry. Granted, it has taken decades, but today I can confidently report that their identity, as originally fashioned, has been reduced to a wraith of a memory long-entombed, supplanted by an ever-constricting sense of self that will increasingly estrange them from their Maker, each other, and the world they share.

Oh, Father Below, Hasten the Day!

Your Doting Adviser,

S.

Regis Nicoll

By

Regis Nicoll is a retired nuclear engineer and a fellow of the Colson Center who writes commentary on faith and culture. His new book is titled Why There Is a God: And Why It Matters.

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