June 13, 2017

"Also, can we please keep in mind that not everyone is thrilled with the term 'deadname'?"

"It's the sort of thing that's best to use only once someone has used it themselves, not just willy-nilly. You didn't die when you transitioned."

Yes, what's going on with this metaphorical death? It sounds creepy, and yet, it's widely used in Christianity. You must be born again, etc.

Death and rebirth is also an American political theme, for example "this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom...."

31 comments:

sparrow said...

Christianity is focused on life, and that everlasting: death is highlighted only as a consequence of rejecting Christ. Christ is the "bread of life" and states that God is the God of "the living not the dead". The Christiantity label in reference to death is inaccurate.

rhhardin said...

Death signifies change in general.

BDNYC said...

It's clear those commenters support Manning's commutation on the basis of her transgenderism. I think it's disgusting how they celebrate her freedom and her transition, as if her crime was just some pesky thing that happened that had to be resolved and put away. Manning could be gay, straight, black, white, male, female, trans, queer, or anything else, and it wouldn't change what he did. I can buy that she was confused and angry by what she saw, and those feelings were magnified somehow by her gender identity struggle. So what? Is that sort of thing an excuse for everything? Does it mitigate the seriousness of everything wrong that she does?

Ann Althouse said...

"Christianity is focused on life, and that everlasting: death is highlighted only as a consequence of rejecting Christ. Christ is the "bread of life" and states that God is the God of "the living not the dead". The Christiantity label in reference to death is inaccurate."

Why wouldn't the transgender activist be able to articulate a parallel explanation for saying "deadnaming"? Death is only referred to as a metaphor for the failure to embrace the truth that is life, and the emphasis is on life. I'm not speaking pro- or con- Christianity or transitioning. I'm just talking about the use of language and metaphor and whether it is or isn't offensive to put it in terms of death and life.

holdfast said...

So is transgenderism a mental disorder that should disqualify someone from purchasing a firearm? Or getting a security clearance?

https://heatst.com/culture-wars/pennsylvania-market-shooter-identified-as-transgender-woman-who-hated-all-men/

sparrow said...

Ann I'm only interested in clarity with respect to what is and is not Christianity. If as you say deadnaming is just a metaphor for rejecting life, then the parallel to Christianity works, even if this worldy understanding of life is 180 degress out of phase from the faith.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

As you seem to be baiting Christians, I'll bite. Here is the contextual meaning of the Bible phrase you used from John 3. Nothing whatever to do with death. "Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

Fernandinande said...

Yes, what's going on with this metaphorical death?

Melodrama.

sparrow said...

To be more clear for a Christian, embracing trangenderism is a rejection of God and the life He has given and can only lead to death, barring penance. So while the activst may offer an effective metaphorical parallel to the Christian life, their viewpoints are diametrically opposed.

Ann Althouse said...

"If as you say deadnaming is just a metaphor for rejecting life, then the parallel to Christianity works, even if this worldy understanding of life is 180 degress out of phase from the faith."

I didn't say "deadnaming is just a metaphor for rejecting life" or even that deadnaming is a metaphor for rejecting life, and I don't understand the rest of your sentence. Are you trying to say that I've misstated something about Christianity.

I'm saying that there's a parallel in the use of "life" and "death" in a manner that is metaphorical in that no biological death has occurred. In both cases, you've got a person who was born and is still alive. (I'm not talking about the afterlife, after real biological death, but the life during biological life when one is said to be born again.)

In both cases, you have phase 1, the old life: Before transitioning or before accepting Christ.

Then, you move to phase 2, to a new life, leaving the old life behind, so that old you is dead and the new you has arrived. You are reborn, and you can look back on the old you, and that person is no longer here.

Perhaps your resistance to this parallel is that you want to think of one but only one of these things as crazy. You could think of both as crazy or neither as crazy. But these are things people do with their minds.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann, your examples -- like being "born again" -- don't mention death; they mention rebirth. You're assuming that rebirth implies death, but does it? Did the Renaissance (= "rebirth") require that medievalism be stone dead before it could be reborn? What about Jesus' saying that you will have to become "as little children" to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? You can't become a child until you've first been born (OK, yes, there are a lot of people who dispute that hotly), so we all have to die yet before that?

Christianity obviously treats ceaselessly of death, in the Resurrection Story above all, but the theme is always that death doesn't and can't win, that the Conqueror Worm is one of the oldest and stalest of all myths.

sparrow said...

Ann,
Actually I think I made an error in what I wrote and said rejecting life when I meant the opposite, writing too fast. As to the second part I was being vague. What I mean to say is that I agree with your phase 1 and 2 approach it's just that they are travelling in opposite directions and to me at least that was what really mattered. I accept the parallel as a metaphor but the philosophies are day and night.

sparrow said...

So even if the transgender sees the change as a rebirth, which is appropriating a Christian term/metaphor BTW, it's meaning to me as a believer is akin to embracing death. In that sense the similarity of the terms doesn't matter much compared to the completely different understanding of life and death. I'm not resisting the metaphor, which I view as not important, but rather I am rejecting the premise, which I see as crucial.

Owen said...

I think part of the rebirth metaphor is leaving behind what is false, limiting, toxic. What emerges is true, unlimited, clean.

But rebirth requires readiness. You must give your old self over. You must throw your vanities into the fire.

Did Chelsea? Was s/he ever anything but completely focused on his/herself, his/her preoccupations and fears and vanities?

S/he viewed the military as a kind of consumer experience. Oooh, this is repugnant or that offends my personal ethos. So I can invoke my personal value system and betray the living shit out of my country and my comrades.

S/he wasn't careful in her treason, s/he just dumped vast quantities of compromising material, because s/he COULD.

It was all about her.

And the trans/drama is more of the same. Me, me, me! Look at me struggle! Look at how mean they are!

She is a long way from a true rebirth. Why are we all being asked to pay for her?

Peter said...

Declaring one's old name "dead" seems well within the American experience of re-inventing oneself if and when one chooses to do so; the sticking point is that it's up to the re-inventor to produce a convincing new identity and not up to the audience to respect the attempt.

Complaining about this is like an actor complaining that people are seeing and relating to the actor and not the character the actor is playing: is it my fault if you can't stay in-role, or if your portrayal is less than convincing? If you want me to accept that you're really a tiger then you'd better be a convincing ti
ger; painting some stripes on your t-shirt and meow-growling at me just doesn't do it.

BUT the game needs to stop at changing the past. Your birth certificate is a record of what existed at the time it was filled out and, unless someone made an actual error that should have been apparent at the time, changing it retroactively to match your contemporary perception should not be permitted.

Saint Croix said...

Yes, what's going on with this metaphorical death? It sounds creepy, and yet, it's widely used in Christianity.

In our church we eat the body of Christ, and drink his blood.

It might sound creepy to people who are unfamiliar with Christianity!

It's a powerful metaphor because it's not just "Jesus who gave us some rules to follow." It's about the sacrifice of Jesus, out of love for us. It's about a feeling of unity with God. We imbibe him into our soul.

Saint Croix said...

I imagine there are any number of people who have plastic surgery and feel like they are a new person.

But this focus on the body is not at all what Christianity is about. It's a spiritual focus.

Paddy O said...

Baptism in Christianity represents death of the old and new life. Death metaphors are all through the NT. The born again reference is not one of them, that is more of a restart metaphor, though more than that as it implies a transition to a new psycho-social-spiritual reality.

Paddy O said...

Saying Christianity has no focus on the body is heresy.

mockturtle said...

Saying Christianity has no focus on the body is heresy.

Yes, which is why Jesus was careful to show His disciples his physical presence after His resurrection.

Yancey Ward said...

You will see Hillary Rodham, full stop, as a candidate in 2020. Hallelujah!

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, your examples -- like being "born again" -- don't mention death; they mention rebirth. You're assuming that rebirth implies death, but does it? Did the Renaissance (= "rebirth") require that medievalism be stone dead before it could be reborn?"

Google die to self for lots of mentions.

n.n said...

XY forevermore. You can still bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. But no buns in the oven, ever. And XX will remain a twilight fantasy.

Known Unknown said...

"You won't have Bruce Jenner to kick around any more."

Ann Althouse said...

Galatians 2:20

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

mockturtle said...

That's fine, Ann, but the quote about being born again was quite different.

sparrow said...

This is the quote this topic brings to mind:

Isaiah 5:20

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

mockturtle said...

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

That verse plays in my mind every day. Isaiah [which I happened to listen to today while driving] also remarked: As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. ...

Douglas said...

Are we talking about Bradley (n/k/a "Chelsea") Manning again?

Saint Croix said...

Saying Christianity has no focus on the body is heresy.

Plastic surgery is not the way, Paddy.