“Bodies With Vaginas” and Gnosticism

With that phrase, “transgender campaigner” Debbie Hayton writes, “The Lancet dehumanised the bodies of half the population” — What The Lancet gets wrong about women. More:

It is perhaps no wonder that [editor Richard Horton] has waded into one of the most charged political debates of our time: the material reality of flesh and blood. Yes, some people struggle with their bodies — for any number of reasons, but we can never be divorced from them.

The egregious quote might lead us to think that Horton believes otherwise. Does he really think that “bodies with vaginas” are as peripheral to humanity as, say, cars with a hatchback: mere perambulating devices that transport our metaphysical essence from place to place?

If so, he would be replacing modern science with Gnosticism, a heresy that stretches back much further than the founding of The Lancet in 1823. So ancient in fact, that it was first refuted by Ignatius of Antioch who died around 110 CE.

In the early second century, Gnostics separated the spiritual from the material. They held that matter was evil and the spirit good. Their focus was on the person of Jesus Christ — claims were made that he did not have a real body but only an apparent or phantom one — and a hope of salvation that came through esoteric knowledge, or gnosis.

There are strong parallels today in the debate over sex and gender. Adherents of what has become known as “gender ideology” might replace spirit with mind, but the schism between mind and body is much the same. Their entire belief system is constructed on esoteric knowledge. Even small children are understood to be able to discern their gender identity, a mysterious quality that supposedly trumps mere biology when demarcating men from women.

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