Personal Writing and Research:
Online Page For Gilchrist, S. 2016. "Taking a Different Path"
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It is shown that previous attempts to develop a scientific understanding of the early development of personality and self-identity and the efforts to reconcile it with the theology of the Christian Church fail, or give inadequate answers, because the presumption is made that, in some measure, a cognitive continuum guides the processes of learning and development at all times of life. An extended neurophysiological and psychological analysis has been conducted. By challenging and refuting that assumption this investigation offers a radical new approach.
There are two elements to this study. The first is a neurophysiological and psychological investigation into the development of personality and self-identity in early life. The second uses the results of the neurophysiological and psychological analysis to conduct a critique of the teaching of the Christian Church. From the neurophysiological and psychological study it is shown that a moral duality must exist, whereby gender and sexually variant people who express their true attractions and identities in ways that conform to the highest moral standards of their own societies are to be highly regarded, while those who misuse these relationships should be severely condemned for their acts. This conclusion denies the validity of the traditional teaching of the Christian Church which condemns homosexuality, and by implication all gender and sexually variant behaviour, as disordered and invariably sinful lifestyle choices. Therefore a primary focus of this investigation is to find out how and why this contradiction occurs.
An extended analysis of the attitudes to gender and sexuality in first century society is conducted. This uses the results of the neurophysiological and psychological study to examine not just Christianity, but also the attitudes to these in Jewish, Roman, Greek, and other societies. It is demonstrated that the teaching of Jesus incorporates the same moral duality as that predicted by the neurophysiological and psychological study. Therefore it is concluded that the source of the contradiction must come from changes in the theology of the Church.
The adaptations which Peter, Paul and the early Church had to make to survive and to take the Gospel message to the world are considered. The approach assumed in standard theology is that the teaching of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, was exactly that which Jesus presented, and that the compromises which were eventually made were those of the later Church. However evidence for the adaptations that were required is already present in their Epistles and Letters because of their pursuit of respectability for Christians and the Church. The nature of this transformation has been the focus of many theological studies: however the major difficulty has been one of determining how it was managed, and how the justification for it could be made. By removing the theological presumptions which have dominated Christianity for the last two thousand years new insights become available in the understanding of biblical texts and in the New Testament accounts. That is now addressed in this analysis and it is shown that the statement by Jesus in Matthew 19:12 where he says. “He who is able to receive this, let him receive it” allowed Peter and Paul to move forward with the compromises that were required.
However this was not just a statement of compromise. It was also the command for the Christian Church to express in full the radical teaching of Jesus on gender and sex as soon as it had the power to do so. Instead of returning to the radical teaching which Jesus had presented: the Church used these opportunities enforce its own power and authority. Today; that has still not happened. It is now time to follow in full this commandment of Jesus by restoring the radical teaching of Jesus on gender and sex to the present day Church.
Great emphasis is also placed by GAFCON and others on restoring the “Godly Authority” of bible texts. (The “Global Anglican Future Conference”, representing the conservative elements in the Church). However the correct understanding depends on the context in which these are placed. It is demonstrated in this analysis that the traditional teaching on marriage and family life remains intact; but it also establishes that other valid loving relationships should not automatically be denied. This study additionally supports the views held by GAFCON and others that the traditional Church teaching on gender complementarity, gender and sexuality and on the silencing of the public ministry of women has Apostolic Authority. However GAFCON assumes that these doctrines accurately represent the teaching of Jesus, while this analysis shows that they are the results of the compromises that were made to ensure the survival of the Church. These attempts at restoration do not return to the teaching of Jesus, they return instead to the compromised Christianity which was presented by the 13th Century Church.
The correct restoration can only be made if the moral duality disclosed in this neurophysiological study and in the teaching of Jesus is used. This demands that the same criteria of use and abuse are applied to all aspects of gender and sex. As with Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:28, this requires that all transgender people, transsexual lesbian, gay, heterosexual and bisexual people who attempt to live their lives in ways that fulfil the love of Christ, and who seek to express their own identities in roles that are true to themselves; must be accepted alike. All sexual behaviour is governed by the purity of intention. There is no automatic condemnation of any same-sex act, and there is no toleration of abusive sex.
It is important to note that discrimination against gender and sexually variant people is a socially led phenomenon and it would be a mistake to identify its cause with religious belief. The transformation needed to gain acceptability in the Greco/Roman culture brought the Church to collude with these secular demands of society rather than to challenge them. Not only has this consent reinforced the secular prejudices of such discriminatory societies; it gave and it still gives religious legitimacy to them, it reinforces the severity of the penalties that are encountered and it contradicts the results which the neurophysiological and psychological analysis presents. Instead of recognising the moral duality which is inherent in gender and sexual behaviour all of these people, without exception, have been made the scapegoats for abusive sex. Great harm has been done by the medical misdiagnoses that have been and still are being made. The persecution and slaughter of gender and sexually variant people, not only in Christianity but in Islam, Judaism and all other religions, states and cultures which have drawn their teachings from this has been enormous, and repentance is needed for these acts.
Centuries of criminalisation and condemnation have prevented any awareness of the moral duality being observed. Little could happen for as long as that existed, however the changes in society mean that this is no longer the case. This moral duality is now available for everybody to see in the love expressed in same-sex marriage and civil partnerships. It has become easy for an unbiased observer to separate a same-sex relationship given in faithfulness, love and lifetime commitment from a strong heterosexual friendship, and to discriminate between loving and illicit same-sex behaviour, even in the absence of sex. Instead of exploring this new situation many Christians have taken refuge in the traditional doctrines of the Church. It is argued in this analysis that this fervent reliance on its disproved traditional doctrines is destroying not only the credibility of the Church; it is also destroying the credibility of Christianity itself.
The increased openness to the possibility of change which has been evident in the discussions during the Church of England General Synod is welcomed. Many denominations are now allowing same-sex marriages to be conducted in their Churches. There is a considerable momentum towards inclusion, but there is also increasing resistance in many parts of the world. The refusal to accept any possibility of change to its traditional doctrines is an immovable requirement of the Catholic Church. The result of this analysis means that the full acceptance the integrity of the Christian beliefs of gender and sexually variant people, their full involvement in the Christian Churches and their ability to express their lives in ways that are true to their own identities within the love of Christ becomes a matter of right. It is no longer a matter of the toleration of others or the imposition of the traditions of the Church.
This is a radical analysis which challenges many preconceptions. For this reason detailed accounts of it are given in the accompanying papers. A description of the neurophysiological and psychological investigation is also provided and an introduction to this is contained in Chapter 10 of the Sibyls book. One of the features of the traditional teaching of the Christian Church on gender and sexual variation is that it makes presumptions which can be tested by science, neurophysiology and psychology. No doubt this analysis will be accepted by some and challenged by others. However no investigation into Christian attitudes to gender and sexually variant behaviour can ever be complete unless all of the scientific, social and theological arguments are heard.
For a summary of the analysis, copy into your browser or click on the link: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/223P-SexGenderSummary.pdfFor the full analysis and details of the papers, copy into your browser or click on the link: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/217P-FoundationsSexGender.pdf
Click on the Links to Download the Documents
Gilchrist, S. (2016): “An Introduction to the Foundations of Science, Sex and Gender Variation in the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/211P-IntroFoundationsSexGender.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2016):”A New Approach to Identity and Personality Formation in Early Life”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/218P-InfluencesPersonality.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2016):”Influences
of Gender and Sexual Variation on the Life and Teaching of Jesus”:
Gilchrist, S. (2016):”Influences of Gender and Sexual Variation on the Life and Teaching of Jesus”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/219P-InfluencesJesus.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2016):“Influences of Gender and Sexual Variation in the History and Traditions of the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/220P-InfluencesChurch.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2016):”The
Perceptions of Gender and Sexual Variation in Present Day Society and in the
Modern Christian Church”:
Gilchrist, S. (2016):”The Perceptions of Gender and Sexual Variation in Present Day Society and in the Modern Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/221P-InfluencesToday.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2016): “Foundations of Science, Sex and Gender Variation in the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/217P-FoundationsSexGender.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2015): “Deuteronomy 22:5 and its Impact on Gender and Sexual Variation in the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/022B-Deuteronomy22-5.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2015): “Personality Development and Gender: Why We Should Re-think the Process”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/209P-RethinkPaperFull.pdf
Summaries and Shorter Articles
Gilchrist, S. (2016):"Scientific and Theological Perspectives on Gender and Sexual Variation, Including the Development of Self- Identity and Personality Using A New Neurophysiological and Psychological Approach": http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/200P-ResearchSummary.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2016): “Series Abstract for Science, Sex and Gender Variation in the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/225P-FoundationsAbstract3.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2016): “Foreword to Science, Sex and Gender Variation in the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/225P-FoundationsForeword2.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2016): “An Overview of Science, Sex and Gender Variation in the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/224P-OverviewSexGenderChurch1.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2016): “Summary of Science, Sex and Gender Variation in the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/223P-SexGenderSummary.pdf
For More Detailed Analyses See:
Gilchrist, S. (2013): “A Reassessment of the Traditional Christian Teaching on Homosexuality, Transsexuality and on Gender and Sexual Variation Using a New Neurophysiological and Psychological Approach”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/207P-ReassessmentPsychologyExtended.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2014): “Controversy and Challenge: Issues of Gender and Sexuality in the Present Day Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/018B-ControversoryAndCrisis.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2014): “Christianity and Crisis: An Overview of Gender and Sexual Difference in the Early and Modern Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/017B-ChristianityAndCrisisOverview.pdf
Gilchrist, S: (2013):"Gender, Sexuality and the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/015B-GenderSexualityChurch.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2013): “Reform and the Christian Church”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/008B-ReformChristianChurchArticle.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2013): “An Unfinished Reformation”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/016B-UnfinishedReformationArticle.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2013): “Personality
Development and LGB&T People: A New Approach”:
Gilchrist, S. (2013): “Personality Development and LGB&T People: A New Approach”:http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/201P-PersonalityDevelopmentAndLGBTPeople.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2012): “Personal submission to the Church of England House of Bishops Working Party on Human Sexuality”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/004B-SGSubmissionToHoBSexualityReview2012.pdf
Gilchrist, S. (2011): “Issues on the Sanctity of Same-Sex Relationships”: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/documents/014B-IssuesOnTheSanctityOfSame-SexRelationships.pdf
For the full Bibliography Click Here
Gilchrist, S. (2016b): “Taking a Different Path”: Chapter 10 in: “This Is My Body: Hearing the Theology of Transgender Christians”, Ed: Beardsley, T. and O’Brien, M: Darton Longman and Todd. May 2016 ISBN 978-0-232-53206-7 Notes for this chapter are available on: http://www.tgdr.co.uk/sourcesA/index.htm
Notes for the Chapter:
Catechism of the Catholic Church: Paragraph 2357. The Second Edition English Translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with corrections promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 8 September 1997: “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, Tradition has always declared that "Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They choose the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
Almost any relevant textbook will describe in detail Freud’s psychosexual development stages, and the stages Piaget identified in his social learning approach. Piaget defined the Sensory-Motor stage phase as lasting from birth to about the age of two years. During the Sensory-Motor Stage, knowledge about objects and the ways that they can be manipulated is acquired: what the objects are is irrelevant; more importance is placed on the baby being able to explore the object to see what can be done with it. Through the acquisition of information about self, the world and the people in it, the baby begins to understand how one thing can cause or affect another, by creating schema that develop simple ideas about time and space. Freud defines his oral and anal stages as lasting from birth up to about the age of three years. The ability to move on to the next phase is dependent on having been able to resolve the conflicts that the previous stage has created. The following phase, the phallic phase, is one where a baby has become able to separate an object from its immediate function and relate it to other purposes in the world. Both Freud and Piaget associate all of these early developments with cognitive processing abilities and the possession of some elements of Theory of Mind. However this learning does not require anything more than that which experience can provide. A problem with these theories is that neurophysiological research described in this study indicates that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain does not develop sufficiently to allow cognitive abilities to function effectively much before the age of two years. As a consequence there can be little intellectual development before these cognitive abilities can start to develop. The period of between the ages of two and three years entirely matches the period of development of the cognitive abilities identified in this analysis and Piaget and Feud’s approaches marks the start point and end points of key stages in that process. The first two years is recognised to be a time of seething thoughts and emotions. Vast amounts of neural processing and development takes place during this time, however little cross linking of thought occurs. It is also of note that these psychodynamic and social learning theories predict their results by relying entirely on external stimuli for learning to develop. Therefore, according to these theories babies react passively although in active response to what is provided, instead of driving the processes forward themselves.
Although many more modern theories have moved on from this position, the principles still remain. For relationships to the Freudian and Piagetian development stages see: Gilchrist, S. (2013): “Personality Development and LGB&T People: A New Approach”
Description of Analysis
For the detailed Neurophysiological and Psychological Analysis see: Gilchrist, S.
(2013): “Personality Development and LGB&T People: A New Approach”. Also Sections 1 2 and 3 of Gilchrist, S. (2015): “Personality Development and Gender: Why We Should Re-think the Process”:
Tribal identification follows a similar path. The first period of development up to about the age of two years is categorised as one of acquisition and integration to society where only the components of what can later be used to separate the self from the other are formed. Without any mental means of consciously separating the self from the other the distinction between interpersonal and intrapersonal concepts cannot be made.A corollary of this is that the same principles which are outlined in this investigation can also be used to study the formation of tribal identities among groups of people. Extended use of these principles for the analysis of such conflicts has been made. See McClelland, R (2005) “Victims of the Conflict in and About Northern Ireland- Truth and Justice”, Ed: Gilchrist, I., Proceedings of a conference on “Healing Through Remembering: Dealing with the Past”. St Ethelburga's. London. 12th March 2005.
Conflict Types. See section 2:2
of Gilchrist, S. (2015): “Personality
Development and Gender: Why We Should Re-think the Process”:also
Gilchrist, S. (2013): “Personality
Development and LGB&T People: A New Approach”.
Gilchrist, S. (2013): “Personality Development and LGB&T People: A New Approach”.For Bipolar issues, see sections 5:1 and 8:4 of Gilchrist, S. (2015): “Personality Development and Gender: Why We Should Re-think the Process”:
Goddess Cults. See sections 3:1:6 to 3:1:8 of Gilchrist, S. (2013): “An Unfinished Reformation”: and Section 7 of Gilchrist, S. (2014): “Christianity and Crisis: An Overview of Gender and Sexual Difference in the Early and Modern Christian Church”. Attitudes to anal penetration and intercourse are discussed in sections 4:3 and 6:3 of Gilchrist, S. (2011): “Issues on the Sanctity of Same-Sex Relationships”, section 7:7 of Gilchrist, S. (2015): “Personality Development and Gender: Why We Should Re-think the Process”: and Gilchrist 2011b, section 4:5
Teaching and Respectability
The teaching of Jesus is discussed in Gilchrist, S. (2016):”Influences of Gender and Sexual Variation on the Life and Teaching of Jesus”. For a discussion on respectability of the Church see section 12 of Gilchrist, S. (2014): “Christianity and Crisis: An Overview of Gender and Sexual Difference in the Early and Modern Christian Church”.
Translation Drift: Many contemporary translations of the bible incorrectly state that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 condemns homosexuality; instead of abusive same-sex acts: (Gilchrist, S. (2013): “An Unfinished Reformation”, section 3:6). Similar concerns relate to the interpretations of agapé: (Gilchrist, S. (2014): “Christianity and Crisis: An Overview of Gender and Sexual Difference in the Early and Modern Christian Church”, section 9; Gilchrist, S. (2011): “Issues on the Sanctity of Same-Sex Relationships”, section 6:2) and pais: (Gilchrist, S. (2015): “Personality Development and Gender: Why We Should Re-think the Process”, sections 7:12 and 8:8). The consequences of turning discipline into doctrine is discussed in Gilchrist, S. (2013): “An Unfinished Reformation”, section 3:5.
Susan Gilchrist 12 July 2016