The latest disturbing trend, it seems, is something called transableism. Formerly called body integrity identity disorder, transableism is when people choose to identify as handicapped. Some go as far as to harm themselves to make their fantasies a macabre reality; others, such as one Jorund Viktoria Alme, simply self-identify as handicapped, even using a wheelchair for no valid reason. In even more horrific cases, people sometimes find surgeons willing to amputate perfectly healthy limbs.
And there are "respectable" advocates for this. As Ashley Taylor reported in 2019, philosophers Tim Bayne (Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia) and Neil Levy (University of Oxford, in England, and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia) make the case that transabled people who seek amputations should be able to get them from reputable surgeons. Read about it at daily.jstor.org/the-complicated-issue-of-transableism.
This is, as with so many things these days, another front in the ongoing war on reality.
Reality is not always pleasant. Reality is what keeps the 5-foot-3 adult male from being drafted to play center for an NBA team, even though he really wants to be one. Reality is what keeps a little girl out of the ring with a male heavyweight MMA champ for a fight even though she is sure she can win. Reality is what keeps people who think they are birds from flying, no matter how hard they flap their arms. Reality is what keeps me from walking into the White House and sitting down behind the desk in the Oval Office. Reality is what keeps men from having periods and babies. Reality is what keeps a 99-year-old man from playing middle linebacker for the Cowboys (although to be fair, he may not be much of a downgrade for them in recent years).
Simply put, the adage "you can be whatever you want to be" is not entirely true, even though people often wish it was.
Reality, though, is a very good thing; it forms the guardrails that keep us from making horrific wrecks of our lives. And, as anyone who knows Scripture might suspect, it is a gift given to us by the hand of our Creator. That, though, also explains the current anti-reality insanity that seems to have gripped our nation in recent years. Any good thing that God gives to us will always become a target of the devil, the thief who, in the words of John 10:10, comes to steal, kill and destroy.
The reality of the Garden of Eden was that Adam and Eve could eat absolutely any fruit they wanted -- except for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By the time the devil was done spinning his lies against that reality, Adam and Eve found themselves transimmortal and transgarden. The devil stole from them everything that was good and pleasant.
The reality of the life of Judas was that Jesus was the best thing to ever happen to him. By the time the devil was done spinning his lies against that reality, Judas found himself with 30 pieces of silver that he could not even bear to keep and a rope around his neck with which he hanged himself. He found himself transdisciple and transliving. The devil stole from him everything that was good and pleasant.
The devil will always be the enemy of reality simply because he hates every human being with the heat of a million suns. We are made in the image of God; God has favored us in a way he never favored the devil or any angels. Satan loathes that and will do everything in his power to cause us to wreck ourselves by breaking down the guardrails. He cannot touch us without God's express permission; the book of Job makes that abundantly clear. But he can whisper lies to us, lies that, if we listen to them, will cause us to ruin ourselves, thus doing the devil's job for him.
Reality, therefore, is to be embraced. We should always strive to be the very best version of who and what we actually are because that is glorifying to the God who made us. But we should never strive to be something we were not designed to be because that both dishonors God and damages us and often destroys others as collateral damage along the way. The person who chops off body parts cannot get them back. The parent who allows a life of fantasy to take them away from spouse and children cannot ever regain the wasted years, even if they come back to the life of reality at some point, and the children suffer the loss of the parent that should have been.
No one in any position of influence should ever assist with the abandonment of reality either. No doctor or nurse should ever help a person ruin himself or herself based on a thought or desire that simply is not true. No teacher or counselor should ever encourage a person to believe a lie, even if the lie seems pleasant. No actor or singer, adored by millions, should ever think so little of their fans as to cheer them on to their ruin rather than using their influential platforms to steer them to safety.
The devil cannot chop people up, but by the denial of reality, he can get people to do it to themselves. He cannot ruin people's reputations, but by the denial of reality, he can get people to ruin their own reputations by behaving in ridiculous ways that all rational people cringe at.
It is a war on reality; make sure you don't become the next victim.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.