So a 69-year-old Dutch man wants to reduce his age by 20 years. Emile Ratelband has launched a legal battle to change his birthday from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969.
I guess that most people would greet this news with a smile and a shrug of the shoulders. After all, “there’s nowt as strange as folk”.
But look at Ratelband’s reasoning:- “We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?”
Indeed, this is not an isolated example. As Glynn Harrison (A Better Story: God, Sex And Human Flourishing. IVP) reports:-
According to the New York Times Magazine, 2015 was the ‘Year We Obsessed Over Identity’. In December 2015 of that year a transgender father of seven children reportedly left his wife and family in Toronto to start a new life as a six-year-old girl. A few months earlier Rachel Dolezal, a thirty-seven-year-old white civil rights activist accused by her parents of falsely portraying herself as black, continued to insist that she still ‘identified as black’. The relatively new concept of ‘trans-speciesism’ entered many people’s vocabulary for the first time when a twenty-year-old Norwegian woman, alleging the sensory powers of a cat, reportedly claimed to have been born ‘in the wrong species’.
In truth, all these examples lie merely at the outer edge of a way of thinking that has been accepted, more or less without question, by millions of people. According to that thinking, the question of who I am is to be settled, not by reference to any objective reality ‘out there’, but by reference to what I feel inside.
It’s time for Christians to stop either holding their hands up in horror or meekly capitulating to this vast sea-change in our culture. It’s time to re-assert that we are defined, not by ourselves, but by our Maker.