A number of weeks ago, I stumbled across the tragic story of a Belgium transexual, Nathan Verhelst. She was born a female and given the name Nancy. Of Nancy’s birth, her mother said, “When I saw ‘Nancy’ for the first time, my dream was shattered. She was so ugly. I had a phantom birth.” She supposedly wanted a son. Another article speaks of the mother’s further rejection of Nancy as a child. These traumatic experiences eventually lead to unsuccessful sex change operations, bringing about “unbearable psychological suffering” that gave justification under Belgium law for Nancy, now Nathan, to euthanize herself. If it is not tragic enough that one soul had to endure this life of torment, this series of tragic events was all legally permissible by the government and law under which she lived. How can this be?
While there are many factors playing into this scenario, one underlying foundational fact that we cannot dismiss is that this happened in a morally ‘progressive’, post-Christian Europe. It is within this fertile, humanistic environment that a supposed Godless morality is emerging, celebrated as an example of advancement in human moral evolution. I am not sure Nancy would agree with this synopsis presented by the lawmakers and intellectuals of today.
With respect to and in memory of Nancy, I hope we can begin to find hope where she could not and take action to represent the hopeless. It seems Nancy’s suffering began because of her mother’s humanistic and evolutionary understanding of what life is. To dismiss the birth as a phantom birth because Nancy was a girl and not a boy is unbelievable. While this might not be a usual situation, the cultural worldview certainly did not contradict the mother’s feelings that this baby was not worthy of personhood. Our shift in western philosophy is also calling into question the personhood, not only of a baby in-vitro, but also a baby at birth. This parallel should cause concern.
As long as a relative morality is embraced, life will never be held as having intrinsic value. It is only in objective morality that we are forced to embrace the reality of God and see His value given to the life of a human being. Our being made in the image of God, as the Bible describes it in Genesis 1:27, is what makes the life of each human being priceless. From the very time of conception, each human being in the world has a uniqueness and intrinsic value that cannot be ignored. This reason is why Nancy’s life had great value and why her mother should have loved her, despite her gender.
Nancy’s struggle with transgender issues also points to the worldview of the community where she lived. No one, especially her mother, should have psychologically abused and manipulated her into believing that she only had value as a male. Gender is something we have no control over and as I have previously discussed, is surely one of the most reliable absolutes that we have in this world (See Boys in the Girls Locker Room and The Transgender Child).
Taking extreme actions while doing nothing illegal within the country of Belgium, Nancy underwent a series of operations to bring about what she thought would be a solution. Where were her family, friends, and if no one else, her community to reassure her she did not have to do this? Her progressive moral worldview failed her again at this point in her life. Of her attempted solution, Nancy said, “I was ready to celebrate my new birth. But when I looked in the mirror, I was disgusted with myself. My new body did not match my expectations and my new parts had symptoms of rejection. I do not want to be a monster.”
The final chapter of Nancy’s life consisted of waking up daily to a scarred body and mind. Since her soul had no hope, again courtesy of her post-Christian environment and worldview, she had no reason to endure. The “unbearable psychological pain” she was feeling was compounded because this precious person had never been told her life was of great value. Her only perceived solution was euthanasia, willing carried out by a local doctor. Nancy’s mother said of her death, “For me, this chapter is closed. Her death does not bother me. I feel no sorrow, no doubt or remorse. We never had a bond.” No one should ever go through life without knowing that they are valued by God and that He alone can provide hope for their soul.
In a country that suffered at the hands of Nazi philosophy, including their unethical use of eugenics, we today find them freely embracing euthanasia for themselves. How quickly we forget! Within the realms of moral relativism, eugenics brings no opposition in post-Christian Europe today. The fact is that moral relativism is self-defeating and is illogical as a form of morality. If each person decides what is morally correct then there is no moral truth and therefore no morality. For morality to exist, there must be a being outside of human morality who is Himself the moral law giver. It is His moral law that then gives us objective morality. It is His morality that we must seek after.
I find it interesting that 2% of all deaths in Belgium are attributed to euthanasia. 1.5% of deaths in America are due to road accidents. This is surely disturbing. Given the efforts we go to each year to reduce the number of people killed in road traffic accidents, why would another country so freely give the lives away? Just as life has intrinsic value because it is given to us by our Creator, God, death is not something that we can rightly take ourselves. We are not the author of life, and life is not a result of random chance. Mankind therefore does not have the right to take the life of either another nor himself.
It is often said that fact is stranger than fiction. The story of Nancy is as intriguing as it is sad and tragic. If the life of Nancy does not cause us to heed caution to a culture or worldview within a society or nation that is steeped in an atheistic, humanistic morality, God help us! We must do all we can do prevent another human being experiencing a tumultuous life as dear Nancy did by sharing our God-given value to life, and advancing natural objective morality, particularly through legislation.
Cross posted on “When Worldviews Collide”