Christianity, Philosophy, and the Manosphere

Friends:

There is an interesting philosophical conversation — that is to say, an eminently practical conversation going on at the moment in a corner of the manosphere.

While public — the links that I am including below will send you there — right now the conversation is among scarcely a dozen thinkers/bloggers. Since you will be observing a present conversation that draws upon previous blogs and comments that are months and years old, let me provide a bit of context about the major writers and commenters you will encounter.

Dalrock is the host of a Christian manosphere blog, dalrock.wordpress.com. This blog is primarily for men who have “taken the red pill” — often belatedly and reluctantly after severely bad experiences with women, usually Christian women, and frequently involving “frivorce,” the common shorthand for frivolous divorce, in which they have lost custody of their children. His blog offers a place for pretty uninhibited commentary, and is characterized by strong anti-feminism. He has been posting for about three years.

Novaseeker is a frequent commenter at Dalrock’s blog, and is the host of the blog to which I have made the links below. He has also written one of the articles, and participates in the comments

Escoffler is the third writer. He wrote the first article as a guest post at Novaseeker’s blog, and got the conversation going. He takes a philosophical-history point of view, and discusses Machiavelli and Martin Luther, and their continuing influence in the modern world, with a considerable degree of insight. He examines their relationship to the problems of “modernity” and, by extension, the current ascendancy of feminism in Western thought and behavior.

The first link is Escoffler’s original article, and the reaction of commenters to it. The proximate motivation for the article was the fact that Dalrock excluded “Matthew King,” another writer, from posting comments at his blog.

http://veritaslounge.com/2013/09/10/athens-and-jerusalem-in-dialogue-i-laffaire-king/

The second link is Novaseeker’s follow-up article and comments.

http://veritaslounge.com/2013/09/18/athens-and-jerusalem-in-dialogue-ii-the-reformation-and-its-wake/

Suggestion: If you have time to read only one of the posts, read the second one. I found it helpful to provide context for men who are concerned about why the evangelical church is in the midst of failure in its “culture wars.” Which includes not only its situation regarding sexual politics, but also war and materialism.

If you are new to the manosphere, go to my earlier post here, ‘Orbiting the Manosphere,’ for information and links to important background information, events, and people involved.

I am hoping for some good pro-, con-, and otherwise- commentary here. If participation warrants, I will post a link back to here at the original posting site.

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2 comments on “Christianity, Philosophy, and the Manosphere

  1. Ben says:

    Robert,

    I read the second article by Novaseeker. I used to think much like Novaseeker does, but no longer do…or rather, I built up from those thoughts and realize more exactly where I was wrong and where I screwed up, and it was more complicated than I had thought.

    I too have taken “the red pill” of the manosphere. I too realize I’ve been lied to about lots of things. I have taken a step back from evangelicalism and realize it’s gotten a lot of important things wrong. The difficulty in this is not the Reformation’s penchant for text based authority. I think using the phrase “text based authority” is not doing the Reformers justice.

    When Luther for example speaks of the Word, and the authority of the Word, he does so in a sacramental way. For Luther, and Calvin as well, the Word is a means of grace. God coming to us, inhabiting language, making things happen. When God speaks, stuff happens. People get baptized into Christ. Water, ineffective of itself, when combined with God’s Word and promise washes away sins and brings a sinner into God’s family.

    Consider these words from Luther in his Small Catechism — “Q: What is the Sacrament of the Altar? A: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.”

    Or–“Q: What is Confession? A: Confession has two parts, first that we confess our sins, and second, that we receive absolution, that is forgiveness, from the pastor as from God Himself, not doubting, but firmly believing that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven.”

    Consider these words for Christian children (baptized as infants) from Calvin in his catechism:

    Q: My child are you a Christian in fact as well as name?
    A: Yes my father.

    Q:How is this known to you?
    A: Because I was baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

    Q: How did you come into this communion of the Church?
    A: Through baptism

    Q: What is this baptism?
    A: It is the washing of regeneration and the cleansing from sin.

    Question 91 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: “How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?” The implication is: they do, but how do they? The Westminster Confession says eleswhere that the things the sacraments bring us, communion with Jesus and salvation, are not only symbolized, but “really exhibited and conferred.” Keep in mind the Westminster documents were written by a bunch of Puritans. 🙂

    Think about his statement from the Augsburg Confession, penned by one of Luther’s close associates and signed by John Calvin: “We do not abolish the Mass but religiously keep and defend it…”

    The Reformation, as you can see by studying the major confessional and theological works of the Reformers themselves, the stuff they put out there in public for the people to read and learn and govern the churches, was not an individual focused movement but a church focused movement, The Reformers wanted to restore the Church; they wanted a renewed Catholic Church that was faithful to the Bible, casting away centuries of accrued tradition and barnacles. But they still believed in the Catholic Church.

    To that end, they wanted people to study the Bible for themselves. But they wanted people to do that in churches, accountable to elders and pastors properly trained, elders and pastors who had to sign confessions of faith that set doctrinal standards in line with what the Catholic Church had believed. The churches of the Reformation sought and often got support from princes and nobles, such as the Lutherans in Germany or the Anglicans in Britain. It was taken for granted that the reform of the Church was also a reform of society. The Church was to be engaged with the world; state Churches were there to disciple whole nations. They baptized babies and brought up families in the faith. The end was taking the Gospel to the whole world, meaning literally the “whole world.” Every part of life. The only people who denied that the Church had to be engaged with the world were the Anabaptists, those who denied infant baptism. We know what Luther and Calvin thought of the Anabaptists.

    This idea that the modern individualism follows in a straight line from the Reformation doesn’t make sense. You just have to read what these men wrote to see that it’s just not true.

    The idea of idolizing a “text” over a “living authority” is an attractive idea but ultimately deceptive and wrong. We serve a God who uses His Word to create things. We serve a God who created the world by speaking/singing (Genesis 1 has a poetic shape to it). A respect for the Word of God is not idolizing a text; it is worshiping God as He wants to be worshiped. Replacing the centrality of the Word with icons, images and confusion between Creator/creature IS idolatry, however, which is the reason why Roman Catholic/Orthodox societies are dysfunctional and backward, unable for example to respond to Muslims or Communists or secularists, losing their congregants to these rival faiths. Evangelicals who go into these churches thinking they have “the answer” to what ails Protestantism are barking up the wrong tree.

    The 16th century Roman church conducted the Mass in Latin, a language few of the common people understood. Why? Because they didn’t believe God inhabited words–they didn’t believe the Word was a means of grace. Grace was an ethereal thing that had to be gotten by a priest, or a ceremony or a long dead saint or a pilgrimage. They had a LESS sacramental view of the world than the Reformers did.

    The Word is not a dead authority but a living authority which needs no outside human authority to decide whether it’s true or not. It’s self evidently true and received by faith. It enters our world and explains reality to us. The reason we are screwed up is not because we take the Word too seriously but because we don’t take it seriously enough–our natural tendency is to replace the truth of God for a lie.

    • mustardnine says:

      Ben,

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      You already know (or suspect) that I basically agree with what you have written here.

      Nevertheless, there is a matter of history here, or more properly, I would suggest, a history of human psychology or human tendency, that seems to emerge across generations and centuries.

      I will give an example from my own experience. Growing up in a fundamentalist evangelical church, I can say with certainty that, whatever high, sacramental view of Scripture the Reformers had, that has been largely lost among the people with whom I learned about Jesus Christ.

      It was practically an article of faith — it certainly was an article of pulpit — that the Bible was the entire work of the Holy Spirit for our time; that indeed the Holy Spirit had only been given to the church to “write the Bible,” and that upon His completion of this work, in the few years following the departure of Christ, He also “went back up to heaven,” having departed as well, leaving us with the Bible, and our ability to understand it.

      I can tell you that I was taught this by many preachers as a child (not my own father, particularly; though he kept his broader views mostly private, and publicly in check), and as teacher, I saw that many of my Christian students had been taught precisely this as well. Indeed, they had been well enough taught this that, when I suggested something otherwise, they were quick to react, quickly sensing, it seemed, “where this might lead.”

      So, while the “Written Word” may have been, and may have been properly, “sacramentalized” as a real Means of Grace —

      nevertheless, over the course of generations in church history,

      I would say now, to borrow a figure of speech from the manosphere and elsewhere, that the Bible has been “pedestalized.” (For the fundamental evangelicals that I know.)

      What might be the difference between these two things, from the point of view of human psychology?

      Perhaps just this. That a sacrament is, at its best, perceived as a living means of grace, a frequent, blessed, accessible means of companionable and intimate association with the spiritual, the real, and the ultimate.

      Pedestalization, in this context, is perceived as a “due and proper” reverence and admiration for something, but for a “departed” Deity who has left this for us to read, understand, and obey — and judgment to follow if we get it wrong. And in proportion as we pedestalize it, it becomes is some sense more inaccessible the more we proclaim it “holy.” Not that it isn’t holy, but that the word holy drifts into a different, and more remote, meaning.

      This, I think, is where the concern about “text based authority” might have some real merit. Not, perhaps, for the Reformers; but certainly for my time, and “my” church.

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