If you want even more proof that the denizens of A Voice for Men live in Imaginary Backwards Land, let me draw your attention to a recent posting from FeMRA TyphonBlue and JohnTheOther. The post’s bland title, Men, and patriarchy in the church, belies the loopiness of this particular bit of theological argument, the aim of which is to prove that Christianity is and always has been about hating dudes.
Oh, sure, TB and JTO note, it might look like Christianity in its various forms has been a tad dude-centric. I mean, it’s based on the teachings of a dude. And there’s that whole “God the Father” thing. Oh, and Christian religious institutions have been almost always headed up by dudes. There has yet to be a Popette.
But apparently to assume that the people running something actually run that something is to indulge in what MRAs like to call “the frontman fallacy,” by which they mean that even though it looks like men run most things in the world it’s really the sneaky ladies who call the shots, somehow. TB/JTO, citing the aforementioned faux “fallacy,” ask:
Because Christianity has a male priesthood, is headed by a man and uses masculine language to refer to the God and humanity’s savior, does it necessarily follow that Christianity is male favoring?
Bravely, the two decide not to go with the correct answer here, which is of course “yes.” Instead, they say no. And why is this? Because Jesus didn’t go around boning the ladies.
Seriously. That’s their main argument:
[Christ] had no sexual life. This absence leaves no spiritual connection between the masculine body and the divine.
The Christ is sexless; presumptively masculine, but never actually engaging in any activity unique to his masculine body. …
The implicit stricture of making the female body the vessel of Holy Spirit while offering no corresponding connection between the divine and the male body creates a spiritual caste system with women on top and men on the bottom.
Also: Joseph didn’t bone Mary, at least not before she gave birth to Jesus.
The birth of Christ is without sin because, quite simply, it did not involve a penis. The entire mythology around the birth of Christ implicitly indicts male sexuality as the vector of original sin from generation to generation.
Uh, I sort of thought that the notion of Original Sin had something or other to do with Eve and an apple in the Garden of Eden. But apparently not:
Forget Eve. Forget the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the Serpent. If all human women, tomorrow, conceived and gestated and gave birth without ever coming into contact with a penis, our race would be purged of original sin.
Pretty impressive theological revisionism from a couple of blabby video bloggers who apparently don’t know how to spell “canon.” (ProTip: “Cannon” refers to one of those tubey metal things you shoot “cannonballs” from.)
The two conclude:
Our culture’s war against masculine identity, male sexuality and fatherhood is an old one. That war arguably began as we adopted a faith which marginalizes the role of men in procreation, idolizing a story that removes them completely from the process. The exemplar of male virtue in this theology is a man who had no natural sexual expression, although his character is designated as male. And his primary purpose was to be flogged, literally tortured for the “crimes” of others, and then bound and nailed through his limbs, still alive to an erected cruciform scaffold, to die from shock and exposure on a hilltop. And we somehow manage to claim that this religion elevates men over women?
Rather than supremacy, Christianity provides to men the role of asexual stewards of women’s benefit, and sacrificial penitent, preaching the gospel of a female-deifying, male-demonizing faith. It is true that women have not historically been allowed to front this farce, but mostly because that would make the message too obvious.
While some kinds of Christianity get rather worked up about the evils of premarital sex and/or birth control, I’m pretty sure married and/or procreative sex is a-ok with all Christians this side of the mother in the movie Carrie. Even — well, especially — if it involves dudes. (I’m pretty sure the church fathers were never big proponents of lesbianism.)
And if women really run the show, despite men “fronting” the church, could you perhaps spell out just who these all-powerful women are? Like, some names perhaps? Who’s the lady puppeteer behind the pope?
They of course don’t offer any real-world evidence for this secret supposed matriarchy. Instead, they ramp up for a sarcastic ending:
But we continue to ignore all of this, and we entertain the farce that our religious institutions constitute a male-elevating, female oppressing patriarchy.
Yeah, tell us another one.
No point in telling you guys anything any more. Clearly you can twist any and all facts about the world to fit your increasingly weird and baroque fictions about men always being the most oppressed, past, present and future.
A Voice for Men is slowly but surely disappearing up its own ass.
It’s a shame Agnostic-Catholics-Who-Don’t-Really-Agree-With-The-Church isn’t a denomination.
They’re called Episcopalians 🙂
Oh, so that’s what Episcopalian means! 🙂
They seem more accepting of queer people and women in their official doctrines, which is awesome. Seems they object to the veneration of the saints, though, which makes me a little sad. I like the veneration of the saints. Not entirely sure why I care about it either way, considering I don’t have faith, but I guess that’s just human illogical-ness for you.
Agreed! I don’t miss having to sit through mass multiple times a week (ah, the joys of Catholic school), but I do sometimes genuinely miss the aesthetic and ritual components. I still occasionally pray rosaries when I’m really stressed out, despite that being pretty darn weird for someone who lacks extremely critical elements of Catholic belief, just because they help my brain calm down.
My rather fun solution to craving the ritual and artsy elements of religion without all the, well, religion, is that I’m a choral singer, which is a career path that involves a lot of being invited to come to churches, temples, etc. and sing pretty religious songs. It is, sadly, not a career path that pays worth a darn, so I have to have a “day job,” too, but I really like that my work has sent me to almost every sort of house of worship in my area – and quite a few outside it – at some point or another, so I get to dip my toe into all sorts of religious traditions for a day or two at a time, without ever being expected to be part of the faiths in question. (And, honestly, with only one major exception I can think of, every congregation I’ve sung for has been super-nice and accepting of the fact that the singers probably don’t share their beliefs. Also, a lot of times some little old lady from the church/temple/etc. bakes us cookies. Apparently the Cookie Lady is a vital part of the church environment.)
Wow, I feel almost exactly the opposite. I find the belief in a greater consciousness inspiring, the finicky details about “and this greater consciousness wants you to only eat certain kinds of food and pray at certain times using certain words” absolutely intolerable. Ritual bores and frustrates me and sends me into adult-annoying* questions of “is God really that flattered by people rote-reciting canned praise on a set schedule?”
Lately I’ve been calling myself a “pantheist.” I like to believe that there’s order and awareness in the universe. I don’t like to believe that order cares if I speak to it in Hebrew or English or never speak to it at all–prayer is something I ultimately do for myself–so I’d rather speak spontaneously and freeform.
(I’m not trying to argue anyone out of liking ritual, I completely understand that, only explaining why I feel differently.)
*jeez, “adult”? I’m 26. But something about this issue makes me feel like a kid again when I get grouchy about it.
Lauralot, if you like you could check out people who call themselves “High-Church Anglican” or “Anglo-Catholic.” Those are Anglicans who act more like Catholics in their worship.
Thanks, VoIP! There don’t appear to be any such congregations around me, but it’s still good to know.
I’m in the middle. I have a moderately theistic streak, which needs no church to enjoy. I find ritual to be refreshing (I went to a pair of jewish weddings in the past week), but I’m not all that concerned with the ritual’s structure (merely that it be coherent, and inclusive).
I get a personal satisfaction from the mass (though when I want ritual I tend to go to Episcopal services, because the form of the mass has changed, and I’m a fuddy-duddy; as well as being lapsed. The form matters to me, because I am not doing it as an obligation, but as a participatory meditation. I insert the parts of the mass the Anglicans leave out).
I find the communal attempt to access the sense of the Divine to be greater than the act of “prayer” would be. Which is why I attend Quaker Meetings, as well as the odd Catholic (as a family of religions, so that includes Orthodox (Greek, Russian, Armenian, etc.) service.
I do Passover with friends (and now I am doing the other Holidays, because my partner is a moderately observant Conservative Jew). I do them because I find them connective to other people.
Lauralot: Re “Anglo-Catholic”. I reccomend looking at them with care;If all you want is ritutal, they are great but a lot of them tend to be more Roman than the Romans, esp. on issues of women/homosexuals. It can make participating in the community a little more difficult.
Thanks for the heads-up, Pecunium. I think I’m going to go start my own denomination. I shall call it “People who Aren’t Really Into This Whole Religion Thing But Like Pretty Churches and Ceremonies.”
See also: the Unitarian church.
Wow, there really is a denomination for everything.
This is an appropriate place for a Monty Python quote about Splitters.
But that might seem really inappropriate and mean if you weren’t familiar with Monty Python.
So I’ll just conclude with this nugget from the church of my youth: “No, this is the denomination where you can use an organ in church but you don’t, women are supposed to wear coverings on their head during prayer, and no dancing; if you want the church where you can’t use an organ in church, women are supposed to wear coverings during prayer but don’t, and no dancing, that’s down the street and to the left.”
Orthodox? We dance, though.
Pecunium, I know a couple of Orthodox guys who would be pissed that you lumped them in with Catholics.
I know some too, and they are wrong. 🙂
I find religious ritual very comforting, especially when I’m anxious/depressed, but as a fairly hardcore atheist feel somewhat weird about going to church. I really want to go to church though. 😛 (The Unitarians around here like meditation, which makes me fall asleep, so that’s out.)
ozy, you need a concent.
One thing I still do, despite being devoutly agnostic: in moments of serious stress my internal (and occasionally external) monologue is essentially praying. (“Oh god help me” and variations on the aforesaid theme.)