A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Which MGTOW?

In response to my last post, Puma opined:
The way I see it Roissysphere is part of MGTOW. It is a form of MGTOW, but not the only one by any means.

Ghosting and Roissysphere form the opposite ends along one axis of the equation (i.e. sexual involvement with women). But there are other axi [axes] within MGTOW as well. These include one's position on financial choices, career choices, geographical choices, etc.

MGTOW is a multidimensional movement.
I get where Puma is coming from. When I read some of the comments left by my Roissysphere readers, I don't see much of a material difference between what they are saying and what some of my colleagues in the MGTOW movement have been saying (viz., the part about making "the mission," not women, the "priority"). Indeed, Novaseeker, a Roissysphere blogger, recently wrote the following:
No, for us, our exhilaration comes from the ability to simply let go. If women want our role, let them have it. It frees us up to do something else – something that we want to do, rather than paying attention to lectures from others about what we should do, what others want us to do, and so on. That is a true, real freedom for men. It means the freedom to live our lives as we wish to, and not as is dictated to us. It means expanding our role as men, our self-conception as men, beyond ideas that tie us to women (provider, protector, husband, father) and embracing a new self-definition that is really about us, and not at all about how we relate to women. That doesn’t mean ignoring women or living aloof from them, but rather refusing to define ourselves at all around our roles relating to women and children (the latter being itself ultimately tied to our relationships with women), and instead defining ourselves around ourselves, our own beliefs, needs, priorities, interests, dreams, goals, wherever they may lead us. The new world allows us this freedom, and as men we need to take this freedom and run with it. To me, this is the ultimate adaptation for men to the new world and its rules/non-rules.
Whether readers realize it or not, the above statement is the essence of MGTOW. There may be others in the Roissysphere, though, that question to what extent men can have self-determination apart from intimate relationships with women. I don't know. Others can speak to that better that I can.

I bring this up because I find the exchanges between the Roissysphere and MGTOW camps to be instructive. I consider these exchanges to be opportunities for men of the respective camps to educate one another about what they perceive to be the most pressing issues, etc. Moreover, the exchanges serve as a place for appreciating both differences and common ground.

The veterans of MGTOW have always maintained that men "going their own way" will take various paths in their lives. Like I said, even one of the guys who came up with the MGTOW concept has been happily married for many years. There have been other key players, who though originally single, have gone on to become engaged and married without renouncing their MGTOW beliefs. In short, MGTOW is not a call to hermitage, but a call to self-determination. And when I say self-determination, I don't mean an utter disregard for fellow humanity, morality, etc. (contrary to what some knuckleheaded critics in the socon camp might say about MGTOW). But there is nonetheless variety in the MGTOW. Just as there are Christian, Buddhist, or atheist people who can be Republicans, Democrats, or members of your local chapter of the Rotary Club, you will find men from all walks of life in the MGTOW movement.

In the past, men have often looked to others in order to form their identity. Their "manhood" was imposed on them by their respective cultures, usually as a package deal with "take it or leave it" terms and conditions. Our cultural institutions are still in the business of trying to force feed men scripts for manhood, with little or no option given for men to question some or all of these scripts. And yet, these same cultural institutions have betrayed men. Even our religious communities have failed to live up to their spiritual and ethical responsibilities with regard to how they treat men. What is the problem? Too much of our world privileges a female understanding of reality at the expense of the male experience. Also, too many things asked of men clearly spring from questionable motives. MGTOW is an attempt to grapple with these disturbing developments.

I say all of this because even last evening, I came across an attempt by a blogger to categorize certain spectra of thought among men's issues advocates. Using the Nolan Chart as a model, he had MGTOW on one end of an axis and PUA on the other end with the word "Women" beneath the axis. I appreciate the discussion he is generating about the issues, but I found his chart to be incorrect and thus made a recommendation to him. If there was a continuum between "avoiding women" at one point and "having relationships with women" at the other point, where would the men of MGTOW be? Answer: all over the map.

"But why do so many MGTOWers talk about marriage strikes and the such like?" one may ask. Well, MGTOW reminds men that they have options. It just so happens that a lot of men who understand this to be case take the option of getting out of "the Game" (i.e., they go "Ghosting"). Their actions are not so much a reflection of MGTOW prescribing a particular course of action as they are a conclusion that the actual market values of Marriage 2.0 and even Relationships 2.0 do not square with the price tags affixed thereunto. Let's face it: A lot of men are where they are at in their marriages and other relationships with women because they have never questioned the hand that has been dealt to them. They are still "plugged in" and drinking the Kool-Aid about gender relations. When men start to open their eyes and realize they are not in Kansas anymore, it's no big wonder that so many of them expresses little or no interest in the proverbial cow or even her proverbial milk. Are there good women out there? I have no reason to doubt it, but a lot of MGTOWers feel it's not worth their time and energy to go hunting for them.

Anyway, I hope my thoughts might clarify a few things for my Roissyphere readers.

35 comments:

Niko said...

Good post and hat tip to Nova. I hate the reactionary paradigm that sseems to litter the MGTOW sphere. It seems too codependent on women. Despite professing the MGTOW philosophy a lot of these guys are just resentful and bitter.

Like Nova says,count it as a blessing and run with it. Why would you be like Spartacus and return to the devil you know? Run for the Alps son, there's freedom over dem hills.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the problem with discussions about MGTOW springs more from associations with the language used. Once you get MGTOW, you get it thoroughly, and words don't help, they hinder.

I see it as essentially the same state of being that any undomesticated animal of the wild takes for granted, and yearns for if captured. It is what our psyches evolved to do over millions of years - to become our ownselves, to stand on our own two feet and to fend for ourselves. It is what Jung spent his whole life trying to describe, and came up with clumsy terms like 'self-actualization' instead.

Somewhere in our very recent past - probably about the same time we started farming - we developed the idea of owning other people. As soon as with did this, we started confusing ourselves about adulthood - it became optional. An owned person can never quite grow up to be what he should. It's no co-incidence that the very countries that place the heaviest shackles on men today are the very ones that were last to end slavery. To own others is still part of the mind-set, even if the language is no longer as direct.

MGTOW - men going their own way - is about casting off the shackles, psychologically as well as legally/financially/culturally.

That we may all head in different directions once freed is hardly surprising - any other outcome would signal failure.

Novaseeker said...

Great post.

I think I am a hybrid between MGTOW/Roissy/Constantinople, but the idea that we are in a crossroads, as men, is true for us all.

Let's go, men. Let's embrace life, and if love comes with that all the better, but of not, we still have life.

As has been discussed endlessly on this blog, our identity is not tied to the opposite sex. It is tied to us, ultimately. Embrace it, in your own way, and find liberation and truth and God, in the process.

Gerv said...

Anakin,

If you are endorsing Novaseeker's quotation, then you need to look how far you've departed - not from cultural norms and expectations, from Scripture.

Novaseeker's conception of manhood if fundamentally a wish for autonomy. A desire to "live our lives as we wish to" and to "defining ourselves around ourselves, our own beliefs, needs, priorities, interests, dreams, goals, wherever they may lead us" means that our meaning, purpose, goals, priorities and interests are no longer defined by God. Novaseeker wants to throw off all external controls and obligations except perhaps those he autonomously chooses to accept for himself.

This is the essence of sin, from the Garden of Eden on down. Man wants to go his own way, rather than God's way. Man decides whether God's laws, requirements and ways of living are appropriate for him or not.

If you want to reject your culture's definition of masculinity, insofar as it differs from the Biblical definition, fine, great. But the replacement has to be God's idea of what it means to be a man, and not yours, mine, or Novaseeker's.

We can debate what the Biblical view of manhood is. I think it's pretty far from Novaseeker's definition, and that it embraces taking responsibility for others, living in relationship, self-sacrifice, and being prepared and eager to follow God's call to fill the earth and subdue it (Gen 1:28). But whether you agree with all those points or not, the most important thing is that Scripture is should be where you are seeking your definitions of what it means to be a real man.

Anakin Niceguy said...

Gerv,

I've been around the block with you too many times to give you the benefit of the doubt anymore. I'm done trying to explain things to you. Every time any man wants to talk about thinking for himself or making his own choices or the such like, all you see is sinful rebellion. I guess the Isrealites were guilty of sinful rebellion for leaving Egypt. They should have just accepted their lot in life and not question the justice of what was happening to them. Gerv, if you were in Egypt, you would have told the Israelites to stay there and not cause trouble. Wouldn't you?

I guess don't understand modern Evangelicalism. I look at the Bible and I see the charge to stand up for justice, but I guess those passages in the Bible don't apply anymore because Mr. Gerv and many other religionists hath decreed that standing up to the status quo is sinful rebellion. Am I understanding you correctly on that?

Novaseeker is a member of an Orthodox church. I myself am a member of a very strict faith tradition; my faith tradition is probably even stricter about the Bible than you are. But you made Novaseeker and I to look like we are all for men going and living life free of all morality, even after I just wrote: "And when I say self-determination, I don't mean an utter disregard for fellow humanity, morality, etc. (contrary to what some knuckleheaded critics in the socon camp might say about MGTOW)." Come on, Gerv. I had just got done posting a series of articles about my spiritual misgivings about the PUA community. I gave book, chapter, and verse. Gerv, can you not connect the dots here? You. Are. Misrepresenting. What. People. Are. About.

I don't take your criticisms seriously anymore, Gerv. Why? Because you keep insisting on attributing positions and beliefs to me and others that we don't espouse. That's intellectually dishonest. It tells me that you are not here to learn or interact. It make me fear that your are here to shove your unscriptural agenda down other people's throats through misapplications of scriptures, misrepresentations, etc. Did you make up your mind that you hated MGTOW regardless of how I tried to correct you on your misrepresentations of it?

You wrote this:

"Novaseeker wants to throw off all external controls and obligations except perhaps those he autonomously chooses to accept for himself."

I think you owe an apology to Novaseeker for what you just said. I am really sorry to be so harsh, but you have been way out of line with your behavior.

Amir Larijani said...

Gerv: Context is everything. Here are some examples...

Anakin--from what I gather--is from a faith tradition that is similar to mine. In our circles--we speak often of "soul freedom", or "priesthood of the believer". That implies the general premise that we are free to study the Scriptures without a religious leader lording himself as our "priest", telling us what we must believe.

Now, does that mean that the believer is free to engage in any debauchery--or sny cockamamie interpretation of Scripture--and claim "priesthood of the believer" as a pretext for justification of it? Of course not. No member of the Body operates in a vacuum, and the Scriptures are a basis to which we are all accountable.

It's the same thing with the premise of "men going their own way". In this context, the Christian man is not rejecting God's way, but rather the presentation of what is "God's way" by "leaders" who (a) have arrogated themselves to positions of authority that is not theirs, and (b) attempt to saddle believers with commands and ordinances that are not Biblical mandates.

We're hardly a mutual admiration society over here. I've had my skirmishes with Anakin, Adam/PC, and occasionally Triton.

I have my doubts about the MRA/MGTOW movement in the Church, as my experiences are more congruent with the position that Christian men (women) generally wish to marry and are just having trouble finding the women (men), as the good mates of both sexes who did not marry early are scattered all over the place, and attempting to compensate for a social structure that no longer exists, and dealing with risks that--while overstated--are still higher than they were in prior decades.

When singles are having to assume roles of risk management--and that becomes difficult to do by one's self when dealing with romance--that were once taken care of by the larger community of family and church, the slowdown in marriage is quite understandable. Compounding matters, many churches actually set men and women up for failure in this regard. These matters tend to elude many evangelical leaders, even otherwise bright ones.

This is why you need MGTOWs in the Christian world are necessary, even if there are not a whole bunch of them. That is because there is a ministerial assault against Biblical masculinity. That assault is not new, and it is hardly constrained to the left-leaning feminized denominations.

Breaking the protracted singleness logjam will take far more than blaming the sexes; it will require a fundamental rethinking of the work and ministry of the Church in the lives of believers, their approach to community, their approach to children and youth ministry, and their teaching and preaching regarding masculinity, femininity, and gender relations.

To these matters, the Church is many years late and billions of dollars short.

Kicking the men around will accomplish nothing. Both sexes have issues; they have since the Fall. But until the Church becomes part of the solution and reassesses Her teaching, preaching, counsel on such matters--and works constructively with those aspiring to marry, as they did in prior eras--little will change.

Gerv said...

If it's intellectually dishonest to attribute positions and beliefs to people that they don't espouse, what's with the crack about the Israelites? Or the one about "Gerv has decreed that standing up to the status quo is sinful rebellion", even though I said "If you want to reject your culture's definition of masculinity, insofar as it differs from the Biblical definition, fine, great."? I would suggest you might want to remove the plank from your own eye.

I agree there's a difference between what someone believes, and what they should end up believing if they followed through the logical consequences of their initial beliefs. If I've taken things in the latter category and put them in the former, I apologise.

"Every time any man wants to talk about thinking for himself or making his own choices or the such like, all you see is sinful rebellion."

Because if God isn't in the picture, that's what it is. And he doesn't get a mention in either Novasphere's long post or in yours. It's all about "self-conception" and "self-definition". Romans 2:8 - being self-seeking is a sin. Also Matthew 6:33. If you think I'm wrong, I would genuinely appreciate the "chapter and verse".

If you are telling me that the commands of Scripture are more important in your life than the principles of MGTOW, and that you regularly critique and evaluate the latter in the light of the former, then a) I will be very relieved, and b) let's do some of that, as brothers with a Bible open together in front of us. But everything you write, and the quote from Novaseeker, suggest to me that this is not the case. Your MGTOW (or similar) principles are what is foundational for you.

Even in the comment he added here, the same thing shows through:

"As has been discussed endlessly on this blog, our identity is not tied to the opposite sex. It is tied to us, ultimately. Embrace it, in your own way, and find liberation and truth and God, in the process."

You aren't supposed to embrace your identity in your own way and in the process find God. You should embrace God and in the process find your identity. It's only in him that our lives have meaning and purpose (Acts 17:28).

"I look at the Bible and I see the charge to stand up for justice"

...although much more often for other people than for oneself. Luke 6:29. But "standing up for justice" as a principle is not incompatible with what I'm saying. Let's look at the specific things you want to do which you label as "standing up for justice" and apply a Biblical yardstick to each.

If I've been misapplying Scripture, take the Scripture I'm applying and show me how it doesn't mean what I say it means. I'd take that very seriously. But I've not seen Scriptural support provided for the views expressed in your post and his about what it means to be a man. That is something I'd be very, very glad to learn from you.

Gerv said...

Amir,

(Our posts must have crossed on the Internet, as it were.)

Movements are often reactions against other movements or tendencies. And in that case, the hardest thing for the new movement is not to run as fast as possible to the polar opposite position of those against whom they are reacting.

If leaders "have arrogated themselves to positions of authority that is not theirs, and attempt to saddle believers with commands and ordinances that are not Biblical mandates", then the correct reaction is to carefully develop a Scriptural understanding of manhood. That sort of careful Bible study and patient exegesis is not what I'm seeing from the MGTOW movement.

I deny that you need people way over to one side to 'balance' the people who are way over to the other side. Society has an alcohol problem; the right Christian response is to show Biblically how alcohol in moderation is a good gift from God, not to ban congregations from drinking it altogether. Society has a sex problem; the right Christian response is to show Biblically how sex can be a wonderful, pleasurable, intimate bond between a husband and wife in marriage, not to refuse to talk about it and regard all non-procreative sex as sinful.

If the church has a feminization problem... you get the idea.

So I don't deny any of the problems you list (although I have little experience of some, and couldn't say one way or the other) but I'm convinced that MGTOW is not the solution, because it's not in line with Scripture.

If I were starting a Biblical manhood movement, I'd base it around texts like these:

"Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." Titus 2:6-8

"Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5

And perhaps I'd add the passages giving the qualifications for a deacon or elder, because surely they are qualities that every man should be seeking:

"Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap." I Tim 3:2-7

In reading Anakin's blog, I don't see an emphasis on these qualities as being key parts of mature manhood. Here, I see a desire for "the freedom to live our lives as we wish to, and not as is dictated to us". These passages are dictating. We should listen.

Novaseeker said...

I think that the issue you're having, Gerv, is that you are viewing MGTOW as a total belief system or worldview. It isn't. It's not a "one or the other" type of thing. Some MGTOWs are Christian and some are not. I know you think that MGTOW is inconsistent with Christianity (or at least you appear to believe that), but Anakin has plowed that field multiple times on this blog, and it seems pointless of discuss it again here.

Anakin Niceguy said...

If it's intellectually dishonest to attribute positions and beliefs to people that they don't espouse, what's with the crack about the Israelites? Or the one about "Gerv has decreed that standing up to the status quo is sinful rebellion", even though I said "If you want to reject your culture's definition of masculinity, insofar as it differs from the Biblical definition, fine, great."? I would suggest you might want to remove the plank from your own eye.

First of all, Gerv, I think most readers understand I was being sarcastic in order to show the untenable nature of your attitude, unlike you, who makes your false allegations about other people's beliefs in earnest.

Secondly, I don't have to constantly qualify myself all the time, because I think most readers here understand what I am endorsing and what I am not endorsing (with probably the notable exception of a poster named Gerv). Amir gets it, Gerv. Learner gets it. What's the problem, Gerv? They claim to follow Christ just like you. You wrote this:

But everything you write, and the quote from Novaseeker, suggest to me that this is not the case. Your MGTOW (or similar) principles are what is foundational for you.

Once again, you engage in false allegations. My Christianity is definitely MORE important to me than MGTOW. If it was not, sir, I would not state my objections to what other men in the MGTOW movement have endorsed (PUA, etc.). I done that more than enough times. But that is not so much a function of MGTOW as it the belief systems of the various people in the movement. MGTOW is not one in the same as Biblical Manhood. It's not meant to be.

I go with what Amir and Novaseeker say. MGTOW is not a TOTAL worldview, Gerv. It addresses a very specific set of problems. Men from all walks of life are experiencing similar problems. You want to deny the commonalities because they don't share my faith.

I guess you better tell your country's army to not to be neutral on religion but to be run in an explicitly Christian manner and reject anyone from service anyone who is not Christian. Otherwise a Christian can't join that army. While your at it, you need to condemn free speech laws and freedom of religion laws, because technically God doesn't give men the right to say what they want and worship how they want.

[cont'd]

Anakin Niceguy said...

You want me to impose my beliefs on the rest of the MGTOW community? Fine. But first, let me impose them on the Republican party, libertarians, etc. No Christian can be a Republican until all Republican are Christians! Then next I want to impose my beliefs on your county. You can't be contributing citizen in a country that doesn't honor Christ, Gerv. You have to leave that country. Give up your job, too. It probably has non-Christians working there. Since I can associate only with Christians on men's issues (whether there views are really Biblical or not), I guess you can associate only with Christians on other issues, too --including making money. And by all means, don't go to any professional conferences, schools, that have non-Christians. ALL things must be done to the Glory of God and that means that EVERYTHING must be presented from people who have a Christian worldview.

You write ..

Society has an alcohol problem; the right Christian response is to show Biblically how alcohol in moderation is a good gift from God, not to ban congregations from drinking it altogether.

Interesting, but it just so happens that a lot of people in my faith tradition think it is sin to drink alcohol. I myself have scruples about it and don't drink it. I am going to use the measure against you that you use against me. What if I said your ideas about Biblical Manhood are unscriptural because you allow for the drinking of alcohol? What if I went to a Biblical manhood conference that was open to people from all denominations and faith traditions? What if they said, "We are here to put aside our differences and focus on commonalities. On issues that men here differ on, each men has to make his own decision about what he wants to do." What if you and I were there and I jumped and said: "No, you are wrong, men don't have right to their own beliefs. That's rebellion. God is not the author of confusion and we are commanded to be like-minded. In order for this conference to be profitable it must ..."

1. Denounce pedobaptism.
2. Denounce drinking of alcohol.

How would you like that? Do you want me to extend to you the tolerance that you want me to deny others?

You want your Scriptures? Here's your Scriptures ...

1 Corinthians 5:12-13; Romans 14:4

Those verses tell me that I should, in many respects, allow people to "go their own way." I can warn them and inform them about the eternal consequences of their actions. But in the end, I can't force a direction on them. MGTOW is scriptural after all in that respect and Gerv isn't.

Your workplace is not the church. Neither is MGTOW. If a MGTOWer wanted to be a part of my faith community, he would have to follow our convictions about what the Scripture say. But again MGTOW is not the church. Your government allows you to "go your own way" in many things. Your workplace does, too. But maybe we should change that. Maybe we should have a totalitarian dictatorship where only churches from your faith tradition are to practice religion.

Anakin Niceguy said...

[cont'd]

All the Scriptures you quote, I agree with Gerv. You are just burning strawmen left and right.

You said ...

You aren't supposed to embrace your identity in your own way and in the process find God. You should embrace God and in the process find your identity. It's only in him that our lives have meaning and purpose (Acts 17:28).

Let's look at what Novaseeker actually said ...

"As has been discussed endlessly on this blog, our identity is not tied to the opposite sex. It is tied to us, ultimately. Embrace it, in your own way, and find liberation and truth and God, in the process."

I get it, Gerv. Men are not allowed to have any independent thoughts about manhood. They must blindly follow what others say. They have to find God first before they can stop blindly following what others say. Of course, if blindly following what others say leads a man away from God, then I guess the man can never change direction. The man can only hope that the group he is following leads him back to God someday. Why? Because Gerv says men can't think for themselves regarding manhood until they find God first. The Buddhist, atheist, what have you, must blindly follow feminism until such a time as Gerv decides that they are following God. Only then can they have any independent ideas about manhood. Really, Gerv, how are men supposed to find God if you don't even allow them the right to think for themselves, first?!

What you are saying sounds good in one context, but is horribly flawed when applied here. Oh yes, humanity can't just do whatever it wants and expect to find God. But you are not going to find God until you resolve not to be mental slave of others. It's like saying people can't have their own beliefs about sex; they must follow God with regard to sexuality. Yeah, I agree with that statement, but if what you mean by that statement is that the Buddhist is not allowed to break away from the surrounding sex-addicted culture and think for himself until such a time as Gerv's church sets up a Bible study with him, then you are crazy. What are you going to do? Tell him to accept the surrounding culture's sexual immorality and not think for himself until he becomes a Christian? That's absurd!

But guess what? It sounds like you are doing a similar thing with manhood. Your are asking non-Christian man to accept the male-bashing and gynocentrism until they become Christians. Why? Because you seem to say that they are not allowed to make ANY decisions about their manhood outside of a Christian context.

Learner said...

Gerv,

I agree with Anakin, you owe Novaseeker an apology and not one based on more assumptions on your part a la "what they should end up believing if they followed through the logical consequences of their initial beliefs", since you obviously do not have any understanding of what his "initial beliefs" are.

Novaseeker (and Anakin for that matter) have posted and commented with regard to these issues here and on other blogs and the breadth of those writings outline their beliefs and thoughts. No one can offer a complete description of their beliefs in every post or comment. If you are unaware of the the majority of this communication it is fine. But, you might want to ask clarifying questions about what people mean instead of assuming and especially assuming negatively.

Anakin Niceguy said...

Finale part ...

If you put constraints on my activism because I interact with other men outside of a strictly Christian context, then neither you or any other Christian on the face this planet can be involved in the political process. You can't vote. You can't hold office. You can't mobilize people that are not of your faith. You can't donate money to common causes.

Moreover, you can't read books or get ideas from people outside your faith tradition. It was wrong for the Orthodox, Catholic, and even Protestants to study the Greek philosophers. It is wrong for you to study science, political philosophy, the arts, what have you, unless the sources are explicitly Christian.

I got your devotional verse for today's meditation, Gerv. Romans 2:1. Think on it.

Puma said...

Gerv - No need to go all Taliban on us bro. Blowing up 1500 year-old budhist statues and all.

Anonymous said...

Why anyone would argue with a child like gerv is beyond me.

It's like reading a 15-year old who thinks that his newly-found sophistry can compete with grown, experienced adults.

Ignore trolls.

Gerv said...

I'm not quite sure how to respond most constructively to Anakin's postings, because it would take rather a lot of time to carefully explain the invalidity of many (although not all) of his hyperbolic extensions of my position, or his understanding of it.

It might help to respond to Novaseeker's point. I don't view MGTOW as a worldview, but Christianity is one, and therefore someone who claims to be a Christian and a MGHOW cannot partition the two bits of his life. Just as with anything, he must reject those bits of MGTOW which are not in accord with the teachings of Jesus. The trouble is, when you get beyond "don't let your culture define what it means to be a man", you have to reject most of the rest of it. The right place to find out how to be a man is Scripture, nowhere else. We are bound to obey all that God commands us in this area. We don't get to choose. Are those core MGTOW principles?

I'm very glad to hear Anakin say that Christianity is more important to him than MGTOW.

I agree that the question of who Christians collaborate with on matters of mutual concern is a complex one. But I am not saying "don't work with these MGTOWers because they are not Christians" or "impose your views on the rest of the MGTOW community", I am saying "the principles of MGTOW are not those of Biblical manhood (the title of this blog) and for that reason you shouldn't be part of it".

I wouldn't advise the Buddhist, atheist etc. to "blindly follow feminism", but I do think they are never going to have a right understanding of what it means to be a true man (or, for that matter, what it means to be human) until they know God. No knowledge can ever be entirely correct if the basis on which it is set does not include God. This is part of Christianity being a total worldview.

I think that "Novaseeker wants to throw off all external controls and obligations except perhaps those he autonomously chooses to accept for himself" is consistent with his statement that "It means the freedom to live our lives as we wish to, and not as is dictated to us." However, if he feels that doesn't follow then I will gladly apologise to him for mischaracterising his view.

Triton said...

Just as with anything, he must reject those bits of MGTOW which are not in accord with the teachings of Jesus.

And what exactly would those bits be, Gerv?

KnightWatch said...

I'm not quite sure how to respond most constructively to Anakin's postings, because it would take rather a lot of time to carefully explain the invalidity of many (although not all) of his hyperbolic extensions of my position, or his understanding of it.

Ah, but you do need to explain yourself to greater detail, Gerv. You know, I cannot believe you are having this conversation again about MGTOW. I remember once stating how it was not uncommon for one such as yourself to lift themselves up as angels to look over everyone else with a God's eye. That is what you appear to be doing, Gerv.

I also remember putting forth a similar comparative argument as Anakin, for which there was no response. I stated:

"Going God's way does not mean a Christian will vote for the right man (whoever that may be) no matter how careful and unselfish he prays over the matter. Going God's way does not mean a Christian will fight in the right war, or for the right cause (which beckons an inquiry: Are we serving the state, or God first?).

Also, consider this when you think you have all the Truth. There was once a war where 'men going God's way (the North)' fought with another group of 'men going God's way (the South).

Each side had men of faith who 'knew' they were right and 'considered themselves' in God's will.

Each side prayed and believed in the same God and read from the same Bible.


How could two sides be so different, yet claim to have God with them? Confederate Gerv believed he had the Truth. Yankee Gerv disagreed and claimed that the North was on the side of Truth. "It was the South", Yankee Gerv retorted, "that was wrong, selfish, and immoral blah, blah, blah ..."

Many of these men were possibly holier servants than anything we have in society today. By all accounts, General Lee was considered a Bible believing servant who did not agree with the succession of states, yet he fought on the confederate side because his family lived in Virginia. The point is -- both sides had men of faith who believed they were right and in God's good standing, and I imagine that at least a good many of them served God first and foremost. 100%!!!"


I also remembered Triton adding, and I quote:

MGTOW has nothing to do with rebellion against God. It is about not being obligated to participate in a man-made system that is destructive and immoral.

You just do not get it, Gerv. Let it die, for crying out loud.

Learner said...

Gerv, you are continuing to make assumptions about what people are saying. You assume Novaseeker is saying that he accepts no external controls including God or the scriptures. If you have read any of his comments here or his blog for any period of time you would know that was not true. You act as though we can only know Anakin puts God before MGTOW because he said so in this thread. I don't always agree with everything he says, but he has demonstrated repeatedly that the highest authority for him is God.

You are coming across as a very concrete and black and white thinker, as though there is only one way to express devotion to God and a desire to live a Christian life and you are the one to decide how that should be expressed. If it is not expressed in the way you see fit instead of clarifying you accuse.

It seems to me that if you had not already decided how things were that you would, at least now, drop the accusations and engage in some open inquiry. Questions like "Hey Novaseeker, are you saying men should not obey God or the scriptures?" It's not hard.

For example, you said "The right place to find out how to be a man is Scripture, nowhere else. We are bound to obey all that God commands us in this area. We don't get to choose." When did Anakin or Novaseeker (or Knightswatch or Triton) disagree with that? It seems to me to be only in your assumptions.

And you know what they say happens when you assume Gerv.

Novaseeker said...

Gerv –

A few points.

The first is that MGTOW is, again, that MGTOW is not a worldview, and is also not limited to Christians. It is, rather, a principle of approaching life in the world that rejects the “system”, such as it is, regardless of one's worldview, religious beliefs, and so on. There are Christians who are MGTOW and there are non-Christians – it is a diverse group, because it simply involves a rejection of the system in various and diverse ways. When I write on my own blog, therefore, I am not limiting my scope to Christian readers, or suggesting that non-Christian men need to convert to Christianity in order to be MGTOW or otherwise. Preaching the Gospel is a noble calling, but it isn't the purpose of my blog. The purpose of my blog is to raise awareness of men's issues for men and women alike, and propose approaches to them that may appeal to a broad range of men, Christian and non-Christian alike.

As for your specific issue with this: “It means the freedom to live our lives as we wish to, and not as is dictated to us.” – I think you're assuming that this was intended to “trump” whatever belief system an individual man may have. That was not my intent in writing that. My intent was that men should be free to live as they wish, and not as dictated to us by society, social expectations, and the “system”. For men who follow Christ, clearly Christianity, in whatever flavor he finds himself, will be a guide for his life. But not the social structures of this corrupt, misandrist society. That is the essence of MGTOW. It isn't about sticking up a middle finger at the Church, if you are a believer. Rather it is about choosing to disregard society's expectations about male behavior, and going your own way. That way may very well be the Christian way for many men – for non-Christian men, it won't be, however. In both cases, though, the system and the social order is what the men are turning their backs on.

Now as for whether being an MGTOW is compatible with Christian ideas about responsible manhood, I think we'll probably disagree with each other. For me, a Christian MGHOW is simply someone who disregards society's ideas and norms about male behavior, and follows his own way – which in the case of a Christian, is following Christ's way. In the specific context of the kinds of issues that come up on this blog, it means rejecting society's definitions of male and female relationships, expectations, and responsibilities – for a Christian MGTOW, this would be based on an understanding that these social conventions are simply no longer Christian (if they ever were, even in the West), while for a non-Christian MGTOW, this would be based on a realization that these expectations and responsibilities no longer make sense given the current social context.

Anakin has written endlessly and convincingly here about how many Christians misinterpret the faith when it comes to men, the male role, and relationships between men and women. I suspect that the heart of your disagreement with Anakin (and by extension, me) lies in these areas rather than in MGTOW ideas.

Gerv said...

A common thread seems to be that people disagree with me that the principles of MGTOW are a long way from Christianity. Triton asked that question straight out, and Novaseeker suggested something similar at the end of his post. So let me try and show why this is so. I'm taking the MGTOW Manifesto as speaking for the movement; if that's wrong, please explain why.

By instilling masculinity in men, we make men self-reliant, proud, and independent.

Those 3 characteristics are not Biblically commended in men - quite the opposite, in fact. James 4:6, quoting Proverbs, says that "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Philippians 4:13 says "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." That's a long way from self-reliance. In the dark times, Paul leaned on God, not on himself. It has been said that some MGTOWers are married, and yet 1 Corinthians 11:11 says, in a marriage context, "In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman." Marriage is a relationship of interdependence, and that should show itself in a number of ways, some of which 1 Cor 11 lists. (The fact that exactly what those ways are is disputed doesn't, I think, negate the clear teaching of verse 11.)

And this is where the "Christianity is all of life" bit comes in. If you are a Christian, you can't have an MGTOW bit of your life where you are self-reliant, proud and independent, and a Christian bit of your life where you are humble and dependent on God. You might say that "independent" means "independent of other people", but that doesn't work either. Christians are called to live in loving interdependent community (Acts 2:42-47, Hebrews 10:25, and the example of Jesus and Paul, to name but two).

This independence thing, particularly with respect to their relationships to church, is one of the things that worries me most about "Christian MGTOW". Elders in a church are not to be given respect because they are brilliant or perfect or super-godly men, they are to be given respect because the Bible demands that they be given respect. 1 Peter 5:1-7, among other places, lays this out, and in particular says "Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older." And yet when they come into a Christian MGTOW conversation, it always seems that they are being castigated for imposing false views of masculinity, or not understanding the needs of single people, or some other fault.

(BTW, I know from experience that obeying 1 Peter 5:1-7 is very difficult. I hope, with God's grace, I'm improving.)

We have 3 main strategies:

1. instilling masculinity in men by:

1) Demanding respect for men
2) Serving as good male role models
3) Living independent lives
4) Fighting chivalry


(My numbers.) 2) would be true whatever the program was. See above on 3).

Regarding 1), the Biblical way is not to demand respect. There are many places where we are commanded to respect others (elders, outsiders, the hard working) and told to be people worthy of respect, but the only place I can find where a Christian can require respect is 1 Tim 3:4 - "see that his children obey him with proper respect." And I don't think that's what's in view in the manifesto. In fact, Christians are told not to stand on their rights (Luke 6:28-30), to be humble (Eph 4:2, and too many other references to list), always thinking others better than themselves (Phil 2:3).

(cont.)

Gerv said...

Regarding 4), I guess it depends what you mean by chivalry. Wikipedia says "courteous behaviour, especially that of men towards women". I can't see why being courteous would be objectionable to anyone, and I hope I don't need to find Biblical passages to support the idea of being courteous to others. In the matter of opening doors, for example, it seems that it's just a small reflection of the male inclination to humbly lead and the female inclination to graciously follow, as most clearly demonstrated in marriage (Eph 5:22-33).

So it seems to me that the goal and strategies of MGTOW, as outlined in the Manifesto, do not match up to how a Christian should behave. Because Christianity covers all of life, I don't think the two can co-exist.

Triton said...

A common thread seems to be that people disagree with me that the principles of MGTOW are a long way from Christianity. Triton asked that question straight out

I didn't agree or disagree about anything. I just wanted some details.

Anakin Niceguy said...

The whole problem with Gerv's approach is the "fallacy of equivocation." He injects ambiguity and negative connotations into key words and goes prooftexting. It's sloppy hermeneutics.

Let me illustrate ...

1. Since he is against independence and self-reliance, then I guess he favors a socialist state where everyone depends on the government.

2. Since he against men being proud (that is, having self-esteem), then he supports self-loathing and self-hatred.

3. Since he is for chivalry (preferential treatment of women on the basis of their sex alone), then he is for being a respecter of persons and showing partiality.

4. Since he is against demanding respect for men, then he champions society being indifferent and being disrepectful towards men. (What I find so amusing is that Gerv equates "demanding respect for men" to "demanding respect for oneself" ... and yet he has no problem with chivalry, which accords UNCONDITIONAL respect to women (regardless of what they merit or not).

He needs to find scriptural authority for all four of these things. I consider self-loathing, socialism, being a respecter of persons, and being disrepectful towards to men to be sinful and contrary to the Scriptures. Apparently, Gerv thinks these are okay--if I take the same approach towards him as he did towards me. You see, dear readers, all I had to do was define the terms as I saw fit and thereby exclude Gerv's position. Actually, I defined things according to how most MGTOWers understand the manifesto, not according to Gerv's ill-informed, presumptous, and prejudice reading of the manifesto. Gerv's argumentation is rife with what are technically "logical boobytraps". His argument depends on the ambiguity of terms and manipulation of connotations. A good source to read regarding this matter is D.A. Carson's "exegetical fallacies." What Gerv did is a textbook case of a fallacy D.A. Carson discussed.

Gerv said...

I have Carson's book, and I think it's excellent. I just reviewed his section on equivocal argument and ambiguous language (pages 118-121 in the 2nd edition) and I plead innocent of the charge.

The question is whether my understanding of key words like "pride", "self-reliance" and "independence" is correct, or whether I have twisted the meanings. However, except in the case of pride, which you gloss as "self-esteem", you haven't provided alternative definitions so it's hard for me to see the exact differences betwen my understanding and yours.

In that case, if we look at dictionary.com, it seems that you are arguing that obviously most MGTOWers understand "proud" as sense 3, whereas I'm suggesting there might actually be a strong showing for sense 2. Given the overall tone of the manifesto, I certainly don't think "obviously most people go for sense 3" is a no-brainer.

Given that the MGTOW movement is made up of both Christians and non-Christians, I find it unlikely that "most MGTOWers" have an understanding of "self-reliant, proud, and independent" which actually makes primary the virtues of humility, self-sacrifice, interdependence, submission to elders, community and thinking others better than oneself. If you do, then that's fantastic, but in that case I don't think it's me who is applying odd definitions to words.

Lastly, there is no inconsistency in being both against men (or any Christian) demanding respect and for chivalry. As I explained in my previous post, Christians are not to demand respect, but they are to give it on many occasions and in numerous ways. As I said, true chivalry is a consequence of Ephesians 5:22-33 - men are called to lay down their lives for their wives.

Anakin Niceguy said...

Gerv,

From my viewpoint, you have essentially accused the men of MGTOW of necessarily supporting arrogance, amorality, selfish disregard for others, and discourtesy. Do you affirm the charges?

You have basically asked for unconditional obedience of elders (but you forget that such elders have to be QUALIFIED and cannot behave in a sinful fashion. Otherwise, they CEASE to be qualified.)

You say Christians can't demand respect. That is utterly stupid! Where is the scriptures for that? Elders, parents, etc. couldn't demand it, then. Let me tell you something, Gerv. THE BIBLE DEMANDS RESPECT FOR MEN. IF it demands it, then I can demand it (because to fail to do otherwise would be a failure to "preach the whole counsel of God"). You still overlook the fact the manifesto asks men to be respected generally - which means it is a concern for OTHER men, not a selfish demand by a few). We mean respect as human beings, sir! If you can't find it in your heart to respect the lives of men the way you respect the lives of fetuses, then you are NO FOLLOWER OF CHRIST.

Not all forms of "interdependence" "community" etc. are required by the word of God. I am Christian. I don't live in a hippie commune, Gerv.

Finally you misused Eph. 5. That describes a husband/wife relationship, not general relations between men and women. Or do women who hardly know me have to submit to me?

I have repeatedly tried to explain what MGTOW was about. Amir gets it. Learner gets it. Novaseeker gets it. Elusive Wapiti gets it. Triton gets it. Knightwatch gets it. Some other believers I know get it. But YOU don't get it. You summarily disregard the perspectives of other believers and you want to lecture ME on pride?? You need to pray about this matter. Your argument is not just with me but with several other people who claim to love the Lord just like you. The bottom line is that you don't know me or any MGTOWer well enough in person to engage in the kind of personal judgments about our character you are making.

Gerv said...

you have essentially accused the men of MGTOW of necessarily supporting arrogance, amorality, selfish disregard for others, and discourtesy.

No, I have said that the three character traits listed in the manifesto are not those which should characterise the life of a Christian.

You have basically asked for unconditional obedience of elders

No, I have asked for what is commanded by 1 Peter 5, Hebrews 13:7 and 1 Tim 5:17-20.

I don't agree that sin in an elder necessarily causes them to cease to be qualified to be an elder, although it may, in that one particular aspect, cause you to in sadness decline to to obey them.

You say Christians can't demand respect. That is utterly stupid! Where is the scriptures for that? Elders, parents, etc. couldn't demand it, then.

I quoted Scripture showing that parents could. Again, I repeat my point: the Bible regularly calls us to give respect to others, including elders, and not to do so is wrong - but it does not endorse us demanding it for ourselves. I refer you to the verses I mentioned previously on this subject.

THE BIBLE DEMANDS RESPECT FOR MEN

Do you mean in the same way that it demands we respect everyone, or in a way specific to men? Please could I have your scriptural support for that assertion?

And even if it were true, there is an enormous difference between "The Bible demands respect for men" and "Anakin demands respect for himself or others".

If you can't find it in your heart to respect the lives of men the way you respect the lives of fetuses, then you are NO FOLLOWER OF CHRIST.

Are you sure you are still conducting this discussion in a spirit of charity?

Finally you misused Eph. 5. That describes a husband/wife relationship, not general relations between men and women.

So you would grant my point in a married context? Chivalry is fine in marriage?

The bottom line is that you don't know me or any MGTOWer well enough in person to engage in the kind of personal judgments about our character you are making.

<Gerv coughs politely and raises his eyes to the last quotation but one>

Anakin Niceguy said...

No, I have said that the three character traits listed in the manifesto are not those which should characterise the life of a Christian.


And what are you are implying by that? It seems to me that the logical answer is that anyone who subscribes to the MGTOW philosophy is, of necessity, one who supports arrogance, amorality, selfish disregard for others, and discourtesy. I think that's what you are implying by virtue of the Scriptures you quoted--because that's what they address. You are telling to stay from those things, and thus from MGTOW, right?

Here's the problem: This debate between you and me is not about what MGTOWers actually admit they believe and what the Bible says about that. If it was, this debate would much more productive.

No, the debate has centered on semantics and whether or not Gerv thinks he knows better than a longtime MGTOWer what MGTOWers actually believe. I sincerely doubt that many MGTOWers would embrace half of the things that you insinuate they embrace. If they did indeed conscientiously support sinful pride, cutting oneself off from others, not treating one's wife with respect, etc., you concerns would be worth some consideration.

But that's not where the debate is at. The debate about semantics and your insistence on putting the worst possible construction on other people's words---even though it has been pointed out to you that other reasonably intelligent people on this board that seem to love the Lord don't share your conclusions.

Anakin Niceguy said...

I don't agree that sin in an elder necessarily causes them to cease to be qualified to be an elder, although it may, in that one particular aspect, cause you to in sadness decline to to obey them.

If they are willfully continuing in a sin, then you have no choice but to not submit to them, or else you will be in sin. (1 Cor. 5:9ff)

I quoted Scripture showing that parents could. Again, I repeat my point: the Bible regularly calls us to give respect to others, including elders, and not to do so is wrong - but it does not endorse us demanding it for ourselves.

Gerv, what do you think Matt. 18:15 teaches? Let's see: If a brother treats me sinfully, I don't insist on anything. Yeah, that's what it says, right?

If you are a Christian, I have a right (and a DUTY) to demand respect from you for me as a man and as follower of Christ for YOUR SOUL'S Sake, not my ego.

In fact, Christians are told not to stand on their rights (Luke 6:28-30), to be humble (Eph 4:2, and too many other references to list), always thinking others better than themselves (Phil 2:3).

These verses apply just as much to elders and parents as they do everybody else, and yet you concede that elders and parents can demand respect. That tells me that you have not applied the Scriptures accurately. The verses you quoted cannot be at odds with demanding respect. They are at odds with an arrogant attitude. But no one here is endorsing that. Remember, Jesus demanded respect and yet the Scriptures say he was meek and lowly of heart.

Luke 6:28-30 talks about doing good to those who do us evil. It does not say, "Don't ask others to show some integrity in dealings with you." If you care about their souls, you will ask them to do what is right, even if you are of necessity the beneficiary (Matt 18:15). Doing good to others does not exempt you for calling them to an account for their sins.

Gerv, are you a complete pacifist? Are you of the Anabaptist faith? Or something like that? Because I want to know if you are really consistent in your theology.

Do you mean in the same way that it demands we respect everyone, or in a way specific to men? Please could I have your scriptural support for that assertion?

How about the verse you just quoted against me - Phil 2:3? Then there is Romans 13:7, which broadens the scope of respect to whom it is "due." If men are called to special responsibilities, honor is "due" to them. And again, Gerv, for the third time, MGTOWer doesn't ask respect just for themselves, but for men generally. Sadly, our society does not respect men as human beings.

Are you sure you are still conducting this discussion in a spirit of charity?

Gerv, I'm telling you like it is. If you are going to have hard-hearted attitude about what the Bible says, then you can't claim to be a follower of Christ. Let me repeat: "If you can't find it in your heart to respect the lives of men the way you respect the lives of fetuses, then you are NO FOLLOWER OF CHRIST." That is not a mere outburst; that is a fact. Any believer or faith tradition that stubbornly encourages misandry is apostate. I am not trying to insult you, but I am exhorting you. That's why I let the statement above stand in my post even after reading over it more than once. I'm sorry but I have to draw the line in the sand (Eph. 5:11).

Anakin Niceguy said...

So you would grant my point in a married context? Chivalry is fine in marriage?

What I grant is that there are special obligations in marriage that are not present in other men-women relationships. Husbands are to respect their wives as the weaker vessel. They are to love them as Christ loved the church. They are to love their wives and benot bitter towards them. Women have their responsibilities towards men, too. I prefer not to use the word "chivalry" to describe these obligations, since the word has come to mean something far different than what the Word of God enjoins.

I wrote: "The bottom line is that you don't know me or any MGTOWer well enough in person to engage in the kind of personal judgments about our character you are making."

You reply ...

Gerv coughs politely and raises his eyes to the last quotation but one

What are you saying, here, Gerv?

SavvyD said...

Self-determination is sexy in a man. A woman must accept a man for WHO HE IS!!! She must like and respect WHO HE IS. Many do not. If a man is successful, be supportive. Hire a little extra help around the house so he can rest and you stop nagging. It sounds simple to me.

SavvyD said...

Oh, and if you don't like him for who he is, dump him so both of you can find someone more suited to personal needs.

Gerv said...

Anakin,

You seem to have confused me with someone endorsing the status quo. I am no supporter of misandry. But, just as I can meet someone who has marital problems and, without knowing anything about them or their situation, tell them that adultery is not the answer, I can say that whatever the situation you and other men are facing is, pride and self-reliance are not the answer. And I think I am fairly reading the MGTOW manifesto, and using standard dictionary definitions for the words, taking into account the context and tone.

I don't think any of the verses you quote permit someone to demand respect (and yet again, I make the distinction between the Bible commanding person A to respect person B, and the Bible permitting person B to demand that respect).

You wrote of me that "The bottom line is that you don't know me or any MGTOWer well enough in person to engage in the kind of personal judgments about our character you are making." And yet you seem to know me well enough to say that I am not a Christian, both directly and by quoting Eph 5:11. I would politely suggest to you that this is a very grave charge to throw around, and you should think twice before doing so in future when in dispute with someone.

I think that both points of view have received a good airing, and I'm sure others can read this thread and come to their own conclusions. So I think I'll leave it there.

Anakin Niceguy said...

And I think I am fairly reading the MGTOW manifesto, and using standard dictionary definitions for the words, taking into account the context and tone.

Well, as I pointed out, others seems to think you are not understanding MGTOW fairly. Now why your should your interpretation be privileged over theirs, especially since some of them know their OWN beliefs better than you know them?

I don't think any of the verses you quote permit someone to demand respect (and yet again, I make the distinction between the Bible commanding person A to respect person B, and the Bible permitting person B to demand that respect).

Is there is a distinction? Matthew 18:15 doesn't say so. If a brother sins against me by showing disrespect, do I just let it go? Is that what Jesus wants? Do I pride myself on my tolerance of sin? (1 Cor. 5:2).

By the way, mull over Acts 16:37 and Acts 22:25.

And yet you seem to know me well enough to say that I am not a Christian, both directly and by quoting Eph 5:11. I would politely suggest to you that this is a very grave charge to throw around, and you should think twice before doing so in future when in dispute with someone.

No, Gerv. I didn't deny you were a Christian, although God ultimately knows who are his. This is what I actually said:

"If you can't find it in your heart to respect the lives of men the way you respect the lives of fetuses, then you are NO FOLLOWER OF CHRIST."

That's a conditional sentence. That was an exhortation, and that's the way I meant it. A person can't claim to love God and yet treat his fellow men, who are created in the image God, as inferior beings. I certainly hope what I said does not apply to you, but what I am saying has Biblical support.