It is impossible, then, that 'being a man' should mean precisely 'not being a man', if 'man' not only signifies something about one subject but also has one significance. … And it will not be possible to be and not to be the same thing, except in virtue of an ambiguity, just as if one whom we call 'man', and others were to call 'not-man'; but the point in question is not this, whether the same thing can at the same time be and not be a man in name, but whether it can be in fact. (Metaphysics 4.4, W.D. Ross (trans.), GBWW 8, 525–526).You see, language is a powerful tool, and there those who want to abuse it to create falsehoods in the minds of others. I have to hand it to the feminists in particular for their acumen in twisting language to create imposed realities for social discourse. We most assuredly need to exercise due diligence to cut through the demagoguery, rhetorical legerdemain, and sloppy and imprecise thinking of others.
Anyway, I am revisiting Mohler's writings because of recent comments made by my readers on the subject of manhood and its relationship to marriage. Socons need to make up their minds about a few things when discussing this subject. In Mohler's post about manhood, he wrote:
In a biblical perspective, manhood is defined in these roles and responsibilities ["the role of father/protector/provider"]. A man is defined in terms of who he is and what he does in obedience to God. A society that rejects or sidelines these roles and responsibilities -- that does not honor fatherhood and hold it out as expectation -- will sow seeds of disastrous confusion. The damage to our language is among the least of our problems.So, Mohler wants to define men in sociological terms.** It's akin to something one of my readers said: "'Manhood' is a qualitative judgement." Ironically, this same reader of mine compared the ideas of another reader to something a "liberal feminist" would come up with. Why do I say "ironically"? Read on.
While the Bible clearly honors men who forfeit the blessings of wife and children for the sake of the Gospel (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 32-28), the history of the Christian church indicates that these represent a minority. The normative expectation is that a young man will mature to take on the role of "father/protector/provider" that Peters correctly sees as "not considered as necessary or desirable as it once was" within the secular culture. Those men who are faithfully living out these responsibilities are not likely to be too concerned about finding true masculinity. They are living it.
Consider what Albert Mohler wrote in two other posts about transexuality. First this quote ...
Goodman's writing is crisp and concise, but she runs right over some basic issues that are hard to miss. The first is the assumption that "sexual realignment surgery" can actually change a person's sex. The other (and obvious fact) is that Thomas Beatie is still functioning as a woman, even to the extent of retaining her reproductive capacity.So, a man is a man and woman is a woman, eh? But wait, there is this quote ...
In other words, she had her physical characteristics changed -- at least some visible markers of gender -- so that she would appear as a man rather than as a woman. But -- and this is crucial -- the baby did not emerge from a man's womb. There is no such thing. The baby, we might summarize, was not fooled.
Well, it is one inescapable question. After all, Boylan resists "binary" categories, yet when it comes to gender she offers only two options -- male and female. She changed her own legal gender from one to the other, but there remain only two designations. She is as "binary" as the rest of us. We cannot make sense of any conversation without using terms like he/she, man/woman, male/female, father/mother, son/daughter, and his/her's. We live in a stubbornly binary world.How strange that the last two paragraphs sound a lot like something I wrote recently about realmannspracht! It's just too bad that Mohler and others socons are so incredibly inconsistent on this matter.
Armed with this realization, we face a clear choice: We will see this binary understanding of gender as a gift from God revealed throughout creation, or we will see it as a socially-constructed reality that we can (and should) deconstruct. Are we bound to these categories by a Creator? Or did we do this to ourselves?
The Christian worldview is clear at this point. The Bible presents gender as part of the goodness of creation. God reveals his glory in every aspect of creation, and this is abundantly true with respect to the two sexes. God glorifies himself in creating humanity in his own image, both male and female. To deny or confuse this distinction is to deny God the glory that is his due. And, that which brings God's greatest glory will also bring us greatest joy.
What happens when a feminist or other liberal suggests that concept of "man" and "woman" is sociologically determined? The socons throw a fit and shout, "No! The concept of 'man' and 'woman' is rooted in creation, dummies!" Indeed. There have even been all sorts of arguments to show how biology drives behavioral differences between the sexes. You'll get no disagreement from me on that, folks!
But what happens when the socons want to shame a man into taking on certain social roles? Well, suddenly we get into talk about how being a "man," "manhood," and "masculinity" are driven by the expectations of others. In other words, people start resorting to the intellectually compromised language of realmannspracht. It's simply a case of socons talking out both sides of their mouths, a trait they have in common with the feminists.
Look, either the biological markers of manhood are sufficient to identify a man or they are not. If they're not, then it's open game on the concepts of manhood and womanhood! The feminists would just love that! Someone might say, "You're not really man because you have failed to do [xyz]." Well, the other person could retort, "Yeah. I decided to be a woman instead or embrace a fluid understanding of my gender." What are you going to say then, Einstein?
So where does that leaves us? Well, earlier this year, I wrote:
Manhood is the birthright of every adult, male human being, whether we respect that man or not. Biblical manhood is rooted in a relationship with God. This relationship is effected through the atoning work of Christ, not through performing duties and rituals (Eph. 2:8). Biblical manhood is a male state of being, which manifests itself in good works as God gives ability and opportunity to a man.By the way, this quote answers the baseless charge that I have never defined "biblical manhood" on this blog.
Feminists want to destroy the differences between men and women. Socons want to impose the differences. I say let nature decide what the differences are. Adulthood and masculinity are biological; ergo, manhood is biological. Biblical manhood, consequently, is adult people with XY chromosomes living like Christ wants them to live. What about men who fail to live up to our expectations? Well, it's like I said in recent posts. You may not like what a man is doing, but he is still a man. If he's not doing something he should do or is doing something he shouldn't do, then tell him. But don't resort to realmannspracht. Leave that kind of talk to the misandrists, because now I've shown that such talk is not only unchristian, it's patently absurd, as well.
** Note: I take it that Albert Mohler is not discussing "biblical manhood" as one expression of masculinity, per se, but the definition of manhood in general from what he thinks is the proper perspective.