The Sexless Life When Sex Is God by D. French
(The link to the editorial by D. French is farther below)
Overall, it’s a good essay, though I can’t say as though I totally agree with this author’s suggestion, which involves teaching people to put faith in God, or a god, because, he believes, one issue with incel men is that they have turned sex into a deity.
And that may well be true – perhaps incels have turned sex into a deity, but I’m not sure asking them to turn to God will necessarily fix this issue.
Why? Because more and more Americans are post-Christian, or, if they still believe in God, they now regard themselves as “nones” or “dones” and have been leaving churches in droves. There is little to no respect by such people for what churches or pastors are saying or preaching.
Not only that, but a lot of Christians, as I have blogged about repeatedly on this site, have also turned sex into a deity themselves.
I have many examples on my blogs of pastors who mock and disparage singleness, celibacy, and adult virginity, who go on and on in their sermons about how great marriage is and how great sex is.
One of a few solutions I put forth is this: since our (secular) culture esteems choice so highly, remind the third-wave feminists and the sexist bro-dudes who worship sex, that if they expect everyone to respect their choice to have, or to want, pre-marital sex, that they need to return that favor and respect those, who by choice or circumstance, are virgins into adulthood, or who practice celibacy.
Some feminists yell, scream, and complain about “slut shaming,” but some of them (and the wider culture) likes to practice Celibate Shaming and Virgin Shaming, which I’ve blogged about many times before (with some examples).
In this piece, French advises lonely single men to stop elevating women (and read: sex, dating, relationships) to a position of idolatry, which is all well and good. However, Christians and the American church have also turned marriage, dating, and relationship into idols.
I’ve spent years on this blog writing post after post explaining how it is an adult virgin such as myself is, and has been, regularly marginalized by an American Baptist and Protestant church system that supports marriage, the nuclear family, and natalism, but either ignores adult singles or insults them when it does take note of their (our) existence.
French may be suggesting that these angry incel men turn to God, which may alleviate their anger and frustration (he seems to suggest), but it’s difficult to live the single, celibate adult life when Christians – due to their extreme focus on the family, and to the Billy Graham Rule (Mike Pence Rule) – does not encourage married couples, or a church community as a whole, to act as a “spiritual family” to any adult who is single and alone.
Please see the “Related Posts” section below, under the excerpts by D. French, for more links about these topics.
(Link): The Sexless Life When Sex Is God by D. French
Terrible movements often intrude on our lives through the acts of terrible men. And so it was on April 23, when a man named Alek Minassian drove a van on Toronto city sidewalks, deliberately ramming pedestrians. He killed ten and injured 16 before he stopped his rampage.
Minassian, it turns out, was part of the so-called “incel rebellion,” a vicious online community of men who are angry that women won’t have sex with them.
No, really, that exists. “Incel” stands for “involuntarily celibate.” And self-described “incels” have developed an entire theory for their lack of sexual prowess — a theory that essentially blames women for being attracted to strong or rich men.
And it’s a theory that’s steeped in sexual entitlement, the belief that men somehow have a right to have sex.
Most incels aren’t violent: As Zack Beauchamp wrote in an (Link): interesting Vox piece, many are “simply sad and lonely men, suffering from extreme social anxiety or deep depression.” Others, however, have translated their heartbreak into rage and violence. Alek Minassian is one such man. Another is Elliot Rodger, a California man who went on a killing spree in 2014.
…This is exactly right, and as Ross relates, the problem is exacerbated by our society’s “essentially Hefnerian” view of sex. In other words, the sexual revolution didn’t just disrupt existing social norms and existing theological ideas; it sought to replace them with a worldview that elevated sexual experience to quasi-religious status. Sex isn’t just part of life, it is essential to fulfillment.
When it comes to incel, this is a new twist on an old story. Strip transcendence from the culture, replace the greater thing (genuine faith) with a lesser thing (sexual indulgence) that is not universally available, and the recipe for human misery is complete. When sex is the new god, what are the sexless to do?
Substitute sex for wealth or status, and you see that this temptation has ancient and enduring roots. And the secular response is often just as destructive as the initial mistake. Wealth isn’t universally available and some people excel when others fail, and the question comes: “How can we level these economic outcomes?” The same applies to status hierarchies even in the midst of greater economic equality. “How can we make everyone special?”
Ross is certainly correct that a conservative response dedicated to “reviving or adapting older ideas about the virtues of monogamy and chastity and permanence and the special respect owed to the celibate” is “not the natural response for a society like ours,” so I’d suggest a modification. Celebration of monogamy and chastity should be the result of the intended, much larger transformation. Put simply, one cannot locate his sense of transcendence in chastity or monogamy but rather in the obedience to and reverence for a living God.
…The truth of Ecclesiastes 3:11 — that God set eternity in the hearts of men — has rarely been more obvious than in the present age. And the endless, futile quest to replace the eternal with the temporal is crushing the human spirit.
And, there is of course a Christian analog to this secular pursuit — the legalism of fundamentalism of all stripes, a legalism that places devotion to virtue over devotion to God, that makes, say, monogamy or celibacy the purpose of life rather than the consequence of pursuing the larger purpose.
….The men of the incel movement are pursuing a god they can’t have. They’re in fact pursuing a god that will disappoint them even if they obtain what they want the most.
And so they do what sinful men have done throughout all of human history. They lash out at the objects of their desire. No woman should feel the least bit guilty for not desiring any man — no matter how many movies or television shows teach them that the nerd is the true prize, and the lonely man is the best catch.
Instead it is the responsibility of the lonely man to find meaning apart from women. And that meaning happens to be found in a resurrected Christ who — unlike any other false god — can be found by any person who seeks His face.
(Link): Nice Guys Aren’t So Nice After All: Men in the “Friend Zone” Often Have A Hidden Agenda, Say Psychologists (Daily Mail article)
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(Link): Marcotte on Anyone Choosing To Be a Virgin Until Marriage: “It’s a Silly Idea” – What Progressive Christians, Conservative Christians, Non Christians, and Salon’s Amanda Marcotte Gets Wrong About Christian Views on Virginity