Gluttons for punishment (Manosphere 2)

I’ve really appreciated the time spent lingering on the problem of pseudonymity, really exploring how truth-talk is never disconnected from persons and biases. I especially appreciated how you discussed the fact that sin and blame are never clear matters of pronouncing one party guilty and the other party acquitted when you are actually dealing with real people.

To be sure, right and wrong are clear. They are not veiled. God’s law is clearly perceived. But when you get into the trenches of actual relationships and conflict, you will find sin on both sides, and — probably — valid grievances on both sides as well. And the only cure is humble confession, looking to Christ, and patiently extending the same forbearance and grace to one another that God has so graciously lavished on us.

The internet is tricky, because it gives us a platform to sort of ascend to the level of abstract discussions with strangers. Even on a forum like this where (most of us) publish names, photos, and even churches, there is still a level of relational disconnection that we must contend with. And as soon as we fall prey to the idea that we can discuss truth in a vacuum, we immediately begin to slander our brother, who is made in the image of God.

I’ve appreciated these two episodes, warts and all. :slight_smile:

Edit to add: The Desmond Dark skit had me rolling. Loved it.


Happy birthday, dear Bill,
Happy birthday, dear Bill,
Happy birthday, dear William,
Happy birthday, dear Bill!

Over my lifetime, I have never known anyone with the wisdom on sexuality that you, sir, have blessed us with for so many years, now. May God bless us with your presence and wisdom for many years to come. Love,


Speaking of abstract discussions with strangers, a couple of years ago our church men’s group spent a semester (or was it a year?) working to improve our apologetics skills. A central part of that involved being confronted with a devil’s advocate argument against some Christian doctrine and trying to develop our ability to answer such arguments in real time.

We were all really bad at it – but the thing that began to come into focus as the weeks went by was how maddening it was that “Kristof” (our name for the devil’s advocate persona against whose argument we were contending) had no context, no actual existence. The sense grew on us that taking Kristof’s arguments at face value was worse than useless–for every wicked argument we cut off, two more grew in its place–and that what was needed was to address why he was making these wicked arguments based on what we knew of him. Was he living with his girlfriend and making arguments to justify his sin? Was there some difficult situation going on in his life and his lashing out at God stemmed from discouragement over that? Had God been good to him in every way and it was shameful for him to ignore all the ways God had cared for him from his youth up? There was no way to tell with Kristof.

After a point, I concluded that arguing with Kristof in the abstract was a waste of time. There’s no pastoral care for a phantom.



The issue isn’t Kristol when others are listening. It’s the sheep he’s leading astray—in this case into the root of bitterness that corrupts many. Men have a lot to resent today, if they chose to do so. But choosing to do so is contrary to Christian faith and beneath our inherent nature as men. We are initiators, not receivers. Those who take action, not reactors. Men who reform, not go down to the city gates and whine about how it’s all women’s fault and why don’t any of our city fathers tell our wife and daughters to submit to us.

And Fakename, this is to discuss Manosphere. This was what Nathan and Jake demonstrated about Mr. Fake Name Dalrock.




In one of your comments for the Sanityville episode “Into the Manosphere”, you said,

“When a daughter enlists in the military for a combat position, the father has placed his daughter there by virtue of allowing her to do so. Same with a wife. Can it really be these men are so oblivious to the way the authority of a father and husband works? We are responsible for our women. Scripture commands it. What we don’t speak against we answer for, even down to their vows. Have these men really never read Numbers 30?”

Wilson says

"The Bible does not teach husbands to enforce the requirement that was given to their wives. Since true submission is a matter of the heart rendered by grace through faith, a husband does not have the capacity to make this happen. His first task is therefore to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He is to lead by example.”

I find these two quotes to be inconsistent. Wilson says a husband does not have the capacity (that is, authority) to make a wife submit. I presume that would include not just her attitude, but also her actions. On the contrary, your quote suggests that a husband has the authority to prevent his wife from enlisting in the military. Now I suppose a wife could obey without a submissive attitude, but that seems contrary to the concept that God is more interested in the heart than the exterior behavior. Also, I would be very interested in how you think a husband could actually exert his authority to prevent his wife from enlisting.

It seems to me that either you or Wilson must be wrong as to the authority of a husband. If so, which is it?

As an aside (because it’s not directly related), do you consider that the Mosaic Law as found in Numbers 30 still applies to Christians today?

As one who would qualify as “the proper target” of the episode, I will tell you that I find much of the Sound of Sanity podcasts on the Manosphere and even part of your comments to be, as both you and they might put it, “disgusting” and “gross”. In other words, the work done is quite unlikely to have effected any change in the intended target.

I could go into this in great detail, but I do not believe it would be edifying for anyone.


Thank you for taking the time to reply at length. Over in another discussion, @tbbayly writes this:

(emph added)

Do you agree with the statement?

(emph orig)

I do not know how to reconcile a “duty to stop her”–that is a husbandly responsibility as part of his stewardship of his wife to stop her from some grevious public sin–with the lack of coercive power.

Responsibility vs Authority Outcomes

Must the husband be consigned to the bottom-right corner of the chart? If such a case would require a longer-form explication, has anyone written such a tome on husbandry?

I’m not sure if @Fr_Bill would agree with me here, but a husband used to have more ability to enforce his will with regard to his wife. There was an understanding and assumption of his natural right to do so. He’s not entirely without power today, though he has certainly had much of his power taken from him by the state.

But concerning coercive power, think first of the employee/er relationship. There is no power there aside from withholding money if your boss’s will is not done. Does the husband have no ability to withhold anything from his wife if she rebels? Second, think of the church’s authority, which is limited to moral suasion, but can excommunicate. The husband can appeal to the church for church discipline if his wife rebels. But beyond this, does he not have moral suasion at least as powerful as the church?

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Well then, there you have it. Not wanting to disgust you any more than I already have, i"ll leave you alone. Cordially

The issue of bitterness and anonymity within the manosphere are the two that are discussed here most frequently as ways to disqualify Dalrock, but I have to say that as a result of reading Dalrock and other manosphere sites I am no longer bitter towards women, because I understand them better now, and have developed social skills to deal with them in an understanding way from the things I learned from manosphere sites.

Some men never leave the stage of bitterness; the disappointment in seeing the reality of female sinful nature is to great. Those men are found ranting in expletives, not in carefully studying to try to figure out what has gone wrong, as I see Dalrock do.

Often the manosphere points to truths, very unpleasant truths about the nature of the effects of the Fall on intersexual relationships. They usually do not talk about the Fall, but what they describe occurs as a result. One of these very unpleasant truths is that most women are not attracted to most men in a, how to say it, intimate way. As an average man, that can be an extremely unpleasant thing to learn, that your wife is unattracted to you, but since that kind of desire cannot be negotiated or earned (Song of Songs 8:7), the only options left are either for a wife to honor her vows, or for a man to learn how to become more naturally desirable. The manosphere cannot help with the first, but it can help with the second, which is really part of self-control, or being a good steward of what God has given you: yourself.

Many men are uxurious, they have become de facto worshippers of their wives and serve at her pleasure. Men must repent of this and fear and serve God, both for the sake of their souls, and secondarily in order to get any kind of respect or desire from their wives, as a woman cannot respect a man who lives to serve her.

These are not things I learned in church, unfortunately, but the manosphere and the Bible, and they have helped me to develop myself and a mostly happy marriage as a result, instead of a mostly unhappy one.

Be careful to consider bitterness first as a sin, not a lack of understanding. It can’t be educated away.

“Put away all bitterness.” Eph 4:31.

I’ve found this verse important for most relationships I have, my marriage most of all.


No, but understanding can create sympathy for the actual situation of those weaker vessels, which can be helpful in repenting of bitterness. Repenting of being uxurious and bowing to God in His rightful place as Lord can also assist in repenting of the bitterness, because the cause of the bitterness (an unloving or disrespectful wife) has such a diminished place in a man’s life. He goes from thinking of her as the source of problems and pain, and learns to think of her as a person who is a gift from God to guide and care for.

The only thing I don’t get is the discrepancy between saying that the wife is the cause of the bitterness vs saying she is not the source of the pain.

Eh, unclear wording, my fault.

Bitterness is often a sin that a person is tempted by when they feel helpless. When that helplessness goes away, by whatever means it is removed, it is much easier to see that you were mired in bitterness, and repent of all of it, in whatever form.

Unlike anger which is an emotion expressed by our Lord, and as a human expression of fallen humanity may be either righteous or unrighteous, I’m not so sure that Bitterness is merely “often a sin”. Bitterness is a sin. Like lying and envying, it’s not a circumstance, but rather an outpouring of the heart.

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No, I’d say he’s to persist in the upper right corner (assuming the chart isn’t precluding other options). It’s just that what he can actually do to be engaged is limited essentially to his own words and examples. He may not spank his wife, for example, though he is told in Scripture to spank his children.

Will some husbands be frustrated? They will certainly feel frustrated. But, no matter how they feel, they are not actually frustrated if they relate to their wives as our Lord would have them to do, leaving to our Lord to take up measures He reserves to Himself and does not commission her husband to perform.

Again, this could call on the husband to live a long life of sadness, grief, and sorrow. I grieve for my brothers who face such, and pray for them, that the Lord would shorten the time of their difficulties.

Not that I’m aware of, but my knowledge is limited. So long as the husband is encouraged by the Church to put away a wife who gives him such grief and to find a different wife, no one is ever going to write such a book. There’s no market for it. Even a self-published tome would find no market. It ain’t out there.

I agree with @Fr_Bill that a husband does not have authority to coerce his wife, and that’s been true for a long time in Christian nations. What’s different about today is that there is much more incentive for a wife to rebel and much more pain for the husband when she does. This is something that I think has not been sufficiently appreciated among evangelical/conservative Christians in general (this forum is an exception).

Another truth that I think is not sufficiently appreciated is that if a wife chooses Christian submission or her husband has captured her natural respect, then marriage is relatively easy, but if a wife choose not to submit and her husband has not captured her natural respect, then marriage can be quite difficult. Men in the latter case often bridle at statements about headship and responsibility because it comes across as, “be warmed and filled.” I believe that evangelical/conservative Christians in general have failed such men in effectively helping them live out their headship and responsibility.

Now I will say something probably controversial. Urging husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church isn’t going to help them gain respect or submission from their wives once respect or submission are lost (or never had). The reason is that in the current culture loving one’s wife is nearly universally understood as making her happy – this follows from the widespread belief among Christians that Jesus loves them by overlooking their sins and giving them earthly blessings. And so the husband tries to placate his wife, and of course she never gains respect for him or is motivated to submit. Absent the correction of some grievous fault in the husband, the evangelical/conservative church shouldn’t put forth the idea that becoming a more loving husband is going to change the attitude of a disrespectful and rebellious wife, or that his wife is disrespectful or rebellious because he isn’t sufficiently loving.

What should a man do in such a situation? As @Fr_Bill says above, he should stand firm in what is right whether in love or rebuke, despite how his wife feels or acts, and he must be patient and willing to suffer. Not only is that the biblical approach; it’s also what is most likely to engender respect from his wife.


What churches encourage men to do this?

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Do you actually see this much in the church? From my experience, the women I know in my church do not have this rebellious feminist attitude. Maybe my church is a special case, but what is keeping all these anonymous manosphere types from moving to more conservative regions? I personally moved away from Chicago to be in a community more aligned with biblical ideals. It’s a free country after all!

Is it possible that these bitter men are simply incompetent when it comes to women? Women are attracted to men who lead! It’s part of their nature. Isn’t that one of the key tenants of the manosphere by the way? It seems there are some inherent contradictions in the ideology.

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One answer would be, “The same ones that harbor women who are destroying their families. The same ones that blame the husband for not being loving enough to win her back.” In other words, churches that don’t discipline those members (men or women) that pursue divorce are encouraging such behavior.

Well, it’s quite common at various levels of intensity in most churches. Yes, moving to be part of a good church is certainly something I think many more people should consider. The problem is that the man who is already embittered at his own wife is unlikely to be able to get her to move with him.

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Sure, but what I don’t understand, is that according to the “red pill” philosophy, the way to get women to comply is to increase their attraction by being an “alpha”, lifting weights and telling her “we’re moving babe!”

The manosphere purports to give the solution, but instead of actually applying the solution, they write and whine endlessly about the problem!

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