MGTOW won't last long

(Joseph Bayly) #1

I just recommended In Praise of Folly over here on the 2019 reading list topic. Erasmus saw the “folly” of marriage long before today’s Men Going Their Own Way advocates. Here’s a quote from it that I doubt any of the MGTOW guys have used:

(Folly, personified, is speaking.)

In fine, that wise man whoever he be, if he intends to have children, must have recourse to me. But tell me, I beseech you, what man is that would submit his neck to the noose of wedlock, if, as wise men should, he did but first truly weigh the inconvenience of the thing?

The problem with MGTOW is, as my dad said to me recently, the same problem that the Shakers had. They will all be dead and gone soon, and nothing of their movement will be left. In contrast, I remember reading an article about Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?, by Eric Kaufmann a few years ago. He makes the case that fundamentalists, such as the Mormons and the “quiver full” protestants were having children, and how they would dominate the globe soon.

Men like Aaron Renn can whine all they want about how we pastors are being too negative about marriage and driving men away from it. The fact of the matter is that God made men a certain way, and that way is to pursue a wife and have children. Cultures that manage to convince men that it’s bad to do so will die out quickly. Look at Japan, for example. True, if we live in a culture that is negative about marriage and children, we should boldly proclaim the beauty of fruitfulness.

But the marriage relationship is a picture of the relationship between Christ and his bride the Church, and pretending like the whole thing is not folly in the eyes of the world is not going to help anybody. For men to engage in such work requires them to deny themselves and lay down their life. That’s rather “inconvenient,” to quote Erasmus, and no amount of whitewashing it will ever fool selfish men who are unwilling to do the work and take the necessary risks.

Still, I’m not worried. Women are beautiful. Plus, they take your name and give you back children with your name, so your name will last longer than you will. Men want these things, and none of the MGTOW men can have them. Granted, many women don’t do these things today, but those of you who are single should not give up hope like the MGTOW dunderheads. Maybe start your own movement: MAFW—Men Avoiding Feminist Women. :slight_smile:

(Tim Bayly) #2

Always keep in mind that Aaron’s in NYC so his views on pastors are quite urbanized. “In the city, for the city” dudes are always and without exception anti-natal. As former members have testified, it’s quite difficult to have children (as distinguished from “having a child or two”) in NYC. Reformed hipsters have never accrued street cred through children. Something about vomit staining your woolen felt sneakers. Something about a van.

(Ross Clark) #3

I hadn’t heard of MGTOW, but one question:

  • Does the Christian variant of this includes single men who can’t find anyone/aren’t wanted when they do go looking? If so, they may be wanting to make a virtue out of a necessity. Sad to see, anyway.

(Joseph Bayly) #4

Sure, but this is precisely the kind of language that Renn would condemn as making marriage and kids seem unattractive:

And yes, @Hobbit, I do think there is some of that among Christian single men. In particular the complaint that conservative Christians don’t talk about the benefits of singleness or address the challenges of singleness often enough comes to mind. However, I think this has barely started to grow to the level that it will reach soon among Christian men who cannot find a non-feminist Christian woman to marry.

(Tim Bayly) #6

Until cool has died, fatherhood hasn’t been born.

BTW, everyman marries a feminist. Sex is as selfish as race and social class.

(Fr. Bill Mouser) #7

Indeed, it seems to. I know some of these men. Some of them are still single into early middle age. Some of them married in their late 30s or early 40s. They didn’t want to bind themselves to the women who came chasing after them, and the women they pursued quickly let them know “Nope. Nopety nope nope.” In addition to these, I know a couple who took our Lord’s teaching on divorce and remairiage at face value, and seriously too, and so never sought another wife while the one from whom they were separated yet lived.

As to children, the Lord’s promise in Isaiah 56:3-5 is no namby-pamby wishy-washy thing. Admitted - siring children with your wife is the most elementary and fundamental notion of child-rearing. But, it is not the only way this may be accomplished. That latter fellow I mentioned above - he spent most of his professional career as a high school teacher in a juvenile detention facility (i.e. a jail for children aged 10-18).

Some men put aside their woolen felt sneakers and opt for the van if the Lord blesses them appropriately. This man chose a career of teaching stubborn, criminal teenagers. He awaits eternity to find out what fruit might have sprung from those labors. Meanwhile, there’s that promise in Isaiah on which he can fasten his hopes.

(Tim Bayly) #8

(Joseph Bayly) #9

Perhaps I should add that I do believe that marriage and even fertility are falling on hard times. I just think that proclaiming the benefits of marriage cannot be done without it being a gospel proclamation, which will inevitably be seen as folly to the worldling. No amount of talk of “human flourishing” or “thriving” will convince selfish men to abandon their selfishness. (Not that that’s what Renn is pushing for.)

And the Christian man who is too lazy to marry must be told that it’s time for him to stop playing video games and start working a second job. That’s what sanctification looks like for the lazy Christian man.

(Joel Norris) #10

When it comes to MGTOW, I think a strong case can be made that it is the single women in the church who are avoiding marriage, at least at a suitable age, more so than the men. How many evangelical/PCA pastors and parents are encouraging women to get married in their early 20s rather than pursue independence and career? It’s not just that Christian women are feminist, it’s that many don’t consider marriage to be on the table until they reach their 30s and have much less to offer a prospective husband.

(Joseph Bayly) #11

Absolutely. And again, we need to speak positively of marriage with women, too. But no amount of speaking positively will undo the fact that we are calling them to be led by a sinner and be vulnerable, etc.

I know of a pastor who recently suffered greatly for daring to say that feminism is bad for women.

To point out the fact that most of the pastors who are willing to speak hard truths are only willing to speak them to men, not women, is helpful. What I don’t want the correction to be “positive, uplifting” talk for both men and women!

(Matthew Hoover) #12

Here’s an off-topic comment that you might enjoy. In the comment thread of a Baylyblog post on a similar subject 6 or 7 years ago, I lamented my own singleness and asked for advice on finding godly, non feminist women. Among several replies, one person recommended a Christian dating site that had recently started. Following that recommendation, I signed up and participated for a year or so before I met the woman who became my wife. She is a good woman and knows to fight against any latent feminism in herself. We got married 5.5 years ago and have three kids now. Marriage and (particularly) fatherhood have matured and changed me more than anything else. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t ever a hipster though. Thanks to whoever for the recommendation.

(Scott Tibbs) #13

It is worth recognizing that there are various Christians who have been celibate for their whole lives. But as the Apostle Paul points out, most Christians do not have the gift of celibacy, and the “men” in the MGTOW movement most certainly do not have that gift.

Let’s be brutally honest. They are just cowards.

(Tim Bayly) #14

Wonderful, Matthew! Praise God!

(b3k) #15

“If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
The Disciples, the original MGTOWs?

The disciples were responding to the Lord instructing them in the limited permissibility for a man to divorce his wife. Women were given no permission in the Mosaic law to divorce a husband.

MGTOWs are a reaction to the other end of a legal swing. Whereas in 2nd Temple Palestine, a man faced little risk from the prospect of divorce while a woman faced it all, today is the opposite. In our context, the combination of child support, alimony laws, the Duluth model, the gynocentric bias of the “family” court system, divorce modeled by previous generations, and no-fault divorce has resulted in a very high divorce rate, 80% of which are initiated by the wife.

MGTOWs I’ve known are men who have been “divorce-raped”. These men have been left, had their children stolen by the state on behalf of an adulteress, and been forced to pay the majority of their productivity for the privilege. Other MGTOWs of whom I’ve known have heard the stories and have seen the statistics and at least claim to have made the rational calculation to avoid the hassle.

Men respond to incentives, and to stop at calling these men cowards or men-in-scare-quotes is unhelpful and ignores a very real problem that is destroying our civilization. A single man can support himself and his interests very easily. @jtbayly is right to say “proclaiming the benefits of marriage cannot be done without it being a gospel proclamation”. If you want a man to take a wife in this culture, you have to give him a reason for which it’s worth risking losing his children and treasure to a capricious, godless state. Otherwise, many women are easy, prn and video games are easier.

(Tim Bayly) #16

Dear b3k?,

Is there really anyone here who is stopping at calling these men cowards? Plus, who are these men exactly? Are you saying every man who suffers these things is a MGTOW? Of course not. The godly suffer and don’t give way to bitterness and misogyny.

Speaking of those non-cowards who suffer and are sanctified, we pour our lives into helping and crying with and going to court with them, showing them and their children the most tender solicitude as they suffer these things. Every church has them and their ex-wives leave families and churches in shambles. We know this personally and we stand with these men and their children. Solidarity is not too strong a word to use.

But even the cowardly MGTOWS, we stand with them by working to admonish and correct them. We tell them they are cowards and not men at all. We write books for them. We rebuke them. Not sure how long you have been reading us, but I did want to reassure you that we have had all our skin in this game forever. Love, Tim Bayly

(b3k) #17

Is there really anyone here who is stopping at calling these men cowards?

I should have tagged this post above by @ConservaTibbs. He may wish to respond.

Plus, who are these men exactly?

The three I picture first in my mind are an uncle, a friend from undergrad, and a friend from high school. One divorced and his child stolen while on overseas deployment. One divorced by the drug addict who was given custody.

(Tim Bayly) #18

Yes, I know you know these men, personally. These are the men killing themselves at epidemic rates across America. Have you read Murray’s Coming Apart? I think you’d like it quite a lot. And thanks for clarification on tagging. Love,

(Scott Tibbs) #19

My post was 55 words, so there’s no way it could have been an exhaustive look into all of the issues surrounding the MGTOW “movement,”
and I was not advocating ONLY saying they are “cowards” and using scare
quotes. That’s an unfair representation of my post.

the Church has to work with these men, bring them to repentance and teach them to be men… and to work with the women who have badly mistreated and embittered the husbands they have abandoned, calling them
to repentance and faith.

I do stand by what I said. Refusing to marry out of fear is a denial of manhood and it is cowardly.

(Christopher Preston) #20

I continue to be astounded by just how pervasive the truth is that there is nothing new under the sun. I too discovered recently that MGTOW is really nothing new. I’m reading “When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Reformation Europe,” by Steven Ozment; and in the first chapter he writes:

“Three years before his own marriage, Martin Luther wrote a treatise, Vom elelichen Laban (On the estate of marriage, 1522), his first lengthy discussion of the subject, in which he complained that ‘marriage has universally fallen into awful disrepute,’ that peddlers everywhere are selling ‘pagan books which treat of nothing but the depravity of womankind and the unhappiness of the estate of marriage’—a reference to classical misogynist and antimarriage sentiments and to the bawdy antifeminist stories that were popular among Luther’s contemporaries.”

A proverb by Jerome was also popularly used in Luther’s day: “If you find things going too well—take a wife.”

(Tim Bayly) #21

One of the most helpful books out there on the Reformation. There’s no way to understand the Reformation outside its context of restoring the Christian discipleship of marriage and family life.