When Dictators Find God

What is the 21st century going to be about? If you had asked me 20 years ago, on, say, Sept. 10, 2001, I would have had a clear answer: advancing liberalism. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of apartheid, Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in China, a set of values seemed to be on the march — democracy, capitalism, egalitarianism, individual freedom.

Then over the ensuing decades, democracy’s spread was halted and then reversed. Authoritarians in China, Central and Eastern Europe and beyond wielded power. We settled into the now familiar contest between democratic liberalism and authoritarianism.

But over the last several years something interesting happened: Authoritarians found God. They used religious symbols as nationalist identity markers and rallying cries. They unified the masses behind them by whipping up perpetual culture wars. They reframed the global debate: It was no longer between democracy and dictatorship; it was between the moral decadence of Western elites and traditional values and superior spirituality of the good normal people in their own homelands.

The 21st century is turning into an era of globe-spanning holy wars at a time when the appeal of actual religion seems to be on the wane.

Xi Jinping is one of the architects of this spiritually coated authoritarianism. Mao Zedong regarded prerevolutionary China with contempt. But Xi’s regime has gone out of its way to embrace old customs and traditional values. China scholar Max Oidtmann says it is restricting independent religious entities while creating a “Socialist core value view,” a creed that includes a mixture of Confucianism, Daoism, Marxism and Maoism.

Last week, the Chinese government ordered a boycott of “sissy pants” celebrities. These are the delicate-looking male stars who display gentle personalities and are accused of feminizing Chinese manhood. This is only one of the culture war forays designed to illustrate how the regime is protecting China from Western moral corruption.

The regime’s top-down moral populism is having an effect. “Today, traditionalism is gaining momentum among everyday Chinese people as well as intellectuals and politicians,” Xuetong Yan of Tsinghua University wrote in 2018. The Chinese internet is apparently now rife with attacks on the decadent “white left” — educated American and European progressives who champion feminism, L.G.B.T.Q. rights and such.

Vladimir Putin and the other regional authoritarians play a similar game. Putin has long associated himself with religious philosophers like Ivan Ilyin and Nikolai Berdyaev. In an essay for the Berkley Center at Georgetown University, Dmitry Uzlaner reports that the regime is casting itself as “the last bastion of Christian values” that keeps the world from descending into liberal moral chaos.

The culture war is going full blast there, too, with the regime restricting the internet, attempting to limit abortion, relaxing the fight against domestic violence and imposing blasphemy laws and a ban on supplying information to minors that supports “nontraditional sexual relations.”

Even wannabe authoritarians in America and Western Europe are getting in on the game. The international affairs scholar Tobias Cremer has shown that many of the so-called Christian nationalists who populate far-right movements on both sides of the Atlantic are actually not that religious.

They are motivated by nativist and anti-immigrant attitudes and then latch onto Christian symbols to separate “them” from “us.” In Germany, for example, the far-right group that aggressively plays up its Christian identity underperforms among voters who are actually religious.

In another Berkley Center essay, Cremer writes that right-wing American extremists “parade Christian crosses at rallies, use Crusader imagery in their memes and might even seek alliances with conservative Christian groups. But such references are not about the living, vibrant, universal and increasingly diverse faith in Jesus Christ that is practiced in the overwhelming majority of America’s churches today. Instead, in white identity, politics Christianity is largely turned into a secularized ‘Christianism’: a cultural identity-marker and symbol of whiteness that is interchangeable with the Viking-veneer, the Confederate flag, or neo-pagan symbols.”

These religiously cloaked authoritarians have naturally provoked an anti-religious backlash among those who understandably now associate religion with authoritarianism, nativism and general thuggishness. The rising and unprecedented levels of secularism in Europe and the U.S. over the past several decades have not produced less vicious cultural and spiritual warfare.

The pseudo-religious authoritarians have raised the moral stakes. They act as if individualism, human rights, diversity, gender equality, L.G.B.T.Q. rights and religious liberty are just the latest forms of Western moral imperialism and the harbingers of social and moral chaos.

Those of us on the side of Western liberalism have no choice but to fight this on the spiritual and cultural plane as well, to show that pluralism is the opposite of decadence, but is a spiritual-rich, practically effective way to lift human dignity and run a coherent society.

Comments

All anyone had to do was watch Donald Trump hold the Bible upside down during his infamous photo op in front of the church across from the White House to see how right Mr. Brooks comments are today. Using religion as a tool to manipulate the masses is sinful. No doubt that those who choose this path are equally without moral character.

 

If there were no religion, you would still have good people doing good things and bad people doing bad things but you need the cover of religion in order to get good people to do bad things.

The Four Dos and Don’ts of Divorce | Warren Farrell | The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast – S4: E:41

Dr. Warren Farrell and I discuss his book “The Boy Crisis” which explores the challenges boys face in education, mental health, relationships with fathers, and more. Together we steer the conversation towards the overwhelming experience of being a young male navigating through early adolescent years into adulthood.

Warren Farrell is a well-established author who was chosen as one of the world’s top 100 thought leaders at the Financial Times. His books have been published in more than 50 countries and 19 different languages. Farrell is the author of New York Times Bestsellers “The Boy Crisis” and “Why Men Are The Way They Are”. Warren Farrell has been involved in a manifold of powerful movements focused on men and women and has been featured on over a thousand television shows including Oprah Winfrey, and Larry King.

Find out more about Dr. Warren Farrell here: https://warrenfarrell.com/

[00:00] Jordan Peterson introduces Warren Farrell.
[02:30] Why we are not attending “The Boy Crisis” and delayed gratification.
[13:00] Why we do not attest to “The Boy Crisis” and the disposable male crisis.
[17:30] The role of anger and couples communication.
[21:30] Criticisms from men on “traditional marriage” and the prejudice of the court system to men and custody battles.
[28:00] The four most detrimental things that children need in order to do their best.
[33:00] The development advantages when both father and mother are involved and delayed gratification.
[36:30] The disagreeableness of fathers and examples of delayed gratification.
[(43:30] Teaching a child “no.”
[45:00] Examples of delayed gratification in fathers.
[49:00] Personality traits in parenting.
[55:00] The zone of proximal development.
[01:02:30] The importance of parental dialogue and quality time.
[01:06:30] The developmental advantage of fathers teaching ‘teasing.’
[01:14:30] Men and women cohabiting in a workplace.
[01:24:00] The differences of choices between men and women lead to men making more money.
[01:25:30] The father’s Catch 22.
[01:33:30] Why are fathers making more money? The importance of respect in relationships.
[01:38:00] The competitiveness around men and women and the fear of rejection.
[01:45:30] Robert Crum’s bird-headed woman.
[01:50:00] In light of this information, what do we do?
[01:53:30] Dr. Thornhill and biological elements for attraction.
[02:00:30] What we can do to help, and the issues faced to implement such actions.
[02:04:00] The Father Warrior Program idea.
[02:09:00] Dr. Farrell’s suggestions to both Trump & Biden administrations.
[02:14:00] Dad deprived situations, and Dr. Farrell’s experience talking to the prison population.
[02:16:00] The importance of role models and what single moms can do.
[02:21:30] Issues Farrell faced while getting through with both political parties.
[02:26:30] Drafting and male privilege.
[02:31:00] The dialogue that’s needed in our culture.

Visit www.jordanbpeterson.com to view more information about Jordan, his books, lectures, social media, blog posts, and more.

Jordan B. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist, and the author of the multi-million copy bestseller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, #1 for nonfiction in 2018 in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, Brazil and Norway, and slated for translation into 50 languages.
Dr. Peterson has appeared on many popular podcasts and shows, including the Joe Rogan Experience, The Rubin Report, H3H3 Podcast, and many more. Dr. Peterson’s own podcast has focused mainly on his lecture series, covering a great deal of psychology and historical content. Jordan is expanding his current podcast from lectures to interviews with influential people around the world. We hope you enjoy this episode and more to come from Dr. Peterson in the future.

Hypergamy: practice of a person marrying a spouse of higher caste or social status

Hypergamy (colloquially referred to as “marrying up[1]) is a term used in social science for the act or practice of a person marrying a spouse of higher caste or social status than themselves.

The antonym “hypogamy[a] refers to the inverse: marrying a person of lower social class or status (colloquially “marrying down“). Both terms were coined in the Indian subcontinent in the 19th century while translating classical Hindu law books, which used the Sanskrit terms anuloma and pratiloma, respectively, for the two concepts.[2]

The term hypergyny is used to describe the overall practice of women marrying up, since the men would be marrying down.[3]

What are some of the creepiest experiments ever done in human history?

1965–2004

I do not know if this counts as an experiment but I cannot help but feel that Reimer was treated like a lab rat. David was one of a set of twins born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, as Bruce Reimer. When he was six months old he was subjected to an unconventional method of circumcision that involved electric burning and things went badly when his penis was basically burned beyond repair.

His parents were concerned about the boy’s future and when he was two years old they took him to the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, to meet with psychologist John Money. Money was a huge believer that gender was a social construct and persuaded the Reimers to subject their son to a gender reassignment surgery. The Reimers went ahead and did so, and Bruce was renamed Brenda.

During her childhood, Brenda was subjected to many exercises by Dr. Money to make sure he would be girl-like. Money kept a record about Brenda’s progress but the Reimers would routinely lie about the results to make the doctor happy.

Brenda had a miserable childhood. It was obvious she was different from the other girls and was teased by the other children about it. Brenda was made to take female hormones but claimed they had no effect. David talked about allowing a boy to kiss him once and did not like it at all.

When she was thirteen years of age, Brenda told her parents she would commit suicide if they made her see Dr. Money ever again. The parents complied and told her the truth about her identity. At fourteen, Brenda renamed himself David and went through a reversal of gender reassignment.

When he was 22 years old, he went public with his story and many people were horrified by his ordeal. He received enormous public support and even made an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show but David still suffered from depression. His twin brother, Brian, suffered psychological damage from this as well since he was an unwilling participant in Dr. Money’s exercises to make David feel more girl-like and also from survivor’s remorse if you will. Brian took his own life in 2002. David’s relationship with his parents understandably never repaired and his marriage fell apart. David took his own life in 2004 at the age of 38, two years after his twin brother.

There are many feminists today who claim gender is nothing more than a social construct. All of them should be required to read up on David Reimer’s story.

Icons of Christ: A Biblical and Systematic Theology for Women’s Ordination

The pastoral office is one of the most critical in Christianity. Historically, however, Christians have not been able to agree on the precise nature and limits of that office. A specific area of contention has been the role of women in pastoral leadership. In recent decades, three broad types of arguments have been raised against women’s ordination:

nontheological (primarily cultural or political), Protestant, and Catholic. Reflecting their divergent understandings of the purpose of ordination, Protestant opponents of women’s ordination tend to focus on issues of pastoral authority, while Catholic opponents highlight sacramental integrity. These positions are new developments and new theological stances, and thus no one in the current discussion can claim to be defending the church’s historic position.

Icons of Christ addresses these voices of opposition, making a biblical and theological case for the ordination of women to the ministerial office of Word and Sacrament. William Witt argues that not only those in favor of, but also those opposed to, women’s ordination embrace new theological positions in response to cultural changes of the modern era. Witt mounts a positive ecumenical argument for the ordination of women that touches on issues such as theological hermeneutics, relationships between men and women, Christology and discipleship, and the role of ordained clergy in leading the church in worship, among others.

Uniquely, Icons of Christ treats both Protestant and Catholic theological concerns at length, undertaking a robust engagement with biblical exegesis and biblical, historical, systematic, and liturgical theology. The book’s theological approach is critically orthodox, evangelical, and catholic. Witt offers the church an ecumenical vision of ordination to the presbyterate as an office of Word and Sacrament that justifiably is open to both men and women. Most critically Witt reminds us that, as all Christians are baptized into the image of the crucified and risen Christ, and bear witness to Christ through lives of cruciform discipleship, so men and women both are called to serve as icons of Christ in service of the gospel.

 

Review

Witt is to be commended for his groundbreaking methodology that exposes how both Catholic and Protestant theologians support male leadership by interpreting key passages in ways that esteem women as inferior to men―a view at odds with the entire canon. In doing so, Witt also reveals how this longstanding, but failed interpretative path also promotes a distorted worldview that devalues women simply because they are born female.

— Mimi Haddad ― CBE International

Theologian, ethicist, and skilled reader of biblical texts, William Witt sets forth a refreshing, intentionally theological defense of the ordination of women. One might have thought this question settled. Indeed in many churches of the enclave of Protestant bodies it is, either yea or nay. But Witt steps back to examine the scene and delineates a number of positions, kinds of approaches, and types of arguments. Witt’s ecumenical examination into the subject of the ordination of women is respectful, learned, and convincing. A creative step forward.

— Kathryn Greene-McCreight, author of Feminist Reconstructions of Christian Doctrine

The Tiny Blond Bible Teacher Taking on the Evangelical Political Machine

Beth Moore grew her flock by teaching scripture to women—and being deferential to men. Now her outspokenness on sexism could cost her everything.

When beth moore arrived in Houston in the 1980s, she found few models for young women who wanted to teach scripture. Many conservative Christian denominations believed that women should not hold authority over men, whether in church or at home; many denominations still believe this. In some congregations, women could not speak from the lectern on a Sunday or even read the Bible in front of men. But Moore was resolute: God, she felt, had called her to serve. So she went where many women in Texas were going in the ’80s: aerobics class. Moore kicked her way into ministry, choreographing routines to contemporary Christian music for the women of Houston’s First Baptist Church.

At the time, most Texas seminaries weren’t offering the kind of instruction she sought, so Moore found a private tutor. Slowly, she started getting invitations to speak at women’s luncheons and study groups, in exchange for a plate of food or a potted plant. In tiny church social halls, she laid the cornerstone of an evangelical empire.

Moore’s audience seemed to be starved for a teacher who understood their lives. To them, she was a revelation: a petite bottle blonde from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, who could talk seriously about Jesus one moment and the impossibility of finding decent child care the next. As charismatic as her male peers, she was also earnest and charmingly self-deprecating. Friends call her Beth La Ham.

In one of her most famous talks, Moore describes an encounter with a haggard, elderly man in an airport terminal. Suddenly, she feels called by God to brush the man’s hair—not to bear witness to him, or even help him board his plane, but to smooth his tangled locks. Moore describes her embarrassment, recounting her inner dialogue with God, in which she tries to talk her way out of the divine directive. Ultimately, however, she obeys. What began as a comic set piece ends as a moving testament to faith and the power of intimate acts of kindness. The Lord knows what our need is, Moore says. “The man didn’t need witnessing to. He needed his hair brushed!”

By the late ’90s, women were packing sports arenas to hear Moore tell this and other parables. She earned speaking slots at big-name churches, including Hillsong and Saddleback, whose pastor, Rick Warren, calls her a dear friend. “She’s a singularly influential figure among evangelicals as a woman leader,” Ed Stetzer, the executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, the elite evangelical school outside of Chicago, told me. “Beth just is a category by herself.”

A publishing career followed, further magnifying Moore’s influence. She was the first woman to have a Bible study published by LifeWay, the Christian retail giant, and has since reached 22 million women, the most among its female authors. Today, her Bible studies are ubiquitous, guiding readers through scriptural passages with group-discussion questions and fill-in-the-blank workbooks. “It would be hard to find a church anywhere where at least some segment of the congregation has not been through at least one Beth Moore study,” Russell Moore, the head of the political arm of the Southern Baptist Convention (and no relation to Beth) told me.

Moore’s success was possible because she spent her career carefully mapping the boundaries of acceptability for female evangelical leaders. She rarely spoke to the press and made a point of keeping her politics to herself. Her persona embodies what a young fan described to me as the “Southern-belle white Christian woman.”

Privately, however, Moore has never cared much for the delicate norms of Christian femininity. Her days are tightly scheduled and obsessively focused on writing. She spends hours alone in an office decorated with a Bible verse written in a swirling font (“I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven,” Luke 7:47). Though she often performs domestic femininity for her audience, in her own life she has balanced motherhood with demanding professional ambitions. She traveled every other weekend while her two daughters were growing up—they told me they ate a lot of takeout. Like other Southern Baptists, Moore considers herself a complementarian: She believes the Bible teaches that men and women have distinctive roles and that men should hold positions of authority and leadership over women in the home and in the church. Yet her husband, Keith, a retired plumber, sees his vocation as helping his wife succeed. “That’s what I do,” he told me. “I lay blocks so O.J. can run.”

For decades, Moore never broke stride. In the past few years, however, she has felt out of step with the evangelical community. During the 2016 campaign, many of its leaders not only excused Donald Trump’s boorish behavior but painted him as a great defender of Christianity—evangelicals’ “dream president,” in the words of Jerry Falwell Jr. More recently, a series of high-profile pastors have been toppled by accusations of sexual misconduct. The deferential reserve that defined Moore’s career has become harder for her to maintain.

On a chilly Texas evening recently, Moore and I sat in rocking chairs on her porch. It was the first time she had invited a reporter to visit her home, on the outskirts of Houston. Moore, who is 61, was the consummate hostess, fussing about feeding me and making sure I was warm enough beside the mesquite-wood fire. But as we settled into conversation, her demeanor changed. She fixed her perfectly mascaraed eyes on me. “The old way is over,” she said. “The stakes are too high now.”

Moore was flying home from a ministry event in October 2016 when she decided to compose the tweets that changed her life. That weekend, she had glimpsed headlines about Donald Trump’s 2005 comments on the now infamous Access Hollywood tape. But it wasn’t until that plane ride, with newspapers and transcripts spread out in front of her, that Moore learned the full extent of it—including the reaction of some Christian leaders who, picking up a common line of spin, dismissed the comments as “locker-room talk.”

“I was like, ‘Oh no. No. No,’ ” Moore told me. “I was so appalled.” Trump’s ugly boasting felt personal to her: Many of her followers have confided to her that they’ve suffered abuse, and Moore herself says she was sexually abused as a small child by someone close to her family—a trauma she has talked about publicly, though never in detail.

The next day, Moore wrote a few short messages to her nearly 900,000 followers. “Wake up, Sleepers, to what women have dealt with all along in environments of gross entitlement & power,” she said in one tweet. “Are we sickened? Yes. Surprised? NO.” Like other women, Moore wrote, she had been “misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to.” As pastors took to the airwaves to defend Trump, she was trying to understand how “some Christian leaders don’t think it’s that big a deal.”

The tweets upended Moore’s cheerful, feminine world. Breitbart News claimed that Moore was standing “in the gap for Hillary Clinton,” borrowing a turn of phrase from the Book of Ezekiel. Moore did not support Clinton; she told me she voted for a third-party candidate in 2016. But she was horrified by church leaders’ reflexive support of Trump. To Moore, it wasn’t just a matter of hypocrisy, of making a deal with the devil that would deliver a Supreme Court seat, among other spoils. Moore believes that an evangelical culture that demeans women, promotes sexism, and disregards accusations of sexual abuse enabled Trump’s rise.

Evangelicals, Moore said, have “clearer lines between men and women and how they serve.” But sometimes, “that attitude is no longer about a role in a church. It becomes an attitude of gender superiority. And that has to be dealt with.” Moore may be a complementarian, but she is adamant that Christian men should not treat women “any less than Jesus treated women in the Gospels: always with dignity, always with esteem, never as secondary citizens.”

This may seem like an uncontroversial stance. But in the wake of her tweets, the staff at Living Proof Ministries, Moore’s tight-knit organization, “could not hang up the phone for picking it up.” She got messages from women who had read her Bible studies for years but said they’d never read another. Event attendance dropped.

A number of male evangelical leaders asked Moore to recant. A few days later, she returned to Twitter to clarify that she was not making an endorsement in the election. She felt depressed, she told me: “I can’t tell you how many times … I faced toward heaven with tears streaming down my cheeks, thinking, Have I lost my mind?

But her reproachful tweets seem all the more apt today. In recent months, several high-profile pastors—including Bill Hybels, the founder of the Chicagoland mega-church Willow Creek—have stepped down following accusations of sexual harassment, misconduct, or assault. (Hybels has denied the allegations against him.) Paige Patterson, the head of a Southern Baptist seminary, was pushed out after reports surfaced that he had downplayed women’s physical and sexual abuse throughout his years in ministry, including encouraging them not to report allegations of rape and assault to the police.

These events have emboldened Moore. Whereas her criticisms of church leaders were once veiled, she now speaks her mind freely. She blogged icily about meeting a prominent male theologian who looked her up and down and told her she was prettier than another famous female Bible teacher. She has castigated the evangelical movement for selling its soul to buy political wins. Moore is hopeful that a reckoning is finally under way. “There is a very strong saying that Peter used himself, that judgment begins in the house of God. And I do believe that’s what’s happening.”

White evangelicals helped elect Donald Trump, and they may well decide his political future, as soon as the 2018 midterms. While it can seem as if the whole of evangelicalism has embraced the president, Trump has in fact exacerbated deep fracture lines within the movement. Christians of color have expressed rage over what they see as abandonment by their brothers and sisters in the faith; many have even left their congregations.

Among women, the picture is cloudier. Polling has suggested that at least some Christian women may share Moore’s chagrin at the president’s behavior. During his first year or so in office, Trump’s approval rating among white evangelical women fell 13 points, compared with an eight-point drop among all women, according to Pew. Young Christians, in particular, may reshape evangelical politics. According to a study conducted by Pew, compared with their older peers, Millennial evangelicals are 12 percentage points more likely to favor stricter environmental regulations and 22 points more likely to support same-sex marriage. Young evangelical women may believe in male authority, but they’re also not afraid to talk about sexual abuse.

For the moment, however, most evangelical women look like Beth Moore’s traditional fan base: white and middle-aged. Not long ago, I joined a line of these women—purses slung over their shoulders, Bibles in hand—as they waited outside a mega-church near Seattle. The event was billed as an “intimate” gathering, but 5,000 women sitting in a church auditorium is intimate only by contrast with the arena-size crowds Moore hosted in the past. Trips to the bathroom were a lost cause. As a worship band warmed up the room, the energy was somewhere between a pep rally and a slumber party. On her way to the stage, Moore worked the room in stiletto boots, greeting strangers like old friends.

Onstage, she gave the kind of performance that made her evangelical-famous, a manic outpouring that combined the rhythms of a tight stand-up routine and the earnestness of a Sunday-school lesson. “Some of you are here because you are trying to just get away from the children,” she told the audience, which whooped obligingly. “Some of you are here to see if I’m as big a fruitcake as they say that I am, and”—here Moore emitted a theatrical little gasp-laugh, like helium escaping a balloon—“you probably already have your answer.”

Debbie, 54, my seatmate, had been to eight Beth Moore events. She told me she was in the midst of the worst three years of her life, but that “God’s always met me here.” As the event wound down, women ran down the aisle of the auditorium, eager to claim their salvation, weeping as they threw their bodies across the floor. Moore walked slowly among them as if in a trance, pausing to rub a back or whisper a prayer.

Above all, what women seem to want from Moore is to be seen. Her work is mostly about drying tears and praying through daily suffering and struggle. In the public imagination, evangelicalism has become synonymous with political activism. But inside the evangelical world, many people are looking for something simpler: A community. A prayer. Hope.

Many of these same women have been put off by Moore’s political turn, which was not in evidence onstage that night. Even those who might disdain Trump see her outspokenness as divisive and inappropriate for a Bible teacher. “I don’t think this is the avenue for political discussions,” said Shelly, 56. “I think it should stay focused on God.”

Moore believes she is focused on God. The target of her scorn is an evangelical culture that downplays the voices and experiences of women. Her objective is not to evict Trump from the White House, but to clear the cultural rot in the house of God.

Moore has not become a liberal, or even a feminist. She’s trying to help protect the movement she has always loved but that hasn’t always loved her back—at least, not in the fullness of who she is. This mission has cost her, personally and professionally, but she told me her only regret is that she’d let others dictate what her place in the community should be: “What I feel a little sorry for, looking back over my shoulder, is how often I apologized for being there.” She told me to note that she had a smile on her face. It was what she said during the most painful moments in our conversations.