Friday 13 August 2021

I have no general theories about how men and women *ought* to relate here-and-now, in the world of 2021

Unlike many Christian bloggers, I have little to say about how men and women ought to relate - here and now, in 2021, in these End Times... Or more exactly, I have almost nothing positive and advisory to say which is also generalizable

I feel rather like saying that the only valid generalizations are so gross as to be unhelpful in individual instances and daily life - and therefore may do considerable harm to your actual chance of having a good marriage - which is the point of it all. 

Valid and generalizable principles also tend to be negative (prohibitive) and too crude to be of value in the actual business of having and growing a permanent loving relationship. For example - 'do not commit adultery' is valid and generalizable, but is obvious. It is a bit like the prohibition on murder - well yes, of course; but not-murdering people does not get you very far in actually living life. 

The important daily realities are so much subtler and more numerous as to be impossible to list. This impossibility actually means the positive requirements are not truly categorical or law-like, but are instead the multiple and unbounded consequences of positive love. 

In sum - I think the vital matter of relationships between men and women comes under the spiritual context of this era; which is that the traditional and external forms of guidance have both lost their capacity to motivate people strongly enough to resist the prevalent evil influences of these times. And also that the external forms of general guidance are themselves corrupted by these times, and are therefore likely to be significantly wrong in significant ways. 

In a negative sense; I would say that all general behavioural and psychological advice is highly likely to do more harm than good in these times - because it will almost certainly (in order to be general) be based upon secular assumptions. 

But even when a generalization is based upon Christian assumptions then it will be derived from an attitude to guidance that is external and objectivizing - which I regard as a hazardous way to proceed in current situations. 

Thus, for example, generalizations derived from the Bible fall under the problem with all forms of scriptural guidance. We can no longer read scripture objectively and spontaneously (although this was possible in the past - in some times and places). 

This is clear from the fact that those churches and individuals who claim to be working-from objective readings of scripture have shown themselves - again and again but especially in 2020 - inadequate to resist the evil encouragements of bureaucracy and the media. Their motivations are either unclear, corrupt or simply too weak. 

Bible based churches are full of people (including pastors) who have thrown aside scripture when it was expedient in their own sexual lives - or simply to join with the prevalent social imperatives of 'affirming' and privileging all forms of sexual activity outside marriage, and the sexual mutilation and hormonal poisoning of children. The same people threw aside scripture when it came to supporting the dictates of the atheist-materialist totalitarian coup of 2020 - the birdemic and peck, climate change, antiracism...

If taking the Bible as an inerrant rule-book cannot prevent these forms of societal sin, it surely cannot prevent sexual sins where the motivations are typically more personal and immediate.   

In sum, a man and woman cannot rely upon scripture to guide and sustain their relationship. But neither can real Christians rely upon the lead of the church - whether that lead be based on traditional, theology or church authority. 

In the first place, it is likely that the guidance will not be traditional, theological or authoritative - nor will it even be Christian. 

But even when guidance is Christian and valid, such sources of external control will be jettisoned as convenient by one side of the relationship. And this rejection is unlikely to be socially-sanctioned but more likely be socially-supported. 

Nowadays, everything that is strong must come from the individual; and to be strong enough must be based upon intuitive heart-thinking of the individuals involved. So, in the case of a relationship between man and woman, the strength must come from those two individuals. 

All individual persons are different in an ultimate and deep sense - although these differences are concealed by the failure of coherence and courage; which stem from inadequate personal motivation due to mass atheism and too-feeble Christian faith. 

But once you really know somebody, for example a family member; it is clear that nobody is much like anyone else overall - each of us is truly unique, and from birth. 

No two good marriages are alike either, and partly for the same reasons, but amplified by interaction. Just as the participants is each an unique man and woman, so is the basis of a good relationship and marriage. 

In conclusion; each good marriage is unique - if you really know the participants. 

You can see why I find the apparently large quantity of relationship and marriage advice on the internet to be deeply dismaying. Apart from the fact that most of it comes from covertly evil motivations based upon false and demonic assumptions and desires; even the genuinely well-intentioned and Christian advice makes-up an irritating mixture of clumsy, negativistic, feebly-effectual - and is, in my opinion, more likely to harm than help by the kind of habits and expectations that are induced.  

What is wrong are the assumptions. We live in a demon-dominated society, by far the most evil in history - and indeed these are the End Times. Traditional advice about relationships and marriage that are based on the assumptions of a coherent Christian society where individuals are of a naturally communal type of consciousness; both cannot work and should not be striven for. 

I am sure that a good relationship and marriage must come from within the souls of the man and woman involved. With this, positive generalizations are misleading and destructive, and likely to lead to relationship failure at all stages; but lacking this, all advice is futile. 


Bruce B. said...

Can you give examples of the Christian internet marriage advice you are referring to? Or the groups giving this advice?

Bruce Charlton said...

@BB - If I wanted to give examples, I would have done so!

Lucinda said...

I agree.

By personality, I like categorization, so I've often engaged in "men are like this, women are like that" chatter. It's a tough habit to break, especially in conversations with myself.

But it's good to hear you explain so clearly why it's a bad habit. When I was trying to explain it to myself I fell into the trap of saying marriage advice is a bad habit because women are like such and such and men are like this and that. Funny.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Lucinda - Well, there certainly are differences between men and women - many of them (and I spent more than 20 years researching and teaching that stuff!).

But this kind of general knowledge isn't much use in building and sustaining a specific good marriage between two unique individuals.

Bruce B. said...

Fair enough. My reason for asking was I was curious if it overlapped with my own reading on the subject.

Evan Pangburn said...

We live in such novel times, that it's "every man for himself" in the sense that personal discernment is the only advice worth giving on many topics.

We wanted to be individualistic and "free", and it appears God has obliged.

It can sure look like a monkeys paw wish, from many angles.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Evan - To be a genuinely free agent is an attribute of the divine - and I think it describes part of what will happen at resurrection. But to be capable of free agency in this mortal life is double-edged, like everything on earth; and, as things turn out (although it need not have been this way) it seems a large majority of modern Men have either rejected or misused their freedom.