In Service Of The Truth

This post is not so much a continuation of my last post but rather a further exploration of the nexus of Truth and the differences between men and women. I want to start it with a small story:

Some time ago I was eating at a restaurant and overheard a couple of women speaking about their religious views. I wasn’t eavesdropping, they were just that loud (I am sure my readers know the type). One of them explained that she was Catholic, and had been for a number of years. When she was quizzed on that by the other woman, the first one explained that she was familiar with other Christian sects. In fact she had “tried” several out. And what she had found was that she enjoyed the Catholic liturgy (the new Roman one, anyways) the best.

As if anticipating something the second woman might say, she went on. She said that she “knew” that other people could find God their own way. It was just that, for her, the Catholic liturgy was the best way to “experience God.”

What fascinated me was that there was absolutely no mention during this conversation of the word “Truth.” It never came up, not even once. It was all about “the experience.” In other words, how a particular liturgical experience made either woman feel.

Thinking it over, I wondered if that was the primary motivator in a woman’s religious preference- the desire for something that felt good or right. Based on my own observations, I am inclined to think that many, if not most women, operate this way. Mind you, I know that not all do- I personally know women whose religious conviction was based on a quest for Truth, and not simply feels. Yet I am fairly certain they are the minority.

At the same time I wonder about men. I am sure that some men operate this way too. But I am not convinced that as many men do it as women. I think that men are more likely to base their religious preference based on what they view as True, and not merely something that will make them feel good.

[Incidentally, given the overall greater number of women in Church, I wonder if the percentage of overall truth seekers might be closer than it appears.]

All the same, I am curious what my reader’s thoughts are on the matter. So feel free to contribute your thoughts on the matter. Tell me where I am right… or wrong.

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16 Comments

Filed under Blue Pill, Christianity, Men, Red Pill, The Church, Women

16 responses to “In Service Of The Truth

  1. Generally speaking, apologetics are for Christians and not unbelievers. Apologetics, of course, are logical arguments that support the veracity of Christianity. Wintery Knight has noted a multiple times that most of the people who go to Christian apologetics classes are mostly men with very few women.

    In general, I don’t think “experiences” (based on feelings or what have you) are necessarily bad (and I don’t think you implied that either). Jesus did many miracles specifically because signs and wonders are in the nature of the power of God and evidence that He loves us. However, there must be something “more” than just feelings and experiences otherwise they will lead you astray.

    If something is wrong, men won’t want to follow it unless they can gain something. As 1 Corinthians 15 states, if we’re wrong and there’s no resurrection then we are to be most pitied. There’s pretty much no reason to be a Christian if Jesus did not rise from the dead.

    Pursuit of the Truth… or in Greek “arete” — properly virtue, manliness — seems to be primarily male discipline (see: 2 Peter 1).

  2. MK

    DS, apologetics are for Christians and not unbelievers.

    Really disagree with this one. Christianity (as believed and practiced by the saints) is 100% rational. But most people who claim Christianity are not very rational at all. I have always had much better luck using apologetics with non-believers who have brains; Christians (of all stripes) tend to be very biased and illogical and not interested in objective truth. YMMV.

    Remember St. Aquinas used Greek philosophy to logically figure out the bulk of Christianity; why people called him the “dumb ox” as he would logically crawl most of the way using reason alone (God being the way, TRUTH, & life). It follows that anyone 100% rational & 100% moral will over time become RC on their own. Of course, nobody is 100% anything, intellectual limits and original sin and all that.

    DG, At the same time I wonder about men. I am sure that some men operate this way too.

    Some men? Sheese! EVERY ONE. We all resemble that remark. Less than 1% of men even have the IQ required to use logic consistently; they simply don’t have the wattage, no fault of their own. Women are just less embarrassed about this reality. They grok the song: I may make you feel but I can’t make you think…and your wise men don’t know how it feels to be thick as a brick. Of course, the next verse was even better, something like: Your sperm’s in the gutter, your love’s in the sink. Damn I love that line. Poetry.

  3. anonymous_ng

    Umm, I think(note the verb) that a big problem in society these days is that a large number of people, perhaps a plurality confuse feelings and experience with thought. Note the number of people who say “I feel …”, and presume it to be the equivalent of saying “I think …”

    I find this to be generally more common amongst women, but increasingly common amongst men as well.

    [DG: Good point.]

  4. The more effeminate the man, the more likely he’ll feel his way through the dark.

    [DG: Absolutely agree]

  5. Tony S

    If people were truth seekers there wouldn’t be so many denominations and there wouldn’t exist this never ending desire to change, including within Catholicism. The reliance on feelings or emotions has led to this.

    It is depressing to know that our feelings and emotions which are so powerful in determining our state of mind, happiness, etc. lead us into so much error and sin. To reconcile our emotions and desires with the Truth seems to be near impossible in this life.

  6. I’ve learned through my evangelism attempts that very few men can be reasoned into Christianity. This is one spot where we’re as bad as women.

    One of my most informative experiences was being told by Muslims that they didn’t think I really believed Christianity because I was never passionate about it. Well, why would I be? There was little difference between Christ and particle physics in my mind. “Boyle’s Law Ackbar!!!”

    I tried acting more emotional when discussing religion and it worked. People took more notice of what I said. It was far more effective than merely proving the Bible correct, like the time I wrote a term paper correcting Descartes’ famous Cogito Ergo Sum proof for God’s existence.

    Depressing, that the ability to find faith through reason alone is a social maladjustment compared to normal humanity.

  7. @ Gunner Q

    That has been my experience as well. Maybe MK is just meeting all of the ones who can be reasoned into faith.

  8. I’m one of those in the minority you speak of that seeks out the Truth regardless of how it makes me feel. I’m reminded of when I was discerning between Catholicism and remaining a Protestant. I had become convinced that Catholicism was indeed the Truth and that to remain a Protestant would be to reject the “fullness of the faith” that is present within Catholicism. I didn’t like it though because Catholicism is so much harder than severely-watered-down Protestantism is, and therefore didn’t feel good. I felt like I was getting in way over my head, like I’d never get the hang of it, and that I’d never be able to catch up to those who had been raised Catholic. But I still recognised that it is indeed true, and therefore decided that I’d better stick with it. That I’d be a lot better off going in the right direction then the wrong one in the end, even if it felt pretty rough at the time to do so. Thankfully, those rough feelings do dissipate, and it’s not nearly as bad as it felt at the time (albeit no less difficult; though Jesus Himself made it clear that to truly follow Him wouldn’t be easy to do).

    Having said that, there is still some emotion involved in deciding these things. I mean, the biggest reason I want to avoid going to Hell is because it’s a place of unimaginable misery, devoid of love and anything even remotely good, with no chance of escaping for all of eternity. So I seek out the Truth (in large part) in order to avoid that fate.

    I’m torn on whether or not men seek out the Truth over what feels good. I think it depends on the man. Chad makes a very good point about efeminized men looking more to feelings. Plus, if men sought out the Truth over what feels good, then there’d be a majority of Faithful men over nonreligious men. But then, those within Christianity are more likely to seek out the Truth than Christian women, I think.

  9. Some men seek out some truth. I can’t count how many guys I know who are perfectly reasonable about things they aren’t particularly attached to, but not even a crowbar with a rope and a towtruck pulling can’t pry them away from some idiot idea they’ve invested themselves into.

    Not that I would know anything about that.

    I do know one Catholic fellow who often questions why the Church does things the way it does, but it seems less like “Hmm, why does this piece fit here and not there?” and more like rationalizing after the fact. I can’t really go into more detail here, but I can email you a few details if you want.

    I wasn’t eavesdropping, they were just that loud (I am sure my readers know the type).

    Reminds me of the time I heard someone loudly discussing people they knew who had contracted an STD. Believe me, I was trying really hard not to listen, but fate and decibel levels defeated my efforts.

  10. Lost Patrol

    Thinking it over, I wondered if that was the primary motivator in a woman’s religious preference- the desire for something that felt good or right.

    I’m going with this. It fits hand in glove with the modern church theme of ‘exalt women, admonish men’. They get two for the price of one.

  11. MK

    DS, Maybe MK is just meeting all of the ones who can be reasoned into faith.

    To be clear: I’ve 99.9% failure rate in apologetics. I’m generally meeting people who cannot be reasoned with and thus rarely try. Lifestyle is more effective. It’s only that the few non-failures are just generally not Christian. I had a very great convo with the author of Something Other Than God on the moral problems with birth control when she was still an anti-Christian atheist (she became Christian eventually). It’s just she was smart, rational (computer programmer) and unbiased, and thus could be reached. Unfortunately, the bulk of humanity are generally none of these and cannot be reached with logic.

  12. As many of you know I’m LDS. We claim to be the only church in this dispensation to wield the authority Christ bestowed on His apostles during His time on earth. We have truth claims that divide us a bit more from your average Protestant sect.

    LDS culture can sometimes be over-proud of itself. We have doctrine that resolves common troublesome questions rather neatly, without straying from the Gospel. It is not unheard of (though hardly well-mannered) for someone to say “I”m so glad we _____ unlike other churches.”

    I use to think this way. And I still believe everything I said above about authority, doctrine, etc.

    But what I have come to realize is that Christ is a Person; when we are judged we will not able to say, “I was in the right church” and have it count for a lot. “So you were,” He might say. “And what did you do with that?”

    Please do not mistake me for mouthing the non-religious “Just be a good person” spiel. All have sinned; none of us are good people. I suppose what I am saying is that we must try to be good people.

    What this has to do with the post is: I belong to and believe in a church that has what can look like a very mechanical path to salvation, involving sacred ordinances that are witnessed and recorded, and are performed by men whose authority is recorded and bookkept, etc. I think this diligence and attention to detail is a good thing, and will continue with us into the eternities. But that notwithstanding, I think I would be quite dismayed to arrive in an afterlife in which “those dirty Catholics” were shunned. That is not Christ’s character, so I highly doubt that to be the case.

    I greatly enjoyed Dissenting Sociologist’s post, “In Defense of Sheeple.”. It reminded me: we are all sheep, in some sphere.

    Perhaps I have missed the point somewhat, as what I think the divide our host was pointing out was truth vs hedonism as opposed to logic vs feeling, but I am not certain that the two are so far apart. Heaven feels good, and following one’s feelings is not always the road to ruin. Yes, man has a wicked and deceitful heart, but we are also taught that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, and kindness. To an extent readers of this blog are like Free Northerner’s High-IQ Homo Economicus, able to (and interested enough) to navigate theology better than the next guy. But just as FN decries a culture that demands everyone be a 120-IQ professional, and Dissenting Sociologist pleads for the human sheep, I must imagine that our Advocate would love the non-theologians just as much—including our two loud women.

    Does this devalue the effort and study of the religiously-minded man? No, I don’t think so. Rather, it adds an urgency: Learn, so you might serve others with your knowledge.

  13. Hi! I’m one of the sheep. In my experience, people tend to practice the religion of their youth. If people are born in Catholic families, they tend to remain Catholics even if they do not practice it religiously. The same goes for Protestants and Muslims. I see a few who will convert to another religion, but these are usually women who will marry men of another faith. I’m a Catholic in a Catholic family, but if my family was Protestant or Muslim, I would probably follow the religion of my family. Practicing a religion that is important to my family and community is just as important as searching for truth in religion and feeling good about faith.

  14. MK

    Joyce, I would probably follow the religion of my family. Practicing a religion that is important to my family and community is just as important as searching for truth in religion and feeling good about faith.

    I think this is what DG is saying about women verses men: men are far more likely to go their own way over conformity and unity. This is mere biology, for obvious reasons. Men do conform, just less so. Personally, I’m a freak; I’ll tell my family and community to take a hike without pause (although I make absolutely sure there is no doubt before I do so) and I have no problem with being a sheep as long as the shepherd isn’t completely off the rails. Hell, I even give lunes like Francis rope…

    This era of free information (internet) changes the game as well. Any intelligent person can find the Truth pretty fast if they are reasonably intelligent, open minded, and willing to tell their family/culture to go to hell. But few are intelligent or open-minded; it’s a survival trait to conform. And different religions attract this “obedient” nature of person (JV and LDS top the list).

  15. I am probably going to write a full follow-up post, but I wouldn’t confuse being a “sheep” with what I described- someone who uses the “feelings” created by a liturgy to determine one’s religious preference.

    After all, even a moderate to low IQ person can still want to find the truth. Whether and how they can find it is something else. The woman I described seemed to have no such inclination.

  16. Joyce, you are correct that most people use their parent’s belief system, and rarely stray far from it. However, I think that much of that was culture and I’m not sure just how much that behavior will be retained in the future.

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