Thursday, March 12, 2015

One of These Things …

… is NOT like the other.

Christianity. Feminism. Not an easy fit.

That’s not just my take; it’s the view of both Christians and feminists.

Cognitive dissonance” is a term used to describe the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time. Normally, those who really understand third-wave feminism and genuinely grasp Christianity ought to experience mental stress trying to reconcile the two. At bare minimum a healthy dollop of discomfort is in order. Don’t take my word for it or dwell too much on what feminism may have meant in previous generations. Go look at what it means now and tell me if, when each is rightly understood, the  ideological common ground between the two systems is anything but microscopic.

Of course, if you don’t realize your beliefs are incompatible, no dissonance occurs.

This may be the case with Dianna Anderson, author of a new book on purity culture called Damaged Goods. The Atlantic calls Anderson a “committed evangelical Christian”. Internet commenters call her a “temple prostitute”.

The following link is not sexually explicit nor does it contain foul language, but I will not go so far as to recommend it since it contains copious amounts of rationalization and opinion without substance. Anderson wrote a blog post for last September in which she asserted that:
“Losing my virginity outside of a marriage relationship taught me how to be a better person and a better Christian. It challenged my presuppositions about what sexual health looks like, and brought into stark relief the gaps in my education about ethics and holiness. Sex, in this way, can be a sacrament, a movement toward understanding God, a form of holiness experienced in a deep, mystical way. Sex can be holy, whether or not you have a ring on your finger.”
Yeah, yeah. Experience trumps everything.

When people talk about “understanding God … in a deep, mystical way”, it is usually code for “in a way not contemplated by the apostles”. This is the case here. Anderson’s “deep, mystical understanding” is a tablespoon of disillusionment with conservative evangelical dating tropes (what she disparagingly calls “purity culture”), a dash of rationalization and a pinch of having one’s cake and eating it too. At no point in her post does she deal substantively with the teaching of the New Testament on sexuality, so I hold out little hope that the book with be anything other than more of the same.

In fact, there is no scripture at all in her controversial post to dispute. It is nothing more than a list of assumptions she made in church as a teenager, and the intimation that she later found them all to be untrue. Her preconceptions are evaluated and dismissed by the inarguable metric of later personal experience. She has met the church and found its teaching unhelpful.

She doesn’t seem to have engaged with the New Testament at all.

So, cognitive dissonance? I would say there should be at least a little. Neither feminists nor Christians seem to find Ms Anderson the sort of spokesperson they are inclined to embrace with open arms. Anderson herself admits:
“As a Christian feminist, I’ve been dismissed by feminists for being a person of faith, and I’ve been dismissed by people of faith for being a feminist.”
What does The Atlantic think of all this? Actually, their take on Ms Anderson may be the best out of all I’ve read:
“Reading Anderson’s book is a little like staring intently at an optical illusion: It can be difficult to tell whether she’s a Christian sleeper agent embedded in the feminist blog-o-sphere or an evangelical émigré who found solace in judgment-free gender theory.”
That, folks, is what you call cognitive dissonance. Even secular journalists can see one of these things is not like the other.


  1. Here it comes, as predicted. See this article:

    Progress!” The World’s First Three-Way Gay Marriage


    Three homosexual men have “married” each other in Thailand in what is being billed as the world’s first three-way same-sex “marriage.” This was, of course, inevitable. It’s inevitable in every country that redefines marriage as anything but one man and one woman. When the culture’s only standard for “marriage” is that the parties love each other, then all sorts of novel configurations are possible. Look for this to come soon to a country near you.
    Under the banner of the gay-rights rainbow, the new cultural revolutionaries are not only redefining marriage but also, to borrow from the popular term of 1960s radicals, “smashing monogamy.” What’s to stop these three non-monogamous married men from taking on added spouses? If three is fine, why not four? Or five?
    This is, of course, a blatant I-told-you-so moment. This is what we gay-marriage opponents have been warning about. But it’s especially revealing of something else I’ve warned about for a while.
    Those of us opposing same-sex “marriage” for reasons like this were told by gay-marriage advocates that we were nuts. Our claims that the redefining of marriage would lead to polygamous marriage and other arrangements were ridiculed. We were denounced as homophobes and bigots who simply hate. We were not just cold-hearted but hysterical. They shouted at us that they would never advocate arrangements like these. We were crazy to even suggest they would support anything but two gay people marrying one another.
    But we know better. Those of us who have studied the ideological train-wreck called “progressivism” know better. We’ve watched how progressives “progress.” The only thing you really know about progressives, and that they know about themselves, is that they’re always changing, evolving. Where they stand now, on any given issue, is, by progressivism’s own definition, subject to change. ….

  2. Thanks, Q. This is where the world is headed. If you disagree, get your shots in now. A "free and open internet" under the FCC is on its way, and you can guess what that means for opinions that dissent from the progressivist agenda.

    1. Somehow the link I meant to include got lost. The full article can be found here.