The Biblical Call to Masculinity

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019


A piece of this nature warrants a few prefaces:

  1. This piece is as religious as you make it. Meaning a reader who seeks a secular example of masculinity will find within this piece just that, while a religious reader will have a religious reception.
  2. I am a 21-year-old kid. In my opinion, calling myself a “man” would be an affront to real men. This piece, therefore, should be consumed on the basis of the ideas presented and not the ethos of the author.

In my own journey towards manhood, I found that boys cannot independently become men. In fact, the transition from the two modes of being is inherently modeled by those who foster it a father, a community leader, movie stars, etc. Obviously, this modeling runs the Gamut between “healthy” and “toxic” dependent on influencer. The Bible, however, exemplifies the peak of healthy masculinity, and can serve as a guide for young men to follow.

Found at the beginning of the Book of Matthew is a passage that reads, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)” The modern connotation of “meek” pollutes the meaning of this passage. Today’s reader may infer that “meek” refers to those that need help or are physically diminutive, but the Greek word originally used was “praeis” whose definition is far more complex.

The definition of praeis is closer to “humility, or mildness”. The word would often be used to describe, as centrist academic Dr. Jordan B. Peterson supports, “having many swords, but being determined to keep them sheathed.” Meekness, in this regard, is having power, but determining to do right by said power. Comparing this to masculinity, it is clear that meekness is ingrained in being a man. To give a contemporary example, consider a male without meekness, for instance someone who asserts his power over his spouse. Many of us would consider that to be antithetical to “being a man.”

This idea of praeis lends itself to another cornerstone of masculinity— the tempering of anger. Note the passage in which Jesus Christ reacts to merchants occupying the temple in Matthew 21. Jesus flips their tables and exclaims that the House of God had been turned into a “den of thieves.” Virtually all theologians would consider this an example of “righteous anger,” which stands in clear opposition to unbridled anger. What is not so clear, however, is the line between anger that is righteous and anger that is not. I am going to posit a claim that will, and should, be debated, that the great struggle of man is finding and adhering to that distinction. Furthermore, it is the pinnacle of healthy masculinity to implement righteous anger. On the contrary, the pinnacle of toxic masculinity is apathy in the face of justification for anger.

In a time of the hotly debated topic of said “toxic masculinity,” many conservatives are quick to denounce such an idea. Yet, I would argue that the idea of toxic masculinity has merit, but is suffering from a marketing problem. Delving into the far reaches of leftist internet space, I found that toxic masculinity describes a system of operation in which men who demonstrate strength and muted emotion gain in the capital of power amongst their peers.

This isn’t such a wild idea. We all understand that rich men have more power than poor men, and that attractive, physically fit, men have more power than their less handsome peers. There is even an example of Biblical toxic masculinity found in 2 Samuel in which King David exerts his power as king over a young married woman named Bathsheba. David, a man who was very devout in his worship of God, saw the girl bathing from his hilltop castle and demanded to be with her a relationship that would prove deadly for Bathsheba’s military husband.

Of course, this does not absolve the modern feminists of their attacks on masculinity. In practice, the idea of toxic masculinity is often attriibuted as motivation for terror attacks. The third-wave feminist attack on men is shaped through the lens of attempting to help men rid themselves of their manly toxicity.

It should be repeated that I am no expert on being a man, but the lessons to be taken away from Biblical exploration of men are extremely valuable. It teaches us that men are humble, but not defenseless. Men are slow to anger, but not to be walked over. Men can possess great power, but the virtue attached to that power is in how they implement it amongst others. Finally, that men are important— real men are important.

Tanner is a born-and-raised West Virginian. He is currently finishing up a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics at West Virginia University with a future in Actuarial Science. His interests include politics, physical fitness, professional soccer, and corgis.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Tanner Mann

West Virginia University

Tanner is a born-and-raised West Virginian. He is currently finishing up a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics at West Virginia University with a future in Actuarial Science. His interests include politics, physical fitness, professional soccer, and corgis.

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