A Masculine Manifesto

The patriarchy is alive and well. Men are the highest paid group in the United States. Over 95% of the Fortune 500 has a man as CEO, and most of the other executive positions are held by guys as well. The richest woman in the world, Liliane Bettencourt, is still only the 14th wealthiest person in the world, and only 11% of the world’s billionaires are women.

Men dominate the global economy.

There are only 15 women in the on the planet who are considered a “world leader.” That means only 7.6% of the world’s nations are led by a female.

Men dominate global leadership.

The U.S. Congress is over 90% men, our executive branch is led by men, 5 of the 8 (soon to be 6 of 9) members of the Supreme Court are men, and 45 of 50 states are led by men.

Men dominate American leadership.

Men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide. Men use a wider variety of drugs, and have higher overall rates of use of illicit drugs and alcohol. Males are close to 4 times more likely to be murdered, and more than 10 times more likely to be killed at work. Men die more often of stress related diseases (and non-stress related diseases as well). Men live an average of 7 fewer years than women. Men are more likely to fight and die in combat.

Men dominate being killed.

There are 1.47 MILLION men in prison compared to 111,000 women. Men comprise over 85% of military personnel, and almost 100% in combat. 52% of mental hospitals, and 97% of VA mental health clinics are filled with men.

Men dominate total institutions.

You see, while we keep hearing about the patriarchy, men are giving their lives for it. The ramifications of public social pressures to be the breadwinner lead men to work longer hours or take more dangerous jobs that pay more money. This causes stress related heart attacks or death by work related accidents.

While women may dominate the service economy now, they also dominate our universities. This means that the “good jobs” of the future that typically go to those with higher education will be filled with women. The calls for women to be wealthy CEOs are rising, but the calls for women to take sole responsibility as the breadwinner are not so prevalent. When a woman fails, she is told how strong and brave she is for even trying. When a man fails, his role as a leader, breadwinner, father, husband, and man is challenged by both other men and the women that expect him to live up to social standards.

The response when a man cannot fulfill this traditionally historical role is to take to substance abuse or a collapse in mental health; possibly even suicide.

Moreover, the media ignores any sort of abuse that men and boys may suffer. 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused. This is very similar to the 1 in 5 statistic for women that is touted by every social justice warrior and public university in this country. Do you hear about men?

Men wear masks to cover our insecurities. When we laugh around others, we may be feeling the most pain. We act toughest when we are the most vulnerable. Men are less likely to have any sort of emotional outlet. When a woman faces a problem, she can call up a dozen friends and pour out her feelings. Men who do this are almost immediately checked and told to “man up,” so we put our masks back on.

Bottling up emotions leads to violent outbursts (over 90% of our prisoners are men – more than half of those are for violent offences). Men are taught at a young age that the only acceptable emotions are anger and aggression. All others are shunned.

Is it no wonder that men are having more difficult times committing to one woman and understanding what love and compassion are?

If a man enjoys art, opera, or poetry, he is labeled as feminine and called a “fag” by his macho friends. Our generations forget that some of the greatest men in history were artists or enjoyed going to plays and musicals. Men are supposed to like women, guns, sports, and cars. All else results in the return of his “man card.” George Washington and Thomas Jefferson studied philosophy while wearing powdered wigs and tights. Abraham Lincoln was shot while watching live theater. If only they were “real men,” right?

In the name of “equality,” our young boys are finding out that they are no longer allowed to buy lunch or open doors for the opposite sex. Having any sort of intellectual conversation has now been deemed “mansplaining” and this notion of patriarchy – which is not felt equally by all men – has become a staple meme in the feminist movement.

Men can be bullied, but men cannot be victims.

We also tend to forget that not all men are CEOs of major corporations. Men in poverty are the most at risk for suicide, criminal behavior, job related deaths, and substance abuse; though CEOs are the ones having early heart attacks and stress related diseases.

What I propose is a radical solution. We should teach men that it is okay to show a full range of emotions. We should teach men that failing is sometimes necessary, and bravery is overcoming adversity, not avoiding it. We should teach men that they are human, they are loved, and they are free to enjoy football or ballet.

 

The model of true masculinity is Jesus Christ. God became a man who did get angry at times. However, Christ traveled from region to region helping the poor and downtrodden. Jesus respected all women, especially his mother. He was charitable, giving, caring, and loving. He showed a wide range of emotions and avoided any temptation that would have tarnished his character in any way. He stood against the political and religious powers of his day with brazen courage. He spoke truth to power with insurmountable wisdom. He was consistent in all things. He wore no mask.

And neither should we.

 

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Taking God for Granted

Think of all the things we take for granted in life.
The concepts of white privilege and patriarchy are that white males have certain historical advantages that they never actually think about. Things are becoming more egalitarian, for sure. However, Western civilization has been, for better or worse, a product of straight white men exploiting others.
Don’t believe me? When we identify colleagues or even friends, we often clarify the race of minorities, but not whites. You do not hear things like “famous male inventor Thomas Edison…” or “the straight, white Founding Fathers like Jefferson and Madison.” On the other hand, we do that for racial minorities, homosexuals, and women.

In other words, heterosexual and white are default categories. The all-encompassing term to describe all of humanity is “mankind.” Consider the term “straight,” which is the opposed of crooked, which has the negative connotation of deviance. These are taken for granted assumptions typically made by straight, white, men and are often challenged by those who violate one or more of those categories. The reaction from those in the majority is shock and denial of their privileges.

This happens when we take these concepts for granted, and Christians have been doing the same thing with doctrine. From everything from Bible translations to baptism, the modern American Christian has been fattened with privileges that go all-too-often ignored.

Our Christian Founding Fathers were persecuted and murdered for their Faith. The history of the Church is filled with meeting in secret locations under penalty of death from their governments, which still occurs in many countries. What do we, as Americans, do? We use our Christian colleges as an excuse to challenge and “correct” the Bible that our brothers and sisters and the Middle-East are being beheaded over. While we bicker about whether we should wear suits or have drums in a worship setting, Christians around the world are being crucified or burned alive.

We need not fear being used as gladiatorial fodder in the Colosseum of Rome, so we find minor things over which to quibble.

Almost 80% of Americans identify as Christian, but the average weekly church attendance for a believer in this country is 1.7 services per month. Attendance is not low because Uncle Sam is waiting to bust in our doors and imprison those inside, but because to 22% of American churchgoers, watching football has become a priority. Rather than being thrust into the arena to face lions, we can watch others combat live on television. We take our churches for granted, because we have churches to go to.

American Christians have taken church attendance for granted, but have also taken prayer and daily time in Scripture for granted. We can tell you anything you want about what our favorite actors are up to, but nothing about Solomon’s life. We can quote Tom Brady’s QB rating in the 2004 playoffs, but can’t quote a verse other than John 3:16. We have time to text, not call, but text our best friends with every detail of our daily lives, but spend no time having a conversation with our Heavenly Father.

I cannot tell you the number of fellow church members and Church members who gleefully post party pictures on social media with faces distorted by drunken frivolity; forgetting that we are called to be pictures of Christ to our unsaved friends and families. How can a drug addict be helped by someone who is right next to them shooting up? How might an alcoholic have a life change while we sit at the bar sharing shots? With no thought of the repercussions, we indulge in the very same behaviors as those who are lost. How will they ever be found when we throw the map in the garbage?

We do these things because we CAN do these things. We do them because we CHOOSE to do them. We put God’s will behind our own ambitions because we ignore the manifestation of His grace in our lives. We no longer count our blessings, because our insatiable thirst for humanistic pursuits has us spoiled and privileged.

No one is perfect. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. The difference is that the heroes of the Bible felt regret when they fell from grace. King David never fully recovered from his tryst with Bathsheba. Peter spent the rest of his life trying to make up for his denial of Christ before the crucifixion. Will we do the same, or will we continue to take our privilege for granted?

Check your privilege. It is there, and we must acknowledge its existence. The only way we will be effective at bringing others to Christ is if we throw away our hedonistic lifestyles and BE LIKE CHRIST. If you sin, it’s okay. Jesus’ blood covers Christians for all eternity. However, we must all try to avoid the temptation to flaunt our sin to everyone in our social networks.

Becoming a Christian is an easy decision for most privileged Americans. LIVING like a Christian is incredibly difficult. The first decision is personal, while the second affects the lives of all those around us. Remember who you represent. You are a child of the King of Kings. You are privileged, whether you want to admit it or not. Time is running out for our loved ones who have yet to accept Christ. Do them a favor and dare to be different. Be a rebel. We are already experiencing a revolution, so be revolutionary. Stop taking God for Granted.

The Triune Self

My name is Alex Simmons, but what does that really mean? Who am “I”? I am a Christian, a husband, the father of four lovely girls, a sociologist, a drummer, a UNLV graduate student, and a UNLV employee. These are roles and statuses, but is that all I am; the sum of roles and statuses? I was not always a UNLV graduate student, and I hopefully will not always be. As this status changes, will I cease to be me? Of course not. That’s silly.

Perhaps I am what you see. I am the physical body. Then again, what would happen if a part of me was removed? Our soldiers go overseas and wage war for us, but they often sacrifice their limbs. Does that mean that they return home and are no longer themselves? They may be damaged, but they are still them.

Perhaps I am not what you see on the outside, but I exist inside the body. The brain is the computer center of the central nervous system. It operates everything ranging to pain sensation to breathing regulation. However, there are times when the brain is physically damaged. Are football players who receive concussions no longer themselves? There are some of us that suffer from chemical imbalances in the brain. When an anti-depressant is prescribed, the patient becomes “the medicated self.” They need drugs to feel whole, but are they whole if they need a substance to make them that way? Moreover, the brain is made up of cells that are shed and leave the body when we sneeze. Does that mean that whenever I have a runny nose “I” leave the body? Absolutely not.

Rather than my roles and statuses or the physical self, I am the metaphysical mind? Closer, but no. Rene Descartes famously said, “Cogito ergo sum” – I think, therefore I am. Our thoughts manifest as ideas and memories and are expressed through creativity. However, cognitive impairments occur all the time. Mental illness takes part of our mind from us. Dementia also impairs cognitive function. If we are no longer able to recall memories, are we still our “self”?

Furthermore, the mind is not physical, but could “you” exist without a body? Photographs are representations of us, but they are not us. We put our souls on paper when we write. Our images and social media posts become “the digital self,” a term that postmodern researches use to describe a digital representation of the “self.” Yet our photographs, manuscripts, and social media posts can be deleted. If they are destroyed, or even hacked, do we also cease to exist? No.

Rather than roles, statuses, the physical or metaphysical representations of me, I believe that I am the triune self. I am comprised of a body, soul, and spirit – like the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost). These three parts are all one, but I am not all in one. If a piece is cut off, I am still me. The digital self is still me. I can change roles and statuses and still be me. Before I was born into a physical body, I had no “self,” but the triune me exists now and forever. The triune self is eternal. My body dies, but soul and spirit live forever. The Bible shows us that we will get a new body in Heaven, thus reuniting the triune self.

Who am I? I am me. All of me, and I always will be.

A Conundrum

Let’s pretend that there is an ideology that, if practiced according to its fundamental document, would encourage pedophilia, abuse of women, killing homosexuals, and murder of those who disagree with said ideology.

Let’s pretend that for 1500 years, those who follow their fundamental document have engaged in violent conquest leaving behind a trail of corpses and severed heads.

Let’s pretend that this ideology follows a book written by a man who married a six year old and only became more violent as he aged.

Let’s pretend now that the apostates who refuse to follow the violent, pedophilic, minority murdering book were now seen as the “fundamentalists” of the ideology, while those who continue the 1500 year traditions are called “radicals.”

Let’s pretend that the leaders of countries where these “radicals” have been waging a targeted war decide that there should be a safety measure in place to make sure that the locations where violent pedophiles generally form en masse have less access to their targets.

Let’s pretend that a group within a targeted nation is one that would be slaughtered by these “radicals” if they were in these dangerous locations, and these minorities who would be murdered now protest to fight for the very “radicals” who want to kill them to come over to where they are.

Does this make any sense?

Let’s pretend that there are 20 houses on my street. If one house in my neighborhood was full of people who wanted me dead, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t send out invitations for my cookout to them and their friends.

Let’s pretend that not only did I know that those in that house wanted me dead, but I knew that they had already killed some of my neighbors and even burned a house to the ground with a family inside.

Would it make sense for me to not want them on my property?

The Bias of Unbiased Science

It’s fun to think of the scientist as a person seeking empirical knowledge without bias.
 
The belief that science is the superior, or even only, means to gain knowledge IS biased; and flawed. How many of sciences findings have been replaced with updated research? The Earth was flat until it wasn’t. The sun revolved around the Earth until it didn’t. Newton’s laws of physics were the standard until Einstein. Einstein’s findings have been surpassed by quantum physics. Pluto was a planet until it wasn’t. The “Big Bang” was the catalyst for the existence of the universe, until it wasn’t. Brontosaurus was a type of dinosaur until it wasn’t. Piltdown man provided evidence of evolution until it didn’t. Fat is bad for you, now it’s good. Butter was bad until it wasn’t.
 
I could go on and on.
 
Yet scientists (and those who value science above all types of knowledge acquisition) would have you believe that this is superior to religious texts. In my study of The Bible (KJV ONLY, baby), I have found more verified scientific data than any evidence that has been “debunked” through scientific study.
 
The TRUTH is that there are so many phenomena that science has no answer to. The Bible is riddled with the supernatural that science either ends up verifying (germs, blood disorders, intelligent design, Earth revolving around the sun, a round Earth) or contains supernatural phenomena that science cannot disprove nor verify.
 
Most phenomena is supernatural until we come to understand it. Science, as it slowly progresses, verifies Biblical phenomena. It stands to reason, then, that The Bible may very well hold the answers to questions of the supernatural that are true, but have yet to be scientifically verified.
 
Of course, by no means does that mean that God’s Word is not empirically tested.
 
We test the teachings of Scripture every day, and we collect data through our experiences that we need only to apply a theory to (in this case, that THE BOOK is always true) in order to obtain knowledge.
 
Some of us put our faith into a dogma of scientism that is constantly challenged by more current science.
 
I put my Faith into The Bible that has never been debunked and has only been verified by empirical study.
 
But what do I know? I am just too biased.

Karl Marx and the Forbidden Fruit

I am about to take a trip down a theoretical rabbit hole. Would you care to join me?

Karl Marx is one of the most quoted, inspiring, and powerful men that you probably know very little about. He is blamed for the current progressive movement, some very politically minded films, leftist politics, failed Communist empires, and dictators around the world. He is equally and unfairly given credit for his criticism of capitalism that has inspired filmmakers, radicals, revolutionaries, and politicians.

One cannot go to college in America or live in an anti-capitalist nation without having heard the man’s name. However, is he TRULY the one behind anti-Western, anti-capitalist, and anti-American revolutionary social movements?

Although the Communist Manifesto introduced the idea of religion being the “opiate of the people” — a drug that pacifies us so that we remain apathetic to the oppression and inequality forced on us by capitalism – Marx’s first written work was called The Union of the Faithful with Christ.

Have you ever heard about Karl Marx, the Christian? Here is an excerpt:

“Through love of Christ we turn our hearts at the same time toward our brethren who are inwardly bound to us and for whom He gave himself in sacrifice. . . Union with Christ could give an inner elevation, comfort in sorrow, calm trust, and a heart susceptible to human love, to everything noble and great, not for the sake of ambition and glory, but only for the sake of Christ.”

Or how about this when considering “the opiate of the people”:

“Religion itself teaches us that the Ideal toward which all strive sacrificed Himself for humanity, and who shall dare contradict such claims? If we have chosen the position in which we can accomplish the most for Him, then we can never be crushed by burdens, because they are only sacrifices made for the sake of all.”

However, shortly after receiving his high school certificate for “Religious Knowledge”, Marx made a complete reversal from the Christianity that he so eloquently wrote about. He began writing about avenging himself against God. This is not a form of atheism, because he clearly still believed in God. In other writings he dreamed of ruling the Earth on equal terms with the Almighty.

We know that evidence of Marx’s descent into darkness comes from a poem called “The Player” in which he claims to have sold his soul to Satan.

In a little know drama titled Oulanem, Marx wrote of a desire to destroy everything on Earth and drag humanity to the abyss where Satan will be chained.

There are several other little known writings and poems from Marx, as well as correspondences between he and his friends and family that highlight a direct turn from the man who wrote about the love of and union with Christ just a few years prior. [For more information on the subject, check out Marx & Satan by Richard Wurmbrand (1986)]

Karl Marx became a representative of Satan.

I want you to think of a story that we all know, regardless of our religious upbringing. The world began in a garden, a perfect place where man and woman believed that they were living a fulfilling life. Sure, God was there, and he is the one who set up all the rules for living in the garden, but it was a generally egalitarian existence. Yet when Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, she became immediately aware of the inequality around her. Adam, too, ate and the veil of ignorance was lifted.

As Marx would put it, they achieved “class consciousness”—the sudden awareness of their situation as a lower class member of the proletariat; a “have not.”

God, on the other hand, is the ultimate “have.” After all, He literally has everything. God owns more forces of production than every factory owner who has ever lived combined.

The similarities between Marx’s ideas and “The Origin of Sin” are striking. Part of Adam’s curse is labor. Work is now difficult and unrewarding. Eve’s child delivery became painful. The rift between human beings widened throughout the generations. Familial relationships became strained. Even the labor of Cain and Able were alienating (another Marxist term).

Cain was alienated from his labor, as he did what he HAD to do rather than what he wanted to do. He was alienated from his peers, because Abel’s sacrifice was viewed as more worthy to God. He was alienated from nature in that he had to work in the field picking fruits and vegetables rather than tend to animals like his brother. Cain worked hard and toiled with sweat on his brow, not as a means to luxury, but for basic subsistence.

Marx, in his attacks on capitalism and religion, advocates that we abandon our relationships with God so that we can become “aware.” He is like Satan, offering us the “forbidden fruit” of knowledge.

Knowledge without wisdom, according to Solomon, is vanity. It is empty.

Furthermore, the book of Ecclesiastes provides an interesting commentary when you consider Marx’s ideals. “What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?” Marx would say “none.” Solomon says “none.” The wisest man who ever lived went on to write about his fruitless pursuit of material goods. Solomon had more wine, property, women, and luxury than any hundred people could ever want. However, he was never satisfied.

Again, this is thousands of years before the existence of capitalism, which is the system that Marx exclusively blames for inequality and greed.

For Marx, the end game to this pursuit of materialism will inevitably lead to the fall of capitalism into a communist Utopia. Again, The Bible agrees that the entire worldly system will collapse into a New Heaven and New Earth which will solve the issue of inequality and forced, meaningless labor forever.

Satan is the opposite of God, yet people mistake the two. The anti-Christ is the opposite of Christ, yet people will believe that the former is the latter and worship him. Marx, as a representative tool of Lucifer has the opposite reasoning toward what The Almighty God has set out for us, yet bears striking similarities.

However, the ideas of Marx are not original. They are barely creative, and they are inspired by a being that is literally hell bent on dragging us down to the abyss for eternity.

So many humanists want to believe that Marx is somehow the champion of inequality. He is a mind born of The Enlightenment that uses science as a basis for understanding, rather that some outdated religious beliefs and appeal to God. Interesting, because none of his ideas are original. They can be found in and applied to the story of the first humans; a story largely passed over out of hatred or fear of Christianity. As a “Religious Knowledge” certificate earner, Marx would certainly have knowledge of Adam and Eve. Is it out of the realm of possibility that he, as a means to attack God, used the story of original sin as a catalyst for his revolutionary ideas?

So back to the question at hand: why Marx?

What if it was possible that Marx really did sell his soul to the Devil? Maybe Marx’s influence is actually Satanic; his words co-authored by a supernatural force that exceeds all reason. Perhaps the longevity of the doctrine of inequality written by an avowed God-hating Satanist cannot be explained by any rational thought.

As God breathed into The Bible and gave it life, perhaps Satan breathed into Marx’s writings and gave it death.

Knowledge or Wisdom?

We are the most technologically advanced civilization in history, but all this knowledge has not improved our lives in any meaningful way. Sure, we have more luxury and leisure, but we are no happier than our ignorant ancestors who simply sought after things like the meaning of life or what our purpose on the planet is. Unfortunately, these “big questions” are rarely even asked by most. We are lacking something in this “civil” society. We are a society without wisdom.

Regardless of your moral genesis, political affiliation, or religious dogma, all of us feel that the world is lacking “common sense.” But what they mean is that we are failing in the application of all the information and knowledge available to us. We are like living trivia machines, full of facts, yet no idea of how those facts are relevant to our day to day lives.

My fellow university students quote long passages from Karl Marx. They can identify the flaws of capitalism and the inevitable inequality produced when people are paid based on merit, rather than the sheer fact that they are human. However, when ideologues attempt to apply Marxism, it fails. That is simply because the utopian Communist ideal society is impractical. A wise man would take human nature, and history, into account. A wise man applies the ethos that man is flawed, thus to believe that man, himself, can possibly give up all potential possessions for the good of the whole without force is naiveté to the millionth degree.

Putting your trust in a politician, like Obama or Trump is completely unwise. History shows us that political corruption is the rule, not the exception—no matter how few exceptions we try to name. Philosophers are flawed. Our “news” media is flawed. Those who we love to quote—Marx, Jefferson, Franklin, Nietzsche, Plato, Socrates—are all men who are flawed.

Yet some of them were wise.

I believe that our Founding Fathers were wise to the inevitability of corruption, which is why the US Constitution is one of the only documents that seeks to limit the power of our leaders. I believe that philosophers can be wise, so long as they are seeking answers to the big questions.

I also believe that The Bible, whether you believe it is the Word of God or not, is a document full of wisdom. Not killing, stealing, coveting the possession of others, honoring your parents, and not sleeping around on your spouse are “common sense” principles that are almost universal throughout global cultures.

A wise man seeks wisdom from others. We must be prudent in our sources, and be unafraid to ask the big questions. Personally, The Bible and the Founding Fathers have been instrumental in my own acquisition of answers. I have found satisfactory reasons for my meaningful existence. I have tested the answers again and again, and I still find myself returning to those same sources.

I have found a satisfaction with my life that few others that I know actually enjoys. Every action that I make has eternal consequences. My legacy may live on for a generation or two through my children, but my decisions have repercussions that will last longer than the Earth as we know it.

Some may say it is foolish to prattle on about such fantasies, but I believe it to be Truth.

A wise man seeks knowledge from many sources, but discerns what knowledge is good and true through sound study—and dismisses the other as falsehood. A wise man tests Truth by filtering all information through his world view, rather than trying to piece together a world view with scraps of information. A wise man does not change the world to fit his view of it, but understands the world as it exists.

A wise man does not re-define centuries old concepts for the sake of placating the few. A wise man cannot dismiss history and science for the sake of making others feel good about themselves. A wise man takes his time to understand a situation before making any judgments about it.

This used to be “common sense,” which is no longer common or makes any sense.

A wise man recognizes that the world has been changed by those without wisdom.

A wise man understands the danger of wisdom in a world so lacking in it.

Be wise.