Responding to the Astute Observation That I Am a Man

Any time I go to a college campus to do a pro-life outreach, I can count on three things: 1) I will forget to wear sunblock, 2) I will not drink enough water, and 3) I am going to be reminded that I cannot get pregnant. Inevitably, then the pro-choice person will ask, “how can you have an opinion about abortion when you can’t get pregnant?”

While I do not consider this to be a significant intellectual challenge, it does make for a very important rhetorical challenge. I have seen the fate of many a conversation hang on how well the pro-life man responds to this question. His goal cannot merely be to give a logically valid response. In order for the conversation to remain productive, he must be reasonable, and he must be winsome. [Tweet that!]

It should be obvious that saying men can’t have an opinion about abortion is, at a strictly logical level, merely an ad hominem argument, an attack against the person. It is also about as clear an example of sexism as I have ever seen. But the pro-choice person that is inclined to use this argument does not see it that way. Logically speaking, it is that way, but trying to convince her of that is quite a gamble in my experience.

Timothy and Josh Brahm dialogue with one of the CSU Bakersfield staff about abortion.

Timothy and Josh Brahm dialogue with one of the CSU Bakersfield staff about abortion.

At our outreach in Bakersfield, CA, four different people asked me how I, as a man, could have any opinion about abortion. I gave each of them the same response:

You’re absolutely right. I am a man, and I will never get pregnant. I can do my best to sympathize with women who experience unplanned pregnancies, but I will never really know what they’re going through. Let me ask you kind of a weird question, bear with me.

Imagine I go fishing at the lake. I’m having a great time fishing, and then I see her [pointing to a female pro-life volunteer] about twenty yards away. I notice that she is pushing her car into the lake. Well that’s weird, why would she do that? Then I look in the back seat, and I notice there’s a two-year-old child in the car.

Now, I’m a man. I’ve never been pregnant. I’ve never been a mother. I will never know what she is going through. We could even change the scenario by making her child a newborn and saying that she has postpartum depression, something I as a man could never experience. But even though I can’t understand what she’s going through, shouldn’t I try to do something to save that kid?

Assuming she says yes, I’ll continue (though usually at this point, she has connected the dots for herself).

I have this really weird view. It might sound strange to you, but I have good arguments for it. My weird view is that a human embryo right at fertilization is just as valuable a human person as you and me. That might sound crazy, but just go with me for a minute. If I’m right about that really weird view, then it seems like I should try to help those embryos, just like I should try to save the toddler from drowning, even though in both cases I can’t truly understand what the woman has gone through. This is why I think it is so important to figure out if the embryo is a valuable human person, like we are. What do you think?”

(If you’re familiar with standard pro-life apologetics, then you’ll notice that the structure of this argument is just a bit of an unusual example of “trotting out a toddler.”)

This is by far the most effective response I have ever seen to the “you’re a man” argument. Usually the person I’m talking with completely connects to what I’m saying and the conversation improves because we’ve had a positive moment of understanding. Even when I’m talking with an angry feminist that ultimately disagrees, they have always responded by at least understanding and respecting my motives.

Timothy engages students at CSU Bakersfield.

Timothy engages students at CSU Bakersfield.

I think there are three reasons this response works so well.

First, the thought-experiment is a) straightforward and b) uncontroversial. I love using thought-experiments, but sometimes they have to get complicated or hard to imagine, and that tends to have a negative effect on the thought-experiment’s usefulness. The “fishing story” is very simple and easy to imagine.

It’s also universally obvious that it’s appropriate to try to save the child. If people were inclined to say, “Yeah, but you need to respect parents’ rights to determine when to drown their own children,” then I’d have to find something else. Fortunately for me (and for misbehaving children everywhere), nobody thinks that.

Second, the preface to the thought-experiment acknowledges the pro-choice person’s concern in a respectful way. One of our priorities at ERI is trying to understand pro-choice culture. They think differently than we do and we need to understand those differences or we’ll just assume that whatever makes sense to us will make sense to them. That is every bit as foolish as assuming that everyone has the same love languages that you do and then treating your loved ones accordingly.

I don’t think it’s logical to believe men shouldn’t have an opinion about abortion. But I’ve spent enough time talking to pro-choice people that I really do get why they feel this way. Acknowledging the fact that men can’t fully understand the difficulty of an unplanned pregnancy shows respect to her as a person without agreeing with her argument.

Third, agreeing that men can’t fully understand pregnancy clarifies the actual disagreement. Confusing as it may be to pro-lifers, many pro-choice people believe that if you can’t have first-hand knowledge of a person’s experience, then you can’t make moral judgments against what she does. I do need to explain why I disagree with that conclusion, but if I don’t first clearly acknowledge that I can’t completely understand what a pregnant woman is going through, the pro-choice person will assume that I think I can.

In other words, this is the argument she is making:

P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make a moral judgment against what she does.
P2: Men cannot fully understand what pregnant women are going through.
C: Therefore, men can’t make a moral judgment against abortion.

I disagree with P1, not P2 (hence the “fishing story”). But if I don’t acknowledge that P2 is true, she is likely to think that I disagree with P2, and that is why I don’t agree with her conclusion.

I want her to hear my argument, and she is much more likely to do that if she knows that I understand my own limitations. It may seem obvious to you that you know your limitations, but take my word for it, it is not obvious to many pro-choice people. It’s an excellent use of ten seconds of my time to show her the respect of clarifying why I disagree.

Please tweet this article!

  • Tweet: Responding to the Astute Observation That I Am a Man
  • Tweet: Question: “How can you have an opinion about abortion when you can’t get pregnant?” Answer: bit.ly/1MwRVOi
  • Tweet: At our outreach, four people asked how a man could have any opinion about abortion. My response.
  • Tweet: The pro-life person’s goal cannot merely be to give a logical response. He or she must be reasonable, AND winsome.
  • Tweet: 3 reasons why this is the most effective response I have ever seen to the “You’re a man” argument.

The post “Responding to the Astute Observation That I Am a Man” originally appeared at the Equal Rights Institute blog. Subscribe to our email list with the form below and get a FREE gift. Click here to learn more about our pro-life apologetics course, “Equipped for Life: A Fresh Approach to Conversations About Abortion.”

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Director of Training

Timothy Brahm is the Director of Training at Equal Rights Institute. He is interested in helping pro-life and pro-choice people to have better dialogues about abortion through 1) taking care to understand what the other person means, 2) using more carefully-constructed arguments, and 3) treating each other with care and respect. He graduated from Biola University with a B.A. in philosophy and is a perpetual member of the Torrey Honors Institute.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Crystal

    First off, I’d like to say that since abortion is a moral issue, it is perfectly right that males should have an opinion on it. I appreciate the empathetic way you are attempting to approach it and I do not think that men should be afraid to speak up on behalf of unborn persons. I mean, half of them are killed in abortions anyway, aren’t they?

    Suppose we were talking about sex slavery here. Since there are lustful men who exploit others for these very purposes, should you as a man keep silent because of the prevailing stereotype that men tend to like hurting women, or should you speak up?

    Also, consider domestic violence. Males are some of the biggest DV abusers. Should they be silent just because it’s a little boy being abused by his father rather than a woman?

    However, I think that you need to really try to put yourselves in a woman’s shoes for a while so you can speak more authoritatively on the subject.

    For the next point, I am speaking from a perspective of my non prolife friends here for a while:

    In regards to “Trot out the Toddler” it isn’t the same thing as carrying a child for nine months. If you want to really reach some people, I think it is time to create thought experiments that are equal to and actually deal with the reality of pregnancy and childbirth – especially agonising childbirth, where a woman labours and pushes out a baby in pain, with potential health risks of paralysis, death, etc. Similar to stand-ins for pregnant persons experiencing such things.

    This is more my perspective now:

    Also, how are you going to come across to a tokophobic? If I believed abortion should be legal I would consider you a monster – guaranteed. Do you even know what tokophobia is, and if so, how do you reach a tokophobic and encourage them to become prolife?

    Here is a way you can learn to empathise more: go to your local hospital, get yourselves hooked up onto a machine, and undergo simulated labour. Then you can tell any woman you’re talking to that you did this so, to a small degree, you can understand.

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=men+in+labour

    http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/twenty-men-are-hooked-up-to-a-labour-pain-simulator-as-part-of-reality-tv-show-on-mothers-day/story-fnet08ck-1227353441312

    As a recovering tokophobic woman I recommend this strongly. Men need to learn absolute empathy and mercy for pregnant women as pregnant women have been exploited by society way too much and had their fertility used to enslave them – by males and male expectations for large families, etc.

    Also, I recommend that men study everything they can about female biology – menstruation, pregnancy, menopause – and get their facts straight on it. Here’s a story of when a senator didn’t get it right and the embarrassment he caused for the prolife cause was huge:

    http://www.startribune.com/idaho-lawmaker-asks-if-swallowed-camera-can-be-used-for-female-exam/293718211/

    So please, consider all these things, as they might be of help to you in the future. If I think of anything else I’ll say too.

    • Guest

      I agree with Acyutananda below regarding thought experiments. You don’t need to use a sledgehammer to crack open a walnut (note: I’m not comparing a woman’s body to a walnut or a sledgehammer, in case your pro-choice friends happen to be reading). There are many different kinds of pro-choice people, and many different justifications for supporting abortion. Any thought experiment that could answer every critic of the pro-life position would be unnecessarily complicated and probably ineffective. A simple thought experiment that clearly focuses on the individual objections the person in front of you is making would be far more useful.

      The authors of this blog have talked to thousands of pro-choice people. Some of the most common arguments that they encounter at the street level are that women should be able to have abortions if they can’t afford another child, or because having a baby will make it more difficult to finish school, or because the child might be born with HIV or addicted to drugs, or because the child might be disabled, or because the expanding human population is putting too much burden on the environment. All of these arguments “smuggle in” the view that unborn children aren’t fully human, or somehow aren’t equal to born children. The easiest way to demonstrate this is to ask whether we would tolerate someone killing a two year-old for these reasons. If the answer is “no”, then we’re ready to look at what makes the unborn different from born children and whether those differences should justify killing the unborn. There’s no need to deal with difficult agonizing childbirth or the health risks of pregnancy because that is not where the pro-choice person is coming from (and doing so might even be counterproductive).

      Now, some pro-choice people argue that abortion should be legal because it’s unjust to force a woman to use her own body as a life-support system for 9 months or to go through agonizing labour – even though it might entail taking a human life. Josh is on the record repeatedly stating that he considers this the strongest argument for legalized abortion. And trotting out a toddler would be ineffective (if not harmful) in this case, as it’s not obvious how the parallels are applicable. A different, more elaborate thought experiment would be necessary to address this kind of argument. Different people require different approaches, and giving an answer that’s too complicated can be just as bad as oversimplifying a question.

      Regarding tokophobia, isn’t a phobia an irrational or pathological fear of a certain phenomenon? It seems that, by definition, a tokophobic person would be unlikely to accept any pro-life argument (no matter how sound it is, or how reasonable the person presenting it happens to be). Let’s turn it around – how would you encourage a tokophobic person to become pro-life, or at least convince them that you’re not a monster? Why did you become pro-life even though you’re a “recovering tokophobic”?

      I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of the article you linked about the Idaho lawmaker. He clearly knew that you can’t perform a gynecological exam by eating a camera, but he asked the question anyway to demonstrate a point (that it’s disingenuous to compare colonoscopy to abortion). You can argue about whether or not his point is valid, but it’s not fair to say that he’s ignorant of how women’s bodies work. And I don’t think he caused huge embarrassment to the pro-life cause, given that I had never heard of the guy before I clicked on your link.

      That being said, I definitely agree that pro-lifers should get it right on the science of female biology – especially males. There’s a much better example here of a male politician getting his facts wrong and causing massive embarrassment to the pro-life cause – unfortunately, he is not the only person to have made this mistake:

      http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/08/rep-todd-akin-wrong-not-alone

      Of course, double standards in the mass media let pro-choice men like Bill Nye and President Clinton get away with being as scientifically illiterate as they want to be. But that by no means should give us an excuse to be ignorant when lives are at stake.

      • Crystal

        “There’s no need to deal with difficult agonizing childbirth or the health risks of pregnancy because that is not where the pro-choice person is coming from (and doing so might even be counterproductive).”

        Generally speaking you would be correct. But I think it is highly necessary to invent something for those people who DO ask. Perhaps they might not be many but it is a concern that needs to be addressed. However, it should not be brought up unless THEY initiate that conversation for the very reason you stated.

        “A simple thought experiment that clearly focuses on the individual
        objections the person in front of you is making would be far more
        useful.”

        Agreed. For those kinds of cases commonly dealt with I think the Brahms did a brilliant job.

        “Now, some pro-choice people argue that abortion should be legal because it’s unjust to force a woman to use her own body as a life-support system for 9 months or to go through agonizing labour – even though it might entail taking a human life. Josh is on the record repeatedly stating that he considers this the strongest argument for legalized abortion. And trotting out a toddler would be ineffective (if not harmful) in this case, as it’s not obvious how the parallels are
        applicable. A different, more elaborate thought experiment would be
        necessary to address this kind of argument. Different people require
        different approaches, and giving an answer that’s too complicated can be just as bad as oversimplifying a question.”

        Those are the types I am talking about, and I think some unanswerable argument needs to be made just for them.

        As for tokophobia, I was prolife long before I was tokophobic, and raised prolife but developed the other problem in my teens. Here’s my story:

        http://blog.secularprolife.org/2015/10/i-am-equal-not-same.html#comment-2309219176

        I do share my testimony. Many people are respectful and don’t consider me a monster. It certainly helps to build a common ground because, due to the problems I faced I have become more empathetic.

        I appreciate being told about that other guy who was ignorant. On that case of the pill being swallowed I would have to think more about that but still tend to lean to the idea he was possibly being ignorant (not that I’m against prolifers showing up the folly of the other side; in fact they should).

        I appreciate your responding to me. Great points!

    • averagjo

      Hi Crystal,

      Very interesting articles indeed thank you for suggesting this site. On your argument of having a better understanding of female anatomy. As someone else mentioned though I wonder if there is a point of where you can make your argument too complicated? For instance if in my witness to a pro-choice woman I tell her I have gone into a hospital and experienced what contractions feel like she will either think a “I am crazy” or b “I am lying”. I am not sure this is the best line of reasoning? I do agree outside of that I need to at least have an idea of what pregnancy feels like. I cannot empathize fully with Cancer patients but I can still love them where they are at. Ok perhaps not the best analogy, but perhaps my point is still understood? I will say that there is a place you have opened my eyes, I did not realize there was such a thing as tokophobia, that definitely complicates things. I think ultimately what it comes down to is responsibility, and we as males have failed at that. We are the ones who need to understand women better and not objectify them. Men are to easily lead by our lusts and perverse desires. This is what leads to many unwanted children. I feel we as men need to encourage one another to love and cherish women and treat them as sisters. If we truly want to be a good example we need to encourage other men to be chaste and to seek to understand the danger it does put women in when we take advantage of them sexually. We as men need to have self control as the Bible commands us and we shouldn’t use anything as an excuse. Morally this is what we as men can do, as the burden will always fall harder on the woman than the man.

      • Crystal

        I will answer this comment in more detail later but you said this:

        “I will say that there is a place you have opened my eyes, I did not
        realize there was such a thing as tokophobia, that definitely
        complicates things.”

        I’m a recovering tokophobic who is beginning to see the bright side in pregnancy and childbearing although potential negative physical feelings still can cause fear sometimes; here’s my story:

        blog.secularprolife.org/2015/10/i-am-equal-not-same.html#comment-2309219176

        Some women will abort because of this fear because it’s so strong. I’ve been told that being childfree and being tokophobic are reasons legal abortion advocates name for abortions, and that my proto-type (preferring to be childfree and being a recovering tokophobic individual) is the type of woman that would seek an abortion.

        Here’s a basic article about it, and if you need more information I’ll be happy to pass it your way:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokophobia

        • averagjo

          Hi Crystal,

          My eyes have been opened. It has always been my experience that all women desire to have children and give birth. It’s easy to assume that is the case but as with many situations things are not always what they seem. I feel for you in that I can understand the shaming that must have taken place. It makes me think of stories about young women who want to have some control over their lives and be happy single, being constantly told “oh you just haven’t met the right person yet”. As if happiness somehow depends on being married. I think the image of being the bride of Christ is a powerful one, as it allow a person to feel loved as they are without having to subject yourself to cultural norms and standards. I am amazed at your ability to share so openly and honestly and I pray that God continues to mold you into his image.

          • Crystal

            Thank you for being open to changing your ideas :)

            Also, thank you for not being one of these men who thinks teh little wimmenz must suffer because the pain is truly beautiful! I encountered one of those once, and the conversations we had – I tried to encourage him to reconsider even to the point of getting rather personal about some of my fears and desires on this matter (which makes me feel ashamed when I think about it). In some ways he had some interesting insights on the issue of pain and childbearing, but the man was utterly impervious to reason. He told me that it was beautiful that I felt the many aspects of pain, in regards to my cycles – his words not mine.

            The fear isn’t as bad as it used to be, due to my discovering ways that childbirth pain could be reduced and/or eliminated, not just medically but alternative (and) spiritual methods! When thinking about childbirth positively and seeing it as an intense challenge rather than an agonising torture, sometimes I find the idea of birthing a child to be very attractive :)

            I haven’t been shamed very much, and if ever I was it was mild. Someone did sneer at my being PL and tokophobic once – sigh. I have had my fear thrown up at me in a few different ways, not pleasant I can assure you. I’ve experienced having my normality questioned due to this fear as well. Those preachers exhorting the importance of the feminine role (I hated them for their insensitivity to women that were not wives and mothers), and graphic depictions of negative childbirth via such items as books and movies was anything but helpful. Yet I’ve encountered amazing compassion as well. One person very close to me showed me understanding when I told them about the fear, and let me know they supported my desire for agency over having children. Also online I’ve been mostly loved and pampered by legal abortion advocates and PLers alike, including yourself. But I’m a little worried about what my future partner/spouse will say, especially if he’s a man (which I think is highly likely as I am not a lesbian and am highly attracted to men!). I fear I might have certain trust issues I would have to sort out if ever I got married, and I fear by the end of it that hubby would think I’m nuts and not be kind and patient :(

            Yes, those preachers that talk about my role as wife and mother do demean women especially childfree and tokophobic women! One thing you should never ask your tokophobic daughter is when she will give you grandchildren; nor should you ever ask your son-in-law when will you get my daughter pregnant, nor should you ever congratulate your son-in-law for doing so! These kinds of things are highly off-putting, I can tell you that, because our lives are not normal and we consider it cruel for a man and family and society to put us through so much pain for their pleasure. We consider it cruel and ugly and selfish, and wonder if we matter at all. Sometimes we think we might be carrying aliens inside us and we find that scary.

            “It makes me think of stories about young women who want to have some
            control over their lives and be happy single, being constantly told “oh
            you just haven’t met the right person yet”. As if happiness somehow
            depends on being married.”

            I do agree here. For the Christian, happiness depends on doing the will of God, whether married or single. It has nothing to do with financial or relationship or any other kind of security except the security in God, the Bible, and prayer. Also I have amazing and sensible parents who generally support my decision to be single or properly married to a loving man, so that’s not a problem for me.

            “I think the image of being the bride of Christ is a powerful one, as it
            allow a person to feel loved as they are without having to subject
            yourself to cultural norms and standards.”

            In what ways would that be so?

            “I am amazed at your ability to share so openly and honestly and I pray that God continues to mold you into his image.”

            Thank you. Sometimes sharing is hard because I have to be careful how much I share. Sometimes I’m making myself vulnerable to ridicule and that scares me. But I want to share so I can help people and more often than not I enjoy it! Also I’m not a Christian, but rather spiritual, although I do long for a personal relationship with God very much.

            • averagjo

              Hi Crystal,
              Thank you for seeing the other side of me, I have my faults I must admit I am not perfect and am still being perfected by my creator. I can see that this is something that has deeply affected you and it’s not something that can be easily understood by most. I must admit that I have not always thought this way, truth is I struggled with abuse and was trained up in it so much that I found myself becoming one. It was a very scary situation and even though it never turned to physical abuse it proved to me that the scars of living with my Father were not properly healed. It also destroyed my first Marriage. Through the healing process I went through domestic violence diversion as a way to be able to see my children without supervised visitation. I went in feeling pressured to do so, but in the end I ended up accepting that I needed to change. I can also admit that it wasn’t an easy change and that I still struggle with certain pieces as my life was quite literally ripped apart due to my unresolved issues of being abused and being abusive. I can say now that the Lord is using people like you to shape and mold me into the person I am needing to become. Perhaps my take on the situation with Naghmeh and Saeed is due to some of those heart issues not fully being worked through. At any rate I can honestly say I commend you for the stand you are taking for women and I think it’s honorable that it includes the life of the unborn, what a powerful testament to how we can all use our giftings for good. I think it’s also wonderful that you have such supportive parents who are able to encourage you no matter your desires. I think that is beautiful thing and I wish more parents could do so. As far as my point on being the bride of Christ. The image that is painted in the Bible that Men and Women can be seen as being the bride of Christ. Some even Christian men are offended by this idea, but I think it’s beautiful as it is the ultimate loving relationship. Christ doesn’t expect us to change he just desires a relationship with us. The change comes as result of desiring to be pleasing to him. Meaning that the pressure is off of the person who desires a relationship with Christ and as they seek him he becomes the source of their happiness and joy. Now it’s true that God has blessed me with a spouse as well, but our love is centered in his love for us which makes the dynamic that much better. Yes sharing is hard sometimes it’s leaves us vulnerable to attack and places us in a place without security at times. I find that when I centered in the love of Christ I don’t feel so vulnerable not that I don’t sometimes feel attacked, but that I can respond in love not hate. Not that I always do this perfectly obviously lol. Yes if we can help other through our own experience it betters not only our life but the lives of others as well. In regards to you not being a Christian but desiring a relationship with God, can I ask a personal question? Is there something standing in the way?

              • Crystal

                “I can see that this is something that has deeply affected
                you and it’s not something that can be easily understood by most.”

                Yes, it has. Like I said, I’m still recovering.

                I am so sorry for the pain and abuse you faced, and for
                your life being ripped apart. I know words are cold but they are all I’ve got and I wish they could express the sadness I feel over the stuff that happened. It hurts me that anyone’s father (or mother, but I say father because I have a very neat father, my mother is great too though) would belittle and emotionally batter their own child; I don’t understand it. It also takes a lot of courage to admit when you are wrong, and to be willing to change; which is what I see you doing and I think that’s just plain admirable. Yes, it is a pattern that some experts in behaviour have noted, that sometimes (not always) the victim of a narcissist/psychopath will take on certain characteristics of their abuser, which is what seems to have occurred in your case.

                If you read at this website it might help you recover even more, as it might teach you the patterns of abuse you went through better so you can mark them out more clearly in your mind, and I learned a lot from this website because the woman who wrote it was either married or living with an abuser but she broke it off and she tells her story to warn others:

                http://masksofsanity.blogspot.de/

                Also due to your experience on both sides of the abuse spectrum I can see why you would think that the Naghmeh affair shouldn’t have been so publicised to the extent that it was, although as you know, for the sake of Naghmeh and the children’s well-being I strongly disagree with that opinion.

                “Perhaps my take on the situation with Naghmeh and Saeed is due to some of those heart issues not fully being worked through.”

                I have no desire to cause you pain but I have to agree with
                that sentiment.

                To bring you further helps on how to be a better man, I’d
                encourage you to read through a small segment of this conversation, you’ll find it at the top if you leave it on “Best” and read down:

                http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/03/31/melbourne-priest-suggests-woman-might-have-avoided-being-raped-and-murdered-if-only-she-were-more-faith-filled/

                The young man I chat with is a very nice person and I’m
                proud to have had that conversation with him.

                “I can say now that the Lord is using people like you to
                shape and mold me into the person I am needing to become.”

                Same story here in the sense you’re making me consider a
                few things as well, except in my case it’s open-mindedness. Thanks for all the things you share with me and for the respectful way you respond to me, it means a lot.

                “At any rate I can honestly say I commend you for the stand you are taking for women and I think it’s honorable that it includes the life of the unborn, what a powerful testament to how we can all use our giftings for good.”

                Thank you. Like I mentioned some people think I’m suppressing women because of it, although I am curious to hear from your POV in what ways I am taking a stand for women – more sensitivity perhaps?

                “I think it’s also wonderful that you have such supportive
                parents who are able to encourage you no matter your desires. I think that is beautiful thing and I wish more parents could do so.”

                They understand God has to make the call on singleness or marriage rather than them, and I appreciate them a lot because they are good parents.

                “As far as my point on being the bride of Christ. The image
                that is painted in the Bible that Men and Women can be seen as being the bride of Christ. Some even Christian men are offended by this idea, but I think it’s beautiful as it is the ultimate loving relationship.”

                Thanks for sharing that. A few questions though – why are
                some men offended with this idea? Also, if men and women are equal and the Bride of Christ is supposed to be the representation of perfect love, why is the Bride of Christ not equal to Christ then?

                “Christ doesn’t expect us to change he just desires a relationship with us. The change comes as result of desiring to be pleasing to him. Meaning that the pressure is off of the person who desires a relationship with Christ and as they seek him he becomes the source of their happiness and joy.”

                That’s … nice I suppose. Please explain how that works.
                Because, I have to be honest and you will probably be very displeased by the time I’m done. In my experience I’ve seen and heard something quite different, as I thought Jesus wanted us to change once we came to him. The beauty of being an ex-Christian is that I determine what I believe and how I behave (with God’s help as sometimes I struggle with doing right, or having OCDs and schizophrenia) rather than God deciding all that for me. If we don’t change for
                God and do all he says once we become his meek, unquestioning little property, he will punish us; that is what I have seen of Christianity. My heart cries out for a personal relationship with God but never on those terms. If anyone
                treated a close relative or friend like that then they would be classed as abusive, but it seems such control is okay in God’s case because he’s the creator. If he’s the moral creator of all standards then why does he demand such exclusive loyalty and obedience? However I didn’t say any of this to attack you or to make you unhappy in your spiritual path but rather because I want to understand, how can you frame it in those terms? I thought Christians were the bondservants of Christ, subduing their flesh to his will. There is so much about Christianity that baffles me. Now I’m scared I’ve angered and hurt you by my words but please help me, I can’t, I don’t understand.

                “Now it’s true that God has blessed me with a spouse as
                well, but our love is centered in his love for us which makes the dynamic that much better.”

                I hope you don’t mind if I ask you to explain how that
                works.

                “Yes sharing is hard sometimes it’s leaves us vulnerable to
                attack and places us in a place without security at times.”

                Agreed 100%

                “I find that when I centered in the love of Christ I don’t
                feel so vulnerable not that I don’t sometimes feel attacked, but that I can respond in love not hate. Not that I always do this perfectly obviously lol.”

                Yes, and I’ve also seen some Christians online respond in
                arguments, judge-mentalism, and sometimes pure hatred. However I appreciate that you seem to be different from that, very much, and that you try.

                “Yes if we can help other through our own experience it
                betters not only our life but the lives of others as well.”

                It’s such joy when I know I’ve given life to someone
                through my time, comfort through my words, and gentle pushback sometimes challenging people to really think about what they believe. That is truly amazing. Also it means a lot to me when someone finds strength through my words and knows they are not alone! I appreciate it when people come up to me, asking questions or wanting to share their experiences. It means I am doing my job right. Who knows, someday I just could save someone’s life through the things I write; I hope so anyway. Sometimes though I must cause offence for the sake of human dignity (I try to be respectful even then) and those times are hard but I’d rather speak truth at those times than anything else; if someone changes their mind because of what I’ve said, I’ve also done my job in that I’ve been an influence for good – civility is CRUCIAL for my type of work. Which leads me to ask, what is the difference between condemning an action and the person committing that action?

                “In regards to you not being a Christian but desiring a
                relationship with God, can I ask a personal question? Is there something standing in the way?”

                Wow, it’s a long story, but yes and no, for so many reasons. Among these reasons – No, not really AFAIK but I know I’m happier not being controlled or dominated by some being(s), yet yes, because of some of the rough
                things I’ve gone through. Schizophrenia in my early teens which becomes a mixture of that and nasty OCDs, who’d have thunk? When you’ve had voices in your head you see the world differently and you’re less likely to surrender to anything you can’t control. To me how I perceive what Christians describe as “a personal relationship with God” is really very similar to the experiences I have had with voices – punishment, threats, fear, guilt, etc. Yet it’s more than that; spiritually I am not fulfilled by traditional orthodox conservative Christianity (and I’d NEVER get into Islam because that’s, like, even uglier!) and I would feel forced to give up huge chunks of myself if I became a Christian, including freedom of thought which I treasure, especially
                as I find that religion doesn’t tolerate serious thought or questioning of ideas. God commands us to love him with our minds yet we’re told by the same God to obey without question otherwise there will be consequences, how contradictory! I find you can’t think things through and use your brain to advance progress in thought and improve the world. You’re stuck in one rut and I don’t like that. Also morally some of the things the Bible commands are just
                questionable at best. I could go on and on but I will leave it there.

                In all sincerity, I ask forgiveness for any offence I’ve caused by anything I’ve said, and if you think I’m a bad person for some of the stuff I’ve said and you don’t want to talk to me anymore over it, please tell me and I’ll respect that; and I send many vibes of love your way, for you and your partner; may you be happy in your new lives together and may your God smile on your efforts to please him in your lives together too :*)

                • averagjo

                  Part 1 of 2 (I apologize for the length lol)

                  Hi Crystal

                  Yes I know what it is like to be recovering,
                  it’s hard to trust that peoples intention are truly good. It makes it very hard to be vulnerable knowing that people can be judgmental and even hateful in their responses to your being vulnerable.

                  As far as the pain I have received and abuse through my
                  father and family of origin. It was a rough road, I can’t lie there are moments where it lead me to depression deep enough to want to take my own life. I am glad I didn’t as Jesus had many more reasons for me to live than the reasons Ihad to want to die. Through the recovery process I have learned so much and I continue to learn. I hate to make light of the abuse I suffered but it really
                  has made me the person I am today, or at least my response to it has. The
                  hardest part for me was that my mother was not in the picture from the time I
                  was 6 years old, and the way my Father treated women, even though I knew it was
                  wrong… I also didn’t know what it looked like to do it the “right way”. So yes
                  I found myself making the same wrong choices in regards of the treatment of my
                  ex-wife Susan. I also found myself beginning to do the same to my children, I
                  hated that I was slowly becoming what made me so fearful when I was growing
                  up. I knew I had to make a change, and
                  even though I did not relish the idea of going to a domestic violence program,
                  I realized that I could either go and learn nothing, or go and be a willing
                  participant. That said the changes in me are twofold. One that I have made the conscious decision to
                  become a better person because of the abuse I suffered as a child and two, I
                  have a loving savior who has carried me from the hurt and bitterness of a
                  battered and abused child, to love and
                  acceptance of the man I am today. There is a song by Christ Christian that in
                  the chorus reads “And now I see the boy that I was made to be” “and now I see
                  the man that God has made of me” This really encompasses my story.

                  Yes and to the story of Naghmeh and Saeed. I think you are
                  right, because of the way I experience abuse on both sides of the story my
                  feelings of it not being publicized are probably influenced by my own
                  experiences. I will say that as I have talked to you my feelings have changed
                  and I am seeing the purposes for bringing his sin to light, especially in
                  regards to his position; perhaps this is just the thing that needed to happen
                  for his own situation to change him, but I think it will only be successful if
                  those who are supporting him give him the right encouragement (which is to do
                  what he needs to change and be a loving and supportive husband making Naghmeh
                  his equal.)

                  I read through that conversation and yes I can see where
                  there are definitely things all men can learn from the example of that young
                  man. He clearly sees the way women deserve to be treated by men and is working
                  to try to change the culture around himself; I am inspired to do the same.

                  Your sharing with me has been quite helpful in helping me to
                  see things from a different perspective, and in a way you have been a Ezer
                  Kenedgo for me in that you have shown me things I otherwise would have missed and
                  helped me to see things in a much clearer light.

                  The stand I see you taking for Women is going into the dragons
                  den and standing up to the dragons of judgment, intolerance and hate. I see you
                  as standing in the gap between men and women and encouraging them both to be
                  the best they can. You’re an ambassador of good will to the sexes, what an
                  amazing thing to be a part of.

                  I am glad you have parents who are grounded in the ideas of
                  loving their children and letting them decide who they are and want to be.

                  I think some men are offended by the idea of being Intimate
                  with God, because they are intimidated at the idea of embracing love of a male even from a non-sexual relationship. I think at least American culture is
                  against the idea of males even sharing an embrace let alone greeting each other
                  with a brotherly kiss as stated in scripture. Yes men can be rather homophobic
                  to the degree where any contact with another male that doesn’t involve some
                  degree of violence is considered wrong or sick.

                  As far as the Bride of Christ being equal to Christ. We
                  have been adopted as sons and daughters of God, this is where things get
                  interesting though as Christ is part of the God head. He is God, so we can
                  never be equal completely with Christ as we can never be God, but Christ’s life
                  and the Holy Spirit make us equal in another way. We have the same inheritance
                  of Christ, eternal life and spiritual connectedness with the Father. So even
                  though we can’t do all Jesus did while he was here (and actually we can do most
                  of it) we can have the same inheritance. That said it is not something that is
                  automatic, and this is what I love about God, he allows us to choose if that is
                  what we want, he is not forceful he wants us to have freewill.

                  I will not lie to you and say that Christ does
                  not desire a changed life in his bride, this is his desire ultimately, but let
                  me ask you this? When you have a child do you want him to stay young forever
                  and never grow or learn or be transformed? This is the life God seeks to find
                  in his children. We are not born perfect and salvation is available to the worst
                  of people (in the eyes of the world) and the best of people (in the eyes of the
                  world). This is where we sometimes questions God’s judgement for his salvation
                  is even for murderers and rapists. How can this be? How can God love people who
                  have committed such atrocities? Here is the amazing thing about the character of
                  God, once you accept his forgiveness the slate is wiped clean. It is said in
                  the Bible that once a person sins are forgiven them they are so far removed that they
                  are as far as the east is from the west and also another passage which states
                  they are on the ocean’s floor. To clarify the ocean’s floor portion it is translated
                  to be the deepest part of the oceans floor, where men have not even seen. As
                  far as your statement of God punishing us for sin, I don’t worship a volcano
                  God I think living in this world sometimes is punishment enough. The Jews used
                  to believe that people who were born with infirmities were cursed by God, that
                  they or their Father or Mother had sinned and this was the result, Jesus came
                  and made it clear that this was not the truth, he told the Jews of that time
                  that the reason the man had been born blind was not because of sin, but so that
                  the power of God could be revealed in his life. Sin as I see it is its own punishment,
                  the consequences of sin can vary but they are oftentimes things that happen as
                  a result of our actions not God’s actions or inactions. The term bondservant
                  seems to imply some form of forced servitude, but this is not the case… The
                  true meaning behind a bond-servant is one who was in bondage but their price
                  was paid and they have made the choice to be a servant. This is not out of compulsion
                  or fear but out of the love they have for the person who has saved them from
                  their former captivity.

                  • averagjo

                    Think of it in terms of a freed slave who has no-where to go
                    and nothing he can do being offered a job, a home and a salary and it’s his
                    choice, this is the true definition of a bond-servant. As far as subduing our
                    flesh goes, it is something that as we gain closeness with God we want to do
                    what is pleasing to him, we see the sins we committed as taking us away from
                    God and in our desire to please him and be pleasing to him we choose
                    differently. I want you to know I don’t see this at all as an attack, I see you
                    exposing your heart and fears I will never judge you for that. I know that the
                    Church has not done a good job of love and understanding and being the image of
                    Christ. We have certainly lost our way and our first love which is of Christ
                    and sharing his love. You have not angered or hurt me you’ve shown me where you’ve
                    been hurt, but I am here to tell you, you don’t need to hurt anymore.

                    As far as I Carolyn being centered in Christ when we are
                    both living for Christ we can give eachother that unconditional love. This is
                    not to say that we don’t have arguments and disagreements, but we default to
                    love not anger.

                    Yes I know those who are called Christians can be
                    judgmental, hateful, vengeful and generally mean spirited. One thing I would
                    ask you to remember though, Christians being that way proves only that they are
                    human, they are not representing Christ when they have those attitudes and
                    judgement they are in the flesh, they may claim to be in the “spirit” but they
                    are speaking in the flesh. I know this to be true because I have had these
                    struggles myself.

                    Yes Crystal you have given a lot of insight and showed me
                    where I can better show the love of Christ to those around me, I want you to
                    understand something, I am not trying to convert you through my talk I am doing
                    what Christ has commanded me to do, to love you where you are at, you are is
                    his beautiful and intelligent creation in my eyes, you deserve to be loved and
                    feel loved. Crystal God loves you so truly, madly and deeply and you are his
                    joy and delight. I want also to let you know that God has no desire to see you
                    turn off your mind or your intelligence, he gave that to you to use and he
                    delights in the fact that you are using the intelligence he gave you. You
                    absolutely are doing your job right, you are bringing light, and do you not know
                    that God is the light of the world? He is using you as his light even though
                    you fear he has rejected you, he hasn’t he has an incredible love for you. Also
                    yes you are speaking the truth, but you are speaking the truth in love, what an
                    amazing thing this is exactly what Christ calls us to do! Offense is only
                    natural because people have hurts, and not everyone will be open (even those who
                    should be). Civility is crucial for reaching people and helping them to change
                    their thoughts and attitudes. You have done this amazingly.

                    I can completely identify with mental Illness I have
                    struggled with this myself for many years, and I will say the Church does not
                    understand or show love and compassion for those with mental Illness the way
                    they should. I have experienced this myself; people think there is something
                    really wrong with you because you don’t process information the same way they
                    do. It’s horrible how quickly people treat people with mental illness it’s
                    really no different than physical illness it can be helped with medication and
                    it requires treatment. I applaud you for your strengths in the face of it. As
                    far as being dominated by God, that is not the God I serve I serve a God of
                    freedom who desires good things for us (as any good parent would) but allows us
                    to make whatever choices we decide. I am so sorry that your experience of
                    Christianity has been punishment, fear, threats guilt etc… I can truthfully
                    tell you that is no the God I serve, my God came to redeem us from those
                    things, those are very oppression based ideas and my God is not a God of oppression
                    he is a God of freedom and love, that’s why I believe in relationship with God
                    not with religion. Religion tells us what to think and how to act, a
                    relationship with God tells us who we are and who God is and how we fit into
                    his plan. He doesn’t want robots or zombies, he wants intelligent strong
                    outside of the box thinkers who desire to be known and loved. My God desires to
                    have us question everything including himself; oftentimes the Psalmists have
                    spoken in anger to God about their circumstances. Paul commends the Bereans
                    from not just taking his word for it, but testing if what he has told them is
                    true. If there are any consequences for not listening to God they are only
                    natural consequences that follow making bad choices, they have nothing to do
                    with God exerting his will over us. Think of it this way, God is a parent that
                    says be careful crossing the street, we don’t listen and get hit by a car, is
                    this God’s punishment for not listening? No it is natural consequence that
                    happened as a result of us not listening. Then again God might very well throw
                    himself in front of that same car to protect us, meaning God doesn’t always
                    make us bare even the full consequences for our sins he intervenes on our
                    behalf, how beautiful and wonderful is that? No need to ask forgiveness of me
                    Crystal you have only spoken out of your heart and soul about your hurts and
                    the sadness of your experience, I wish I could take those hurts and pains away,
                    but I pray that God will intervene there for you. How could I consider you a
                    bad person for your feelings? I do not judge you and neither does God, I must
                    reiterate you are a beautiful and wonderful creation and you deserve to be
                    loved. I hope in all I have said that you don’t feel I am trying to convert
                    you, I know this is something you are against, I hope I haven’t distanced
                    myself from you for revealing what the spirit of God has told me about you and
                    to tell you. I want to certainly keep talking with you, I send my love your way
                    as well, and I hope God blesses you in your efforts as well Grace, Peace and
                    love to you from God the Father and his son Jesus Christ. :)

              • Crystal

                I want to make it clear, I didn’t mean any of what I said to ridicule what you believe or make you feel bad about it. I am very happy you find fulfillment in your spiritual journey and if you keep talking to me you can share your insights. But my spiritual journey is different for valid reasons, because I have been called down a different road and I will shrivel up if I do anything else with myself. Also, I’m in pain, I don’t understand and I’ve seen so much negative about it that I WON’T do it.

                • averagjo

                  Hi Crystal,

                  I want to respond fully to your posts here because they are the heart of who you are. That said I don’t want you sitting on edge in the meantime waiting for my full response. Let me say, I love you, you are wonderful and incredible and I appreciate the person you are for who you are. This is the love of Christ I have for you, you matter and your feelings matter. Please don’t ever worry about losing me as a friend for being who you are, I will be your friend no matter what your choices decisions beliefs are because you are worthy of being loved, I will respond more later in the meantime just know that the God you’ve known of is not the same God who loves you so deeply.

            • averagjo

              Hi Crystal,

              OK now that we are on the right page lol.

              Well good I didn’t consider you were calling me a coward, but I have been called worse lol. That said I am relieved to see that our thoughts on these ideas are not as different as I had originally thought. I know there are still things we will disagree on in general but I think we are gaining an understanding of one another which in a world where it’s easier just to write off someone who doesn’t share your views exactly is quite wonderful. To the point of where I see feminism discourging men, I can only speak from experience but I have experienced in my previous marriage that uncomfortable reality that even though I was asked to be the leader, all of my choices were then brought into question, why are you doing that? I wouldn’t do it that way? I was made to feel belittled and lesser anytime I tried to be a leader. I feel men in general want to be good people and leaders as you mentioned. I also feel thought that there are moments when we feel the very reigns we’ve been handed being ripped out of our hands because as you mentioned (we are not trusted) I am not saying that men should automatically be trusted (this is hardly the case) but just like anyone who has never been placed in a position of power and authority, we are not always sure of what we are doing. Gentle coaching and loving correction are very helpful here, but oftentimes we are just told we are doing it wrong, without ever being told how to do it right. Again we as men are not mind readers, but most of us seek to be teachable, this is the connection I think that is missing in the male female relationship.

              • Crystal

                I can see why some of our thoughts are similar. I was raised in a somewhat traditional home where I’ve been protected by both my father and brother (my mother encouraged them to do it) and I’m grateful for my family, although I will say my mother is more protective of me than even the guys.

                “I feel men in general want to be good people and leaders as you mentioned.”

                I doubt that this is the case *generally* but there are quite a few nice men out there (take heart, you are one of them!). One good online male acquaintance I have informed me that a significant minority of boys and men only have one thing on their minds, and that men have two heads and use the wrong one to think with. He let me know if girls understood that about boys their relationships with them would be easier. However, please let me know where I said or implied *generally* and I’ll be happy to account for that as well.

                “Gentle coaching and loving correction are very helpful here, but
                oftentimes we are just told we are doing it wrong, without ever being
                told how to do it right. Again we as men are not mind readers, but most
                of us seek to be teachable, this is the connection I think that is
                missing in the male female relationship.”

                My question is, how do you think most men would like to be taught then? Also I’d like to encourage you to read some of these articles and think about them. Originally God created an *ezer kenedgo* for Adam, meaning a strong helper in Hebrew. In other passages in the Bible God is *also* referred to as an *ezer* = helper. Tell me this – if a woman is always supposed to be led by a man, what about God; why is he referred to in the same language as Adam’s helpmeet in the Hebrew?

                godswordtowomen.org/ezerkenegdo.htm

                rachelheldevans.com/blog/mutuality-adam-eve

                http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2010/08/nlq-faq-the-bible-and-the-nature-of-woman/

                http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2011/09/nlq-faq-the-bible-accountability-in-marriage-part-1-bringing-real-change-to-your-relationship/ **a must read**

                The last two articles describe a way to counteract a belief system that teaches total subjection of women, and yes I mean true subjection.

                You mentioned how men want to be taught to do it right. I think I would recommend, if you don’t read any of the others, please read the one I marked **a must read** and tell me what you think, okay?

                • averagjo

                  Hi Crystal,
                  Where was all this information when our conversation started! lol. Well done in research my dear well done. These points are very clearly and well made and I disagree with none of them. I suppose in my writing I was not always very clear at what I meant, but yes I do agree with the idea of a woman being equal to a man, and I love the picture of either standing face to face or directly in front of. This is a perfect representation. Yes I agree that women can in many ways be there to direct a mans path in a better direction and also give him a better understanding, my fear of feminism is only when it seeks to dominate males, being equal to me is much more important than having authority and subjects, to me Christ represented the perfect husband, in that he said if you are to be first in the kingdom of heaven then you are to be last on the earth and he who wants authority is required to have the heart of a servant. This is the perfect relationship between a husband and wife, he loves her and lays down his life for her and serves her needs because of love. She receives this love and in return gives her love back in helping him to become a better man! Joy untold this is amazing thank you for these articles they have opened my eyes to truth that has been locked away in the Christian Church, I need to send these articles to some Christian men I know, it definitely clears up any mystery as to Man’s need for a helper in woman not as an assistant but as a co-heir in the promises of God, Well done Crystal well done in deed!

                  • Crystal

                    That is a very meaningful compliment, thank you for being so receptive and for the lovely words, and you have helped make my day :)

                    I will respond more fully to your reply later but before I do, I would like to know, have you *ever* heard of the ezer kenedgo concept before I gave you those articles? Was it ever taught or spoken of in your church, your men’s
                    groups, or anything? Or is this something you’ve only just discovered today? I’m asking because I want to know what you know about this concept, and also because I would like to know what the church emphasises in regards to marriages.

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,
                      The truth is this is something I have always believe to some degree but never had the words for it. I think to a large degree it is lost language within the church and that men are decidedly against women in leadership roles because of it, not that I don’t have female leaders in my Church but by and large I see men looking down their nose with disdain at their wives for not being subject to them, this has been a problem to some greater or lesser degree in all churches I have ever attended. It is good knowledge to have and I am excited to share it.

                    • Crystal

                      “The truth is this is something I have always believe to some degree but never had the words for it.”

                      I can understand that. I always was egalitarian to a degree yet never had the words for it either. It helps to get the words for what you believe or are going through, as there is something powerful in having your sentiments or experiences named and affirmed by another; it helps you to think you are not alone.

                      How could you be so open to something like this while in the midst of an environment that promoted abuse, and also traditional roles (ie men leading and serving in theory, but men leading without serving in practice, etc)? Also do you realise that the promise of a man dying for his wife is
                      something that will *rarely* be faced in Western culture, because it is generally so *safe* here? My question for the traditional roles crowd is why should women submit to man’s leadership without question, based on such a highly mythical possibility?

                      “I think to a large degree it is lost language within the church and that men are decidedly against women in leadership roles because of it”

                      Well, considering the current church climate, that would make sense. Sounds like we have some reclaiming to do!

                      “not that I don’t have female leaders in my Church”

                      Now that’s a step forward in the right direction! Although I am curious to know, I thought churches that sang hymns were conservative churches that wouldn’t allow women to be pastors. Do you have women pastors at your church and if so what is the typical feeling and belief about them? Also in what capacities do women lead in your present church?

                      “but by and large I see men looking down their nose with disdain at their wives for not being subject to them”

                      They do, don’t they? Mansplaining the Bible, and all of this stuff. I’ve heard it all – three of my relatives are going to pop out babies. Also if you get pregnant don’t be upset the birth control didn’t work or you’re not a good mother. You’re only a good mother if you’re a stay-at-home mother.

                      Also lots of sermons demanding intimacy from women as their conjugal duty; and they never mind enthusiastic and informed consent. What do women want? Love. What do men want? Respect. Women should never divorce abusive or adulterous husbands. Ninety percent of marriage books are aimed at women rather than men. Christian (and secular) romance novels including the Fifty Shades
                      saga exalt and glorify abusive men as heroes. Have you ever read or heard of Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (now her book The Last Sin Eater had a very positive message for Christians but this romance I mentioned is one to put chills down the spine). The Bible does not allow women to be pastors, and says they are saved through childbearing (and I bet Paul didn’t mean painfree childbearing either). The list goes on and on.

                      In what ways have you seen men looking down their noses
                      with disdain at their wives for not being subject to them?

                      “this has been a problem to some greater or lesser degree in all churches I have ever attended.”

                      Can you tell me at least some of the ways you have observed it has been a problem in all the churches you have ever attended – both greater and lesser extremes if possible? As for me I’ve heard enough to last a lifetime.

                      “It is good knowledge to have and I am excited to share it.”

                      That’s great, I look forward to hearing the results of your
                      endeavours and seeing lives changed because of it. By all means pass the message on!

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,

                      Slight segue to begin this conversation as I feel this is something everyone needs to be aware of, Hitler’s Mien Kampf (or my struggle) with its horrific depictions of Jews and other races, is being reprinted legally for the first time in some 60 odd years, that said it is a critical look at the document from a more modern perspective, but the thing I am fearful of is that it’s currently a best seller in Germany. It’s also selling out online in places that are retailing it. Now knowing what I know of you feelings of Hitler and the Nazi’s do you see this as some one re-releasing a historical document for the sake of critical thinking? Or do you think (as I do) that this is a major concern of our culture being re-indoctrinated into this Machiavellian scheme to reintroduce concepts of the things we’ve talked about such as Euthanasia of people who are disabled mentally or physically, Eugenics based abortion and the like? I frankly am terrified at the idea, but I would be curious of your opinion (we can take this conversation to another forum if you can think of a better one).

                      As to how I could grow up with ideas contrary to the abuse I suffered? Well I guess it comes down to my faith, you see I have seen evidence of the truth of who Jesus was and the way God expected a father to treat his wife and children in little glimpses through connection with other people of faith and through my early study of the bible and it’s concepts. Again I couldn’t tell you one way or another why I felt the way I did, I just felt there was something missing between the way I was raised and what I saw of the world. The funny thing is before my Dad become a right wing conservative nut job, he was a marijuana smoking, free love advocating, tree hugging hippy (the irony is not lost on me). So he could be very loving and understanding at times, and then at other times he could be one of the most hate filled controlling, domineering, abusive bastards on the face of the earth. The contrast was never an easy one for me, but I learned at an early age that the is a duality of mankind, the broken abused sinful nature, and life giving loving encouraging nature. I won’t say for a moment that the things my dad did to me were alright, what I will say is that for all the bad that was done “to” me a lot of “good” was instilled in me in the process. (some sort of a what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger idea.

                      Will add more soon.

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,

                      This is in response to another post that was on if abortion is made illegal will adoption rates spike.

                      Hi Crystal,

                      Yes off topic seems to be our specialty these days!

                      If there is one thing I respect in the world of science
                      higher than almost any other discipline It’s behavioral psychology. I am a behaviorist by nature and I see things mostly through
                      the scope of nature vs. nurture. I am not alone however
                      because there are actually many Christian Behavioral Psychologist’s here in the states. That said my understanding of human nature is that we are a product of our environment as much as we are a product of our genetics. Men I believe genetically (and science also
                      proves this point) build muscle more easily, and also tend to grow more broad in stature. Women for a large part have to work hard to attain and keep muscle mass and also are generally of a more slender build by nature. Men tend to be more right brained (task oriented) this is why men are less capable of listening to a problem and more capable of trying to “fix“ a problem. Women tend to naturally be much better listeners and multitaskers than men. I can say from my own experience that being tasked with two very focused responsibilities leaves me incapable of doing either one very well. With women I have known they are capable of talking on the phone, making dinner, supervising the children, making a shopping list in their heads, while the dog is barking at the door to be let out. For another example they are also capable of taking a call, while typing a memorandum with 3 co-workers discussing an issue nearby, making a cup of Coffee while maintaining a vigilant eye on their co-workers work station to make sure no one touches their stuff. These may be some extreme examples but I hope it points out the different strengths and weaknesses between men and women.I believe that adaptation can occur though and that men can become better multi-taskers and women can become more focused thinkers, it’s not what your born with After all it’s what you become, but we are all born with inherent
                      strengths and weaknesses.

                      I will agree that there should be more women in certain
                      environments to help to balance out the inequities of an all male work force, that said I think there are places where men do better with other men (in the most extreme of combat situations for instance). Just
                      as I would say that in situations that require extreme sensitivity to women and their emotions (such as my idea for a rape recovery center) that female Practitioners would be a much better fit than male ones. (Feel free to disagree with me on these points as these are just my opinions).

                      Going back to the idea of hormones, I think men have to
                      become more in touch with their emotions, though I don’t think hormones will truly cause any difference in this.I believe that genetically speaking the brains of males are more tuned to the right brain by nature, I believe through nurture men can open up to the
                      left side (feeling brain) more but only through experience and time. Women also do not automatically seek to be more logical in their thought, they are generally more socially concerned than discoverers and explorers. Women tend to be more focused on caring and concern for the needs of people around them than about making the newest gadget or automobile.

                      There are always exceptions to these things, as myself I
                      tend to be a more emotional male. I don’t come by it naturally as for one, it wasn’t modeled and two I don’t always seek to be emotional, sometimes I seek to be logical, but it all depends on where I am at, at the moment. I have had male doctors who have seemed more focused on treating symptoms and treating my overall health like they would treat a car or a house (fix the surface Issues but miss the underlying cause. Where I have had female doctors who were
                      much more interested in knowing how my medical issues made
                      me feel as well as the physical ailment that went along with it, which I find to be a much more holistic on the whole.

                      Yes I believe in a creator with a grand design, I believe (even
                      though men and women both struggle with this issue) That men and women both need each other. I believe that God set it up this way from the very beginning and why Eve was taken out of Adam was because she was quite literally (bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh) if you will the missing part of man (his emotional nurturing side is a woman) (The missing part of woman her logical thinking explorer discoverer side is a man) Together they should be able to accomplish amazing things, separate they will both struggle to maintain. This does not mean a women needs a husband or a man needs a wife as much as both need male and female influence in their lives. Some of my best team members have been women as they have helped me to see things from a completely different view point. I actually have a harder time relating to males these days because I have become more in touch with my emotions that logical thinking leaves me feeling flat, I am a very logical individual but I also crave emotional stimulation and I love art and music and culture. I grew up not with a generally good feeling about women, but I came to understand just how much I need them in my life I think if all men and women can find that balance we can create friendships and relationships that are effectual and last the test of time.

                      I think again the best way to encourage this is by starting
                      the conversation, which is what we are currently doing (now to get the other 6 billion people on board)

                      I feel women need a strong counterpart because that is what men were created to be (Physically) I believe that our society has lost this idea and made women feel like they can’t trust men (men have been the majority cause for this) and that women feel they need to protect themselves. I don’t see women as incapable of protecting themselves, I think it’s good in our current culture that more women know how,
                      my problem is I don’t think women should have to protect themselves, I think men need to be respectful of women and loving to women and therein lies the problem, we aren’t doing that. We as men are failing in our God given responsibilities and it breaks my heart to see it.
                      They may be roles yes, but if that is what God intended it to be, perhaps the problem is that “as with many things” men have screwed it all up and we need to take back what we gave away willingly,
                      our role to provide, love and protect.

                    • averagjo

                      Oh to clarify, no this is all new to me, but it was interesting because I thought of a hymn that I’ve sang in church called “come thy fount of every blessing” in it there is a line of that goes “here I raise my Ebenezer”. I was always confused by this line as the only Ebenezer I’d ever heard of was Ebenezer Scrooge, which didn’t sound like what the author meant. So I looked into it a little while back and It was referenced as something powerful and of God. I just took it at face value back then and left it there. Upon looking it up today though, it gave me a whole new perspective. The passage in the Bible talks about one of the rulers of the time placing an “Ebenezer” as a way to have protection from the philistines. Curious I looked further into it and it was basically translated as a helper rock, curious further as how a rock could be helpful in the regards he was using it I looked further and saw that this was no ordinary rock. It was a rock that had been ordained with power by God for the purpose of protection! Wow what an amazing concept and when I compared that concept to the of Ezer Kenedgo it further opened my eyes. I saw what the meaning was truly for women for man “God’s Ordained and powerful helper.” That’s a much more Authoritative title than “help mate” or “help meet” I am beginning to see your point much more clearly thank you for assisting me in this process it has been a truly enlightening experience :)

                    • Crystal

                      Thank you for sharing your insights; they are most helpful and I never considered the hymn “Come Thou Fount” that way myself. I recommend you do a Bible study in your church or home group on what you’ve learned; it could be helpful to people.

                      Thanks for answering whether you knew or not too. I am not surprised that you did not know anything about this, really; all the church really seems to teach is a cultural understanding of the Bible rather than the way the Bible was really written in the times of the ancient Jewish people. This information must be very new to you and I am happy to be part of this journey, assisting you to be a better Christian, a better partner, and a better person. I am curious though, how do you reconcile your beliefs that man should lead with this knowledge you just gained? Do you see a conflict there or do you think that the concepts of
                      male leadership and female co-leadership/mutual submission can work together in harmony?

                      Just curious – from what you know of me, do you consider me or what I believe the type of system to uphold suppression of males, or females, or neither? I ask because I want to be sure I’m not crushing other people in my quest for equality regardless of sex. Also I’ve been accused of suppressing women because of my strong PL stance, which is very hurtful as I have a strong passion for many things feminist.

                      BTW you said “I suppose in my writing I was not always very clear at what I meant”. You were very clear what you meant and I wanted to show you something you might not have even considered before. Also I’m glad you disagree with none of the points raised in the articles. You said “being equal to me is much more important than having authority and subjects” – that is excellent but how do you reconcile this with man being head and leader; I do not understand.

                      I think you can understand a little better now why I took issue with some of your statements about men and leadership. I had heard them before and I have always heard them used as a way to push women down, I think
                      partially as a reaction to the fear of emasculation (as you have mentioned before), yet I also appreciate your amazing open-mindedness even to positions you disagree with. You are a smart and curious individual and you should never be afraid to ask questions because you should rather desire questions that can never be answered than answers you can never question. I want to understand: does your dislike of certain aspects of feminism stem from a certain fear that men could lose their masculinity in the process, or be dominated and squashed by feminist belief? I ask because my intention is to understand and care about your concerns rather than dismiss them; also, I hope I am not repeating myself
                      in this but I’m rather trying to address and ask for a thorough explanation of this quote if you haven’t given it already: “my fear of feminism is only when it seeks to dominate males”.

                      I encourage you to listen to women share their experiences
                      in the church, part of the reason for this is good leaders listen to those under them rather than boss them about. More often than not it’s been hard for us at times. Like I said I’m an ex-Christian but I’ll do anything to assist Christian feminists in their work. Have you ever read J. Lee Grady’s Ten Lies the Church Tells Women? Very powerful book and I think you would enjoy it. Although I have to say I disagree with his theological background (New Apostolic Reformation – which is heretical and theologically unbiblical) I think he has it right on this issue of women in the church. It was a very eye-opening book. It’s good that you would try to share this information with other men, too; thank you for trying to lead them right with the new info you acquired and I will try to help you in this area more if you’d like that.

                      You also have communicated to me things I did not know,
                      from a guy’s perspective, how to treat males better and be more sensitive to their needs as well, which is the job of a good feminist. Sometimes I worry a lot about suppressing men although sometimes the things I worry about are
                      legitimate areas for concern like pornography and sexual harassment. I don’t appreciate statements like “Women are more intelligent than men” and “Men’s sexual appetites deserve to be suppressed” because I think that’s very suppressive language for guys and I would like men to feel equal with me; no higher, no lower. The majority of feminists generally embrace egalitarian thought, rather
                      than an all-out emphasis on matriarchy. Although it does need to be noted that when quite a few feminists speak of matriarchy they speak of it as a desire to empower women and help the world to feel female influence, or to study past
                      societies where matriarchy was the norm, rather than to suppress males. I can understand your concern when I read things like “All men are oppressors”, “All women are our sisters”, and “Men deserve to spend time in the penitentiary”. I will be happy to explain at least the first two of these statements from a feminist perspective but I admit such sentiments can also be ambiguous and be used to
                      punish men and paint them negatively; yes, some feminists do speak of men negatively due to their VERY negative experiences with them. Personally I don’t call myself a feminist but I have read feminist theory enough to understand what it teaches and that is part of the reason I don’t belong to the PL movement although I am personally PL, and politically so on the legality question.

                      Finally, if your wife ever wants to comment I’m keen to hear a third voice as it could make the discussion more fun :)

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Again Crystal,
                      For the sake of not writing another book lol. I will try to just respond to the basic points of what you are writing here.

                      It seems you have caught me, I was trying to minimize the points I had made earlier in regards to Men and women roles. I sometimes feel the need to express myself in terms that are stronger if only to make my point more clearly, the truth is my understanding of the headship has changed dramatically since we have started talking as well. The beliefs you have espoused have always been my “true” beliefs but being in the Church has certainly influenced some of my speech and attitudes. Thank you for calling me on that, I see your point your reactions to my words were justified and I see that even more clearly now. I don’t see that you have been oppressive at all. Genuinely you have been kind and understanding, there are points of feminism that seem oppressive to males from the things I have heard, but that being said… perhaps those things I heard don’t represent “true” feminism. Yes there seems to be a solidarity of sisters movement that tends to isolate men and this is what I experienced in the difficulties of my marriage to Susan. I was ostracized and she was supported, I was made out to be the absolute enemy and she was the victim. I know I did wrong in my relationship with Susan I wanted to do what was right but didn’t know how, and in the process I lost all support and even my desire to live. It was a rough time, but looking back now I understand why she did what she did, I also see why people took her side, (even my own Step Mother) but at the time all I felt was hurt and abandonment. Those are my negative experiences of Feminism and perhaps I had it coming but I feel like if someone could have explained it to me back then perhaps it could have helped, I will respond more later have a meeting to attend take care! :)

                    • averagjo

                      Ok back,
                      I feel if I had known the things I know now back then I could have been a better Husband and Father. I think I am coming to grips with what has been wrong in my own life. I am now seeing through your eyes that I was wrong in the way I treated Susan and my children, I feel sad for how I was back then, I wish that I had listened and changed before I had made such a mess of things. Thank you again Crystal for opening my eyes to truth, I can’t think of much else to say except that I pray I haven’t come on too strong and that I am thankful I met you. Take care dear Crystal and may you be blessed richly in your goals.

                    • Crystal

                      Averagjo, I wanted to write this to encourage you. I’ve been very busy hence I haven’t written back, but by all means please respond when you can.

                      I appreciate your humility, very much. It’s good that you can see where you went wrong and are trying to do right; take heart! Now that you know, you have another chance to get things RIGHT and that means so much to everyone. I am sorry the example of fatherhood before your eyes was not a good one but fortunately you can do better and I hope with all my heart that you can build a strong foundation of love and trust with your children still. As someone that grew up with an exceptional father please let me tell you, it means so much to a child to know that Daddy loves them, will talk to them, play with them, and be a parent and big buddy for them. I’m sorry you’re sad about it, please know I’m hurting right along with you.

                      No, you have not come on too strong at all; on the contrary you shine a good aura of positive energy and love. I appreciate your words to me a lot (although I am curious to know, if I were gay would you still have said – and meant – the same kind things? I have seen hypocrisy on this issue from many Christians – trust me, I know what you believe about *homosexuality* because I read your comments – but in your case, I hope so!). Also I realise it must be very hard for you to say that feminism has some good in it when some of its principles were used against you; it is more than I could do if I were in your shoes. I believe that feminism influenced the women to behave the way they did not just because you hurt them but because there were, and still are, very few emotional supports for women (there was a time when the woman would have been the enemy!), thus making them fiercely supportive of Susan. However I would rather not get into the dynamics of feminism being used to fight for women to the death, because I realise your heart is still broken.

                      Please know, my friend, that I want to support you in your quest to be a good human being, first and foremost; then a good man – warrior, leader, protector, as this is your temperament and there is a place for people like you in this world. I’ve got a few articles for you here, to help you more on your journey:

                      http://www.artofmanliness.com/2015/06/29/youve-got-to-be-a-man-before-you-can-be-a-gentleman/

                      http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/01/04/manvotional-true-and-false-manliness/

                      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zaron-burnett/guide-to-rape-culture_b_5440553.html

                      With all my love to you and Carolyn,
                      Crystal

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,
                      I wanted to comment on the articles you posted first. Wow amazing! I love the idea of authentic manhood, that it comes from being tested, that being a gentleman mean very little if you’ve never been tested. I do agree if you don’t have the capability to do wrong how can you know you can ever do right? There is definitely something to that idea that there must be darkness to understand the light. Now to your point about whether my comments were to be the same if you were gay (I am not sure whether you mean as a male or female) but since I’d mentioned in my last post, the hypocrisy my life is in some ways my answer would be “I hope so” because the she I feel towards myself is often mirrored towards others, I must admit this is another area I am broken in and in need of forgiveness. Yes I would like to feel though that ultimately I would because I would be and even bigger hypocrite if I didn’t. Love isn’t only for those who have it all figured out or are right in my sight, love is for everyone including the homosexual and transexual and everyone else who is a human being (also animals). I also think you are right about the situation with Susan and I should honestly be happy that people stepped in to help her. Even though it still hurts (especially since some of my struggle was due to mental health issues) but ultimately it was the right thing for her to do, to protect herself and our children, I see that now. Thank you for continuing to work with me even as you find out these things about me, it is hard to be this vulnerable but I am learning a lot in the process and I really appreciate the time you are taking to challenge me and help me gain understanding. Oh one last thing, the article on rape culture was incredible and I see now where as I am big and imposing I can use that for making people feel safer when I am around or less safe, I will remember this and it was truly heart breaking to know how women go around constantly in fear and aware of the potential of being raped, that is awful and sad and I desire to do whatever I can on my part to alleve that from now on.
                      Huge love to you Crystal and big hugs :)

                    • Crystal

                      I’m very relieved to hear you would try to love LGBTQ+ people, so you have answered my question. As you know already, I am female so I was meaning my question as would you treat me the same if I was gay or straight.

                      If you want to keep reading at The Art of Manliness by all means please do so. I also recommend you keep reading at places like Rachel Held Evans, Samantha Field (formerly known as Defeating the Dragons) and No Longer Quivering as well. Do I agree with everything on all these websites, no, but I am willing to keep an open mind and glean the best of all the options out there.

                      This quote from this page moved me, it’s the goal of how a man can be a good equal-rights activist while being manly too, in a nutshell:

                      “True manliness differs also from the false in its attitude to woman. Its knightly feeling makes it wish to defend her rights, to maintain her claims, to be her protector and advocate. False manliness wishes to show its superiority by treating women as inferiors. It flatters them, but it does not respect them. It fears their competition on equal levels, and wishes to keep them confined, not within walls, as in the Mohammedan regions, but behind the more subtle
                      barriers of opinion, prejudice, and supposed feminine aptitudes. True manliness holds out the hand to woman, and says, ”Do whatever you are able to do; whatever God meant you to do. Neither you nor I can tell what that is till all artificial barriers are removed, and you have full opportunity to try.” Manly strength respects womanly purity, sympathy, and grace of heart. And this is the real chivalry of the present hour.”

                      Taken from http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/01/04/manvotional-true-and-false-manliness/

                      “I also think you are right about the situation with Susan and I should honestly be happy that people stepped in to help her. Even though it still hurts (especially since some of my struggle was due to mental health issues) but ultimately it was the right thing for her to do, to protect herself and our children, I see that now.”

                      To be honest I don’t know the whole situation but if your ex-wife truly did anything wrong as well then that needs to be acknowledged because that is fair. That being said, I think you are right and you are having a good attitude about the whole thing, which must be hard. I can sense you are still in a lot of pain. Be strong, don’t be afraid. Take time out to heal and renew yourself and you will, in time, be restored yet there will always be scars. You are still grieving, that is okay. Don’t be afraid to express that even if you have to cry.

                      “Thank you for continuing to work with me even as you find out these things about me, it is hard to be this vulnerable but I am learning a lot in the process and I really appreciate the time you are taking to challenge me and help me gain understanding.”

                      In my heart of hearts I hope I’m not being biased, and am being equally sensitive to both your side of the story and hers. However I accept the compliment and say that you also are making me think through things I never considered before. Don’t be afraid to push through the pain and the ring of fire (both terms connected with painful childbirth, interestingly enough; and yes, it takes intense strength from every part to do this) by reconsidering your positions and being open to correction where you went wrong; joy and healing will come from it. Yet don’t melt your identity away, but hold your own. Where you were legitimately wronged, don’t be afraid to say it. But when you have legitimately wronged others, don’t be afraid to face it either, because I hurt for your ex-wife and your children too. Of course I will continue to be your friend, I see that you are open-minded and genuine. You’ve put your soul in my hands and I intend to see to it that your confidence is honoured.

                      I would like to know that your wife is fine with our discussions too. I don’t want her to feel left out or to worry about anything inappropriate as my intention is to strengthen your marriage not weaken it.

                      “Oh one last thing, the article on rape culture was incredible”

                      Thank you for acknowledging it and desiring to do right as a result. You will be rewarded in the long-run. Please, this IS a way you can protect AND empower us women at the same time. It will make you feel good for protecting us, and it will make us feel good because we can be treated with equality and respect. Well done, bro :)

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,

                      Just wanted to say thank you again, I will respond to these tommorow as I have been busy with family tonight. Just wanted to wish you sweet dreams and a pleasant nights sleep. Love you huge and will talk more tomorrow :) Cyher hugs from Carolyn and I :)

                    • Crystal

                      Thank you so much for your kind words, grateful cyberhugs offered in return and hope that both of you also have the best of dreams, look forward to the chat tomorrow :)

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,

                      Seemed I didn’t respond to this one, so I want to make sure
                      I give it the proper attention as it has been several days, I also want to
                      apologize as I have been busy with my family this weekend and I didn’t mean to leave you thinking I had forgotten to respond. I will try in the future to let you know what is going on so you can know when to expect a response.

                      Yes I feel everyone is deserving of love, it doesn’t matter
                      what labels we have or society gives us the truth is that if I follow the
                      teachings of Jesus I am to love everyone first, and part of love is definitelysharing the gospel and giving them the chance to decide for themselves if they want to accept it or reject, but yes I can love people who are LGBTQ+ and as mentioned some of that has to do with my own issues of confusion about sexual desire. Yes I would most certainly treat you with the same tender loving care if you were lesbian as you are deserving of my love and respect regardless of
                      your sexual orientation.

                      I will most certainly continue reading the art of manliness
                      as I see there is a lot of great discussion about the truth about what it means to be a man. Those other websites sound really good as well, and when I have time I will definitely look more at these.

                      Great points in the article you mentioned, false maleness is exactly that, it’s a faux embellishment of who men should be. Men mistake strength for power and right for being right. Even though men should be thought of as having strength using that strength as power to hurt oppress or abuse is not right. And even though men should be righteous (right acting) they shouldn’t try to prove that they are in the right, they should try to be open to the idea that they may be in the wrong, so that they can truly be in the right and not just imagine they are without having justified their position. I agree though if a man is truly help a woman to be all she can be, he will love her protect
                      her and create an environment where it is safe to do so, including giving her a safe place to land if it doesn’t work out.

                      Yes my situation with Susan was uncomfortable but it also taught me a lot, and I am growing to see that even though she may not have made all the right decisions (or maybe she did) that she had the right attitude which was to protect her and the children, that I cannot any longer fault her for doing. I do cry sometimes about it, because it was a loss that cost me everything and I still don’t know why it happened that way completely (I can see the pieces just not the whole puzzle) but I am beginning to accept that I may never know all the reasons why, and I am also accepting that it’s ok if I don’t.

                      Thank you for this comment, I know your heart is in the
                      correct place and that your desire is to strengthen and encourage my
                      relationship with Carolyn, not to drag our relationship down and yes Carolyn is also well aware of this as well, and she is fine with It J

                      Yes I am beginning now to further understand the need for
                      men to stand in the gap and protect women from nefarious males who would do them harm or harass them, as well as doing my part to take away the alarm that is created by my own presence to calm and comfort when I am in the presence of a women so as to alleviate her fears of my intentions… This is one I can definitely work on doing right away :)

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,
                      Just a note to say, I think I have responded to all of your messages, if there is one I missed please let me know so I can respond to that as well. I pray you are having a wonderful day and that you are doing well, Love from Carolyn and I :)

                    • Crystal

                      Do you mind if I ask you to go back onto the friendship page because there are two I put up there?

                      Also, I’m very fond of both of you too, and hope your day is running just splendid! Yes I am having a good day but need to get back to my job soon. I apologise for not answering all your comments, don’t worry though it’s on my bucket list.

                    • Crystal

                      You also have made me think more about cis hetero men and their needs and desires. It’s been a concern of mine that these things are pushed to the side a lot in our culture, but we need to zone in on them more (and yes, I think this is a failing in certain aspects of modern feminism). I support cis hetero guys exhorting each other to be manly and strong and to celebrate their identities as human beings and men, as much as I support gender queer and trans to celebrate their identities, and women to celebrate theirs. This is why I can appreciate films like Faith of Our Fathers (one intention of that film is to celebrate masculinity, although its primary theme is the Vietnam War) as much as Suffragette (which is coming out soon and celebrates women’s fight for freedom in England) and learning about the struggles of non-cis and non-hetero people (which I don’t mind discussing in more detail as we keep messaging each other, if that’s okay with you).

                    • averagjo

                      Wow I didn’t know therw was a film coming out about the surragettes I will have to see that! Thank you for being understanding of my ignorance, I am sorry if I came off mysogonistic in the beginning. I am so happy to be learning these ideas now and I am joyful to start trying them out and sharing them with other men. You touched on something here that has caused me huge shame actually, I have myself struggled with same sex feelings, I know from the perspective of the Bible that is wrong and I have never acted on those feelings, neither would I since I am happily married. But I have fantasized about it before . The shame it brings me is not feeling masculine, like other men would look at me and call me gay, faggot or queer, So yes I do have an idea of what it would feel like to be descriminated against in this sense, I have also communucated these ideas to Carolyn and she says she understands and has helped me to feel better about it, she has helped me to understand that part of my desire is to be submissive in that way, and as strange as it sounds it has helped me to explore that side of myself without being unfaithful to Carolyn. I hope this isn’t too personal or weird I am sorry if it is, but yes I would be open to talking about those struggles, if I haven’t run you off lol.

                    • Crystal

                      I want to make something very clear to you: there is NOTHING inherently misogynistic in a man wanting to be a leader, or a protector. Some men are wired that way and it is fine for them to explore that side of themselves. The misogyny comes when a man insists that because someone else is a woman, she cannot lead, because some women are leaders at heart too.

                      I do not think all the teachings of the church on roles are bad per se, but they have been used to the detriment of others so much I find it hard to support them. Perhaps you might be interested in complemegalitarianism as an alternative theory, which basically means you believe in roles without hierarchy. I am egalitarian with a few old-fashioned leanings but personally I find the concept intriguing.

                      No, you haven’t weirded me out at all with mentioning your same-sex attractions. I hope you are – I don’t know how to say this – finding fulfillment in that area of your life without being unfaithful to your wife. Just curious – do you think being gay is a choice or an innate quality of birth?

                      Speaking of which, I was initially unsure but I think now I can bring you to this website to chat sometimes too; this woman is lesbian but is an Orthodox Sephardic Jew as well, by birth, and I think that, since you seem to like Jewish people so much you would find her website to be a very interesting place as you’ll probably learn about some elements of Jewishness and Jewish religion if nothing else. I love it already and I find the people to be very nice at that place:

                      allmydeamsarejellybeans.blogspot.co.uk

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,

                      To the question of being born Gay or it being a choice, I believe it is both, I have had both female and male sexual fantasies from as early as I can remember, sometimes I wonder if I wasnt molested as an infant because my sexual fantasy life has always been very strong. I feel that one can have those feelings and not act on them though, such as an addict who likes drugs but knows ultimately it won’t be good for them. That is where I stand though I will not stand anymore in personal judgement of those who don’t abstain because through you I am beginning to see it is not my place to judge, it is my place to love. I will definitely check out that website as I am curious as to what that looks like, I will tread carefully with my comments I promise.

                    • Crystal

                      Personally, I’m not sure. I just think being gay is something that develops with time. I find it difficult to believe in the gay gene yet at the same time it’s not a garment you can just magically toss off and on either. Yes some gay people have become hetero but it’s also happened the other way. Other folks have been this way since childhood. IMO it does not matter if they were born that way or chose it; I care about respecting people rather than standing in judgment of actions, provided they are consensual and genuinely loving. I know my opinions on this matter are not orthodox according to either conservatives or liberals but what matters is the way I treat others and support their right to be seen as human beings.

                      In regards to the website you might like to read a little before commenting, as you are going into a different culture as well as a different religion. Furthermore I encourage you to become a regular commenter both at SPL and here. Here, you will learn to speak truth in love about life issues, and at SPL they generally have such a neat forum of commenters, pro-legal abortion and pro-life. I have made friends there.

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,

                      I am sorry I didn’t clarify what I meant, I don’t think there is a gay gene either, but that doesn’t mean that I think people couldn’t be otherwise predisposed to homosexuality. What I mean by this, is I do believe in sins of the Father it relates to our sin nature. I see it as us being fallen there are lots of sins we can find ourselves in, now let me preface that comment by saying that what is sin for me may not be for someone else, anyway I look at it I am just a sinner saved by Gods amazing grace. We are all fallen in that we live in a fallen world, sin has confused everything and I feel only through connecting with God do we find truth, now that said I am not saying that every thing man claims about God is true either (from a Christian perspective or otherwise) I feel as Paul says, we all have to work out our salvation through fear and trembling, which sounds like an awful idea, but it’s actually quite freeing, it allows it to discover who we are as God molds us into his image. Again these are my theories I don’t count them as Gods because I only know what God has done in my life and told me, but I also know that God will reveal the truth to us if only we ask him.

                    • Crystal

                      I’m going to respond to this comment proper later but I will leave this thought for you to consider:

                      After speaking to you, I have noticed a certain pressure on men that women don’t seem to have (women have different types of pressures). It’s this pressure of being the right kind of man, the ideal, always a certain type of guy to be good enough, to be accepted as the perfect manly sort. Stop. Put that out of your mind for a while and be a GOOD PERSON. Think of yourself as a human being first and foremost and your masculine character (which in reality
                      comprises part of your personality) will naturally flow from that. It never works the other way around, ever; all it brings is a lot of confusion for those that are concerned about fitting in and a lot of heartache for those that cannot do it. God made us individual, not carbon boxes with “masculine” and “feminine” written on us. Every culture has a different understanding of what “masculine” and “feminine” means, and what roles pertain to which sex. Also anyone that doesn’t measure up is made to feel absolutely worthless and that is so unfair to them.

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,

                      Words of wisdom! Yes I am starting to see the duality of God’s nature represented in man and women. We as men tend to be encouraged to turn of the feminine, caring loving side and focus more on the tough bravado he man type. I think you are right I think focusing on being good to people and ourselves is more important than filling some role we were never meant to fill. I am not entirely certain that women have it any easier though, as it seems our society expects women to be quiet, peaceful and docile , when truthfully women should be allowed to be strong, vocal and independent. The truth is that with balance I think we will see both sides comin closer to one another in the process. Very good points here and we’ll taken, sometimes I think the most important thing is to be the best you you can be. Whatever that looks like is not always easy to know, but by males and females seeking to understand each other better I think we get closer to that goal :) I will respond more to your other comments tomorrow. Sleep well and have good dreams Crystal!

                    • Crystal

                      Words can’t express how deeply I esteem both you and your wife. Evidently the two of you had some tough occurrences to sort out. I respect you for being willing to make this journey and to critically and humbly examine yourself, and I respect your wife for supporting you in your journey.

                      Would you mind compiling for me a list of what you believed at the beginning of our conversation, and what you believe now, on the roles of men and women – but particularly men – in our society. Also, what beliefs have you retained on the role of men, and what beliefs have you discarded, so I know more clearly what you think?

                      Personally I think it is instinctive for many men to want to protect, and for some to want to lead; and there is no shame in this at all. In fact I would doubt a man is good if he was not protective; from what I have observed the trouble is balance, to know when to step in and when not to. Also I appreciate when a man* is willing to step up to the plate and take charge because it shows that he is an intelligent human being with an amazing mind. On that level I have tried to hear what you have said, and take your words to heart as I think it is as important for me to listen to your perspective as it is for you to listen to mine.

                      That being said, I still believe that some men aren’t natural born leaders and that is not shameful either but rather should be acknowledged for the sake of honesty. In short, the problem is not saying that men tend to be natural leaders and protectors – quite a few are! The problem is saying that a woman *is not allowed* to behave a certain way or to do certain things because those things she wants to do or those qualities she happens to possess are masculine by nature and should not be touched or had by a woman. What equal-rights activists and many feminists want is not for men to give up their power but for women and non-conventional people to share in it so that everyone is equal and can contribute their amazing abilities to both traditional roles; in other words rather than shoving you off your park bench all we want is for you to scoot over and make room for us too (as Sarahoverthemoon put it in one of her articles). In short I am seeking to express that while I appreciate the dilemma that men seem to find themselves in today, I also appreciate the dilemma of those that don’t fit the expectations of society, and wish to acknowledge both to the best of my ability.

                      *Usually I would say “person, regardless of sex or gender” but in this case I wish to underscore the point that the abilities of men who want to protect, lead, and provide are important and should not be dismissed or ignored.

                    • averagjo

                      Thank you Crystal,

                      Carolyn has been an amazing Ezer Kenedgo to me and as a sister you have as well. Thanks again. To comment on what has changed in my opinions since we started talking. I used to believe that women were under obligation to respect men without question. That women shouldn’t reveal a man’s abuse or other issues in an open way. I believed that a women should be questioned about her truthfulness in regards to her confessions of her husband. I believed men were not responsible to help with the rape culture as far as making women feel More comfortable and secure. These are all ideas that he changed in me, I now see why Naghmeh had to make it so public I also see why as a man it is my jon to re-assure women they are safe in my presence and why I am responsible to hold other men accountable to the same. I also see that women are deserving of love no matter what they say or do. That there is no justifiable reason for abuse mental physical, sexual, spiritual or any other. I see that women are not my competition but my partners in life. I see that it is not my job to have women submit to my authority, it is my job to bring them up as my equals. I see that sharing the reigns is ideal and the best thing a man can do in all his relationships. I see that there is unbalance in the relationship between men and women that needs to be rectified. I love your illustration of the bench and sitting there together not having one trying to shove the other on off. Wow you have changed a lot of my thinking in such a short time and I thank God for our paths crossing. I am seeing also more and more that women are.meant to be warriors as much if not more so in regards to changing our culture, that because of so much desparity for so long there needs to be vocal strong women defending others against the will of the status quo. Thank you again Crystal God has established within you such a loving strength and it’s a beautiful thing to see…

                    • Crystal

                      Thank you for your words. They are very kind and meaningful and I am deeply astonished at how open you are to thinking things through. I have to wonder what caused the heart change so rapidly, do you mined if I ask?

                      “I used to believe that women were under obligation to respect men
                      without question.”

                      My answer is that the only way for that to be possible is for a man to earn respect. If he wants to be known as a leader, protector, and provider he *must* walk the talk. Do I believe in roles? No, but I do believe in keeping your word and if that is what people claim about themselves I want to see them live up to it.

                      “That women shouldn’t reveal a man’s abuse or other
                      issues in an open way.”

                      I know we went over this – reconciliation. Like I’ve said before, I am all for reconciliation if it is the best course of action and as I said if there are children it is generally harder to know the right thing to do; however sometimes it has to be discussed and the man must be made to see the error of his ways even if that involves separation or divorce.

                      “I believed that a women should be questioned
                      about her truthfulness in regards to her confessions of her husband.”

                      Why? I believe egalitarianism is a far superior system in that no one gets away with anything bad like this regardless. However, for sake of argument if a man is to be a leader he has to held accountable for that responsibility. I find that too many men want the glory of these titles without taking their meanings seriously and I think they should *stop* it if they’re not going to live up to their word.

                      “I believed men were not responsible to help with the rape culture as far as making women feel More comfortable and secure.”

                      Really? How and what led you to that bizarre conclusion before you – thankfully – changed your mind?

                      You said, “I identify Masculine identity as being strong protectors, courageous in protecting the weaker but also being warriors.” Do you still think men should do this? Also, do you still think women need protectors, or do you think that women need to learn to protect themselves as well as having strong masculine protectors? Also do you still think part of the problem for women being treated badly is not teaching guys they need to be protectors? Because all of that stuff you said, I can agree with though I might interpret it somewhat differently. Also do you still fear being emasculated by certain aspects of feminism, like you mentioned to me before?

                      You ever heard of the movie The Next Three Days? There’s an example of a man loving his wife in action! I fell in love with the story almost right away when I realised what it was about.

                      In regards to sisterhood – I won’t lie, sometimes feminists do believe in the sisterhood of women and will use that to fight anyone oppressing them, so in a way it does represent feminism because it is a movement by women for women because of the inferiority status they faced in the past; however I think that at the same time that feminists would prefer to treat everyone as equals rather than to hate on and fight their male counterparts.

                      “I am seeing also more and more that women are.meant to be warriors as
                      much if not more so in regards to changing our culture, that because of
                      so much desparity for so long there needs to be vocal strong women
                      defending others against the will of the status quo.”

                      How can they do this?

                      Your wife is a good woman too, from the sounds of it – a good, virtuous woman. I think you should know, thanks for taking your belief in being a protector seriously. You are strong, intelligent and truly manly and I appreciate your heart for our sex because when you defend and support women, ironically enough, you *are* fulfilling that function commonly known as the male role – to protect, provide, and in some ways to lead others. I hope you feel ten feet tall by the time you finished reading this paragraph.

                      “Thank you again Crystal God has established within you such a loving strength and it’s a beautiful thing to see…”

                      This made me feel so happy inside, my heart danced :*)

                      Out of the risk of vanity why do you say that?

                      Two things though: PLEASE answer all my other comments, it would mean a lot if you would do this. Also, I think we need to steer the conversation back onto life issues, because I don’t want this to stray horribly off-topic or anything; this subthread is becoming very interesting and I think we need to carry it here:

                      http://ifightbullies.blogspot.com/2015/12/banned-from-rok.html

                    • averagjo

                      response part 1

                      Hi Crystal,

                      You are more than welcome; I pray that my words can be
                      healing salve from what you may have experienced as abuse from the church in
                      the past. The truth is that I see God in my life as being the reason for my
                      change in the heart and mind. It’s actually scriptural as the Bible say “Be not
                      conformed to the image of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of
                      your mind” That renewing is a process that take place through careful study and
                      understanding and sometime through re-evaluating ones views and attitudes.
                      There is another scripture that reads, “we work through our salvation through fear
                      and trembling” which as I have mentioned before sounds awful, but really what
                      it means it we take the time to think things through and don’t just
                      automatically assume we have it correct. The way I like to think of it is as
                      climbing a mountain, there are certain places that are secure footholds and
                      other places where if you put your trust there you could fall to your death, and
                      it’s only though careful re-assessment that we find true success. This is the
                      only way I can explain rapid change in my own life, for there is no need to
                      continue down paths and roads that lead to death (of relationships, friendships and
                      connectedness).

                      Interesting points about roles, I will say one place where
                      we may still disagree is in the ideas of roles, I believe that God has ordained
                      men to be the “head” of their households, now to preface this there is a quote
                      from the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” it goes “The man may be the head of
                      the household but the women is the neck” This is also one of Carolyn’s favorite
                      quotes about the male/female dynamic in marriage. The idea is that the Man may
                      have the last word, but there is a whole litany of conversations that must take
                      place before a man can make any large decision that has an effect on the whole
                      family, the woman has control of the household, but the man represents the
                      leader if only because that is the role God has placed him in. Again I am sure
                      we will not agree with this point completely with one another but that said I
                      want to also make it clear this is only in the marriage relationship outside of
                      that I see no man as having a position that is over a woman other than in the
                      normal boss/employee relationship that exists on both sides (male bosses over
                      female employees and female bosses over male employees.) Again to re-iterate no
                      man is no more important than any woman or vice versa but I believe all of life
                      is carried out with people in certain “roles”.

                      On reconciliation vs separation, my opinion has changed here
                      in that I think siding with whatever is the most safe is the best bet for
                      everyone, and I also am finding it deplorable that Saeed would openly say that
                      Naghmeh was lying instead of stating that there was truth to what she was
                      stating but that he wanted to work on this outside of the public eye. I feel
                      that is still a good idea if possible, but him calling her liar in a public
                      only furthers the division that he has already caused by his past abusiveness
                      and gives her no clear answer as to his “true” intentions to change.

                      I will have to look into egalitarianism; I have not studied
                      this idea very much. I like the idea of no one getting away with anything because
                      accountability is important. I do agree that men should be held accountable for
                      everything that they do; I guess what I still have a problem with is that as
                      humans we lie sometimes, even for good purposes. Though in cases of abuse I
                      think it’s better to assume someone wouldn’t lie about that, and I think that
                      is the part that has changed in me.

                      The rape culture thing was hard for me at first I must
                      admit, but then you have to recognize that there is a problem before you can do
                      anything to change it. I didn’t realize that women constantly felt insecure
                      about their safety in public settings. I honestly didn’t know what it felt like
                      for a woman to be walking alone down the street. I guess in my mind seeing
                      women as independent and strong (in some ways) lead me to feel that they were
                      capable of keeping themselves safe as much as I was capable of keeping myself
                      safe. Again this is one of those places where my understanding of women was
                      based on treating them as equals but not seeing how they may be treated differently
                      by other males. I honestly don’t know what would lead a man to do such a
                      horrible thing to any person. So I guess from that perspective I didn’t see
                      myself as much of a threat and I figured that women could handle themselves in this
                      situation. I realize now as a brother I should be protective of all women as if
                      they were my daughters or sisters, but in a way doesn’t this speak of an
                      inequality? I guess that’s where I am still confused.

                      I do still see men as being protectors, and yes I do still
                      think they should be protectors of the weak no matter their social status. As
                      far as women being able to protect themselves, I think it is a great idea for
                      everyone to find strength and power because you won’t always have a strong
                      protector around you and I believe everyone should have knowledge of self-defense.
                      I think the main problem with men not being the protectors they should be is
                      not having that knowledge passed down by their fathers. Ultimately though I think it comes down to
                      love and respect, if you don’t love someone you won’t respect someone. Any man
                      who hits, abuses, rapes or does any other despicable thing to a woman and says
                      he love her is a liar! Any man who talks down to a woman and makes her feel
                      less than him but says he still respects her is also a liar! That is what is
                      wrong is that a man’s idea of love and respect are completely broken only until
                      this changes will men be the protector of women that they should be. Women also
                      protect men not necessarily physically (although yes in that way as well
                      sometimes) but often in a way of helping them not to make the stupid mistakes that
                      would otherwise would lead to them doing things that are dangerous and too
                      risky.

                    • averagjo

                      Response part 2

                      Actually no I have never heard of The Next Three Days, I
                      will have to look into this movie.

                      I am glad to see that there is a desire for feminism to
                      embrace equality, I have not always known this to be the case, but it makes
                      sense that in the desire to balance the scales there needed to be some ideas
                      that may have sounded like a desire to make men feel inferior, if only to make
                      men feel what women had felt all along, that part I most certainly understand
                      and I am starting to see why it was necessary (and still may be in some cases).

                      I think for women to be the warriors they are meant to be they need to be like you,
                      questioning why things are the way they’ve been but being gentle about how they
                      go about it. I think this is the area where women can win men over to the idea
                      of equality and partnership. Instead of being angry and lashing out at men for
                      past transgressions, trying to understand why we think the way we do and why we
                      act the way we do without judging, and then suggesting that there might be a
                      better way, what an excellent way to bring people onto the same page, and of
                      course! It’s also scriptural “a gentle answer turns away wrath”

                      Yes this part gets to the heart of the matter! Carolyn is a
                      good woman and you know what? You are a good woman as well, and in fact any
                      woman who is protected, loved and cared for is capable of being a good woman. I
                      see this by design that God has made a way for those who are men to provide
                      this safety and security to be all they can be. I am not saying a woman is
                      incapable of doing well on her own, don’t misunderstand me. I just feel like
                      when things are in balance and women feel loved and supported by men and by the
                      other women around them there are so much more capable. When we can put down
                      our defenses and open up to one another we find that our differences are just
                      ways that we “fit” together, a woman balances out a man and a man balances out
                      a woman. The yin and yang work perfectly in bringing out the best in on
                      another. I don’t know if I feel ten feet tall, as much as I feel better about
                      my place in the world. I want to be a defender and protector of women and to
                      have women feel safe to talk to me and confide in me without worry of where I
                      stand in my respect of love for them.

                      I say this because you are so open to listen to others ideas,
                      but at the same time stand firm in your convictions. Yet even through that you
                      are gentle and loving in your responses, I feel very secure telling you just
                      about anything and feeling that you won’t judge me, you always challenge me! But
                      that is a good thing and I can see the results all around me of the work you
                      have done in motivating the changing of my heart. Thank you Crystal you have
                      been a huge part of the miracle my life needed. You should be happy inside you are an amazing
                      agent for change and a beautiful instrument of life giving ideas.

                      Trying to get to all of your comments lol, I will make my
                      way over to that other site to try to keep things on topic J

                    • Crystal

                      I briefly touched on Return of Kings with you. It’s a site for guys, and yes, even some PL and conservative people have commented there and seem to like it. Ironically enough, here’s an article written by them on how to encourage a woman to procure an abortion, all for the guy’s benefit of course:

                      http://www.returnofkings.com/16089/how-to-convince-a-girl-to-get-an-abortion

                      Please read that and tell me what you think.

                    • averagjo

                      Ugh either I have the stomach flew or I just devoured some of the sickest malfeceance ever spouted on the Internet. I think I need some spiritual epiqack :(. What a horrible article, the only redeeming factor is that a lot of the commentators saw though it and we’re quick to point out how terrible it is to do this to a woman and how there is a special place in hell for men who do this (not that I agree with that statement) but at least there is some balance. I am appalled and astounded as I have been for their other articles, which I will comment on as well, but man I’d rather eat glass than read another article like that one :(

                    • Crystal

                      Here is your comment:

                      blog.equalrightsinstitute.com/friendship/#comment-2517829608

                      This is my reply:

                      You said, “I will try to respond to this one quickly. I cant understand how anyone who is pro life could stand behind this article how can anybodyRationally think that
                      this is a good idea.”

                      I don’t think *some* – and yes, the keyword is *some* PL and pro-family people would stand behind the article so much as the website, because to them it might represent pro-family values, or state their complaints with feminism. Do people have valid complaints against the feminist movement? Yes, they do, because no one is perfect and anyone can make mistakes or stand for something wrong, even feminists. However, RoK is not really the ideal place to find or express these complaints.

                      “I certainly hope there are not people who are family friendly and pro life who are anyway supporting this website. If there are I feel sorry for them because
                      they are part of the problem and nothing about the solution.”

                      This is how I see it – I’m not sure RoK (which they stole from Return of the King in the Lord of the Rings series) is officially tied up with conservatives, or anything (in fact some of their articles seem to express disdain for conservatives while others seem to love on them). What I am saying is that I think some conservative people might wander onto it and think what a wonderful site it is – without having seen all that pro-abortion stuff, etc – because it expresses their views on feminism and PC behaviour so well, yet at the same time as far as I have seen conservatives don’t seem to take delight in shaming fat people and strongly abhor Communism (one of the guys writing articles calls himself General Stalin which I think would make most conservatives jump in
                      their tracks). The problem is not so much any conservative support such a website might receive (I have seen a few conservative-minded people comment
                      there, and some people use some of their better-written articles out of sincerity) but rather that quite a few in the minority tend to hold similar views to the operators of the RoK website, but tend to say these things in much
                      more refined and “positive” language. In short, I don’t think that, say, Mark Driscoll would love on RoK publicly or say conservatives should support them or anything, but he sure talks like them. Also, quite a few in the Biblical Patriarchy movement would talk like the RoK crowd although I’m not sure any of them have ever so much as nodded heads at each other. If ever I see a PL or pro-family person say anything in favour of RoK then I will be happy to point out the pro-abortion article and see what they have to say about it. I can just hear some people responding now, “Oh, I can accept some of the other stuff, just not that.” I hope, however, that I can reach the consciences of others and that they will be sufficiently horrified to turn away from this stuff.

                      “There needs to be accountability when it comes to the pro-life movement if there are people who can actually justify anything that is said on this website.”

                      In short, as I tried to explain in my long-winded passage, it would be the diatribes against feminism and political correctness that would be likely to draw people in, if anything. Not so much the Fat-Shaming Week that Return of Kings has written up to promote shaming against fat women, nor teaching how to get “sl*ts” laid – which is all stuff I doubt conservatives could support in
                      good conscience although I suspect I might hear whining about political correctness as regarding fat people at the same time. Another point I’m trying to make is that some *could* find certain elements of this site justifiable based on some of its anti-feminist and anti-gay sentiments and that really worries me.

                      “That said I cannot imagine asking any woman,Either through coercion or persuasion to eliminate the life that is growing inside of her. I cannot imagine treating someone with such disdain and disregard.”

                      I agree with you, and anyone that does this is treating two people with disdain and disregard, not just one. I know guys badgering girls to get abortions is something that definitely occurs. Many legal abortion advocates either disapprove of it because abortion should be a “choice” for the woman free of coercion from outside influences, or they outright ignore or deny that this is happening. What they are recommending in this article is incredibly deceitful and manipulative, not to mention murderous. I don’t know why it is that the poor little lamb always has to be the one to die for the parents’ freedom; such a system of thought seems so incredibly heartless to me.

                      “I abhor the fact that there are men who would do this end I pity them for their mistakes because in the end everyone will have to give a confession for why they did what they did, that is my belief. I know that may seem heavy but I believe we are accountable for what we do in this life in the next life as much as we are in this one if not more so.”

                      As a Christian how can you hate the sin but love the sinner in this case, because they want to force the women to kill their unborn babies; just curious as to
                      your rationale here. In some ways we can’t be all love on this stuff but gotta call it out for the junk it is as they’re reproductively objectifying the mother AND killing an innocent human life in the process. So I wouldn’t call it a mistake but rather a morally reprobate and abhorrent crime, because murder (morally speaking, although legally abortion is not considered as such) is far, far worse than a “mistake”. These guys are not only snuffing out God’s little lights to the world but also imposing their wills on women’s bodies, yes there is such a thing as reproductive objectification.

                      In regards to answering for your mistakes in the next life what theological or Scriptural basis do you have for this belief?

                      “If I knew a young man who was considering this I would tell him that the pain that he would feel later in life and the pain that it would cause the young woman woUld in no way be worth whatever relief he would think he would receive as a result. And I would remind him that he is responsible for her as much as he is responsible for himself in that matter so if he wants to be judged for her
                      actions and his own then that is what will happen as a result.”

                      In regards to how you would answer a young man who behaved like this, the first part of your reply on this issue is excellent, although it must be noted that not all people feel pain or regret over abortions. Some people shrug it off with the carelessness of casting aside a cloak. I am really not joking; sites like Imnotsorry exist that discuss how women don’t feel sorry for abortion. I suppose if you’ve been told that your child is a clump of cells (it *is* at the beginning, it’s called a zygote) and you have the right to evict this potential intruder out of you, then you wouldn’t feel sorry if you felt it necessary, would you? However other women have felt intense grief and guilt and have resented the men in their lives that forced them, and they have every right to feel that resentment. But I digress.

                      Do you realise how many guys fear paying child support for an unwanted child? Sometimes they will even go so far as to threaten, manipulate, or in some cases kill the
                      mother if she will not abort. Some choice, eh? What options would you suggest to a young man who does not wish to pay child support especially if his partner promised him that she would not keep the child but decided on seeing the baby she wanted to be a parent?

                      As for the second part of your comment, you mentioned that the man “is responsible for her as much as he is responsible for himself in that matter so if he wants to be judged for her actions and his own then that is what will happen as a result”; could you please expound on what you mean here?

                      Also, might you be referring to this sort of sentiment, because at least in some ways if not in all it sure sounds like the following paragraph:

                      “The history of abortion in America should bring more shame to men than to anyone. No pregnancy happens without a man. Men should take the responsibility for
                      their own purity and to protect that of women.* When they fail to do this, they should be the first to accept full responsibility for the consequences of their actions, including the conception of a child. As George Gilder argues in Men and Marriage, when men exercise deep loyalties to women and children, when we take responsibility to protect and defend them, we are at our best; when we violate those loyalties, we are at our worst. We become abusers on the one hand, or passive cowards on the other. We place ourselves under the rightful scorn of women and under the judgment of God.”

                      Quoted from page 285 of the book Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn, under the section therein called “Final Appeals”

                      *I would like to touch on this point at a future date, examine it from all angles, both pros and cons

                      I mentioned this in my reply:

                      “Another point – if men are allowed an opinion against abortion will not some men assume they have a right to have an opinion FOR abortion? Which is a potential
                      downside to Josh’s arguments I think.”

                      Would you agree or disagree with such an opinion?

                      Last but not least here is a shocking article at Secular Pro-Life Perspectives discussing a children’s book dealing with the topic of abortion. I believe you might want to tear out your hair after reading it, it is that bad:

                      http://blog.secularprolife.org/2015/03/the-abortion-religion-or-baby-isnt.html

                    • averagjo

                      Hi Crystal,

                      Sorry it’s been a few since I wrote, been dealing with some
                      family issues,

                      Interesting idea, I am still not sure I could stand behindthe idea of ROK being supported by anyone but the most extreme example of anti-feminists
                      or to put it more bluntly the extreme of chauvinistic males. That said I am not
                      saying those who claim simply to be pro-family wouldn’t in some way be swayed
                      from some of their less extreme articles. I have to say from my perspective
                      there is nothing worth my time on this website or anything correlated with any
                      of my views.

                      I wonder if their tagline somehow seems to reflect an
                      extreme of conservatism (as I do believe there can be extremes on all side of
                      an agenda or idea. The truth is I can identify with the idea of needing to halt
                      political correctness; I am very anti political correctness as it tends to make
                      everyone extra sensitive about every issue. Truthfully we all need to be able
                      to stand up for ourselves and against adversity if we ever expect to have equal
                      rights and fairness. I am not saying there is a not a place where a line needs
                      to be drawn in the sand against hateful attitudes and ideals, unfortunately it
                      seems more and more these days that those who are politically correct in one
                      way or another want to yell angrily at people who don’t agree with their ideas
                      or values. Last I checked being defensive or angry doesn’t bring anybody over
                      to your side of the argument most often it causes division and this is what I
                      hate about the political correctness movement. Until we can embrace what makesus different we will never be able to embrace equality. I am not certain whoMark Driscoll is so I would have to look him up before commenting. As far asBiblical Patriarchy movement, I have never heard of this group either, so I
                      will have to do some research before commenting.

                      I can see your point that there could be that some of theanti pc/feminist/anti-LGBTQ+ crowd may be drawn in; I would hope though thatthey would equally be disgusted before they decided to stay.

                      Yes I agree it’s disdain for both lives, and yes it’s also removing the choice from the Woman, while I am not pro-choice in the idea that it kills a child, I am pro-choice in that I believe it is and always has been a woman’s choice (or should be) as it is her body we are talking about here. I see it as complete selfishness on the part of any man to tell a woman what she should or shouldn’t do as he is not the one who will have to face the consequences either way. That said, I believe the start of winning the battle for life starts with re-humanizing the child. If women really know the difference I think they would be less likely to go through with an abortion, for one thing I think if before every abortion the woman had to have an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat it might make some change their minds. That said I think to get places like Planned Parenthood to agree would be an uphill fight at best.

                      Here is the thing Crystal, I am called to love and pray for my enemies as a Christian. I am called to love them though they persecute me. Sin is a condition of the human flesh and is embodied in the hearts and minds of the soul. It shadows and covers good moral judgement and causes the recipient
                      to fall into all of kind of maladies and problems. This is why people turn to
                      drugs, alcohol, violence and many other things. That said, I cannot look at the
                      person with addictions as any worse than the one who has violent tendencies as both are wrong, and both have a choice to do differently. In God’s eyes sin is
                      sin and we are to hate sin but love the sinner. It’s true what you say it is
                      not a mistake it is an abhorrent choice and selfish at that. Yes we are called
                      to stand up against evil, but we are to always remember (I speak this as a
                      Christian) that are battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers
                      and principalities. Agreed again that they should not be pushing a woman or
                      coercing her to end that life or imposing their will on women.

                      From the Bible is where I get all my doctrine (for it is the
                      inspired word of God) Romans 14:12 “For all will give an account of their life
                      to God” If we believe in a supreme being “God” then we have to know that he who has created us and endowed us with choices of doing wrong or right, will be the ultimate judge of all who have fallen short. Who has fallen short? According to the Bible all have fallen short. No there is not one who hasn’t. That said redemption doesn’t come from what we can do, but what Christ has already done for us. Even so yes those who have believed on the word of God (Jesus) and his testimony will still be held in judgement for their actions, this is not the
                      great white throne judgement (for those who never know Christ) but the BEMA
                      judgment for those who knew Christ but were still sinners.

                      As far as some not feeling the effects of abortion? I don’t disagree that on the outside it looks like that and certainly there is strength in their ability to hold up that facade, but I am convinced that no woman who has ever aborted her child is without scars. Most of the time it comes out in anger against those who are against abortion, after all denial is one of the major coping skills of someone in severe pain, for any that don’t express it through anger it may come out in depression, drug addiction, bad relationship any number of things. I guess what I am saying is sometimes the scars are not always easily seen.

                      Yes I have heard the stories of Men who have killed women
                      carrying their unborn children for fear of paying child support, I do realize
                      this is a real concern and issue, while I don’t agree with letting men off the
                      hook, I will say this. If a man never agreed to wanting to have a child, I
                      think there should be an option for him to sign away parental rights and have
                      reduced or no child support (depending on what the court deems fit) because
                      otherwise a man is made to feel like he is responsible for a life he never
                      wanted to bring forth, that said I think men should always think twice before
                      doing what creates a child as they still definitely have some responsibility
                      here as well and if nothing else child support may help them to think twice.

                      Yes that last paragraph states it all and very clearly. Men are responsible for their actions and yes we should hold ourselves to a higher level, I think purity is a last art and that people think every last desire should be acted on regardless of consequence. I do see them under judgment of God for their actions, what does this look like? It might account for the fact that a lot of them are currently locked up in prison or otherwise facing their own issues in life, Either way whether in this life of the coming judgement in the next men are not going to get away with it, because we are supposed to be taking care of women, loving them and caring for them as we have not as men we will most certainly be facing our own judgement for our lack of concern and consideration.

                      You raise and interesting point, I will refer you back to one my first paragraphs on the reply, I don’t think men should necessarily pressure a woman either way, should we stand for life and suggest to a woman the value of the life inside of her? Absolutely yes! Should we stand in judgment of a woman he decided to take that life, no that is her choice we can only love, it is not our place to judge… We are to influence not force our will.

                      I am afraid I have been able to view this article is it is not available from my place of work, I will look at it later and give my opinion on a different post.

                    • Crystal

                      Since you seem to have copied this twice, I will respond only to one of the comments.

                      “Sorry it’s been a few since I wrote, been dealing with some family issues”

                      That’s fine, I completely understand. I hope that you and your wife are holding up well, and that Carolyn is still okay with us writing to each other, because I do care about her opinion on this issue as much as yours.

                      In regards to people being swayed by their less extreme articles, I totally agree and it’s highly problematic :(

                      “I have to say from my perspective there is nothing worth my time on this website or anything correlated with any of
                      my views.”

                      Yea!

                      “I wonder if their tagline somehow seems to reflect an extreme of conservatism (as I do believe there can be extremes on all side of an agenda or idea.”

                      Probably does, you’re not the only one to note that.

                      “The truth is I can identify with the idea of needing to halt political correctness; I am very anti political correctness as it tends to make everyone extra sensitive about every issue.”

                      Personally I think there is a place for political correctness, and there is a place for free speech. We need both to balance each other; otherwise our society will become either too hateful of people it dislikes or too fearful of disagreement with the new status quo. I have seen both the pros and cons of political correctness. Although its intent is to foster sensitivity to the oppressed and marginalised in our society, one of its downsides is that it squelches speech that needs to be said if it doesn’t line up with the party goals. This philosophy goes totally against what utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill said:

                      http://blog.supplysideliberal.com/post/58569584868/john-stuart-mills-brief-for-freedom-of-speech

                      “Truthfully we all need to be able to stand up for ourselves and against adversity if we ever expect to have equal rights and fairness.”

                      That makes perfect sense to me. Would you mind if I asked you to expound on this concept?

                      “I am not saying there is a not a place where a line needs to be drawn in the sand against hateful attitudes and ideals”

                      I know you’re not.

                      “unfortunately it seems more and more these days that those who are politically correct in one way or another want to yell angrily at people who don’t agree with their ideas or values.”

                      I’ve seen it too. Here’s a prime example as displayed in this article; I suggest you read the comments, you’ll see plenty of liberals including myself (I’m only part liberal) complaining about the unfairness of PC run amok:

                      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/12/04/activist-maryam-namazie-heckled-at-talk-by-muslim-students-who-say-she-invaded-their-safe-space/

                      “Last I checked being defensive or angry doesn’t bring anybody over to your side of the argument most often it causes division”

                      I do agree, civility is crucial to winning people over to your side of the argument. However sometimes it is okay to yell and be angry and such expression should not be stifled either. There is a fine line between demanding people be
                      nice to oppressors and oppressive beliefs and silencing those who won’t thereby enabling the cycle of abuse to go on, and between being so obnoxious and rude that you turn people away from what you have to say; in truth discerning the difference can be incredibly tricky.

                      “and this is what I hate about the political correctness movement. Until we can embrace what makesus different we will never be able to embrace equality.”

                      Okay, could you please explain what you mean here; how does embracing equality through embracing our differences work? Also there is such a thing as the
                      demand for ideological purity. Unless you fit in 100% with the line, even if you agree with the principles of what they stand for but you disagree in the way they are applied, you are ostracised, cast out as a bad person and possibly
                      as an oppressor; this is one thing I don’t like about liberal thought and especially SJW (social justice warrior) belief.

                      “I am not certain whoMark Driscoll is so I would have to look him up before commenting. As far asBiblical Patriarchy movement, I have never heard of this group either, so I will have to do some research before commenting.”

                      I know quite a bit about Christian Patriarchy, ATI, and the Quiverfull movement, I have studied the topic for a few years and it is not good. Feel free to ask me questions about it if you want and I’ll try to answer although I don’t know everything. From what I know of it, it is RoK-lite; in other words it would hold similar sentiments to that odious website but would couch them in less crude and more religious language. I will try to get some articles to you about this bunch later (am very busy right now) but the research is highly exhaustive; three good places to start
                      would be the following:

                      http://thewartburgwatch.com/?s=Biblical+Patriarchy&x=0&y=0

                      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/?s=Biblical+Patriarchy

                      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/?s=Biblical+Patriarchy

                      Such leaders to look for:

                      Doug Wilson, Nancy and Colin Campbell, Doug Phillips, Geoffrey Botkin, Mary Pride, Bill Gothard, Kevin Swanson, Gregg and Josh Harris (Josh Harris has turned his back
                      on it as far as I know), the Duggar family, Michael and Debi Pearl, Michael Farris, to name a few.

                      Also research Christian Reconstructionism and purity culture; it’s horrific stuff.

                      As for Mark Driscoll, he is not a man you want to get into. He really is bad for the church. Here’s some articles to get you started learning about this guy:

                      Visions (BTW I’m not against visions but his ones are really creepy):

                      http://teampyro.blogspot.de/2011/08/pornographic-divination.html

                      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/01/06/dreamweaver-the-visions-of-mark-driscoll/

                      http://thewartburgwatch.com/2011/08/29/mark-driscoll-i-watch-molestations-and-affairs-in-progress/

                      http://www.driscollcontroversy.com/?page_id=501

                      Spiritual abuse:

                      http://joyfulexiles.com/

                      http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/mark-driscoll-culture

                      http://marshillrefuge.blogspot.ru/

                      https://www.thestranger.com/seattle/why-the-mars-hill-faithful-have-started-to-question-mark/Content?oid=20257920

                      His book Real Marriage:

                      https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/17001751-real-marriage-the-truth-about-sex-friendship-life-together

                      http://www.driscollcontroversy.com/?page_id=610

                      http://www.dennyburk.com/my-review-of-mark-driscolls-real-marriage/

                      http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/mark-driscoll-real-marriage

                      http://theburnerblog.com/arts/books/mark-driscoll-thinks-wives-are-only-good-for-sex/

                      http://samanthapfield.com/projects/real-marriage-review/

                      His relationships with church leaders (John Piper likes him; and Doug Wilson has interviewed him and written on some of his materials, agreeing with some while rejecting others – Doug Wilson is a whole ‘nother shade of creepy):

                      http://www.driscollcontroversy.com/?page_id=1179

                      http://www.driscollcontroversy.com/?page_id=654

                      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/11/13/john-piper-on-lessons-learned-from-mark-driscoll-controversy-ecfa-are-you-listening/

                      Just Dear old Mark all over:

                      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/sarahoverthemoon/?s=Mark+Driscoll

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Driscoll

                      “I can see your point that there could be that some of theanti pc/feminist/anti-LGBTQ+ crowd may be drawn in; I would hope though thatthey would equally be disgusted
                      before they decided to stay.”

                      Yeah, me too, pal. However knowing the extent of conservative thinking I can’t apply that hope to all conservatives.

                      “Yes I agree it’s disdain for both lives, and yes it’s also removing the choice from the Woman, while I am not pro-choice in the idea that it kills a child, I am pro-choice in that I believe it is and always has been a woman’s choice (or should be) as it is her body we are talking about here.”

                      On the first point, we agree. On the second one, I’m a little confused. Are you saying that you are “pro-choice in that I believe *abortion* is and always has been a woman’s choice (or should be) as it is her body we are talking about
                      here”? Or do you mean “pro-choice in that I believe *how a woman determines how her child is raised* is and always has been a woman’s choice (or should be) as it is her body we are talking about here”? If the former, I believe I should remind you that we are not just talking about the woman’s body, but the child’s *life* also; in that case as in every other, life comes before choice, and without life there can be no choices. If the latter, I can agree with your
                      position.

                      “I see it as complete selfishness on the part of any man to tell a woman what she should or shouldn’t do as he is not the one who will have to face the consequences either way.”

                      Would you mind expounding on how you mean selfish in this case, I am a little confused and I would like to understand better? I think what I’m really asking is what do you believe about the abortion issue? If a man tells a woman she should keep the child, is he being selfish? Or is he doing the right thing? What about a guy that offers alternatives to abortion – adoption, etc – and will support her in every decision but abortion yet if she were dying from a botched abortion he would have no hesitation in rushing her to the hospital? Is this man selfish in your opinion? I can understand your concern in this way, as I have heard people say to their daughters and girlfriends “You will carry the baby” and I felt that was necessary in the sense of saving life, yet so incredibly dogmatic at the same time (I know if someone talked to me like that I would understand where they were coming from and would generally be offended, and I’m strongly PL); is there not a better way encouragement not to abort can be expressed? Also when I hear people say to the pregnant woman “I will support your decision whatever you decide” that feels meaningful and respectful because it treats the woman as a competent adult, and I remember at the same time a child could lose its life because of those words and on that
                      level I strongly dislike this phrase, so I am in two minds on this one.

                      “That said, I believe the start of winning the battle for life starts with re-humanizing the child.”

                      I realise you mentioned ultrasounds but how else do you recommend that this is done?

                      “If women really know the difference I think they would be less likely to go through with an abortion, for one thing I think if before every abortion the woman had to have an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat it might make some change their minds.”

                      For my part, I tend to believe ultrasounds should be voluntary because no one should be forced to have objects in or on any area of their bodies without their consent; if the woman does not want to see an ultrasound there needs to be something else she can see or hear – like stages of pregnancy for instance, or someone else’s recorded ultrasound – to see it is a human life. No hype
                      necessary in this case, only cold facts. I can see it is a baby just by looking at it.

                      “That said I think to get places like Planned Parenthood to agree would be an uphill fight at best.”

                      Yes it would. Do you think PP should be defunded? One person suggested an alternate strategy, that PP be allowed to continue operating yet be financially punished
                      for pushing and promoting abortions until they stop doing it; what say you to that idea?

                      “Here is the thing Crystal, I am called to love and pray for my enemies as a Christian…”

                      Thanks for the explanation; however sometimes people can feel angry when thinking about people dying because of others’ actions and behaviour. Do you consider such anger justified?

                      “Agreed again that they should not be pushing a woman or coercing her to end that life or imposing their will on women.”

                      Oh, totally so :)

                      “From the Bible is where I get all my doctrine…”

                      I was raised with that as a kid, so it’s not new to me. In short are you saying that Jesus can forgive it all so we should do the same? This kind of thing – forcing a woman to abort – just isn’t forgivable in my book especially if the
                      man isn’t repentant.

                      “As far as some not feeling the effects of abortion? … I guess what I am saying is sometimes the scars are not always easily seen.”

                      In regards to feeling scarred over abortion, you could be right. I have never thought of it like this before. Ironically enough, the people who seem to attack the most are not the ones that have had abortions but rather the ones
                      that don’t tend to get them – single men, single women (especially the ones not invested in a relationship), some who have studied the issue (not all, just some) and ex-PL people. I don’t understand why they would attack so much when they haven’t had an abortion, or say they haven’t had one.

                      In regards to your answer regarding child support, I think that’s fair. Do you mind if I borrow that answer for future reference? Personally I believe fathers are responsible for their children yet I appreciate your sharing your POV. Why
                      do you believe that way about fathers not paying child support if they don’t want to, can you explain?

                      “Yes that last paragraph states it all and very clearly…”

                      What do you mean – hold yourselves to a higher level? Do you mean by this to hold yourselves to a higher level than you previously held yourselves to, regardless of your sexes? Because I can see the consequences of men wanting to hold themselves to a higher level than women, sexually speaking, and they certainly aren’t pretty. This might mean looking down on women for being weak enough to enjoy sex, or punishing them societally for such. Interesting point about the judgement of God; and men should look after women and love them properly, agree
                      there.

                      “You raise and interesting point, I will refer you back to one my first paragraphs on the reply, I don’t think men should necessarily pressure a woman either way”

                      Rather than pressuring, offer workable solutions long-term, yes? I get your point about pressuring as it’s ultimately not that helpful.

                      “should we stand for life and suggest to a woman the value of the life inside of her? Absolutely yes!”

                      Agreed 100%

                      “Should we stand in judgment of a woman he decided to take that life, no that is her choice we can only love, it is not our place to judge…”

                      Slight disagreement here, your Jesus said to “judge righteous judgment” so absolutely we should call this decision out as the error that it is (in love). We can’t stand by and permit it to go on, yet at the same time I do not believe breaking the laws to save life is the best way to handle this either long-term. Very difficult situation but such a decision should not be supported; we can’t just love, sometimes we have to speak up even if it’s hard and we’re rejected for it.

                      “We are to influence not force our will.”

                      Agreed 100%

                      “I am afraid I have been able to view this article is it is not available from my place of work, I will look at it later and give my opinion on a different post.”

                      I will look forward to your thoughts on it.

                    • Crystal

                      Two more things:

                      First, a big bear cyberhug for you; you deserve it! And if your wife wants to join in then we can make it a threesome cyberhug :)

                      Second, I caution you to stay well away from such websites as The Return of Kings. Roosh V has ties to that website and it has led many a well-intentioned man desiring manliness astray.

          • Crystal

            I think on this subject you’ve proved yourself to be rather a decent sort :)

      • Crystal

        “Very interesting articles indeed thank you for suggesting this site.”

        Thank you for coming, and you’re welcome!

        “On your argument of having a better understanding of female anatomy. As someone else mentioned though I wonder if there is a point of where you can make your argument too complicated? For instance if in my witness to a pro-choice woman I tell her I have gone into a hospital and experienced what contractions feel
        like she will either think a “I am crazy” or b “I am lying”. I am not sure this is the best line of reasoning?”

        You said, “I wonder if there is a point of where you can make your argument too complicated?” I realise you touched on this point a little in the next sentence but could you expound on this area more so I understand what it is I am responding to.

        In regards to the synthetic contractions I get your point, but I was thinking more along the lines of her yelling at you “You don’t know what it feels like” then you can open up at that point, or a place similar to that, and discuss it then if you feel it is right to, but not before. Well, you are worried about not reaching out with the best arguments in the best way; that is fair. What I hear from quite a few female legal abortion advocates is that “these men don’t
        understand what birthing is like” and I want us PL people to answer that to the best of our ability.

        The heart of my comment was to encourage people to think along the lines of creating scenarios that answer the childbirth question and then responding to them in a PL manner, as I deem this to be incredibly important. Also I believe a proper understanding of female anatomy is crucial for PL people to show as it will let people on the other side know that you understand what you are talking about, because sometimes PL individuals (especially men) do seriously mess it up. As for making the argument too complicated, I think there are ways this could be done, like being too technical etc. However there is a time and a place for such thinking and I think it’s time we started employing it more often.

        “I do agree outside of that I need to at least have an idea of what pregnancy feels like. I cannot empathize fully with Cancer patients but I can still love them where they are at. Ok perhaps not the best analogy, but perhaps my point is still understood?”

        Outside of that, we do agree and I do understand where you are coming from. Men do need to empathise (and this is how you show women you have a heart!) by willingly stepping into the negative side (not all of it is negative!) of our shoes for a while. Also if you have an idea of what pregnancy feels like you will be more likely to be a better and more empathetic partner, and friend in general, so thank you for acknowledging this. Do you understand what is being asked of a woman every time her family and friends (but especially her family) implore her to have children? She is being asked to potentially risk the following:

        http://www.thelizlibrary.org/site-index/site-index-frame.html#soulhttp://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/004.htm

        Now I understand that for quite a few women things like morning sickness are not an issue, and childbirth can be a pleasant experience. What I’m saying is that every woman risks these things every time she is with child. Every.single.time. You know the horrible thing about it is that the family couldn’t care less about any of this stuff, it’s so selfish and horrible and mean. I totally grok
        and am for the perspective of keeping positive and thinking about new life yet I think women deserve better than what they receive from society. Men and children first is the law.

        Do you grasp where I’m coming from here?

        “I will say that there is a place you have opened my eyes, I did not realize there was such a thing as tokophobia, that definitely complicates things.”

        It certainly does, as I have touched on this a few times I won’t go over the beaten track except to state that the “disorder” has illuminated my understanding to such a degree I have been shown things I would never have known without it. I think in a way it is a blessing in disguise because it has helped me to be more sensitive, more caring, and more compassionate towards pregnant persons and to see them as people with needs. Also my desire to develop a more positive attitude towards pregnancy etc does not negate the fact that this “disorder” could save my life or my person, or someone else, from serious abuse.

        “I think ultimately what it comes down to is responsibility, and we as males have failed at that.”

        I hope you don’t mind if I ask you to expound on what you mean by this sentence. In a way I totally agree with what you’re saying, because you mean that men should be more sensitive to women and their needs before demanding or coaxing sexual intimacy from them (yes, I like that idea, they should stop using and dumping us!). Yet in a way I disagree, because women enjoy sex just as much as the next man but are far more keenly aware of the burdens that society places on them due to their biological structure.

        “We are the ones who need to understand women better and not objectify them.”

        I agree, but how would you propose that this be done?

        “Men are to easily lead by our lusts and perverse desires. This is what leads to many unwanted children.”

        Well, I wouldn’t say that men are led astray by their perverse and lustful desires so much; in fact I think male and female desires alike are incredibly normal and natural. I would tend to argue that men have not been encouraged to see enthusiastic consent as a manly practice that decent humans engage in due to the ornate power structures society has created to benefit the male. Although I do admit that children are a natural result of sex and I think people need to be made aware that they are actually potentially conceiving human life every time they engage in certain types of intimacy in a non-shaming way. Personally I do not consider teen pregnancy a tragedy but rather see it from the perspective that women can raise children in a non-conventional environment if
        they so choose and should be supported in such a decision if this is what they want (we need more social safety nets!); hence the emphasis on matriarchal parenting that I mentioned before. Also we need to start embracing children rather than rejecting them. Every child should be wanted and loved by someone, even if that someone isn’t the biological parents. We need to vastly improve our attitudes towards children or we might find it harder to get rid of this negative perception of them, that they are a crimp in your style. Life needs to be respected and adoption needs to be encouraged more (with significant reforms of course). When it comes to the little ones our society has been incredibly selfish and adult centered, in that children exist for our convenience and pleasure rather than for their own state of being. Abortion is one logical fruit of such an attitude, I believe.

        “I feel we as men need to encourage one another to love and cherish women and treat them as sisters.”

        If only more men would talk and act like this, we would have a better world and women could feel safe walking on the streets and out in the countryside even alone at night! On this level I think you are right – I know of a situation in one of the big cities where I come from, the women had to go home from their jobs (I think it was a fast-food place) earlier than the men because at a certain time at night, women would get attacked by drunks and other guys unless they headed home early. That wouldn’t have been the case if men were taught respect for women then women could do the things that they wanted without fear of being preyed on by lustful men; like, they could work late at night without being told to go home because they are women. In short, we need to make our society more female-accomodating by teaching men respect for the opposite sex.

        Do you think pornography has anything to do with this gross disrespect for the female sex?

        “I feel we as men need to encourage one another”

        I mean this kindly but more often than not I see men encouraging one another to gang up on women, persecute them, and love them and leave them (I grant you, there are exceptions and thank you for being an exception!). If men act like this so much how is it even possible in real life for guys to encourage one another differently? What sort of wellspring will they use for each other when things get tough and other guys jeer at them for not taking a shot at f***ing the little temptresses? I mean, in the foreseeable future things will change because boys will have a stronger support system to help them treat women better, but right now, in the present, how would you recommend guys handled such things as their alternative encouragement sessions?

        “If we truly want to be a good example we need to encourage other men to be chaste”

        Why would you recommend chastity as your go-to strategy? Also, I think I should state there is such a thing as enthusiastic consent; without it chastity wouldn’t be very effective. Just curious – and I am unsure how to appropriately word this so please bear with me – but do you believe men generally have a higher sex drive than women?

        “and to seek to understand the danger it does put women in when we take advantage of them sexually”

        From your POV, what sorts of dangers do women face when men are not chaste? Also (and I am really trying to understand your position here) do you consider men to be the guardians not only of their own sexuality and purity, but also of the sexuality and purity of the women they come into contact with?

        “We as men need to have self control as the Bible commands us and we shouldn’t use anything as an excuse.”

        I do agree with this sentence. Also, I will state that women LOVE sex like any man does, and this is something quite a few people don’t tend to understand. How is this system going to help them especially if they have high sex drives? Furthermore, if it is true that men have higher sex drives than women how can men control themselves? It’s been tried and tried and it’s failed every time
        because at least some of the guys succumb to their desires (which really are not bad in and of themselves); how can such a thing work now (assuming they have high sex drives due to being male)? Society doesn’t encourage self-control. How can society be changed in this area? I think what I’m really trying to ask is this – restraint in this area is incredibly hard on a guy especially if he’s been told that sex is his right; how is he going to hold himself back from non-marital relations without breaking under the strain – I realise you’ve implied accountability but who are the best accountability partners in your opinion and why? I’m curious as to your viewpoint here.

        “Morally this is what we as men can do, as the burden will always fall harder on the woman than the man.”

        Fair enough answer. Proper consent, following a certain code of ethics – enthusiastic, informed, etc – is key to good relationships with the opposite sex too.

        From your perspective, why do you say the burden will *always* fall harder on the woman than the man?

        Also I realise you’re probably going to disagree entirely with this next comment, so I offer it nervously, not to ridicule what you *might* believe but rather to express a different opinion and the reasons for that view. I believe the heavy focus on abstinence (for women especially) has been one of the greatest banes of the PL movement (the irony of it all is that men are encouraged to see women as possessions not people!). Before I start I will acknowledge a quote from Randy Alcorn on the good that the PL movement (mainly the commoners) have done so far:

        “The fact is this: Thousands of pro-life organizations around the country and throughout the world provide free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counselling, support groups, childcare classes,
        financial management education, babysitting, diapers, children’s clothes, and housing. Add to these tens of thousands of churches donating time, money, food, house repairs, and every other kind of help to needy pregnant women, single mothers, and low-income families. Countless pro-lifers adopt children, open their homes, and volunteer to help children after they’re born. Together these
        efforts comprise the single largest grassroots volunteer movement in history.” (Why Prolife? p. 20)

        I recognise that they do these things. That is not my complaint with them.

        My problem is that the leaders of the PL movement have pushed abstinence instead of promoting real solutions like contraceptives and educational sex education. Do you know how much condoms alone could reduce abortions? Probably a lot, I think.

        Many of my sentiments are expressed fairly well in this article:

        http://www.xojane.com/issues/confessions-of-a-former-pro-life-activist

        In short, I think in some ways you are right because from what I read, your motives and words tend to be headed down a woman-honouring direction (although men should honour and acknowledge their needs as well, within reason) and I commend you for that. Yet in other ways I disagree (such as that I think that consent is the way to go more than chastity), and I appreciate the respect we show each other when we don’t see eye-to-eye, 100%. I hope, as usual, that I am properly acknowledging your points in my replies rather than just rambling off on tangents; if I haven’t done so in any reply I’ve given you including this one feel free to tell me.

  • Thanks for a great article. I’ve seen a form of the thought experiment before (maybe it was “drowning toddlers in bathtub”?), I think from your brother, but without the beautiful explanation about the pro-choicer’s premises.

    To the “how can you have an opinion . . .” question, I have replied, “I am so horrified when I see my innocent little sister or brother about to be ripped into shreds, that I can’t help myself.” That has worked.

    • Crystal

      I’m sorry I haven’t been able to write back in; hectic study schedules took over.

      In regards to the comment above you, what did you think of the points where I saw things differently from the Brahm brothers on the question?

      • I had seen your comment and had liked it, but I had thought of it as offering improvements on the Brahms’ approach, rather than undermining the approach. So I had proceeded to say “great article. . . . beautiful explanation . . .”

        Reflecting further about the explanation, however, I don’t think that this premise —

        P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make a moral judgment against what she does

        — can be completely dismissed. I think it is correct to say:

        “P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make a perfect moral judgment against what she does.”

        Timothy Brahm, there by the lake, can only make his best guess about the situation. Though he can never be pregnant, you and many others who can be pregnant support his decision, so he is vindicated to an important extent. But still, his imperfect understanding of what is going on might mean that he is wrong. The two-year-old child might be a cyborg who is destined to enslave the whole human race if not stopped now.

        I think that this premise could be completely dismissed:

        “P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make an adequate enough moral judgment to take action against what she does.”

        It is simply not possible to remain uninvolved. If we do nothing in any situation, we support the status quo of that situation. And in some situations we don’t have much time to think. We are no more likely to go wrong taking action than we are doing nothing. Doing nothing may be a safer strategy in term of escaping consequences for ourselves in case we decide wrong, but I don’t think it’s really safer in terms of making the decision that is morally right.

        “I think it is time to create thought experiments that are equal to and actually deal with the reality of pregnancy and childbirth . . .”

        Create them, yes. But such thought experiments would have to be more contrived than the car in the lake (“complicated or hard to imagine” as Timothy Brahm says), which might become a distraction. So if the car in the lake is enough to get the interlocutor to drop that particular objection of theirs, well and good. Only if it is not enough, trot out a less realistic one.

        I have sometimes thought that I would like to experience a relatively smooth pregnancy and labor (and if pregnancy and labor are expected to be significantly rougher than normal, I think a woman should have a right to abort). And I have (with somewhat less attraction) considered trying simulated labor. But here in India where I live, I don’t know if hospitals would readily understand and get into the spirit of the idea, and since I’m an old man (and since it would be a “labor” that would not pay off in terms of saving a life), they would likely be leery of taking the responsibility.

        • Crystal

          “I had thought of it as offering improvements on the Brahms’ approach, rather than undermining the approach”

          Improvement was my intent. I do not wish to undermine anything the Brahm brothers do, especially as both they and I care about unborn persons.

          “P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make a perfect moral judgment against what she does. … If we do nothing in any situation, we support the status quo of that situation.”

          We see eye to eye on that. I don’t think anyone should sit by and do nothing on this. It’s imperative to speak up regardless of gender. I simply think that there are points that men need to be told of and listen to from the lips of women that would help them convey the message with more thoughtfulness and compassion even as they do speak up, so that more people, and especially more women, will listen.

          As for that second sentence I copied, I like it and would love to borrow it because it’s so very true.

          “Create them, yes. But such thought experiments would have to be more contrived than the car in the lake (“complicated or hard to imagine” as Timothy Brahm says), which might become a distraction.”

          With all due respect, I disagree that they would be a distraction. In fact, I think advocates for legal abortion (and especially my two friends Bair and LJ) would be more likely to listen if people like the Brahm brothers tried to come up with scenarios that were equal to and that actually dealt with being in the situation of facing a “shredded birth canal” and “pushing through a tiny hole” as my friend Bair says so often, and she is making a valid point by doing so (although not all childbirth is nearly as horrific as she says, of course).

          By my comment, I wasn’t trying to say that he shouldn’t get involved at all. What I *was* trying to say was that he could become more involved in a more *empathetic* way by listening to females and their experiences, positive and negative, and seeking ways to help them through that as much as he could without coming across as anything but sympathetic. I know of a guy who is fascinated with menstruation and his female friends come to him for advice on menstrual products *frequently* because they consider him an authority on the question despite his having never bled in his life. Taking a genuine, NON-CREEPY interest in women’s issues (and especially women’s anatomy in the sense of showing he is not ignorant of it, rather than showing he is fascinated with it) *as it relates* to the question at hand would be helpful; but showing a creepy, sexual interest in these things would cause injury to prolifism, and in such a case it would be better that he stuck with his original approach!

          I totally agree that on any and all human rights issues it is our duty to get involved.

          Look at Raif Badawi. Are you aware of what the Saudi government is going to do to him? If we took this logic to its full conclusion we might as well conclude, “Well, since I’m not a Saudi, and I don’t completely understand the situation as to why Badawi is suffering in this way, I won’t get involved because I don’t want to interfere in Saudi culture and customs.”

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/10/27/source-says-floggings-will-continue-for-raif-badawi-saudi-blogger-punished-for-insulting-islam/

          No! It is our *duty* to get involved in some way when we see an innocent person being hurt, whether it is Raif Badawi or an innocent unborn person.

          So next time someone tells you that you ought not to jump into the abortion debate, bringing up a guy like Raif Badawi would have a three-fold benefit:

          1) it would help Raif Badawi get free if more people knew about his case
          2) it would bring a common ground between the advocate for legal abortion and yourself and prove to them you care about more than just “fetuses”
          3) it would definitely help prove a point that morally, people have to step in when someone is getting hurt, and that it would be vile to say *nothing* and let the show go on

          Putting that aside, we need to also take into account a lot of other things. For instance, rapists are very fond of using pregnancy and visitation rights as a way to torment the rape victim, and the Republican Party’s insensitivity and downright cruelty on the topic:

          http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/10/25/a-fan-letter-to-certain-conservative-politicians/ (it made me CRINGE when I read it)

          http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/rapequotes.asp

          http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/01/us/rapist-child-custody/ (and this is HORRIFYING!)

          I’m not against rape babies being saved – even legally. What I am against is staying in this perpetual state of having to choose whether to force the pregnant person to carry to term or force the unborn person to lose his/her life. I very much recommend high techs and replacement ideals for these reasons!

          Why do I mention this? Because even as we talk about these things there will be people who will use our best intentions against us and give prolifism a bad name.

          I really appreciate the fact you would want to experience simulated labour. I recommend you *push* for it (pardon the pun) and if you can’t get it where you live, try it in another country; it might give you a certain level of spiritual insight you never had on the subject before and would definitely increase empathy to women after experiencing it as now you could say “I have done it and I understand”. You have no idea how much it means to a woman to hear the words “I understand” from a male she respects. And childbirth can be very spiritual especially if you use alternative methods, although I have no problem with epidurals or anesthetic either, as it is whatever rocks a woman’s boat at the time:

          joyinbirthing.com

          I think though that a woman would be more qualified to discuss reducing/eliminating pain in childbirth than a man, because it would sound better coming from her. Also take this into consideration: if a woman is morally obligated (and even legally obligated) to keep the unborn person alive until high techs are created we should try to make the journey as pleasant as possible for her, don’t you think? But once high techs are created I cringe at leaving things at the status quo state. In fact, I cringe at women being forced to carry even now, despite the fact I would also equally cringe at the death of the unborn person.

          I mention this, again, because women deserve better than just being told, “Do the right thing.” We need to help them get there. And stepping in, telling them about alternatives to abortion, and helping them experience better births, among other things, would all be helpful in saving a life.

          Speaking of which, we have to drop this sort of thing from our vocab like “and if pregnancy and labor are expected to be significantly rougher than normal, I think a woman should have a right to abort”, for, while I understand your concern, wonder why you believe that, and think it is considerate of you to see the pregnant person as important, I believe that we should be focusing on replacement (replacing abortion with high techs) rather than pandering to deaths of either unborn or pregnant persons, as both are equally valuable.

          I didn’t know you lived in India! I personally find your mindset a little fascinating precisely because it is so different from mine. You do come across as very intelligent, actually :)

          • Thanks. I hope to look at the links.

            For the moment, I will just ask for clarification of one thing:

            “while I understand your concern, wonder why you believe that . . ”

            If you understand my concern, don’t you understand why I believe that?

            • Crystal

              No, not completely. I understand you are trying to show concern for the pregnant person’s life but other than that, I don’t get it.

              • I had said:

                “and if pregnancy and labor are expected to be significantly rougher than normal, I think a woman should have a right to abort”

                You had replied “I understand your concern,” and now have said, “I understand you are trying to show concern for the pregnant person’s life.”

                Now we have to do a little exercise of dissecting your words that some people might not like, but I have to understand what you’re saying. When you had said, “I understand your concern,” I had understood you to mean “I understand that you feel concern.” If you understood that I feel concern, you understood correctly. I feel concern for the pregnant person’s life. I feel concern for the pregnant person’s suffering. I feel concern for the fact that I am a member of society and, if society does as I advocate, it will compel many women to undergo suffering that they could have avoided. I am okay with compelling them in that way for the sake of saving a life, but only okay up to a point. If it looks like the suffering or risk will be two or three times that of a typical pregnancy and childbirth in a developed country (I haven’t decided exactly where I would draw the line), then, while I would hope that if I were in that woman’s position, I would choose to undergo the suffering or risk, I think it should be her choice.

                But now you have said, “I understand you are trying to show concern for the pregnant person’s life.” If you mean that primarily I feel concern and secondarily want people to understand me, that would be correct. But if you mean that my primary objective is to show concern, and that only secondarily do I feel concern, that would not be correct. Or if you mean that my only objective is to show concern, and that I may not really feel concern at all (which you probably don’t mean), that would not be correct.

                You had originally said, “while I understand your concern, wonder why you believe that . . ”

                If you understand my concern as in my “I feel concern for the pregnant person’s life” explanation above, then it seems to me you should understand why I believe that “if pregnancy and labor are expected to be significantly rougher than normal, I think a woman should have a right to abort.”

                • Crystal

                  I think you both feel and show concern for the pregnant person’s life.

                  “If you understood that I feel concern, you understood correctly. … But now you have said, ‘I understand you are trying to show concern for the pregnant person’s life.’ If you mean that primarily I feel concern and secondarily want people to understand me, that would be correct.”

                  Yes. But what’s this thing about “secondarily want people to understand me”? Which I don’t get at all.

                  “‘You had originally said, “while I understand your concern, wonder why you believe that . . ‘

                  If you understand my concern as in my ‘I feel concern for the pregnant person’s life’ explanation above, then it seems to me you should understand why I believe that ‘if pregnancy and labor are expected to be significantly rougher than normal, I think a woman should have a right to abort.'”

                  On the level you have explained it, of empathy to the woman’s situation though not to such a deed itself, I can understand. *This* is the part I don’t understand – why is it that many prolifers will defer to abortion as the default position even as they are fighting it (and I confess on the life of the mother situations I have done it myself). It is impossible to fight it completely if you accept it somewhat, isn’t it? Also, it seems to give the opposition an unfair advantage that they shouldn’t be having.

                  • “Yes. But what’s this thing about ‘secondarily want people to understand me’? Which I don’t get at all.”

                    In one post you had said, “I understand your concern,” and in the next post you had said, “I understand you are trying to show concern;” and, though I wasn’t sure you had intended a distinction, if you had intended one, I was explaining that:

                    – first I feel concern

                    – second I try to show concern.

                    I try to show concern because I want people to understand that I feel concern / because I want people to understand me / because I want people to understand my position.

                    “*This* is the part I don’t understand – why is it that many prolifers will defer to abortion as the default position”

                    Do you mean “In situations where everyone would agree that the woman’s carrying and delivering the baby is not a reasonable option (such as life-of-the-mother situations), why do many pro-lifers think of abortion as the default solution and technological solutions as a last resort, rather than the other way around?” — ?

                    • Crystal

                      In regards to your concern, I was not thinking of any distinctions at all, nor was I trying to make any.

                      “I try to show concern because I want people to understand that I feel
                      concern / because I want people to understand me / because I want people
                      to understand my position.”

                      1) I feel concern (I can understand that)
                      2) I want people to understand me (can you explain this?)
                      3) I want people to understand my position (what is the difference between you and your position? is it that you want people to know you are a compassionate individual, and your position is based on compassion?)

                      “Do you mean ‘In situations where everyone would agree that the woman’s carrying and delivering the baby is not a reasonable option (such as life-of-the-mother situations), why do many pro-lifers think of abortion as the default solution and technological solutions as a last resort, rather than the other way around?” — ?

                      Yes, and another question:

                      Why is it that prolifers accept abortion as part of prolife efforts at all? I mean, we believe abortion is a very bad thing and are fighting it legally and morally, yes? If that is the case, why do we use the word “choice” to refer to it when it *should* be known as “human rights abuse”? Also, why is it that we accept abortion as a solution to at least some of our ills if it is so very wrong? Isn’t this a form of compromise? Sure, we tend to be stricter about it but still advocates for legal abortion can be two steps ahead of us every time this occurs. Besides, with this kind of thing, it gives advocates for legal abortion an advantage to say, “See! We were right after all! Abortion should not be made illegal, you have just admitted to this through your exceptions!” Another point is that I see no hope for a brighter future in the prolife movement. I see no hope that unborn persons can be saved and pregnant persons can have their bodily autonomy respected at the same time. What I do see is almost an acceptance that abortion is, well, “normal”, “the status quo”, “the way things are” despite our consciences wrestling with us and telling us that unborn persons dying because others willed it is distressing, to say the least – that sort of attitude towards the matter. The question is, why are we showing this morally degrading act such a level of tolerance that we would not even offer to slavery? This kind of thing permits the status quo to drag on and on rather than dealing with it, which is what we want. I want to see it eliminated and replaced with something better for everyone. That is my goal.

                      Why do we treat getting rid of abortion as a wearisome duty rather than a necessary act to improve society? On this question, I think I know why – because illegalising abortions without doing anything else to improve the lives of born persons simply isn’t going to work. Even if technological alternatives were impossible I would demand a safety net, contraceptives, sex education, altering our attitudes towards sex and pregnancy, and superb medical care at least. I am frustrated when I watch people dragging their feet over the needless deaths of unborn persons, all such deaths being sanctioned by the government under the guise of “choice”. I am equally frustrated when I watch pregnant persons being thrown under the bus by the prolife movement, their needs dismissed or outright demeaned. We say both unborn and pregnant persons are equally important. Let’s prove it true for once.

                    • “what is the difference between you and your position?”

                      There is no difference. I should have used “=” instead of “/”. Sorry I didn’t do that in the first place. I meant the three phrases that I used all to mean the same thing. I have now edited that post of mine.

                      “abortion is a very bad thing. . . . If that is the case. . . . if it is so very wrong?”

                      The problem as I see it is this: It is too simplified to say “abortion is a very bad thing. . . . it is so very wrong.” It is not as simple an issue morally as slavery. A pregnant woman sometimes stands to lose more if deprived of abortion than a slaveowner stands to lose if deprived of his slaves. And bodily rights, which as you agree is a legitimate concern, doesn’t offset the moral compulsion to protect people who are outside anyone’s body (i.e., doesn’t offset the moral compulsion to free the slaves), but does partially offset the moral compulsion to protect people who are inside someone else’s body.

                      Therefore many pro-lifers, including me, do not say in the first place “abortion is a very bad thing. . . . it is so very wrong.” We say, “Abortion is frequently a very bad thing. It is frequently so very wrong. We have a very tricky course ahead of us in trying to separate the justifiable cases from the unjustifiable ones (like trying to separate good dates from bad ones on a fast-moving conveyor belt at a date-packing plant in the desert?) in providing legal protections.”

                      [Edit: Once there is an unwanted pregnancy, with present technology, there is rarely going to be a happy ending. We have to accept that fact. All we can do is seek the least of all the evils.]

                      Above I said that bodily rights is a legitimate concern. I think that people have a psychological sense of ownership of their bodies which makes them sensitive about trespasses on their bodily boundaries, and that regardless of whether philosophically people really do own their bodies, we should respect that psychological sensitivity to a certain extent. Therefore in any situation of opposing interests between two parties, we cannot simply decide the issue in favor of the party who is likely to suffer the greater harm. That psychological sensitivity has a magnifier effect such that even a minor harm becomes big when one’s bodily boundaries are being trespassed. I have tried to think about all this at this link. (Search for     magnifier   .)

                      “it gives advocates for legal abortion an advantage to say, ‘See! We were right after all! Abortion should not be made illegal, you have just admitted to this through your exceptions!'”

                      Well, I don’t know if I’m addressing your exact point, but what I have encountered is advocates for legal abortion who argue that way in relation to personhood. Their argument basically goes:

                      Premise 1: It is wrong ever to kill a person.

                      Premise 2: You (pro-lifers) allow some killing of the unborn (exceptions).

                      Conclusion: Therefore you don’t really believe the unborn is a person.

                      But their Premise 1 is wrong. I do really believe the unborn is a person, but I don’t think it is wrong ever to kill a person. Sometimes it is unavoidable.

                      So in that argument, I don’t think that, under inspection, advocates for legal abortion have an advantage.

                      But if someone does have a particular advantage in some particular argument, we shouldn’t deny that they do. We should just proceed based on our belief that their disadvantages outweigh their advantages.

                      “Why do we treat getting rid of abortion as a wearisome duty rather than a necessary act to improve society?”

                      Again I may not be addressing your exact point, but I see the changes of mental paradigm involved in getting rid of abortion as raising society to a level of psychological health never before attained. I wrote recently about this for Life Matters Journal. In Life Matters Journal itself there is no discussion facility, but the essay, “What’s in It for the Born?,” appears, with discussion facility, at this link as well.

                    • Please see all the edits (flagged Edit) in my “There is no difference” post.

                    • Crystal

                      Sure thing, bro.

                      Thanks for carrying on the conversation!

  • Erika Phipps

    Great, well-articulated reasoning Timothy, and kudos for your diplomacy skills!

    Having men in the pro-life movement has always made sense to me because they were fetuses once, too. Having started out as an unplanned female fetus, self-preservation is naturally part of my anti-abortion stance – luckily I was conceived in ’63, not ’73. I simply won’t tolerate men being “approved of” in the pro-abortion movement and discounted when they’re pro-life – it’s beyond insulting to deny the value of their voices.

    (Also, any pro-choicer using a man’s inability to be pregnant against him is baloney. Would they use that argument against infertile woman, or women who chose sterilization, or have gone through menopause? Not if they know what’s good for them!)

  • Margaret Wallace

    Awesome!! I hate when they use that argument against men. The ability to give birth should not determine weather you are able to defend the unborn! I had a hysterectomy last year for medical reasons. I can never have a child again. That doesn’t take away my pro-life efforts.

  • You THINK pro-choicers are telling you that because you’re a man you can’t have a moral stance on the ending of human life. You’re missing the point.

    You not being able to be pregnant doesn’t mean that you can’t understand what the pregnant woman is going through. It means that you’re not the one who has to suffer and risk your life in order to bring life into this world. Whether a woman makes the decision to suffer and risk her life in pregnancy and childbirth should be up to her and her alone, regardless of whether we can understand where she is coming from.

    Your fishing scenario imagines the question is about YOUR responsibility – whether you should or should not intercede to prevent the child’s being pushed into the lake. It ignores the fact that you’re actually talking about someone ELSE’s responsibility.

    Say you don’t know how to swim, and you spot a drowning child in the middle of an ice-cold pond. You are with a female friend, and you say to her, “Oh my God, that kid is drowning! Save her!” She turns to you and says, “I can’t! I can’t do it! I’ll freeze to death before help arrives! I barely know how to doggy-paddle, I’d never be able to save her!” Some people might say to her, you probably won’t freeze to death. Some might say to her, have faith in God, as I do. Some might tell her how if she doesn’t jump into the water to rescue the kid she’ll get sued for violation of some good Samaritan act, or even push her into the lake against her will.

    If she responds to any of those arguments by pointing out that you don’t know how to swim, that’s not her being a jerk. That’s not her being illogical. That’s her pointing out that you’re not the one who has to risk your health and safety to bring the kid to shore.

    • Crystal

      I appreciate your writing in very much.

      “It means that you’re not the one who has to suffer and risk your life in order to bring life into this world.”

      As a prolifer, I wish prolifers would address this actual point in their scenarios. On this, we agree.

      “It ignores the fact that you’re actually talking about someone ELSE’s responsibility.”

      This is where we will disagree, I think. Supposing you were talking about *any other situation* where a person has power over the life of another. Are we supposed to say nothing if we see such things as unjust laws taking the lives of others, cruelty to animals, or racial discrimination against other people, all because it is the government’s responsibility and not ours to do the right thing? If we take your logic to its proper conclusion and apply it to other cases this means that we should not say a word in defence of human rights because it’s the government’s job to look after it. I disagree with that premise and believe it is our duty to speak up if we see another innocent person or animal being hurt, even if it’s not popular or convenient to do so.

      However, I would appreciate hearing your opinion on my thoughts from your perspective. Thanks again for writing in.

    • Guest

      I’m not a police officer. I’ll never be the one who has to risk my life or my health in order to arrest a 300-pound thug. I’m still against police brutality though.

  • Tree

    Thanks for a great article! I wanted to respond to two of your comments as a recently converted pro-lifer myself.

    “One of our priorities at ERI is trying to understand pro-choice culture. They think differently than we do and we need to understand those differences or we’ll just assume that whatever makes sense to us will make sense to them.”

    YES YES YES. This. A lot of pro-life rhetoric makes way more sense now from the “inside” and -now- I find it convincing…but a year ago it just put me off. Stop asking me leading questions, stop begging the question, stop trying to trap me with words, I felt! I would see billboards with pictures of born healthy babies saying “choose life” or “my life matters” and feel angry because I thought they were minimizing the experience of the woman who chose; minimizing the importance of all ages and stages; and implying that some women and men -don’t- think that born babies matter (of course they do, who would question that?). I can respect shock-value conversion techniques, and I know they work sometimes. But for me…I needed somebody to demonstrate being pro-life without being what I would have called “crazy”, “judgmental” or “anti-woman”. I needed to hear pro-woman pro-life arguments, feminist pro-life arguments, and just generally intellectually sound arguments.

    “In other words, this is the argument she is making:

    P1: If someone cannot fully understand what another person is going through, then he can’t make a moral judgment against what she does.

    P2: Men cannot fully understand what pregnant women are going through.

    C: Therefore, men can’t make a moral judgment against abortion.”

    I think in some cases this is true but I also don’t think this is always the case. When I talk about this with one of my pro-choice friends, she and her partner feel that men don’t need to have an opinion because
    P1: abortion isn’t a moral problem and
    P2: men can’t get abortions so
    C: men can’t have an opinion about an elective medical procedure they can’t get

    It’s basically the same as men not really being allowed to have an opinion about breast reduction surgery. I think before you can even get to men not being able to make a moral judgement because they don’t -understand-, you need to get to a point where abortion could be a moral issue. I think that many pro-choice people do see abortion as a moral issue, just not a moral that they would impose on others (this is basically what I used to believe: I was one of those pro-choice/anti-abortion people who wouldn’t have gotten an abortion myself in almost any case, but didn’t believe in ‘imposing my morality’ on others). In this case, I think you can go after the issue based on the premises you’ve laid out in the article; but you have to determine whether the pro-choice person you’re dialoguing with is coming off of those principles or not.

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