One overwhelming impression of these engagements is the way in which the intellectual defense of Christian faith attracts men. Both at Texas A&M and again at Miami every single student who got up to ask a question was a guy! I wondered if the girls are just shy. But then I remembered a lengthy clip Jan and I watched of cast members of Downton Abbey doing a Q&A with an audience in New York. Almost every person who came to the microphone at that event was a woman! It wasn’t until late into the evening that a man finally asked a question, which was remarked by all the cast members. Why the difference between that session and the ones I experienced?—simply because the Downton Abbey program is highly relational, which is more appealing to women, whereas my talks were principally intellectually oriented, which is more appealing to men.
Churches have difficulty attracting men, and the church is becoming increasingly feminized. I believe that apologetics is a key to attracting large numbers of men (as well as women) to church and to Christ. By presenting rational arguments and historical evidences for the truth of the Gospel, by appealing to the mind as well as the heart, we can bring a great influx of men into the Kingdom. I’m so pleased that the church in Canada seems to be awakening to this challenge! I’m convinced that we have the opportunity to revolutionize Western Christianity by reclaiming our intellectual heritage.
I could tell you many, many stories of what it was like for me being shut down by churches who were overly sensitive to the desires of women. In college, I and the other male students had every attempt to bring in scholars to lecture or debate shut down by female leadership. Every single week it was prayer walks, testimonies, hymn sings… over and over. Eventually, the more manly Christians just quit going. Later on, I witnessed apologetics being shut down in the church from the top down and from the bottom up, as well.
I remember one week an excited male friend invited me to his church because his male pastor was giving sermons using Hugh Ross and Gerald Shroeder books. He was trying to tie in the existence of God to cosmology. Well, I showed up the next Sunday to hear, and was disappointed. I could tell that the pastor wanted to go back to that subject, but he never really did. Later on, we found out that a female parishioner had complained that too much science and evidence had ruined her experience of feeling good and being comforted.
I could go on and on and on telling stories like this. To this day, I cannot stand being in a church unless that church has organized things like apologetic training classes, public lectures, public debates or public conferences. But that’s the minority of churches. The fact is that churches are attended far more by women than by men, and pastors are catering to women more than men. Not only will apologetics not be mentioned, but elements of feminism will creep into doctrine (egalitarianism) and all political issues will be avoided. Church has become a place to have good feelings, and it is far divorced from anything like evidence or politics which might be viewed as judgmental and divisive. And yet those are the things that men like to talk about most: right and wrong, public policy, evidential apologetics.
This is from the UK Telegraph, and it’s a nice confirmation of sex differences.
Women who put in long hours in their careers greatly increase their risk of developing life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and cancer, a new study has shown.
Work weeks that averaged 60 hours per week or more over three decades were found to triple the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart trouble and arthritis, according to new research from The Ohio State University.
The risk begins to climb when women put in more than 40 hours and takes a decidedly bad turn above 50 hours, researchers found.
Crucially the same pattern was not seen in men. In fact, they got healthier the longer they worked.
[…]Men who worked long hours had a higher incidence of arthritis, but none of the other chronic diseases.
Surprisingly, those men who worked moderately long hours, 41 to 50 hours weekly, had lower risk of heart disease, lung disease and depression than those who worked 40 hours or fewer.
[…]The research was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Recently, I was very much in love with a woman I’ll call Gertrude and I can remember thinking often about how much I wanted to work so that she wouldn’t have to work. I wanted to go out there every day and make money for us both, so that she wouldn’t have to face the world and all the pressures and difficulties of a job. I wanted her to stay safe at home and make the home comfortable and raise children who would respect their father and know and serve the Lord. There is something inside a man that translates love into “wanting to take away trouble from his woman”, and that was a very strong feeling for me at the time. I did not mind that she worked before we married and before children arrived. I did not mind that she pursued advanced degrees after marriage, did things in the community, or organized Christian events at the university. I just didn’t want her to have to face work. I wanted to protect and provide for her, and rescue her from work.
I think more women are expected to work today because government is so big that more taxes and more debt are needed to fund all the programs. That makes marriage and family harder to do on one man’s salary. This also might be one reason why men are reluctant to marry. Every man knows for certain that a woman who does not work makes a gentler and more faithful wife and mother. A woman who works is inevitably going to have more stress, which makes being a good wife and mother harder. Women who work also cheat on their husbands more than women who don’t work. My friend Dina tells me that about 90% of the women she works with withhold sex from their husbands, and many of those husbands have tuned out of the marriage, as a result of not getting their needs met. Some have gone on to have affairs, and that’s to be expected, especially if the woman chose a man who had recreational premarital sex before she married him.
The bottom line is that through their voting and life decisions, women often create the very problems that they later blame on men. A little wisdom would go a long way.
Women who lost their virginity as young teenagers are more likely to divorce – especially if it was unwanted, according to new research.
The University of Iowa study shows that 31 per cent of women who had sex for the first time as teens divorced within five years, and 47 per cent within 10 years.
Among women who delayed sex until adulthood, 15 per cent divorced at five years, compared to 27 per cent at 10 years.
The findings were published in the April issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.
Author Anthony Paik, associate professor of sociology in the university’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, examined the responses of 3,793 married and divorced women to the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth.
The study showed, however, that if a young woman made the choice to lose her virginity as a teenager, there was no direct link to a marital split later in life.
If the sexual act took place before the age of 16 women were shown more likely to divorce, even if it was wanted.
Thirty-one percent of women who lost their virginity during adolescence had premarital sex with multiple partners, compared to 24 per cent of those who waited.
Twenty-nine percent experienced premarital conceptions, versus 15 percent who waited.
One in four women who had sex as a teen had a baby before they were married, compared to only one in ten who waited until adulthood.
Only one per cent of women surveyed said they chose to have sex at age 13 or younger, compared to five per cent at age 14 or 15, and 10 per cent at age 16 or 17.
Forty two per cent reported that their first sexual intercourse before age 18 that was not completely wanted.
Fifty eight per cent of the group waited until age 18 or older to have sex. Of those, 22 per cent said it was unwanted, compared to 21 per cent who said it was wanted.
Researchers concluded sex itself may not increase the probability of divorce, while factors such as a higher number of sexual partners, pregnancy, or out-of-wedlock birth increased the risk for some.
If you want a stable marriage, then you don’t have sex before you’re married. There are tons of virgins out there, and there is a huge difference in the quality of romantic relationships when both parties exercise self-control with physical touching. Don’t let it go too far – you lose some of what love and marriage can be.
I am sure you will all LOVE this lecture delivered by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse at Houston Baptist University. (60 minutes, start listening at 11:15 though!)
what is the purpose of marriage in society?
do children really need a mother and a father?
is each child entitled to a relationship with their 2 bio-parents?
how is the purpose of marriage being re-defined today?
how does same-sex marriage redefine traditional marriage?
should the state be able to determine who counts as a parent?
are mothers and fathers interchangeable?
how did no-fault divorce redefine marriage?
does the government provide an incentive to divorce?
are men interchangeable with women?
where did feminism come from? how did it start?
how does the Marxist worldview view marriage and family?
who do feminists believe should be raising the children?
how Christianity conflicts with Utopian views
what can a Christian university do to turn the tide?
This is a fun lecture to watch, because she’s very articulate, informed, and passionate. She’s an excellent speaker, because she taught economics at Yale University and George Mason University.
I’ve learned a ton about marriage and economics by listening to Jennifer Roback Morse. I like to complain a lot about women today not thinking much about love, marriage and parenting. But Dr. J knows everything about those topics. It’s useful stuff for young people to know – it’s never a bad idea to think deeply about marriage as an enterprise, and to understand the challenges to marriage.
Consider this assessment of cohabitation from the liberal New York Times.
AT 32, one of my clients (I’ll call her Jennifer) had a lavish wine-country wedding. By then, Jennifer and her boyfriend had lived together for more than four years. The event was attended by the couple’s friends, families and two dogs.
When Jennifer started therapy with me less than a year later, she was looking for a divorce lawyer. “I spent more time planning my wedding than I spent happily married,” she sobbed. Most disheartening to Jennifer was that she’d tried to do everything right. “My parents got married young so, of course, they got divorced. We lived together! How did this happen?”
Cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. This shift has been attributed to the sexual revolution and the availability of birth control, and in our current economy, sharing the bills makes cohabiting appealing. But when you talk to people in their 20s, you also hear about something else: cohabitation as prophylaxis.
In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.
That’s a nice idea – wanting protection against divorce. But I think these hopeful attitudes that young people have about cohabitation and the utility / harmlessness of premarital sex, is so much whistling past the graveyard. The fact is that cohabitation does not improve marital stability.
The New York Times author assesses the evidence about cohabitation:
Couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect.
Researchers originally attributed the cohabitation effect to selection, or the idea that cohabitors were less conventional about marriage and thus more open to divorce. As cohabitation has become a norm, however, studies have shown that the effect is not entirely explained by individual characteristics like religion, education or politics. Research suggests that at least some of the risks may lie in cohabitation itself.
As Jennifer and I worked to answer her question, “How did this happen?” we talked about how she and her boyfriend went from dating to cohabiting. Her response was consistent with studies reporting that most couples say it “just happened.”
“We were sleeping over at each other’s places all the time,” she said. “We liked to be together, so it was cheaper and more convenient. It was a quick decision but if it didn’t work out there was a quick exit.”
She was talking about what researchers call “sliding, not deciding.” Moving from dating to sleeping over to sleeping over a lot to cohabitation can be a gradual slope, one not marked by rings or ceremonies or sometimes even a conversation. Couples bypass talking about why they want to live together and what it will mean.
Cohabitation is associated with higher risks of divorce because it works to undermine the need for quality communication during courting and the need for commitment that is based on discipline, instead of pleasure. People slide into something that looks like marriage because the sex pulls them in. But they’ve never taken the time to talk about what the relationship is really about, and whether they are intending to commit to the other person for life, and on what terms, and for what reason. Young people find these conversations difficult and scary for a reason – they are not capable of discussing relationships in terms of self-sacrifice, self-control, and self-denial.
The focus on early sex is caused by a focus on wanting to get to pleasure right away. They want relationships to be like a consumer good, where they get their needs met without having to talk about suitability for roles, and acceptance of responsibilities and obligations. In my experience, young people are terrified of the responsibilities, obligations and expectations of a real commitment. They want relationships to be free,easy and fun – where they just get to do whatever they feel like, moment by moment. And somehow, it’s all supposed to work out, without anyone talking seriously about roles and responsibilities and commitment.
But of course that doesn’t work as well as keeping your distance and getting to know each other first. It’s not just compatibility that is important, though – it’s that both people need to prepare for the roles and responsibilities they will have in a marriage, and demonstrate to each other that each is capable of performing those roles.
What’s the answer?
Research has shown that pre-marital chastity produces more stable and higher quality marriages. And that’s because chastity helps people to focus on conversations and obligations instead of the recreational sex which clouds the judgment and glosses over the seriousness of marriage. Premarital sex rushes the relationship to the point where it is harder to break it off because of the sunk costs of sex and the pain of the break-up. Courtship is the time to discuss the things that break up marriages, like finances and division of labor. It is the time to demonstrate self-control and fidelity. Courting doesn’t allow either person to get control of the relationship through sex, so that they can get their needs met without having to care about the other person. When sex is ruled off the table, the only way to have the relationship go on is by serving the other person and showing them that you have what it takes to do the marriage role you’re assigned. That’s hard work, but young people need to accept that and get on with preparing for and practicing their marriage responsibilities.
Why not go back to courting?
If you asked me, I would tell you that courting is protection against a painful break-up as well as protection against a bad marriage. And the aim of courting is to interview the other person so that you can see whether they understand the demands of the marriage and whether they can perform their duties to their spouse and children. In particular, men should investigate whether the woman has prepared (or is willing to prepare now) to perform her roles as wife and mother, and women should investigate whether the man has prepared to perform his roles as protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader (or is willing to prepare now). Courting is not designed to be fun, although it can be fun. It is not meant to make people feel happy, it is mean to prepare them for marriage. And this is because you cannot translate fun and happy into marriage, because marriage is about well-defined roles, self-sacrifice and commitment. Marriage is about following through for the other person, whether you get what you want or not. You’d be surprised how often people give up on courting and show that their real goal for a relationship is not lifelong self-sacrificial love at all, but just using other people for their own happiness while they keep their distance from the responsibilities, obligations and expectations of the marriage covenant.
And that’s why I encourage men to very gently and subtly guide the relationship in a way that will allow both the woman and the man to practice their expected marital duties, see how they feel about their duties and get better at being able to perform them. Men have the most to lose from the divorce courts, if things go south. That’s why it is the man’s the responsibility to detect and reject women who are only interested in fun and thrills.