1/16 There are lots of folks calling themselves red pill Christians. This is no better than feminist Christians, or social justice Christians, or gay-affirming Christians, or whatever other idol of wokeness someone has discovered in the world and then attached Christianity to.
5/16 The red pill acolyte is inducted into an elect group, gains hidden wisdom & secret doctrines, becomes part of a justified minority. So the red pill is a modern mystery cult; pairing it with Christianity just produces a Christian knockoff of that cult…
12/16 Many RP Christians are those of whom Peter warns us: “they speak loud boasts of folly, enticing by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption.”
13/16 This is obvious if you read discussions on blogs like Dalrock; the eagerness with which they violate the principles of Eph 5 is startling to behold. There is as much contempt for women there as for men on feminist forums, and as little fear of God before their eyes.
For the purpose of this post I’ll set aside the absurdity of Bnonn claiming open discussions on public forums involves secret knowledge, and the more embarrassing problem with him using gossipy Queen B* tactics to promote his upcoming website on masculinity. I’ll merely note that if he ever takes issue with anything I’ve written I would urge him to man up and quote it and kindly explain my error.
What I want to focus on for this post is what I believe is Bnonn’s difficulty understanding precisely what the Christian “red pill” is. The term itself has never been my preference, but I’ll work with the metaphor he and others have adopted. One bit that Bnonn has right in essence is that:
Red pill is a reactionary, negative movement…
This is true, and the difficulty with defining the red pill begins with defining what it is reacting against. This is where the confusion begins even within the men’s sphere. To explain this we need to start with Christianity, even if like Heartiste your choice is to lounge poolside and enjoy the decline. This is the case because the red pill isn’t the original reaction. What we call chivalry is the original reaction, and chivalry was reacting to/against Christian sexual morality. Chivalry/courtly love was originally a parody of Christianity, ostensibly a game of reversing Christian teachings regarding men, women, and sex. Where Christianity taught that it was marriage that made sex and sexual desire moral, courtly love taught that the only pure expression of sexual passion occurred within adultery**. Where Christianity taught that wives were to submit to their own husbands in fear and reverence, courtly love taught men to submit to other men’s wives in fear and reverence***. What was pure was portrayed as perverse, and what was bawdy was portrayed as pure. It was a truly devious joke.
But quite quickly Christians started seeing the parody not as a devious joke, but as the real deal. Here we are over 800 years later, and conservative Christians regularly present the morality of courtly love as if it were legitimate Christianity. This pops up in the most astounding ways, including Pastor Doug Wilson teaching that if a husband properly loves his wife she will become more physically beautiful (all emphasis mine):
When husbands undertake the assigned responsibility of loving their wives in such a way that they grow in loveliness, they need to understand that the results will be visible. This does not mean that, with the right husband, all women could be equally beautiful. Some women have the advantage of a greater natural beauty, and others had exceptional fathers—men who treated their daughters right. But it does mean that a man who marries biblically should expect his wife to be visibly lovelier on their tenth anniversary—and if she is not, he knows that he is the one responsible.But as the one responsible, he has to know where true beauty begins. Every husband should learn how to ask, “What will living with a man like me do to this woman’s appearance?”
This weird bit of doctrine doesn’t come from the Bible, it comes from Arthurian chivalry and The Wedding of Sir Gawain.
Likewise there is Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. (President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), claiming that by God’s design a wife’s sexual attraction for her husband is a barometer of the man’s righteousness:
Put most bluntly, I believe that God means for a man to be civilized, directed, and stimulated toward marital faithfulness by the fact that his wife will freely give herself to him sexually only when he presents himself as worthy of her attention and desire.
Pastor Doug Wilson discusses the same basic issue slightly differently in his book Reforming Marriage. Wilson explains that the way a man can tell if he is pleasing God is by his wife’s happiness (or lack thereof):
…the key is found in how the husband is treating his wife. Or, put another way, when mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
The collateral effect of obedience is the aroma of love. This aroma is out of reach for those who have a hypocritical desire to be known by others as a keeper of God’s law. Many can fake an attempt at keeping God’s standards in some external way. What we cannot fake is the resulting, distinctive aroma of pleasure to God…
When a husband seeks to glorify God in his home, he will be equipped to love his wife as he is commanded. And if he loves his wife as commanded, the aroma of his home will be pleasant indeed.
Another Pastor Wilson (Pastor Dave Wilson) teaches in FamilyLife’s Art of Marriage that if a wife isn’t sexually attracted to her husband, it is God speaking to the husband through his wife’s (non) burning bush:
Dave: Yes. Here’s all you need to know about that night—the thing that changed our marriage is when Ann was sharing with me what she felt—I had a pretty unique encounter with God. I sensed God was speaking to me, through Ann;
But while Christians adopted chivalry’s parody of Christianity as if it were the real deal, feminists used chivalry to do the heavy lifting for their own rebellion against Christianity. This gives us not two philosophies (or pills), it gives us three. One is the real deal, and two are in rebellion against the original. This is where it gets even more confusing, because there is a fourth perspective which is Game:
Game came about as a reaction to the practical reality created by chivalry and chivalry’s spawn feminism. Game is a logical response to chivalry and feminism’s joint rebellion against Christian sexual morality. Game is a reaction to the chivalrous and feminist lie that women are sexually attracted to masculine virtue, and that the way a man can seduce a woman (or otherwise please her) is to submit to her. Game is a practical rejection of the obvious lie regarding what sexually arouses women. Rejecting a lie is in itself virtuous, but the most learned practitioners of Game employ it to take full advantage of the feminist and (modern) Christian rejection of Christian sexual morality.
For some Game itself is the red pill. For most in the men’s sphere I would however argue that discussion of Game was the catalyst for the red pill reaction. As the combox discussions regularly prove, there is no orthodoxy in the sphere regarding exactly what Game is, if it works, and if it is good, bad, or neutral. I won’t try to resolve those questions in this post. What I want to focus on with this post is what the Christian red pill is or should be in reaction to; what is the blue pill? As I noted earlier there is confusion on this even within the sphere. When I first started blogging I probably would have tentatively answered feminism. But fairly recently it has become clear to me that chivalry is a much more precise answer. As Christians we should oppose the lesbian feminist “pastor” who is melting down purity rings to create a golden vagina. But at least her rejection of Christian sexual morality is overt. The far more insidious rejection of Christian sexual morality comes not from liberal Christians but from conservative Christians, and it comes not as feminism but as chivalry posing as Christianity. The problem is compounded by the desire of Christian men to strike a mock courageous pose by proposing to fight feminism with chivalry, which in their mind is the real Christianity anyway.
In retrospect I should have understood very early on that white knighting was not a modern corruption of something that was once good. I should have understood that the perversion came with Sir Lancelot, the original white knight:
White Knight is a title which the famed Arthurian knight, Sir Lancelot, used until he discovered his actual name. According to legends, he was one of the most important knights among the Knights of the Round Table. He has been variously regarded as the bravest knight of King Arthur as well as the closest friend of the King. The White Knight, Sir Lancelot, was also the one who fell in love with Queen Guinevere and had an affair with her.
That this simple observation took me eight years of blogging to achieve is something that astounds and humbles me in retrospect. The evidence was always at my fingertips, but I couldn’t see the simple pattern.
Bnonn says that he has benefited from the discussion in the sphere, and plans to “integrate that knowledge into a biblical theology of man, woman, and how we’re to work together to extend the dominion of God’s house.”
I fervently pray that Bnonn and Pastor Michael Foster are wildly successful in this endeavor. However, if they are to be successful they will need to avoid the snare of adopting chivalry/courtly love as if it were Christian and therefore the proper antidote to Christian feminism. They must avoid this snare themselves in order to help other Christian men learn to do the same.
*I am told the “B” is silent.
**Later this was further twisted to the modern Christian assertion that romantic love sanctifies married sex and the logical follow on case for no fault divorce. We can trace this same perversion in the modern cuckoldry movement.
***Later this was modified to teaching men to submit to their own wives in fear and reverence and call it servant leadership.
H/T Emperor Constantine
Related: Why Game is a threat to our values.