Misogyny and other arrogances
Mansplaining - one variety of arrogance! If you want a great (and funny) take on mansplaining, read Rebecca Solnit's excellent essay on the topic. But that's just an example of a bigger issue.
Here's another example of arrogance: Stefan Molyneux - who I would class as a libertarian misogynist - was recently quoted as saying at a men's rights conference (!): “If we could just get people to be nice to their babies for five years straight, that would be it for war, drug abuse, addiction, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases,” he said. “Almost all would be completely eliminated, because they all arise from dysfunctional early childhood experiences, which are all run by women.”
That's sick! But quite aside from the incredible and despicable narrow minded arrogance of anyone who would say that, and apart from the disturbing fact that some people need to host a conference on men's rights, the real issue is the disstorted lens of unthinking self-interest.
Here's another example: A climate change blog recently hosted an article on "What really annoys scientists about the state of the climate change debate?" It's a great topic ... I get really peeved with the boorish arrogant comments from the uneducated masses on topics that require expert knowledge (would you ask a plumber how to treat cancer?). But in the article they only asked experts from 1st world developed countries. That's a lens which infers that the greater majority of the world's population is unimportant, with nothing of value to say, second tier citizens in need of charity. Now I'm sure (I hope) that if challenged the authors would acknowledge their article's bias, but it does reveal how we walk around with an unrecognised distortion -- we look through a broken lens.
I know we all love to promote our view on life ... in 2011 flickr.com had over 6 billion photos, and in 2014 instagram had over 200 million users, to say nothing of tweets! There's nothing wrong with that in itself (although I suspect many of these serve as therapy for the need for attention). But promote your own view enough times and you'll begin to believe you're always right.
This arrogance leads to those all too common situations of self-justification to avoid responsibility - from people who justify sexual harassment (or worse) by saying the woman was asking for it, through to children blaming others for their own errors. How often have you heard people justify unacceptable behaviour with "I was just doing it for you", or "I’m only fighting fire with fire", or "It doesn’t hurt anyone", or "Everyone else does it", or even "I deserve it."
At the heart of the problem is, of course, that we allow the brokenness of our human nature to twist our perspective. But we need not be slave to that; "be transformed by the renewing of your mind".
That is, to put it in metaphorical terms: Change the lens!
For the religious this is especially dangerous, for religious people claim that they're on God's side, and so it becomes all too easy to justify behaviour in the name of God. History is largely made up of despicable events that happened in the name of one or other god ... Christians are no exception.
Here's the Christian's additional danger: You can interpret the bible through the lens of your issue, or you can interpret your issue through the lens of the bible. This will usually take you to very different conclusions.
A good example (as seen through my distorted lens as I try and find focus) is this debate between two Christians about homosexual practices. Sadly both participants do little to listen to one another, both avoid some of the very real complexities, both ignore the nuances, both are trying to WIN an argument. And this is the fundamental broken lens problem: we want our lens to be THE lens. As Coleridge said "I have seen great intolerance shown in support of tolerance."
Jesus' lens was one of relationship.
Of course there are many issues (e.g. sexuality) that we need to wrestle with, but their true importance is only visible when seen through the lens of relationship. Relationship does not mean "tolerate everything except intolerance", it's not about that wispy "love is all I need" that some are so fond of (and so poor at doing). The lens of relationship is Jesus saying to the rich young ruler "sell everything and follow me", and to the adulterer "go and sin no more". It's about seeing what is at the heart of an individual, like seeing the heart of the woman at the well (great video!).
How distorted is my view here?
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