Some people often wonder why I obsess over the red pills, bad theology, militant atheism, and narcissists and psychopaths. It all stems from a desire to try to understand the origins of some of the brokenness in our world. Indeed, it is an odd hobby to have. A sensible person would simply learn to knit.
I spent a long time working for our local domestic violence/sexual assault program and I have a pretty good grasp of what women’s brokenness looks like, about what motivates us and compels us, about the nature of sin and love gone wrong. Somewhere in that endless parade of horrors, I began to empathize with men, some who were just as lost and confused as anyone else, and some who were just the nicest people ever, and yet the evidence of what they had done was unmistakable, women left in shallow graves, raped babies, women doused in boiling oil.
People who don’t believe there is sin in the world, those who believe people are filled with innate goodness, are blind indeed. There are horrors in this world that will take your breath away.
Least I give the impression that men are evil and women are all just innocent victims, that is not my intent. Women commit all kind of atrocities too, mostly against children. And women abuse men too, it is simply that women in general tend to be smaller, weaker, and more prone to turn our rage inward rather than outward. Our targets are going to usually be those smaller than us, or involve violence that is more passive/aggressive and psychological. We are less inclined to go out and shoot up a school, for example. That kind of open, physical confrontation is not as common with women. It doesn’t make us any less evil, just less prone to cause as much obvious carnage. That could change as the world “evolves” and “progresses,” there are female suicide bombers now.
Every time there is a school shooting or some guy who jumps off a freeway over pass there is always this mad scramble to try to understand and fix the problem, often fueled by mediated reality and politicians of course. There are all these simplistic solutions based on knee jerk emotionalism, gun control for example. Quick, get rid of all the guns…and explosives, and anything sharp or dangerous.
Then there is the mentally ill bandwagon, one I frequently try to ride myself, to try and gauge the psychology of the perp, to attempt to figure out what went wrong there. There is a logical fallacy in that however, mental illness does not cause violence. Our attempts to label those we do not understand as mentally ill, is downright legendary. “Insanitybytes,” right? The very first thing people on the internet do when they disagree with me is to label me insane, dangerous, delusional, thinking disordered.
Donald Trump jumped on that same train this morning, trying to explain that the Oregon shooter was mentally ill. What Trump was trying to do was to disqualify the guy, to separate him from the rest of us “normal” people, to create distance there. It’s okay, the guy was just mentally ill, meaning he wasn’t thinking right, he wasn’t like the rest of us. It’s okay, there is a rational explanation for evil. It is just chemical, biological, and causes one’s brain to malfunction.
I understand, I do this too, however the vast majority of people who suffer from mental illness are actually less prone to violence than the rest of us. Yes, less dangerous. Mental illness has become a catch all for bad behavior and I dislike this because it becomes a deception, an excuse, a way of distancing ourselves from the nature and reality of evil, an evil we do not wish to acknowledge, let alone identify and define, and who can blame us? It is a disturbing issue.
What is it however, that makes this latest Oregon shooter, “mentally ill,” but someone like Gary Ridgeway who murdered dozens of women, “sane?” Why was Susan Smith who murdered her two boys judged “sane” while the Colorado shooter was known to be “mentally ill?” The truth of the matter is that we don’t even understand what we mean when we label people “mentally ill” versus “sane.”
From a Christian perspective, it has taken me years to accept that evil is a real thing in the world, that it has a spiritual component, that it is not related to mental illness or how you were raised or what circumstances life has dealt you. We all naturally seek a rational explanation for bad things, but often there just isn’t one. Evil exist as an entity unto itself, and it is malevolent and intelligent and real. There is a cure, there is a way to keep it at bay, but so few seem to want to avail themselves or to even recognize our vulnerability and need for protection.
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Those feelings of worthlessness, of rejection, that inability to love ourselves, what is going on inside of us, eventually manifests itself on the outside. When people are compelled to steal, kill, and destroy, there is evil there, not mental illness, not access to weapons, not the circumstances we have been afflicted with, but the narratives we have allowed ourselves to tell and nourish.
One of my many issues with the red pills is that they tend to nurture a narrative that implies women are the enemy, that nourishes feelings of rejection and persecution, that encourages men to stay away from the alleged “feminized church.” It is an ideology that provides a distraction, a diversion from the nature of what ails people, that offers an alternative to pour into the abyss of your soul, allegedly to keep the dark things at bay. I don’t think some of these bloggers fully understand the problem or necessarily intend to be the fuel on these fires, but when you label women (and Christians) the enemy and than proceed to portray us as a threat, evil, oppressive, you will inspire and validate potential evil.
It’s a shame too, because I don’t think the red pills are wrong about everything, I think many of them believe they are offering something positive, something not often addressed in the world, and perhaps that is true, perhaps some people do benefit. However, promoting hatred, feelings of persecution, dehumanizng women, and portraying Christians as the enemy, is not how you go about it. That is how you pour fuel on what is already a powder keg. That is how you enable evil to write it’s own narrative.