There’s no question that men are hardwired for danger.
As psychologists and sociologists have long recognized, there is a genetic predisposition in men for physical aggression and violence. They possess larger, stronger bodies, as the typical male has 75 percent more muscle than women and 90 percent greater upper body strength. Throughout history men have, not surprisingly, predominantly filled roles in the front lines of combat and dangerous professions.
Statistics also reveal where this masculine biology can go wrong: According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 93 percent of those incarcerated are men; research both present and historical shows that a vast majority of those involved in homicides are men; of the most dangerous jobs available, men occupy the vast majority, which is why men are 10 times more likely to be killed at work than women.
Fueled by a pervasive feminist ideology that points to the obvious reality of man’s natural propensity for violence and labels it toxic, the most popular theory is that you make men safe by weakening them. And so from prohibition to public education, there’s been a concerted societal effort to domesticate, emasculate and soften men.
The obvious problem, which all the research points out, is that it doesn’t work. You don’t make men good by softening them, just like you don’t make a knife better by dulling it. As any butcher knows, the best knife is the sharpest knife used for the right purpose.
What our society has done is neuter the characteristics of authentic masculinity and then wonder why the new beta male isn’t worth a damn. We made war on fatherhood and then wondered why fatherless homes are decimating the culture. We told men their strength was toxic and then wondered why we’d been plagued by invertebrates in communities, corporations, and churches.
In the timely words of C.S. Lewis:
In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.
Only Dangerous Men Can Be Good
Where we are most helped today is by the great men of the past who understood that only dangerous men have the capacity for masculine virtue. Tolkien captured this truth magnificently in The Two Towers:
Gimli said, “But you speak of him as if he were a friend. I thought Fangorn was dangerous.“
“Dangerous!” cried Gandalf. “And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord. And Aragorn is dangerous, and Legolas is dangerous. You are beset with dangers, Gimli son of Gloin; for you are dangerous yourself, in your own fashion. Certainly the forest of Fangorn is perilous—not least to those that are too ready with their axes; and Fangorn himself, he is perilous too; yet he is wise and kindly nonetheless.”
In modern times, men like Jordan Peterson have repeatedly pointed this out: It is only the most dangerous men that are capable of virtue; weak men are incapable of true virtue.
What the world needs is dangerous men, not safe men.
It was dangerous men, with the capacity for violence, who stormed the beaches of Normandy and kept the evil of Nazism from swallowing Europe whole. It was dangerous men who chased and bombed the Taliban to the point of extinction in Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. It was dangerous men who tracked and killed UBL on May 2, 2011.
Instead of vilifying masculine virtues like physical prowess, potent sexuality, vocational passion, and violent aggression, it’s essential that we understand what men are for and recast that vision for future generations.
Man Was Made for Dominion
In the context of creation, which is where man’s purpose and aim is most clearly defined, we are told that God gave man a primary task: rule the world.
“God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
With the necessary help of the woman, man’s primary, God-given task was subduing or taking dominion of the earth for God’s glory. From his loins to his chest, man’s physiological and psychological hardwiring has one ultimate purpose: conquering the world.
Men are sexually driven, which is a gift for procreation, pleasure, and raising up an army of godly warriors.
Men are combative, which is a gift for slaying the dragons that roam the earth and destroy civilization. As the past century has borne out, there is real evil and the only solution is for violently good men to meet it at the gates.
Men are made to be warriors among a gang of men, which is a gift for the continuance of a god-fearing community. When a threat arises to the welfare of a people, men will ride into battle because they give each other strength and courage that can come no other way.
Men are fathers, intense workers, culture builders, protectors, and leaders, which is a gift for building societies and shedding one’s own blood to ensure their generational vitality. Men were made to gather, store up, manage, and build wealth for the furtherance of future generations.
Here’s the rub: The church today has almost completely lost an optimistic vision for the world dominion that is embedded in masculine DNA. Without a mission, brothers to shed blood alongside, families to nurture and build, and a land worth dying for, men become aimless and destructive. All that energy that was meant for world dominion becomes unhinged, destructive to self, society, and the world.
It’s the same reason that many men who thrive in combat return home to discover a purposeless, listless existence. They are removed from the greatest love a man can have, which is for the man who bled next to him in battle. They no longer have a clear sense of purpose for their lives. Many suffer from depression and turn to suicide.
Without a clear vision for dominion, masculinity cannot be fully recovered. But with that clear vision, men will again thrive.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18).
The desperate need of the hour is to encourage men to embrace the godly vision for dominion that he was made for.
The plagues of masculinity we face today are a result of a people perishing without a vision. Without clear purpose, sexuality engulfs a man in pornographic napalm and selfish pleasure seeking. Strength is used to manipulate, control, and abuse. Fatherhood is abandoned for cheap sex and the objectification of women. Money becomes a tool for self-aggrandizement. Misguided combativeness erupts violently to destroy families, communities, and churches.
The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth
Many Christians have been indoctrinated in effeminate churches by pastors who proudly occupy the egregious station as the “third sex.” More women’s tea parties and book clubs than boot camps for dominion takers, churches have become soft ghettos for the kind of pacifistic, emotionalistic pietism that any hard man would call gay.
While Paul called the church to “fight the good fight,” (1 Tim. 6:12) “act like men,” (1 Cor. 16:13) and “be a good soldier,” (2 Tim. 2:3) most churches today speak exclusively in the language of feelings, heart religion, and binding the wounds of a bruised inner child. Oddly enough, no place in Scripture will you find an emotivistic plea to “accept Jesus into your heart,” but you will find Christ calling for violent men to violently pursue the kingdom. The former is the standard fare in evangelical churches while the latter has been almost completely forgotten.
What men are to be, we are told, is meek. After all, didn’t Christ say that the meek shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5)?
Ironically, the meekness Jesus calls for is exactly the opposite of the soft-shell-crab weakness in men that gets peddled from the pulpit today. The actual meaning of “meekness” helps us understand the kind of masculinity we ought to pursue.
The Greek word praus refers to the meeking of a war horse, which describes a tremendously powerful creature that has been brought under the warrior’s direction. Biblical meekness “is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control—i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.”
God calls men to be tremendously powerful and dangerous and to harness that drive with unparalleled discipline under the authority of God’s Word.
The virtues which Christ himself extols in men are holy violence and power under restraint. The authentic man has not become weak, but quite the opposite; he has learned to harness his power through training and discipline.
Which is why the best men are dangerous men.