Society Wants it Both Ways

Rowland BlogI want to be very careful with this post. I debated whether or not to say anything just because the issue is so heated and delicate in our society on so many different levels. But I think it warrants some analysis from a Christian perspective.

I am referencing the latest controversy concerning ESPN host, Stephen A. Smith, and his comments addressing the Ray Rice domestic violence case
To review: Ray Rice, an NFL football player with the Baltimore Ravens was seen on a casino camera dragging his girlfriend (now wife) out of a elevator after having hit her and knocked her unconscious.

There was already some additional controversy because he was punished by the NFL with only a two game suspension when most people feel a much harsher punishment was warranted. Stephen A Smith has come under fire because while discussing the case he suggested that women should generally be careful not to instigate a man’s physical attack upon them by “provoking” him in some way. A huge chorus of people have attacked Smith for insinuating that a woman bears some responsibility for a physical attack upon her by a man.

Let me be clear. Hitting a woman is wrong. It is wrong in every situation NO MATTER WHAT. Stephen A Smith was wrong to insinuate in any way that a woman shares any blame in any abuse done to her. A woman should be protected and guarded by men as the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7) not abused or taken advantage of by men. But here lies the problem, the world and our culture do not believe this sentence that I wrote: “A woman should be protected and guarded by men as the weaker vessel not abused or taken advantage of by men.”

You see, this idea of complementarianism (that men and women are created uniquely different by God to complement one another and each uniquely reflect certain aspects of the divine attributes) is a Christian principle based upon a Biblical world-view that our society has categorically rejected. In the age of “women’s liberation” where women can “do anything a man can do” we are training a generation of women to act like men and demand equal treatment. The age of chivalry has been obliterated in every way by our culture and its destruction is celebrated. In fact, to think in such terms as “chivalry” or “complementarianism” in today’s society is condemned as archaic thinking.

Why can our society think that they can have it both ways? We see the inconsistency emerge everywhere. For example: men and women should be treated equally in the military but women should not be required to register for the draft? Why can our world be outraged when a man hits a woman and knocks her out but claim that there is no distinction between the genders and there is no such thing as “the weaker vessel.”

Do you see the inconsistency? Society ferociously wants men and women to be treated the same and yet they do not. Let me pose a hypothetical. What if Ray Rice had knocked out a man over some sort of dispute? Would there be civil outrage? I would guess that there would be very little. In fact, many would probably joke about it and Ray Rice would be celebrated by our culture as being “tough”. But Ray Rice hits a woman and there is universal moral outcry.

Again, do not misunderstand me. I agree there should be outrage. I am simply pointing out the hypocrisy of a society that cannot be consistent within its own world-view. On one hand men and women should be treated the same but on the other hand Stephen A Smith should be run out of town for suggesting that a woman should not be given “special status” and bears equal responsibility for the fight. All Stephen A Smith was suggesting is the logical thought of someone who sees no distinction between men and women; and yet the culture condemns him from carrying out the implications of such thought.

The inconsistency on this issue, where society rightly condemns violence against women yet promotes an egalitarian (men and women have no distinction in role or function) world-view, is due to the fact that the secular egalitarian world-view is fundamentally flawed and is inherently morally objectionable to people - even to those who promote it most fiercely. We all intrinsically know that a man hitting a woman is bad and contrary to our design. Yet with every attempt of our society to maintain this arbitrary insistence that men and women are the same, we become increasingly confused and inherently contradictory in our reaction against domestic abuse.

At the end of the day, complementarianism is not just a minor theological dispute. It has ramifications that are far reaching in our society and it cannot be maintained long term as a workable world-view because we all inherently know what God says in His word to be true, that he created men and women differently for a reason. As our society struggles to blur that distinction we will only increasingly reap the consequences of distorting the image of God in humanity and robbing women of their glory that God created within them to reflect his character.