Sorry for being late to the party, but I'm slammed at work.

One of the things that I ended up doing, which helped a good deal with understanding BAM: I recognized some symbols and themes, and as soon as I finished reading Bronze Age Mindset, I grabbed my copy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and re-read it while BAM was still fresh in my mind. I think the BAP character is clearly made in the mold of a modern Zarathustra, and that some of the odd elements of BAM suddenly make a lot of sense when you read it in the sense of a Zarathustran remake. And we know that the author of the BAP character is a Nietzsche expert.

And yeah, Christians fail to address BAM in a productive way because we also fail to deal with Nietzsche productively. This is one of the reasons that I've been diverted into research that deals with the way that Christians tried to understand Nietzsche rather than point-and-sputter, as Slowly Reading puts it in the other comment.

Deneen made a comment on Twitter a few days ago that all the smart people out there are right now picking sides between Aristotle and Nietzsche, but I'm afraid that Aristotle is not going to be the man of the hour for the 21st Century. Public reason fails in an environment when reason has been weaponized as a tool of petty partisan political advantage, and the boundaries of what is reasonable are set by bad actors seeking to exclude their enemies from the public forum. It means we need to start putting in the work of understanding what Nietzsche did right, where he has legitimate points, and adjusting to the new world. But I'm not optimistic that Christians have the guts to read The Antichrist and admit where he gets things right.

Expand full comment
Aug 17, 2023Liked by Aaron M. Renn

I think that these pieces about the non-Christian advisors on masculinity, which include treating them fairly while critiquing them, and pointing out where they cover ground untouched by Christians, are among your most valuable. Understanding the leaders of young men today, and why they have appeal, is very important to the church.

Expand full comment

Thanks for this article, Aaron, it's really helpful to get a finger in what's out there. Mary Harrington discusses single sex spaces quite often in her work. Maybe these spaces will be a site of a remaking of 'vernacular gender'.

Expand full comment

It’s hard to argue with Aaron’s take on this. We as Christian men need to step up to lead our brothers or the feminist Left or the pagan right will lead us all to chaos.

Expand full comment
Aug 15, 2023Liked by Aaron M. Renn

This is a great article - probably my favorite piece that you have written. I read The Way of Men a decade ago and didn't like it - probably because of his absurdly rose-coloured view of the past. The fact that he is homosexual makes it impossible for me to take him seriously. However, you have done a great job of extracting his worthwhile ideas from among the garbage.

Expand full comment

The range of Christian responses to 'BAPist' paganism is interesting. I'd say only a few are actually useful, in the sense of taking it seriously rather than just "pointing and sputtering." But these are interesting:




By contrast, I thought this more 'mainstream' attempt to define masculinity was rather disappointing - a few good insights, but doesn't end up with a good answer to questions like 'why do men exist in the first place' and 'is there anything good about men'?


Expand full comment

Regarding the individualistic emphasis you see in modern Christian forms of masculinity:

What of denominations that emphasize Holy Communion as taking part in/joining “the body of Christ”? Does joining the church body not count since it’s not a male-only space (ie women are part of the body too)?

Expand full comment

Seems like we were reaching back in time, trying to find ancient sources to tell us how to live as men. Even a few generations ago, this would be unthinkable. Everyone knew that pagan sources were contemptible as they encouraged practices such as demon worship, cannibalism and child sacrifice.

Expand full comment