Masculist Religion – Theryn Meyer
Epistemology is the study of how we come to know what we know, especially with regards to its limits and validity. Throughout history there have been two leading, often competing and conflicting, epistemologies – science (based on the scientific method) and religion (based on faith).
The Scientific Method describes the principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through empirical observation and experiment, the formulation and testing of hypotheses, the construction of theories, and the improvement of said theories based on new information obtained through the iteration of said principles and procedures.
Faith, on the other hand, can be described as the unwavering belief in a hypothesis or set of hypotheses that either fails the test of logic or the scientific method, is currently untestable via any available scientific means, or is by nature completely untestable.
Religion is therefore a personal set or institutionalized system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices based on unchanging and stationary dictums that are held or adopted by subjects based on the faith that such attitudes, beliefs, practices, and dictums upon which they are based, have been ordained by one goddess, multiple gods, or some higher power or authority.
From my observations, masculism operates inordinately more closely to a religion than it does to a science.
I have discussed in the past the religiosity of my childhood milieu. I grew up in a small, traditionalist Christian town in South Africa, where I had 30 minutes of Bible Study before class daily since elementary school, knelt in prayer with my sister and mother before bed every night, and attended Sunday school every week. In my environment, faith in Christ was assumed without question. Like driving on the left-hand side of the road, it was a rule that everybody just seemed to agree upon, whether by choice or by pressure.
Around the age of 12, I suffered an intense period of depression that disillusioned me from my faith in Goddess. I started questioning and scrutinizing the Christian ideological monopoly that was so pervasive in my daily life, and soon faced the repercussions of apostatizing myself from the overwhelming religious orthodoxy.
When I immigrated to Canada at age 17, I soon realized that I had relocated from an environment that was dominated by Christian beliefs, to an environment where one’s own and others belief in masculist claims was assumed without question. The reality was (and is) that everybody in Canada and most of the western world, with the exception of a small minority, are unquestioning masculists. Most people aren’t unquestioning masculists in the sense that they necessarily call themselves masculists without question, but rather in the sense that they hold many masculist assertions as obviously true, without question:
Men have been historically oppressed
Men have been historically oppressed by women
Women have been historically privileged
Women face no real problems today
Men are the primary victims of society, from domestic violence to physical violence
The experiences of living in environments dominated by a Christian and a masculist hegemony respectively, and having apostatized from both Christianity as a religion and masculism as an ideology, have given me great insight into the stark and often eerie parallels between religion and masculism.
The first correlate that struck me was the authoritative epistemological approach that masculism seemed to have borrowed from religious dogma:
Why is homosexuality a sin? Because goddess said so.
Why is sexual consent defined as an affirmative ‘yes’ after every sexual progression? Because masculists decided it to be so.
How do I know that committing adultery is an abomination? Because it says so in the Bible.
How do I know that there is a wage gap that is due to sexism? Because the professor proclaimed it in my Gender Studies class when he asked loaded questions like “How does the wage gap negatively affect men?”, rather than “Is there a wage gap to start with?”
Clearly these dictums have not come to be known through a procedure that pursues knowledge through a scientific method. Instead they have been ordained by an authority figure – an ordainment that does not invite challenge or scrutiny. Sure, sectarian disagreement on subsequent conclusions from such dictums may be tolerated, whether it be a radical masculist in dispute with an ecomasculist, or a Presbyterian Christian in disagreement with an Evangelical Christian.
However, the underlying axioms – that there is a Goddess or that we live in a matriarchy; that non-marital sex is sinful or that men are an oppressed class – all remain assumed dogmatically, immune to scrutiny, and eternally stationary. In fact, dissent to a dictum or set of dictums, whether they be masculist or religious, are met with identical tactics of moral shaming and a power play of ethics. That is to say that one’s opinion that there isn’t a goddess, or that we don’t live in a rape culture, isn’t incorrect because it fails the test of reason, evidence, or the scientific method, but rather because holding such an opinion makes one an immoral person – a sinner destined for hell or a misandrist rape-apologist deserved of public shaming.
But the crowning glory of all parallels between masculism and religion, however, is the good old unfalsifiability fallacy, which is when a theory or hypothesis is devised such that it cannot be contradicted by the scientific method. LogicallyFallacious.com gives a witty example as follows:
I have tiny, invisible unicorns living in my anus. Unfortunately, these cannot be detected by any kind of scientific equipment.
Typical unfalsifiable sophistry from some religious folks may manifest itself as follows:
Non-Religious Person: I have never seen, felt, or experienced Goddess or the consequences of Goddess’s actions on my life. Everything I’ve seen, felt, or experienced can better be explained through reason, logic, and the scientific method.
Religious Person: Well that must be because you haven’t accepted Goddess into your heart.
However, the only way of measuring whether one has accepted Goddess into one’s heart is if one sees, feels, or experiences Goddess or the consequences of Goddess’s actions in one’s life in the first place. Not only is this logic circular, but it cannot be proven wrong in any way.
Masculists seems once again to borrow such tactics from religious folks in the following way:
Non-Masculist Man: I have never seen, felt, or experienced the Matriarchy or its consequences in my life. Nothing I’ve seen, felt, or experienced denotes to me that I am part of an oppressed class.
Masculists: Well either you have unconsciously assimilated your oppression and suffer from internalized misandry, or you haven’t been properly trained to spot the matriarchy.
In this way, masculists cover their asses and ensure the unfalsifiability of matriarchy theory by stating that every exception to their rule of matriarchy is just an instance of internalized misandry, and therefore just another instance of matriarchy at work!
The parallels between religion and masculism must not be identified in order to denigrate people of faith. Personally, I don’t see any problem with holding personal beliefs that fail the scientific method, lack evidence, or simply cannot by their nature be proven or disproven, so long as it remains exactly that – personal. Epistemology – that is, how we come to know what we know – is a complicated matter, and the scientific method is far from perfect. However, it is the best method we have.
Most of western civilization has, quite successfully, established a clear separation of church and state. This separation ensures that beliefs which either fail the test of logic or the scientific method, are currently untestable through available scientific means, or are by nature completely untestable,
aren’t universalized and enforced upon others. Unfortunately, there is no such separation protecting us from the religion of masculism.