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How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes | with Nancy Pearcey | Part 2

The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes

Season 11, episode 215
41 min / Published

On this episode of Gospel Spice, join Stephanie Rousselle in part two of her conversation with Professor Nancy Pearcey about toxic masculinity and the decline of the secular script for men. They explore Pearcey's book and discuss the cultural shifts and societal pressures that affect men today. They also share insightful research on the positive impact of Christianity on family dynamics and gender roles around the world. Finally, they discuss practical solutions for workplaces to promote better work-life balance for fathers and mothers alike. Listen in to learn more!

Nancy Pearcey is an author and speaker who focuses on cultural, philosophical, and religious issues. She believes that toxic behavior in men can be reduced with better fathers. This is because the father-son relationship is crucial to the development of healthy masculinity, and currently, 40% of children in the United States are growing up without their natural fathers. Pearcey also explains that fathers are often mocked and ridiculed in the media, leading to a decline in men's motivation to become fathers. The Industrial Revolution disrupted the male-female and father-child relationships since fathers had to follow their work out of the home. This led to fathers being portrayed as irrelevant and incompetent parents. Pearcey suggests that practical solutions could involve tweaking the workplace to allow men to work from home more. During the pandemic, many fathers got closer to their children and discovered they enjoyed working from home, leading them to desire more balance between work and home life. Pearcey indicates through anecdotes that finding alternatives to the traditional industrial work situation is possible and necessary to achieve this balance.

It has become socially acceptable to express open hostility against men even in respected media outlets. "Why Can't We Hate Men?" asks the Washington Post. Almost half of American men agree with the statement, “These days society seems to punish men just for acting like men.” In her new book, the bestselling author of LOVE THY BODY Nancy R. Pearcey explains how secularism has villainized the concept of masculinity.

Toxic masculinity. You have heard the term. Where does it come from? What does it mean? What is the Biblical framework we need today as Christian men and women to tackle this hot button in our culture wars? Stephanie welcomes Professor Nancy Pearcey to discuss the history, context, and biblical solutions for our generation. One of Stephanie’s favorite quotes from Professor Pearcey is found in the book they are discussing today: “Christians should read with their worldview antennae poised to pick up underlying messages.”

Stephanie welcomes Professor Pearcey in a two-part interview and, together they discuss topics that Stephanie chose from the book, and from Nancy’s whole message throughout her many books:

1.       How have the roles of men and women have fluctuated throughout human history? How is this essential context to understand where we are today?

2.       Scientific Darwinism is mostly discredited today. How about social Darwinism? How is this generation equipped to handle it?

3.       How is the history of fatherhood relevant to the ruse of toxic versions of masculinity?

4.       What did men lose through the industrial revolution that they have not yet regained? What about women?

5.       How much do you think that your analysis applies to cultures outside the framework of Western thought?

6.       Tell us about the role of the workplace in making men more present fathers.

7.       How did culture occasionally take men “off the hook” and demand of women to “tame” them? How is this influential today?

8.       What about the response of the church in centuries past, and today?


Purchase the book here: The Toxic War on Masculinity

In three parts, “The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes” reveals the surprising answers to questions such as:

• Where did the idea come from that masculinity is “toxic”?
• What impact did secularism have on the script for masculinity?
• How do Christian men shatter the negative stereotypes?

Let’s face it: When people complain that masculinity is toxic, they often point to evangelical men as their prime example. But findings from the social sciences debunk those charges. Research shows that committed Christian men who attend church regularly test out as the most loving and engaged husbands and fathers.

These facts show that Christianity has the power to overcome toxic behavior in men and reconcile the sexes—an unexpected finding that has stood up to rigorous empirical testing. We should be bold in bringing it into the public square.

“Masculine traits are not intrinsically toxic. They are good when directed to virtuous ends,” Pearcey writes. “The Bible calls men to be both tough and tender, both courageous and caring. Men who know they are made in God’s image can be full persons, reflecting all the rich dimensions of God’s own character.”


Nancy Pearcey is the author of the upcoming book The Toxic War on Masculinity: How Christianity Reconciles the Sexes. Her most recently published book is Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality. Her earlier books include The Soul of ScienceSaving LeonardoFinding Truth, and two ECPA Gold Medallion Award Winners: How Now Shall We Live (coauthored with Harold Fickett and Chuck Colson) and Total Truth. Her books have been translated into 19 languages. She is professor and scholar in residence at Houston Christian University. A former agnostic, Pearcey has spoken at universities such as Princeton, Stanford, USC, and Dartmouth. She has been quoted in The New Yorker and Newsweek, highlighted as one of the five top women apologists by Christianity Today, and hailed in The Economist as "America's pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual."

More at www.nancypearcey.com/

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Show notes

The Toxic War on Masculinity cover.jpeg

Episode Topics:
1. Historical Overview of Toxic Masculinity- The decline of the secular script for men- Reform movements in the 19th century and the portrayal of men as villains- Negative traits as badges of pride- The difference between the good man and the real man- Recommended for theological understanding and as tool for parents
2. Christianity's Impact on Gender Roles- Sociological studies on Christian couples and the role of church- Anthropological studies in Colombia, Africa, and Asia- Positive impact of evangelicalism on gender relations in developing countries- Impact of the pandemic on women's appreciation for home life- Economic productivity and self-esteem in women
3. The Importance of Fatherhood- Relationship between positive father-son relationship and healthy masculinity- High rate of single parenthood in the US and lack of motivation for men to become fathers- Industrial Revolution's impact on father-child relationship- Practical solutions for making the workplace more flexible
4. Productivity and Creativity- Working less can increase productivity and creativity- France's system of a 35-hour workweek and paid vacation time- Overworking can lead to burnout and exhaustion
5. Overview of Pearcey's Book- Addressing the concept of "toxicity" in both secular and Christian worlds- Personal anecdotes and student stories- Controversial reactions from both conservative and progressive Christians- Call for Christians to look at the facts objectively from a biblical perspective

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