I’m sure most of you have heard the story recently about the young man, a wrestler, who refused to wrestle his opponent on the grounds that wrestling this particular opponent would violate this conscience. Oh, and his opponent was a girl. And the young man is a Christian.
Here is his statement:
“Wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times. As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner.”
Disclaimer – I respect this guy for following his conscience. He had his reasons for not wrestling this girl, and I’m not going to insult him or anything for them. But I think he was wrong in his reasoning. Espeically if he’s using his Christian faith as the basis for his reasoning.
First, men are indeed different from women. By and large, men are more muscular and better able to withstand certain types of physical stresses. For a good base line of comparison, consider the physical tests men and women have to run to be in the Army; across the board, women are expected of less than men, speed or strength or whatever. In most fights, such as wrestling, a man has a clear advantage over a woman; however, there are those women who are built differently (sexist language – “more like men”) and are able to stand toe to toe against men in every physical sense. This young woman who the guy was wrestling against had already defeated several men, as far as I can tell from reports. That essentially puts her on equal physical footing with the guy, for a contest involving skill and, yes, strength.
Second, just because men are called to be husbands, leaders, and pastors (points which many will argue, but for the basis of my argument, I’m assuming to be true), does not automatically make them the superior in every realm. In this case, she could have kicked his ass, but we’ll never know. There are such things as female bullies who prey on both other girls and on boys.
Third, the idea that women should be protected by a man at all costs is something that Christianity started, and as a result, largely abandoned. People tend to forget that the only reason the modern feminist movements exists is because of the Judeo-Christian heritage it comes out of. In this situation, the girls protector is still her father or legal guardian…not the boy she was to wrestle against. In ancient times women were treated as little more than cattle; a man could then one moment act as a guardian and the next act as a slave owner, selling or killing his property whenever he chose to. Judeo-Christianity changed all that, elevating women to the role of equal opposite man, but not opposed to man.
Fourth, most Christians believe that one of the curses placed upon women after the Fall was that the woman will always try to seek dominion over a man. That passage in no way applies in this situation, because then you must apply that passage to every situation where a woman may gain an advantage over a man. Let’s start with grades in schools, shall we? And then the so-called “glass ceiling”.
Fifth, if you take this young mans thinking to an extreme, then the next time a male soldier is on the field of battle, and a woman comes up to him, she will have plenty of opportunity to shoot him and kill him. The dead man will be justified in saying that it was his faith and conscience that kept him from treating her as an enemy combatant, but he will still be dead. Suicide bombers have already begun using women to achieve their goals. In a political sense, if we as a nation are going to survive the next war, then we need to realize that everyone…everyone…is a potential enemy, irregardless of what our background, tradition, or religion has trained us to believe.
Sixth, many are defending this young man on the grounds that if he had wrestled this girl, he would have been led into sin by his actions. Everyone is dancing around the point that maybe this young man struggles with lust, or else they are assuming he struggles with lust “because he’s a young man.” In my experience, those who have the most sexual hangups, and who struggle with lust the most, are those who do not know how to properly interact with the opposite sex directly because of teachings and actions such as these. There is a reason that Fundamentalism boasts the highest amount of pedophiles, sexual perverts, sexual deviants, porn addicts, and other sexual problems this side of Catholicism. In fact, Fundamentalists make the priests look good on some days. Why? Because of an unhealthy hangup and exaltation of sex and the opposite gender’s body into gross proportions. Once you move beyond these childish impulses, you will discover most of it doesn’t matter. It is entirely possible to reach a level of maturity where the mere proximity of a fully clothed woman does not in any constitute as a sexual or sinful threat to a man; Jesus hung out with prostitutes, was fully 100% man with a 100% male body, yet did not sin, and yet I’m certain they were showing a lot more skin than we like to think they did.
Sixth Part 2, if he had been led to sin, and if the Bible is true, then so what? So what? If you are made of sin, and you sin, what of it? Are your sins not forgiven? Are you not able to be forgiven? Are you not able to repent? If you are a sinner, and you sin, nothing changes. In this case, if the guy had sinned by wrestling this girl, nothing would have changed. If the boy didn’t sin by not wrestling this girl, nothing changed. The goal of the Christian life is not to avoid sin at all costs, as that is impossible. Nor is it to embrace sin and use grace as an excuse, to echo Paul counteracting that old stupid argument, as if grace is some magical substance you can earn more of. Martin Luther said it best – “sin boldy.” You will sin. There is no great harm in choosing to sin, as sin is already harm, and in fact, you are full of sin. God saw that sin and saved you knowing full well you would choose to sin. That said, if any person’s goal or desire is to sin, they probably aren’t a Christian. So when you do sin, not if you sin, sin boldly knowing that you are forgiven and cling more fully to Christ.
Seventh, as I hinted at above, it is a completely secular idea to completely sexualize any encounter between a man and a woman. Hardly Biblical.
Eight, not all physical contact between a man and a woman, even in private areas, is wrong nor a sin. If this young man grabbed this young ladys breast while reaching around her to get her in a hold, what of it? Again, we go back to this “lust is supreme” gnostic idea. There is on problem with believing that a man should not touch a woman in certain ways before marriage, but this also implies that he is touching her in a particular way. Again, carry this out logically: if the man is a single doctor, is he not allowed to practice?
This is also where most of the problems with the homosexual issue come up, as it seems to be understood by many that if a straight man and a gay man lined up at the urinals together, someone is going to sexualize the situation, as it’s just what “those people” do. Hardly. Rules of attraction fall into play there as well. I have gay friends, male and female, and when I’m hanging with the males I have nothing to fear. Just as when I’m hanging with straight girls that I’m not attracted to, they have nothing to fear.
(Eight part 2, forgive me, but it is f*cking stupid to assume that if a man has lunch with a woman that both are in danger of setting a bad testimony or example, irregardless if one or the other has a significant other. If you hold to this idea, you are f*cking stupid. Grow up.)
Ninth, denying her the opportunity to fight belittles her. There is a time for everything, and this time was a time for two opponents to wrestle each other. In reality, he forfeited to his opponent. What really happened, however, was telling her he wouldn’t fight her because he believed himself too good for her. He placed a man-made yoke of servitude on her, entirely different from that Curse that God placed upon women at the Fall. Again, all this is tied to much more than the idea being expressed here; after you’ve read the Bible dozens of times growing up, you begin to think in terms of the Bible as a whole, which I’m trying to apply here. Men and women are equal, created with different purposes. This young man violated that.
Tenth, before I get too upset about all this, this salt and light bs argument holds no weight. Want to be salt and light? Either wrestle or don’t, and explain why you chose what you chose to do. You’d be just as much salt and light saying “I’m a Christian and I chose to wrestle this young woman, here’s why”. Was he being salt and light in this situation? Yes, because he stood up for his beliefs, whether they are right or not. He’d still have been salt and light the other way as well. Don’t make the mistake in assuming that just because he was being salt and light by doing what he did means that he was absolutely right; he was being a salt and a light, not the salt and the light.
(Eleventh, getting real tired of all the professional theologians and Christians out there declaring the Truth on whatever side of the fence they are. And yes, I realize the hypocrisy. This was largely written as a response to an action, or it would never have existed. I would have talked about kittens or something.)
The bottom line is, the guy followed his conscience and did what he thought was right. I disagree with his choice, and believe his conscience was miseducated by authorities in his life. Nor do I believe there are sufficient Biblical reasons for not wrestling her, so I cannot praise him for upholding truth. At the end of the day, he forfeited, and his opponent is the rightful winner in the contest.
Man as always looks on the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart. There is a heart issue. If the young guy had a problem with touching the girl, that’s a heart problem. The physical action of touching means absolutely nothing without a motive behind it.
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