Why don’t (Tanzanian) men go to church?

Tamie,

Components missing from your analysis include the nature of male alliance and supernatural belief.

Some famous men’s alliances include the YMCA, the Boy Scouts, fraternities (male greek letter organizations for undergraduate students), and the Freemasons. Women’s rights groups routinely co-opt these organizations and alter them so that women (or girls) may be admitted, such as with the admission of women to the UK Scouts in 2007, versus the ongoing barring of boys from the Guides. By 2011, more girls than boys joined the Scouts, although the Guides still claimed a larger membership. It makes one wonder where all the men have gone. Similar pressure at the university education level has reduced both attendance and graduation rates of men to the point that women outnumber men in both attendance and graduation. It is worth noting that the language of female-exclusive groups generally includes exhortations for “safe-spaces” for women, but universally ignores the notion that men need “safe spaces” also.

Another interesting bit of data concerns rates of atheism. Men are more likely to be atheist than women, and women are more likely to believe in supernatural causes for events. The rates of supernatural belief are also higher among homosexual men and women, than among heterosexual men and women – another correlary that would not encourage heterosexual men to associate with churches. Interestingly, atheism, liberalism (defined as concern and willingness to aid strangers), and monogamy (yes, monogamy) are traits found among the most intelligent men, and negatively correlate with intelligence. While atheism and liberalism correlate to intelligence in women, monogamy doesn’t. Given the tendencey of religious cults to blur the lines of sexual exclusivity (fundamentalist mormons come to mind), it doesn’t surprise me that women of all types might accept a supernatural proposal as the basis for an exclusive community, while a man, an intelligent man especially, might conclude such communities do not serve his interests – even his concern for general welfare which isn’t group-specific. If supernatural belief and atheism correlate along with out-group welfare concerns, it might also explain why most religious communities are ethnically uniform.

Women interested in men who value monogamy, un-biased charity, and strict rejection of supernatural claims (and making unfounded supernatural claims upon a woman’s liberty) might do well to avoid churches and seek good men among avowed atheists. Leaving one’s childhood religion might also open the door to more ethnic diversity in pair-bonding with a man.

Meet Jesus at uni

The contention of the ‘Why men hate going to church’ movement is that church has become feminised. From David Murrow’s website:

With the dawning of the industrial revolution, large numbers of men sought work in mines, mills and factories, far from home and familiar parish. Women stayed behind, and began remaking the church in their image. The Victorian era saw the rise of church nurseries, Sunday schools, lay choirs, quilting circles, ladies’ teas, soup kitchens, girls’ societies, potluck dinners, etc.

Modern day church activities are ‘an emotional hothouse’ and focus on being ‘verbal, studious or sensitive’, none of which are ‘natural for men‘.  You’d hardly call this science – even social science is a stretch – but much of it seems to resonate with men and so Murrow gives some suggestions for manly church. Laying on hands during prayer is a no-go: men need their space. And…

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