Catacomb Resident on Moral Agency

Moral agency is limited to the requirements of the biblical Covenant.

Targeted Readership: Men
Theme: Female Agency and Accountability
Author’s Note: This post is based on Catacomb Resident’s post, Moral Agency (2022/11/3) and has been expanded in a joint endeavor with the blessings of the author.
Length: 1,350 words
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Do women have moral agency?

First, let’s take a step back to see the larger picture.  In our fallen mortal form, humans have only limited moral agency in the first place.  Not every moral issue we might grasp is within our control.  For example, we did not choose to be born as fallen fleshly beings.  We had no control over the Fall as individuals, yet we bear the Curse of the Fall.

Further, I contend that we do not have moral agency to choose eternal life.  Romans 8 and 9 squash that idea.  It’s portrayed as asking the wrong question.  The right question is whether you will embrace what God offers you while in this life.

True Morality Supports Covenant Life

The whole question of moral agency lies in our choice of whether to conform to the requirements of God’s Covenant while we live on this earth.  Any choice made to debase or neglect that Covenant is a lack of moral agency in God’s eyes.  Any debate surrounding the question of moral agency hinges on a matter of conviction, not intellect and not our humanistic concepts of morality.  So it is not surprising that we’ve seen so many different takes on this topic, all having some areas of validity.

It becomes necessary to address this question because western minds tend to view things in binary, or in false dichotomies.  Moral agency is not a matter of either/or.  It’s not absolute.  It does have distinct limits, and our duty before God in our current condition is to seize the opportunities within the limits God offers them.

Now that we have that laid out in clear view, the fundamental question is better phrased as, Just how much agency did God grant females, particularly in the context of God’s distinctly patriarchal revelation?

On this, I agree with Thedeti’s take on female moral agency, and I’ll emphasize that it is limited to the requirements of the biblical Covenant.  Women express moral agency when they choose to conform to those requirements.  They fail when they do not.  God holds women accountable for their own decisions, not men.  Men are held accountable for implementing the structure of the Biblical covenant in which his wife and family can fit into and thereby conform to the Covenant Life.

The Moral Frailty of Women

Given the moral weaknesses inherent in women — the ignorance, deception, and temptation that Donal Graeme observed, the solipsism and vanity Deep Strength wrote about, and the strong inclinations of the fleshly nature that Rollo described — this naturally entails that they should be restricted and restrained from acting in ways that contradict the requirements of the Covenant Life.  They need to be protected from themselves, from bad influences, and from predatory individuals.  They need guidance and teaching.  They need to be held accountable.  As Thedeti and others have said, they are to be regarded as beloved children in terms of moral agency.

On this, Deti mentioned several things we might do to limit women.

  • They must always live under the authority of a man: First her father, then her husband, then her son(s).
  • All of her interactions with non-relatives must be under her father’s watchful eye.
  • They must always be chaperoned in public.
  • They must never be allowed in the company of men unchaperoned until they are married.
  • Women cannot be trusted to select their husbands.  The men of her family must pick her husband or at least approve of her choice.
  • A woman’s husband will have absolute authority over all aspects of her life.
  • A wife may not divorce her husband, but he can divorce her (“put her away”).
  • They cannot be trusted to make any decisions on their own.
  • They must never be allowed to handle money, own any property of any consequence, operate any machinery, vote, or have any voice in public affairs.
  • They can work to earn money, but only at menial tasks and only if her father or husband allow it.
  • All of her earnings are the property of the male authority in her life, whether that be her father, her husband, or her son(s).
  • They most certainly must not be allowed even to speak in church, much less teach nor have “ministries.”
  • College education does little to fulfill a woman’s role in Covenant life and should not be prioritized.  Most women do not need any education at all beyond high school and her mother’s training to be a wife.
  • Living on her own or with other women does not fit the Covenant model.  She should live at home with her parents until she is married.

I’m not sure if this is part sarcasm, but in fact, Thedeti is outlining the Covenant’s restrictions on women. The Covenant stipulates that women are happier and better off that way, although they may be slow to realize this.

Individual Liberties

If we apply the revised question to individual women, it’s still not a question of whether a woman has moral agency, but how much.  Granted, there may be some women who have a considerable amount of agency and can be trusted to fulfill her obligations to the Covenant without some of the restrictions outlined above, but those are uniquely special cases indeed.  The Manosphere calls such women “unicorns”, and they do exist.  (I have one myself.)  The older women who are charged to teach younger women in Titus 2:3-5 should be “unicorns”.  But it would be a grave mistake to assume that any woman has personal agency without her first demonstrating a long track record that she can be responsible in upholding Covenant Life.

Conclusions

Yes, God has granted women some moral agency.  He does hold them accountable for their sins.  Yet He has tasked His Covenant people with building an atmosphere to account for the differences between female moral agency and that of males.  God holds men accountable on a different level.

The Bible says women are not morally interchangeable with men.  The Bible also rejects the notion that discrimination — the habit, custom or policy of treating people different based on various identity factors — is wrong.  Indeed, God commands us to discriminate between men and women.  He also commands us to discriminate between folks inside and outside the Covenant.  Further, He demands that we discriminate between folks who hold to the different cultures and traditions.  That this last discrimination carries a high correlation with ethnic identity is not really the point, but it’s certainly something we have to accept, lest we defy the God who made us.

The single greatest lie of Western Civilization has always been that there can be no divine moral agency in the universe.  That is, everything about our world comes down to a matter of biology, chemistry, and physics and that everything is inherently discernible with the five senses or else can be apprehended with the rational mind.  The second greatest lie of Western civilization is that women are free moral agents which is interpreted to mean they can do all things of their own volition.  According to God’s Covenant, they cannot.  God’s covenant living is a higher calling that women are bound to, whether they agree with it or not.

Even within the church, there is a doctrinal assumption that, sooner or later, all things must be discerned and decided by human agency, cast under the inscrutable label of “free will”, and at times, legalism.  When anything is inexplicable by that approach, various brands of mysticism and Gnosticism creep in, like those described by Dalrock and Deep Strength.  The only free will we have, the only agency we have, is whether to conform to the dictates of conviction within God’s Covenant order.  All other differences are a matter of culture, tradition, and faith.

If the God of the Bible commands us to walk in His Covenant, and both government and society call it a “sin”, what does that suggest about how much separation we should seek from them?

Related

About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in Agency, Arranged Marriage, Boundaries, Choosing a Partner or Spouse, Collective Strength, Culture Wars, Discernment, Wisdom, Discipline, Discipline and Molding, Ethical Systems, Faith Community, Female Power, Feminism, Freedom, Personal Liberty, Fundamental Frame, Gnosticism, God's Concept of Justice, Headship and Patriarchy, Holding Frame, Identity, Intersexual Dynamics, Introspection, Leadership, Legalism, Male Power, Maturity, Personal Growth and Development, Models of Success, Moral Agency, Mysticism, Organization and Structure, Personal Domain, Power, Psychology, Purpose, Relationships, Sanctification & Defilement, Self-Concept, Solipsism, Sphere of Influence, Stewardship, The Power of God. Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Catacomb Resident on Moral Agency

  1. info says:

    The Victorian Notion of Women are Moral Guardians of Society is responsible for the failure of the Men of being the actual Moral Guardians as Heads of Society.

    Schoolmarms is a poor substitute for Righteous Patriarchs.

    Like

  2. info says:

    “First, let’s take a step back to see the larger picture. In our fallen mortal form, humans have only limited moral agency in the first place. Not every moral issue we might grasp is within our control. “

    Thank God we aren’t Angels. There is no redemption or sacrifice for the sins of Angels. Therefore no mercy.

    Like

  3. Red Pill Apostle says:

    “If we apply the revised question to individual women, it’s still not a question of whether a woman has moral agency, but how much. Granted, there may be some women who have a considerable amount of agency and can be trusted to fulfill her obligations to the Covenant without some of the restrictions outlined above, but those are uniquely special cases indeed.”

    Thedeti’s list are rules designed to protect the weaker vessel from herself expressly because she has moral agency. She is much more prone to failing in ways that have the potential for severe life long consequences, so extra help against the downside is warranted. The “unicorn” women, who seem able to navigate life on their own without as much oversight, are then those who are the outliers on the spectrum of emotional self control.

    If I were to summarize female moral agency by tying it back to the earthly example husband and wife being the representations of Christ it would be this.

    — Women are fully culpable so they are fully in need of the legal justification for their sin before the Father that Christ’s death provides.
    — Having restrictions on behavior that tends to be a weak spot for women is for their own long term good and actually shows that men generally care about women.
    — The headship that fathers and then husbands have over women can seem to muddy the water on agency a little because it can get women out of bad decisions without being guilty of breaking a pledge. Having thought about this for a moment it doesn’t. Headship in earthy relationships is the earthly representation of how Christ’s headship over the church removes our guilt obligation to the Father in which we’re still fully guilty, but someone else paid.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. thedeti says:

    Just to clarify: No, I was not being sarcastic.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. thedeti says:

    Women are happy living under Covenant restrictions only when married to men they’re sexually attracted to.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Scott says:

    Well it’s Veterans Day so before things get really awkward and weird…

    https://imgur.io/gallery/I4Et8

    Liked by 5 people

    • feeriker says:

      Whenever I find myself in a position where I have no choice but to identify myself as a veteran and am “thanked for my ‘service’,” (I’d rather hear four continuous hours of fingernails on a chalkboard), my response in every case is:

      “If you had any idea of whom I was actually serving — and it most assuredly was not you or the rest of the American people — ‘thank you’ would be the very last words to come out of your mouth.”

      They never know how to respond to that.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Scott says:

        I do it like this.

        “NOOO thank YOU random citizen for thanking me for my service.”

        Awkward smile/pause.

        That usually works.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kentucky Gent says:

        Props, feeriker.

        I only ever had a nascent inkling of what I was feeling when people thanked me for my service. (which wasn’t much). Why so uncomfortable, KG?

        You spelled it out quite nicely. In any event, only one continuous hour of fingernails on the chalkboard will do it for me.

        Like

      • Oscar says:

        I just smile, say “thank you”, and move on. They’re being polite, what’s so difficult about returning the courtesy?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. locustsplease says:

    After years of introspection I have decided I wanted/needed too much from a Christian woman if I found one. Since I see these relationships from the outside I developed a composite and it’s just not based on any one person. For instance the very strong godly dedicated ride or die Christian women I meet. They all made serious mistakes. And the ones who nailed everything from the start they never had to put their foot down on their own sin behavior and exercise moral agency.

    I’ve had 2 church girls express interest lately but they both have feminist traits. Both are good looking have dedicated Christian mothers. The one I can say from what I’ve been around is the most godly single Christian woman I’ve encountered and really I can’t think of a second. Buuuut of course she’s a career gal. And since she didn’t get divorce raped she may b in a better financial position than me. Part of me says why bother telling this career gal with plenty of expendable income I’m looking for a stay at home wife. Another part says she’s probably barely making it like most career gals and desperate for an off and nobody ever offered her. I have too much pride to ask this girl out she’ll b way to hard to impress.

    The other has some feminist calling cards but is a blank slate. It’s like I’m not willing to engage with a woman with anything I don’t like off the bat. But in the past I just dated them then did the filtering. Am I just afraid of telling them something they may not want to hear. Not very patriarchal of me. The one is younger barely out of highschool and not had to engage with her agency. The other one mid 20s has already and seems to have succeeded. Inexperienced — experienced. Somehow their both wrong.

    Like

    • info says:

      I would be fine if she works from home. But raising children does require compromises on her part.

      Liked by 1 person

      • locustsplease says:

        My ex works from home and makes plenty of money. The problem I see is any income makes them reject male authority. Either way I’m going to take a shot at whichever one comes in my sphere first next. Infact the older more established one I’ve met reformed married women from her church and thought I would married a reformed woman if she was like that. Sooo.

        Like

    • Red Pill Apostle says:

      locustsplease,

      Either one might be perfect for you or it could be neither. Your assessments could be correct or completely off.

      Here is what I can tell you with 100% certainty. If you rule out women without really getting to know them your probability with them is certain.

      Personally, I’d relax and enjoy their company. Not every woman is going to be marriage material, but every woman is a way to gain experience that will benefit you. With the 2 women you mentioned here is my opinion on the most important experience for your own development that either or both can give you.

      “Am I just afraid of telling them something they may not want to hear.”

      Go out with both of them, have a good time and don’t be afraid of expressing your own opinion to them (if the topic comes up, don’t force the conversation). Approach your interactions with them from the mindset of finding out if what you want matches up with what they want to give. Determining the match is the goal. The woman is not the goal. The subtle difference yields WILDLY different results and the skill to be honed is finding out the pertinent information within the natural flow of conversation. The minimum benefit of getting to know each of these women more is to be able to practice these conversation skills so you are become so comfortable with them that they are second nature.

      Dating is a sales process of finding the prospects that are right for your goods/services and it takes a while to get proficient at telling which are prospects and which as suspects. Each interaction is a learning experience that makes you better than you were beforehand. There are many sales calls I’ve made where the fit was not right, but I enjoyed my conversation with them and then something I learned in that conversation helped me with a sale on a different account.

      Liked by 2 people

    • @ locustsplease,

      “After years of introspection I have decided I wanted/needed too much from a Christian woman if I found one. Since I see these relationships from the outside I developed a composite and it’s just not based on any one person. For instance the very strong godly dedicated ride or die Christian women I meet. They all made serious mistakes. And the ones who nailed everything from the start they never had to put their foot down on their own sin behavior and exercise moral agency.”

      Why are you looking for a unicorn? Everyone here has always preached they don’t exist.

      If you think you’re going to find a woman who is already “perfect” you’re never going to find one. Even if there was one, she would already be scooped up by “Chad.”

      Here’s the thing. 100% of women you meet are going to have “feminist traits” because that’s the culture we live in. If you’re going to exclude women for that you might as well just stay single forever.

      The true key is starting to lead a woman and see if she responds like a good follower. If she does, you can teach her what is right and disabuse her of cultural notions that are not Christian. That’s what Bible study and prayer with her is for before marriage. You can go over the marital passages and see what she thinks and correct her. Then see if she changes her behavior over time.

      To use another analogy for the same concept: Jesus doesn’t give up on us because we are sinners, but He is looking for us to repent and follow Him. He’s not looking for someone perfect, but for someone who is imperfect who wants to make the sanctification journey with Him.

      Liked by 3 people

      • locustsplease says:

        I’ve made a full time job out of disqualifying/rejecting women over the last 7 years. And I absolutely cannot have what happened with my ex happen again. But my ex was a walking red flag. And I wasn’t Christian or financially independent like I am now. Idk where the line in the sand is? But there’s no way I won’t back out of anything if she’s not responding in a way that’s going to work for me so no point in avoiding “A date.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        “You can go over the marital passages and see what she thinks and correct her. Then see if she changes her behavior over time.”

        The key, and I mean KEY, aspect of this quote is time. Women can fake it for longer than you think if they know the carrot at the end of the charade is within reach. So if the woman in question is not someone you have known for years then please gentlemen, take your sweet time with her.

        Years very well may be an appropriate amount of time to test that her behavior is actually what she believes and not an act. Prod. Test. Look for signs of loyalty and respect that confirm her words (because they’ll all take a good game).

        Like

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        locustsplease,

        If you ever decide to get back into a marriage again, make sure you get an attorney to review state laws with you before you “sign on the dotted line”. Prior to marriage you may be able to use a trust for your assets to separate them from yourself and prevent whomever the new Mrs. Locust might be from accessing them. If you can do this, you’ll have the financial freedom to speak your mind. Knowing the rules better than others is often the way to exert your will on the game.

        Like

      • Oscar says:

        I wrote this over at DS’s blog.

        I like the emphasis on teachability here. That’s something no one ever explained to me when I was young. I knew I wanted to exercise headship in my marriage, but I had no clue what that looked like, or how to do it. What I’ve told my older boys is basically what I’ve said here. If she’s not submissive to you before marriage (even though she’s not required to be), then she won’t submit to you in marriage. In fact, it’ll probably get worse.

        I still think that’s true, but I think emphasizing teachability is probably more productive.

        For example, Dave Ramsey often advises young people to go through Financial Peace University together before they get married. Suppose a young man already has his finances in order (you can’t lead where you won’t go), and he’s dating a woman who just graduated with a nursing degree and $35k in student debt (the average in the US).

        That much debt is a red flag no matter what, but….

        If she’s willing to go through FPU with him, and at the end of it she’s onboard with his financial vision, she’s probably a better prospect than the proverbial “debt-free virgin without tattoos” who isn’t.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        Oscar,

        “If she’s not submissive to you before marriage (even though she’s not required to be), then she won’t submit to you in marriage. In fact, it’ll probably get worse.

        I still think that’s true, but I think emphasizing teachability is probably more productive.”

        I think of submissive and teachable as being very closely linked. It’s hard to be teachable, because that requires the humility to accept someone else’s guidance, and not be submissive in at least some aspects of life. Same goes with being submissive, that is taking a supporting role, without the humility to accept another person’s vision supersedes your own and then learning how to best support that vision.

        Come to think of it, this is why Paul does not allow women to be teachers in churches. Being the teacher inverts the lead follow hierarchy that God set.

        So if a woman is not teachable then a man needs to move on. I like teachable as a more concrete measure of a red flag when it comes to women. While submission can be more of an abstract idea, and as such can be harder to define and recognize, being teachable is something almost all people understand and is much easier to evaluate.

        Liked by 3 people

      • @ Red Pill Apostle,

        “So if a woman is not teachable then a man needs to move on. I like teachable as a more concrete measure of a red flag when it comes to women. While submission can be more of an abstract idea, and as such can be harder to define and recognize, being teachable is something almost all people understand and is much easier to evaluate.”

        Hah, you’ve now been converted to the FAST heuristic that reddit/RPChristians uses.

        I. Faithful — Involved in growing in the faith with Church and also virtues. Shows commitment to what she says she will do (yes be yes, no be no).

        II. Available — Single and ready to mingle with you specifically.

        III. Saved — Professes Christ and lives it out. Not lukewarm.

        IV. Teachable — what we’re talking about

        Teachable being key for you leading and loving while her respecting and following.

        Like

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        DS,

        If I could I’d add “IV.a.” learns easily.

        There are times when Mrs. A is bound and determined to learn the hard way. So be it. My life is easier when this is not the case though.

        Like

    • Kentucky Gent says:

      @locustsplease

      You are making excuses. PLEASE STOP IT!

      You said “Part of me says why bother telling this career gal with plenty of expendable income I’m looking for a stay at home wife.”

      Why? Because you might make a great couple and have a great family! That’s why!!!

      Man up, SIR!!

      Tell her you find her interesting, yet you want a stay-at-home wife. Then smile and be cordial! Just for Christ’s sake (literally) see if she is up for the trad life.

      If not, NO BIG DEAL! You haven’t lost anything!

      You have experienced and wise men in this forum, coaching you. I wish I had had that when I was of marriageable age. Don’t be a chicken! For the sake of the church don’t do it!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Red Pill Apostle says:

        KG,

        Precisely the right take to at least ask and see what she says. It’s such a low cost investment to talk with a woman that it’s a no brainer. If she ends up having more red flags the a CCP rally, then he moves on. If not, then he might have a decent prospect.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: There still are no unicorns and recommendations on just getting into dating women | Christianity and masculinity

  9. Oscar says:

    Off Topic: not everything sucks.

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. Oscar says:

    Off topic: the difference is toxic masculinity.

    Liked by 1 person

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  13. Kentucky Gent says:

    “Living on her own or with other women does not fit the Covenant model.”

    But it does fit the convent model. It’s OK in such context.

    Like

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