Boys...Will Murder Their Fathers and Sleep With Their Mothers

Stephen Marche exposes the monstrosity of unchecked impulse, inadvertently makes the strongest case for Christ.

Stephen Marche is a Toronto-based culture writer for Esquire. He frequently writes on topics like sex and feminism, from a straight, liberal male point of view. In a New York Times op-ed, Marche just made as good a case for Christianity as any pastor could have delivered on Sunday morning, and did it without mentioning Christ even once.

For most of history, we’ve taken for granted the implicit brutality of male sexuality. In 1976, the radical feminist and pornography opponent Andrea Dworkin said that the only sex between a man and a woman that could be undertaken without violence was sex with a flaccid penis: “I think that men will have to give up their precious erections,” she wrote. In the third century A.D., it is widely believed, the great Catholic theologian Origen, working on roughly the same principle, castrated himself.

From that high perch, Marche perilously dove into Sigmund Freud, Oedipus, and (mercifully, the first I’ve heard of him) Tucker Max, whose supposedly-legendary exploits of wanton sex and alcohol sold millions of books.

The idea of the Oedipus complex contained an implicit case for the requirements of strenuous repression: If you let boys be boys, they will murder their fathers and sleep with their mothers*.*

That about hits the bottom of the pool, if you’re trying to retrieve the lost totem of a “gentleman.” You will drown in the attempt.

But Marche is correct. In despair of “masculinity,” he concludes where the Bible left us in Genesis chapter 3.

If you want to be a civilized man, you have to consider what you are. Pretending to be something else, some fiction you would prefer to be, cannot help. It is not morality but culture — accepting our monstrosity, reckoning with it — that can save us. If anything can.

With history is our guide (progressives say “history—wait, what?”) then we can be absolutely certain that nothing can save us. Humanity is fallen, not just men, but women too. Morality as a social construct ends with one culture preaching “love your neighbor” and another preferring to eat them. Our monstrosity is all there is in a “classic Freudian analysis” and attempts at decency.

Progressive like Marche ignore—because they don’t want to see it—that Christianity, properly understood and practiced, at the individual level, is the only thing that can save us. Marche expertly exposes the problem, but can’t find an answer.

From Tucker Max, who, five years ago, confessed that the success of being the world’s biggest a**hole wasn’t fulfilling, to the verifiable fact that so-called “good girls” like bad boys, human existence is laid bare, flayed by the stone-cold reality that we’re all incubating monsters.

Nothing can save us.

Not self-improvement classes, psychoanalysis, Yoga, and healthy eating. Those things are helpful in cleaning up the outside, but they don’t address the inside. The loneliness of the soul cannot be cured except by a rebirth and a relationship. I won’t get into a discussion of comparative religion and truth claims here, but I will say only one faith demonstrates the historicity, coherence, and metaphysical truth of the human experience relating to morality and mortality.

Inadvertently, by wishing “we were living in a Tucker Max culture,” and exposing the monstrosity of unchecked impulse, Marche has made the strongest possible argument for Christ.

If only more people would read the New Testament and understand what it means to give up all to follow Jesus, we would be having less conversations about the worst bits of human nature.

No. 1-11

@Steve Berman : I would strenuously object to that my statement was just my "opinion". What I stated was the observation of the role Religion has played in society since its invention. It is based on facts not supposition. You are of course welcome to challenge my interpretation of these facts . Whether or not Christianity is true or even if Christian culture is preferable to "Atheist" culture is largely besides the point I was trying to make. That, whatever its merits, it isn't innately better than all the other moral codes man has developed down through the ages. It can be listened to or not listened to as the subject wishes. That Christians still have the same propensity for violence as we observe in the rest of the species. Very likely because those traits were favored in our evolution. And thus, even if the whole world fervently worshiped, we'd still have murders and rapists and crimes of passion. That, contra you, if we can't help ourselves no one can. Finally I think you are being a little silly claiming my statement as an "endorsement" when we both know that isn't what I meant. Words like "Fallen" and "Morals" can clearly have meaning in a "cold, indifferent universe". Quite the reverse actually. If we lived in a universe with a preference there would be no need for a moral code because we would naturally obey as we do the other physical laws of the universe. It is only in a "cold, indifferent universe" that it is required for man to create an objective right and wrong. As for "fallen", as I alluded to, that's just a colorful way to refer to man's darker, less-social impulses. @Wes_M : I thank you for taking the time to try and explain to me the difference.


Christianity can be used as a moral code. And in that way, it is no different than any other religion, including the religion of secular humanism. My point is that Christianity is different because Jesus Christ is the creator and sustainer of the entire universe. He came and died to reconcile mankind to himself after mankind chose to rebel against him and go their own way. A big part of that rebellion is the concept of choosing your own morality. That's what happened in the garden of eden with the tree of Knowledge. It was about mankind saying that we no longer needed God to tell us what was right and wrong; we'd decide on our own. And we've been doing that every since.

Christianity is different because Christ was not merely a man. He is God and he died and then rose again from death by his own volition and appeared to hundreds of eyewitnesses. No other religion or worldview can make that claim.

Steve Berman
Steve Berman


@Jack_Krevin I never disagreed with you or intimated you were in error. I simply noted that your initial comment was your own opinion. I think if you follow the epistemology and logical working out of systems established under an atheistic world view versus a Christian world view, the truth will emerge. Citing the abuse of Christianity and comparing it to the random best life of a "righteous" (the word has no meaning without a moral frame) atheist is not a valid argument. So therefore I took your comments as an endorsement since a "moral code" is the frame of reference you chose in your comment. If it's just a cold, indifferent universe, there's no way to be "fallen" and morals are meaningless.


Jack, if you were a Christian, you could understand this better. Christianity can be a religion, if you look at it as a set of moral codes to live by, but it's so much more. To a true Christian, it's not a set of regulations, it's a relationship with God. It's fundamentally different than any other religion, including Judaism, because it acknowledges that we can never be perfect in our own power.

This is a poor metaphor, but it's the best I can do. Say that you were in danger of dying from a failing liver, and you have a very rare blood type. A donor cannot be found for you, but a stranger to you has heard about your problem and learned that she has the same blood type, so she volunteered to be tested, and when it was found that she was a potential match, she put everything in her life on hold to give you the liver lobe that you'll need to survive. She saves your life for no reason but that she cares about whether you live or die. You are so grateful to her that, although you know that you can never pay her back, you will do anything that can do to show her your gratitude. You keep in touch through emails, and when you find out she needs something, you don't even think about it, you help her in any way you can. Pale comparison, but Christians look on Jesus as the organ donor who went through Hell on earth to save our lives. He is my best reason for being, and anything I can do to pay Him back, I'll do it.


@Steve Berman: I'm open to the discussion of any facts I am in error of. What precisely is the point of contention ? Do you disagree Religion is used to establish an orthodoxy of morality, an objective right and wrong, or to give purpose, meaning and clarity to one's life/the universe? Or the fact I compared Christianity as fundamentally no different to any other in that it does the aforementioned. @wes_m : The world may or may not be better if everyone lived according to the teachings of Christ but if so it would be because they chose to. Jesus, in that instance, would be no more important than as an example to follow or teacher and it would not matter if he rose from his grave or not. Which would go against the grain of Mr. Berman's article. As for your argument Christianity doesn't impose a moral code...could you please be more specific to what you mean.