Red pill religion

Red pill as another religion

There are folks out there calling themselves red pill Christians. We believe this is no better than the many people who consider themselves feminist Christians, or social justice Christians, or gay-affirming Christians, or whatever other idol of wokeness they have discovered in the world and then attached Christianity to.

Allow us to dive right into the deep end by repurposing the words of Screwtape (with apologies to C.S. Lewis):

We do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything—even to patriarchy. The thing to do is to get a man at first to value patriarchy as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce patriarchy. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest chemist’s shop. Fortunately it is quite easy to coax humans round this little corner. Only today I have found a passage in a Christian writer where he recommends his own version of Christianity on the ground that “only such a faith can outlast the death of old cultures and the birth of new civilisations”. You see the little rift? “Believe this, not because it is true, but for some other reason.” That’s the game. (The Screwtape Letters, XXIII.)

Our conviction is that, while the red pill shares certain commonalities with biblical Christianity, and often sees the nature of things more clearly than mainstream evangelicalism, it is actually a separate religion in its own right. Even the very name describes a conversion experience by which the acolyte is inducted into an elect group, gains hidden wisdom and secret doctrines, and becomes part of a justified minority. The red pill is something like a modern mystery cult; pairing it with Christianity just produces a Christian knockoff of that cult. Implicit in its doctrines are:

1. The primacy of the body

Red pill literature, even among Christians, almost universally denies or ignores that man is a composite of body and spirit. There is a tacit acceptance of the evolutionary underpinnings to TRP, whereby all of our behavior and psychology is reducible to biology. We become not even slaves to our physical impulses, but rather mere physical impulses. This obviously contradicts the biblical witness; red pill Christians often seem no less deterministic than naturalists, resigned to what people (typically women) will do inevitably, as a result of their genetic programming.

This would be bad enough, but because they are red pill Christians, they also implicitly deny the power of regeneration. Does God, in fact, draw and teach us, giving us new hearts and writing his law on them (John 6; 1 Cor 2 etc)? Are Christians, including Christian women, truly reoriented toward love and obedience for God and his law, despite the corruption of sin, so that their spirits are willing even when their flesh is weak (Matt 26; Rom 7 etc)? Red pill Christians seldom seem to think so.

Thus the “Christian red pill” is a functional physicalism; a mirror image of evangelical gnosticism. Any time you see a professing Christian appeal to or assume the doctrine of AWALT, for instance, you’re seeing a functional denial of a corresponding biblical doctrine: either common grace, or regeneration. (One of the main things that led us to eventually write this article is that we know many women who are not like that.)

2. The primacy of behaviorism

The unbalanced anthropology of the Christian red pill is part of a feedback loop with its unbalanced epistemology. Because the red pill is fundamentally about understanding female psychology—taking the pill is when you realize what women are really like—it tends to transform any statistical trend into a principle.

If, for example, 75% of women initiate divorce, this is because all women inevitably want to divorce their husbands given certain circumstances. (This is not stated explicitly, presumably because it would sound so stupid, but it is a clear presuppositional pattern we’ve seen in a lot of discussions.) By the same token, any anecdotal evidence supporting the red pill will be extrapolated into a general rule, while contrary anecdotes are explained away as either lies, or just good fortune that won’t last. (How this kind of inference gets made probably has a lot to do with doctrine #4.)

3. The primacy of sex

Red pill thinking, even at its most insightful and accurate, ultimately revolves around women. Its chief utility is helping men get more sex. This is logical given its secular, evolutionary origins; unregenerate men are enslaved to their lusts, and reproduction is what passes for teleology in evolutionary science. But the focus on sex remains present in much Christian red pill discussion; the choice of topics, and the approach taken to these, is not systematically derived from Scripture, but rather reflects the psychological priorities of red pill Christians: having as much (married) sex as possible.

The reason this is a problem is that it ignores the broader mission and theology of the household. Indeed, we’ve seen red pill Christians argue that the only notable reason that Eve was created was for Adam to have sex with. Because of this skew, Christian red pill is inherently unstable and unbalanced; it is aiming at the wrong thing. While sex is, by design, a key motivator for men to marry, it is not the end of marriage; marriage does not serve the goal of having sex, but rather sex serves the goal of marriage more generally, while marriage itself serves the goal of the creation mandate and the Great Commission.

4. The primacy of alpha

The red pill by definition is a reactionary, negative movement. This does not change when Christians sign their name to it. Although it promises to free men from the tyranny of hypergamy, it actually only teaches them to be better slaves. Rather than presenting a positive vision for masculinity that men can attain to, and which will coincidentally attract and arouse women, it makes attracting and arousing women the measure of masculinity itself. It’s a zero-sum game of either being an alpha who women want, or beta chump. What women want remains the primary frame of reference. You take the red pill, and discover the Matrix is real, but then instead of leaving it behind to build a life in the real world, you become obsessed with hacking the thing you hate.

This leads into our reason to considering the red pill cultic. Whereas we believe that it’s good to be a man if you’re a man, and a woman if you’re a woman (because God made them both very good—Genesis 1:31), red pill Christians would be better characterized by their belief that it is only good to be a man. Indeed, there is a kind of theology of justification built into the red pill: solidarity with other men, even secular men, eclipses union with Jesus for establishing goodness and righteousness.

Red pill Christians have typically internalized the idea of being alpha, with its concomitant dark triad traits, and have no positive theology that couches masculinity in reference to what God wants, rather than what women want. They become the very men of whom Jude warns us, and Peter also, when he writes of those who,

speaking loud boasts of folly, entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. (2 Peter 2:18–20)

This is especially obvious if you read red pill Christian discussion threads on popular blogs like Dalrock; the eagerness with which they violate the principles of Ephesians 5 is startling to behold. There is as much contempt for women there as for men on feminist forums, and as little fear of God before their eyes. The antipathy they have toward feminist women and their blue pill, beta men enablers makes it clear that they see these groups in primarily moral categories. As with all woke movements, to be a member of these out-groups is to be reprobrate, so it is critical to continually prove your inclusion among the “elect” to remain justified. Being red pill thus becomes more important than being holy, and being labeled blue pill becomes equivalent to being threatened with excommunication.

So these four red pill doctrines tend to stand in place of biblical views of anthropology, epistemology, teleology and ethics. This is not to say that every red pill Christian fails completely on every one of these points; only that red pill as an ideology is naturally hostile here to the biblical view of reality.

Hence, we are not red pill Christians, and actively warn against the very idea of such a thing. We are Christians who have benefited from the observations of red pill thinkers about God’s creation, and are striving to integrate that knowledge into a positive biblical theology of masculinity, femininity, and how men and women are to work together to extend the dominion of the house of God.