To game or not to game

I found the manosphere last January and voraciously read everything from it. From the PUAs (pick up artists), to the MGTOWs (men going their own way), to the tradosphere, and the various blogs of the Christian manosphere (orthosphere, protestants, etc.). Since the fall I have most of the blogs I peruse simply because I have less time; however, I have learned some very valuable lessons from them especially as I study the Scriptures more in depth.

However, let’s delve into the topics at hand.

1. “Game” is poorly defined.

One of the biggest issues I’ve seen with “game” is that it’s been poorly defined by it’s supporters and detractors.

  • The first crowd believes that “game” is a specific set of codified techniques that were “pioneered” by the PUAs in order to improve your relative attractiveness to a woman’s in order to use other techniques to get a woman into bed.
  • The second crowd believes that “game” is a toolbox insomuch that a tool such as a hammer can be used to do constructive things such as building furniture whereas it can also be used as a weapon to bash someone over the head.
  • The third crowd believes that “game” is fundamentally about “charisma” or “self improvement” because masculinity is about building a man who is not just respect by women but by other men, children, colleagues in the workplace, etc. It is the ability to weild influence.
  • Finally, there is a fourth depiction of game that Leap has been commenting on which is the one I most agree with having studied the Scripture more in depth. This is the depiction of game that it is inherently worldly in nature, and that mascunlity of the positive variety comes from being a masculine man of God as the Scripture define it.
  • edit: There is a fifth depiction of game actually that I would say that many on the Christian manosphere would use. That would be “game” describes all masculine traits that are attractive to women. Whether they were previously learned from their fathers, society before it was feminized, or whatever is another debatable topic. I personally disagree with this viewpoint because most of the proponents who subscribe to this say that there’s no way a Christian nice guy can be attractive without game, but that is simply not true (see: Jesus). There’s also the matter of if “game” can be separated out into good/evil or neutrality.

While the Christian manosphere argues back and forth on whether “game” is good or not good, first you must define your definitions of what “game” actually is. This is necessary for any useful debate.

I am going under the assumption of the 4th point above. That “game” is inherently worldly and is therefore not of God.

2. Frame matters… or heart matters.

The main problem I find when Christians discuss whether to “game” or not is where is the heart of a man who is willing to use “game”?

If we, as Christians, agree that “game” is composed of words (rhema) and actions designed to facilitate feminine attraction, then we must conclude that what Jesus says on our hearts and subsequent actions is true:

Matthew 12 (NASB)

33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak [c]what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. 35 The good man brings out of his good treasure [d]what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure [e]what is evil. 36 But I tell you that every [f]careless word that people [g]speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 For [h]by your words you will be justified, and [i]by your words you will be condemned.”

Likewise, Paul states in Galatians 5 (NASB):

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh [g]sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you [h]please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: [i]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [j]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who [k]belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

In Cane’s post Don’t shut your eyes when I turn off the lights there is some incisive commentary about why the heart matters.

The act of sex in marriage is holy because the heart is right with God, and act of fornication outside of marriage is evil because the heart is not right with God. These are not two acts that differ only in context. It is out of the heart from which these actions flow, and if the heart is walking in darkness the action is of darkness and if the heart is walking in light then the heart is in the light.

Likewise, one example of this is most clearly displayed when children apologize. If they feel that they are right then they will only begrudgingly apologize and must be forced to admit their perceived wrong doing. However, if they feel that they sincerely wronged the other person then they will go all out to make sure that the person they are apologizing to isn’t offended, if there’s anything they can do to help, and profusely saying sorry. Children wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Now, this may sound to many that “game” is indeed like a toolbox, but that is incorrect. “Game” at the heart of it’s nature is inherently about wanting to be more attractive to the opposite sex. It is setting up a false idol of “attractiveness.” It is essentially taking the woman off the pedastal and placing yourself upon it instead of God.

In fact, many of the more secular blogs have it almost correct and are more insightful than some Christians. They parrot that “any self improvement you do should be for you, not for women.” If you do things in order to get women, then that itself is a form of neediness. And women are not attracted to neediness.

However, the correct response should be that you are becoming more masculine because you want to please God. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

3. What does godly masculinity look like as contrasted to by “game”?

Things that a godly Christian man may say and do may be the same as that which a PUA may say to a Christian woman. For example, a Christian man who is pursuing a Christian woman may tease her, set boundaries for the relationship, and tell her what to expect. These are the same things a player may do.

However, they aren’t the same because of the intent of the heart behind the action. My intention is to grow a relationship toward marriage in a godly manner, while PUA is using the same actions to fornicate with the woman.

Don’t get it backwards. Game is not a toolbox insomuch you take a tool and do things, or you have in mind a certain end goal and you choose a tool to do it. You start with the heart because out of the heart flows all things.

That said, this is not the end of the discussion.

4. Both the heart and the actions matter.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

One of the interesting things about “kindness” is the adaptability of the heart and the actions that flow forth from it.

We all know Christians who attempt to preach brimstone and hellfire to athiest which just drive them away from the gospel. Likewise, we know of Christians who are angry and can be violent against abortionists. Let me be clear, while there may be good intent in the heart about these things, the frame of reference is incorrect.

Kindness in Strong’s is defined as:

Strong’s #5544: Kindness is goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, benevolence, kindness, affability. The word describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience. The Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities from the character of one under His control.

One of the synonyms for kindness is also gentleness, and it is also gentleness that is defined as a synonym to the Greek word “Praos” which is used for humility, meekness, and gentleness in the Scripture.

An action that comes from the heart, as Christian walking in step with the Spirit, should show both humulity and the adaptability of kindness.

This is why I think game is  unacceptable as a Christian. It’s also why I believe that certain techniques which sound good in theory such as dread game are off of the mark.

Do the ends justify the means? Is it right to make your wife jealous (which the Bible says is of the flesh in Galatians 5) so that she is more attracted to you? Isn’t that just from the desires of the flesh?

Examine your heart. Would you be able to stand before God and justify running dread game on your wife?

It certainly does not make it right for a wife to withhold form her husband (1 Cor 7), but to use the old cliche two wrongs do not make a right.

We are accountable for our words and actions before God. And there are other ways to assert Biblical leadership instead (which will be the topic of future posts).

5. Godly masculinity is shown through the fruits of the Spirit

Agape

Ephesians 5 (NASB)

25 Husbands, love (agapao) your wives, just as Christ also loved (agapao) the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word (rhema), 27 that He might present to Himself the church [q]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love (agapao) their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves (agapao) his own wife loves (agapao) himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

What does it mean for a husband to love his wife and Christ loved the Church?

It would be good of us to note that which is said in the Greek. The most important thing to note in this passage is that love (agapao) is used, and the second most important point to note is that the water of the Word (rhema) is used.

When I was looking at Scriptures there were two things that stood out. The Divine Expression or Jesus and His words which is Logos — John 1:1 in the beginning was the Word (Logos). You can think of Jesus and His fulfillment of the law with his teaching and actions as Logos. The all encompassing Scriptures themselves are referred to by either gramma (G1121 or graphe (G1124) (thanks to mdavid for the clarification). On the other hand, the spoken revelation of the Word is rhema.

Rhema is powerful — as God (Logos) spoke the world into being (Rhema), and man shall not live by bread alone but from every Word (rhema) that comes from the mouth of God. This is why it’s important to pray out loud because the spoken Rhema word is powerful. Likewise, to others it gives life and death. The power of the tongue is enormous as it says in James, yet it is easily corrupted. Going back to the passage from Matthew 12 that I referenced earlier: “But I say unto you, That every idle word (Rhema) that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

The goal of the leadership of the man in a Christian marriage is to spur his wife to have a deeper relationship with God. And it is through his Words (rhema) that he must speak life that washes and cleanses her as just as Christ does his Church.

The goal is certainly not to make the wife happy. The goal is not to cater to the wife. The goal isn’t even to do nice things for the wife even though these things are good. The goal is to cleanse her with your Words and Actions and spur her on towards righteousness.

This is why joy (chara) is needed even in the midst of hardship to set the example as to which a Christian wife can follow his lead towards being a better Christian.

This is why peace (eirene) — wholeness of one who is in Christ — is needed so that a man may not find validation is in wife or hold her above him on a pedastal.

This is why longsuffering/endurance (makrothumia) is needed because we all go through these periods of suffering even inflicted by our loved ones or ones that say they love us (wives, children, family friends).

This is why kindness (chrestotes) and humility (praos) and goodness (agathosune) are needed to be able to respond to conflict not in a self righteous manner but in a way to where differences can be resolved without giving in to the temptations of the flesh to escalate.

This is why self control is so important for a Christian man so that he does not give into his anger when his wife gets emotional and allow the situation to spiral out of control into the deeds of the flesh — “[i]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [j]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.”

And as one who is faithful (pistis) may we never forget that our faith is of a godly persuasion. Many are called but few are chosen. It is not we who looked to Him first, but He that first loved us. That He sent his son into the world to forgive our sins, and that as we confess He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

And before the conclusion of this post let me end it with a Scripture 1 Corinthians 13 (NASB):

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [c]prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror [e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.

——————————————-

Conclusions

My conclusion must therefore be to eschew game in favor of masculinity that is rooted in Biblical righteouness. As Christians who are in Christ, we must bear good fruit. If we do not bear fruit we are cut off and cast into the fire. That is certainly not what we want.

Ephesians 2 (NASB)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Game does not bear good fruit — whether it is from the heart or in deed — even if in the end things end up according to Scripture because it is inherently selfish. This is why it is evil.

God can use evil (game) for good, but do not mistake that because good may result from it that evil is good to do. Shall we sin all the more so that grace may abound? Certainly not. The Scripture is quite clear on this from Paul’s teaching in Romans 6.

Game is childish, and we act childish when we use it. It is selfish and of the world. Let’s put it away and put it behind us as we strive toward Biblical righteouness.

We have for ourselves in the Scriptures the example of Jesus and it can be parsed out what His character is like. That is what godly masculinity looks like, and that is what we should strive for.

I’ll probably write on this topic a bit more in the future as well, but this blog is meant to be more practical in nature so I’ll start talking about specific examples soon enough.

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21 Responses to To game or not to game

  1. Note: I am leaving tonight for a missions trip to Nicaragua, so I won’t be here to debate any of this until I get back. I’ll leave all comments on, but if you get stuck in the spam filter there’s nothing I can do about it.

  2. donalgraeme says:

    I’ve been meaning to put together my final thoughts on the subject again, and this post is a reminder to do so. Lot of good thoughts here, many which echo mine.

  3. Thank you for this examination of scripture in relation to these thoughts. Scripture and the greek words used are far beyond my own ability. I’m able to lean upon an instinctual grasp of the theology, but it occasionally has led me astray without this kind of support.

  4. deti says:

    lots and lots of food for thought here.

    Well done, DS.

  5. @ Donal

    Excellent. I’ll check it out when I get back.

    @ Leap

    Thanks for the compliments. Just keep studying it… that’s what I’m trying to do by the grace of God.

    @ Deti

    Thanks. That means a lot coming from you.

  6. Jacob Ian Stalk says:

    Amen. This is like water to the parched. One drink wasn’t nearly enough.

  7. Looking Glass says:

    I see someone caught my repeated uses of “Intentions always matter to God”. That line of Theological thought came about mostly, to me, dealing with the Book of Joshua. It is understanding there is Wrath, Vengeance, Hatred and Anger from God. It is proper to understand that all of the emotions we have are from God, but they are tainted by Sin. Slicing an “emotion” in half is a hard, hard thing to even conceive. But that is the crux of much of this discussion.

    In this case, the issues are “Love” and “Wisdom”. The problem of “Game”, as an undefined idea, is that it actually mimics both of them rather well. It is one of those concepts or realities that simply are not easy to decipher and split apart until you look closely. Much like examining someone’s Life, quite a number of details do not become apparent until you look very closely.

    While I do agree with the conclusion, it’s also something of an argument that requires nailing jell-o to a wall. As, at the end of it, the difference is in the Heart, something we can’t qualify directly. Seeing the “fruits” can take a while, and the quality therein. This renders the utility of “Game” or “Game-like” mechanics very high to the Christian Man, but it is still a “weapon” of sorts. If your Heart isn’t in the right place, it’ll land you in bed with a lot of Women and maybe cost you your soul in the process. (Then there’s always the side-issue of 80% followers that want all of the benefits with only minimal amounts of requirements. “Santa Clause Jesus” is strong with those types.)

    Rolling this concept forward quite a bit, while Demonology isn’t much of a “thing” these days, don’t undersell on the concept of how Satan afflicts the Age. We’re in the “Age of Unreality”. It’s a pretty brilliant tool the Devil has. Self-deception, nihilism and hedonism really are running at all-time highs due to the “safety” of our societies. This entire discussion of “Game” fits squarely with what afflicts the generation. Separating the larger, practical forms of the Wide & Narrow paths is, in many ways, fairly difficult right now. We’ve lost the cultural concept imbedded in the English to even talk about the topic easily. We have, actually, fallen into Satan’s Frame and that’s much of the problem.

    When I have the time, I’ll write more, but a lot of the problem (and it would be used as the counter argument) comes down to: “We are accountable for our words and actions before God. And there are other ways to assert Biblical leadership instead (which will be the topic of future posts).” The conflict between Faith and Game would be that “Faith”, as generally understood in the Churchian mindset, has no way to assert Biblical Authority.

  8. Sis says:

    welcome to the blogosphere! I have always loved reading your perspectives.

  9. femininebutnotfeminist says:

    This post is fantastic, impressive, and very much needed around here 🙂

  10. K says:

    Thank you for this – you are a wise young man. Have been thinking a lot about these things lately.

    Many of the key principles/assumptions of the manosphere philosophy are wholly incompatible with scripture. Evil comes in many disguises, and can be very, very seductive.

    The excellent (and in this day and age, revelatory) ideas in the manosphere that stand the test of scripture should be extrapolated, and those which do not should be identified and named for what they are – without compromise.

    There is nothing more alpha than Godly Masculinity (which appears from time to time in manosphere comments sections but is nearly always shamed and driven off, often with ridicule). For example, a real alpha male is confident , independent, and benevolent, and does not use terms like “mangina” to describe another man who holds an opinion (no matter how ridiculous) with which he disagrees.

  11. K says:

    Looking Glass,

    I forgot to add – in my view, “Game” is a satanic counterfeit of Godly Masculinity.
    Satanic counterfeits are subtle, as they always mimic the good in order to deceive. Their tactic is to hook you first with truth. After that, each step down into the abyss becomes easier and easier.

  12. Looking Glass says:

    One of the side-traps to too many things is attempting to find “Christian” versions of them. This stems from the reality that “Intentions Matter”, but the physical manifestation of the outcroppings are exceedingly similar. (The difference between Murder 1 & Justifiable Homicide are, realistically, a matter of intentions)

    When it comes to “Game” or playing games of Attraction, the issue is one more of askance directions rather than being at cross purposes. This is the trap of the feminine-centric Western Church: by making the Feminine Holy, they’ve made the Masculine Unholy. The drive & corrective impulses are to cut apart the “Unholy” and “Holy” aspects, but this loses sight of the Truth of God’s Order in the domain.

    More succinctly put: you have to know what to cut, what to keep and the difference. Pretty much everyone can’t see the differences, so they run off into the wilderness the entire time.

    There is, for the Christian Man, only his Faith: but Faith is *action*. It is Choice, Decision and Execution. These are, for a Man, attractive traits. But for a lack of the blessing of good lucks, a Christian Man should never be at the extremes of attractiveness, as those extremes are the ur-example of the Flesh’s draw. If we want to put it in a number, let’s say that a strong Christian Faith should cover about 90% of the issue; the last 10% is Sinful and of the Flesh. But the intent of each is drastically different.

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  14. @ LG

    Agree and disagree with the analysis.

    For everything there is of God, there often is a secular or worldly counterpart.

    I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a sidetrap of trying to find too many things that “relate” if the ultimate goal here is to seek Christ.

    In fact, I think it may be one of the best ways to fully understand things.

    We are, by nature, humans. And humans are sinful fallen beings. The very fact that we are born into this world innately sinful is that we understand sinful things better than we do the precepts of God.

    This is why the gift of mercy and grace of God is able to transform us. And it is a continual process from there. In understanding our fallen nature, we know what to look for in God’s nature and in studying God’s nature we can become more like Him.

    Of course, there are pitfalls with that method too as you explained.

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  21. This was a great essay! Great points!

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