Answers to Unusual Questions

Over the last few days, I have answered about a couple of hundred questions on Curious Cat, on a host of different topics. I’ve particularly tried to answer questions on various issues that are taboo or difficult to discuss in many fora, especially on the subject of sex and race. I’ve also tried to answer a few unusual questions. Here are a few examples:

What were you impressions on the different parts of the US. Were some regions weirder than others? To which do you plan to eventually move? [Answer]


Why are you an Anglican? [Answer]


Why are you Anglican rather than Presbyterian? [Answer]


Is it okay to be bored by theology? This isn’t a wind-up, I just don’t know whether it’ll make me a better Christian. I try to follow the commandments as best I can. [Answer]


Following up on a previous question about baptism, I’m interested specifically in your formulation of the relationship between paedobaptism and faith. Does your position have affinities with the “presumptive regeneration” stream in Reformed thought? And how does your understanding of the (dis)continuity of the covenants shape your reflection on the practice of paedobaptism? [Answer]


Can you define patriarchy and if/how it differs from complementarianism? [Answer]


Much of the scientific literature around gender suggests that there are real differences between men and women when considered broadly, but that there is some diversity within the genders when considering particular individuals. You’ve used the analogy of “family resemblances” to describe how people of the same gender are both similar to each other but can also be different.

How do we understand the relationship between the particular differences between individuals of the same gender and the universal commands to men and women in the Bible? Does the Bible call men and women to strive towards a kind of archetypal man or women or are the Biblical commands (like the scientific literature) speaking in generalities as well? Ie. women shouldn’t be in leadership “in general” but there may be outliers and exceptions? Curious to hear your thoughts! [Answer]


You argue that “Men and women are different kinds of persons, the bearers of different symbolic and relational meaning.”

What symbolism and relationships are you referring to? (Between God and humanity? Between Christ and his church? Within humanity? Within marriage?)

What are some of the key characteristics for each of the sexes? (I’ve heard you mention things like forming, naming and combat for men and filling, giving life and communion for women.)

What grounds can be used to identify appropriate characteristics? [Answer]


Benefited from your labors on work and gender (e.g., Davenant lecture). You’ve mentioned Luce Irigaray before, and I’m wondering if any of her oeuvre would tie into your comments on creational gender differentiation in Gen 1-2 or the fragmentation seen in modern economic approaches (such as her work in je, tu, nois and her writing against some streams of capitalist feminism, if I read her correctly)? Apologies for the longform question! [Answer]


How does the Evangelical church decide what is appropriate male and female behavior? For example, I can do construction type work, and I mow the lawn and know more about what’s under the hood of vehicles than a guy might. Do evangelicals relegate women’s roles to that of Suzy Homemaker? Seems to me that a woman who isn’t quiet and in the kitchen making homemade bread would be excluded from evangelical community. [Answer]


Alastair, do you agree that procreation is a fundamental purpose of marriage, and secondarily, that there is something lacking in marriages without children? [Answer]


A recent Duke dissertation complains of the Christian “tendency to sexualize women’s bodies far more than men’s bodies.” This is a common complaint; I feel there is something underneath it that I cannot cut down to. What is that thing? =) [Answer]


Why do gay people ‘look’ gay? (Serious question I’ve always had, reminded of it by the recent face scanning article) [Answer]


Is onanism a sin? [Answer]


What do you think about the concept of “rape culture”? On the one hand, there have been numerous scandals in the church of sexual assault allegations being hushed up and handled inappropriately, but at the same time the language of rape culture comes out of an unchristian ethical system where consent is the only thing that matters. How can we humbly accept outside criticism of the church without unconsciously adopting unbiblical categories? [Answer]


Is the manosphere / red pill view of male-female religions correct? Do women crave control from their men? [Answer]


Why are a substantial minority of women attracted to psychopaths and men of violence? What is the theological purpose of this? For context, I know someone who use to deal with Ian Huntley and he apparently would receive hundreds of letters a year begging for sex / maintaining that he was innocent. [Answer]


Is there an alternative to capitalism that Christians can support? [Answer]


Any thoughts on what governments, institutions, and individuals should do about the (probable) coming mass displacement of workers via automation? [Answer]


What advice would you give to an orthodox Christian man aged 30 who is (almost) exclusively same-sex attracted, who has stayed completely ‘in the closet’ about this fact and remained celibate, but who is increasingly finding the isolation and the lack of any sense of meaningful vocation despair-inducing? Should such a man disclose these attractions to his family and friends? And is it wrong for a man in this situation to seek marriage (with a woman, obviously) and fatherhood, despite the lack of instinctive physical attraction to women? [Answer]


If God wants men to remain virgins, why would he make male virginity so unattractive to women? [Answer]


Thanks for the long answer on virginity. But what about men who are too ugly or idiosyncratic to find a wife? [Answer]


Would, uh, would you mind giving the single guys some advice–practical or other–about “how to master oneself and be chaste”? [Answer]


Is ethnic nationalism incompatible with Christianity? [Answer]


Are jews culture annihilators? [Answer]


Do you accept the HBD premise that certain racial groups are genetically more intelligent than others? [Answer]


Is there any sort of Christian position against race-mixing? I would really like my grandchildren to be white, and I would regret if my son marries his Chinese girlfriend, as they will look nothing like me, or any of our ancestors for thousands of years. [Answer]


Is western civilisation a product of the white race? [Answer]


But why isn’t race decisive in forming western civilisation? Of course, I wouldn’t regard myself as simply a deracinated white man: I am English. But it is obviously the case that, for instance, you and I are white. An Italian is white, a German is white, a Frenchman is white. The white race is the soil out of which western civilisation sprang. [Answer]

Follow-up to those questions here, here, and here.


What do you make of Chesterton’s contention in chapter 5 of Orthodoxy that suicide is “the ultimate and absolute evil”? [Answer]


Is lifting a Christian thing? [Answer]

I have a huge backlog of questions that I’ll probably never get to answer, but ask any question you’d like answered here!

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in My Doings, Sex and Sexuality, Society, Theological, What I'm Doing. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Answers to Unusual Questions

  1. I love it because the questioners can be anonymous. I’m not telling which one I asked.

  2. katie says:

    I’ve saved your reply to the question about women not being attracted to chaste men (not that I asked the question, ha!), to help me as we raise our sons. It’s a clear and beautiful reply. I’ve learned a great deal about self-mastery from Jane Eyre; thank you for the glimpse into what that looks like for men.

  3. Nathanael Johnston says:

    I noticed that in some of your answers to questions about the “white race” and Western Civilization you described Western Civilization as being European. But is that quite right? Prior to the Muslim conquests of the 7th century, the Roman Empire, and the Greeks before them, were Mediterranean civilizations, which is to say they geographically both included lands in the Middle East and North Africa and excluded much of central and northern Europe. So, isn’t calling Western Civilization European a bit anachronistic since it only became European after the rise of Islam?

  4. David McKay says:

    Curious Cat! Sounds like a great ministry you are undertaking, Alastair I’m having a crack at writing answers on Quora I hope what I write is an encouragement to other Christians and that it has an impact with those who are not Christians. I keep reminding myself of 1 Corinthians 15:58 and Isaiah 55 Keep up the good work! David McKay

    On 11 September 2017 at 10:02, Alastair’s Adversaria wrote:

    > Alastair Roberts posted: “Over the last few days, I have answered about a > couple of hundred questions on Curious Cat, on a host of different topics. > I’ve particularly tried to answer questions on various issues that are > taboo or difficult to discuss in many fora, especially on the” >

  5. Geoff says:

    What an excellent answer to the Q about theological boredom and doxology. Is it possible to be bored with the rest? It seems interminable at times.

  6. Geoff says:

    One last Q. Well, maybe. It seems that you’ve been unable to restrict yourself to answering 5 Q’s a day. Does that in itself raise a self Q? What’s the answer?
    Are some of the Q’s you’ve answered above for real, and not just wind-ups?
    Yes, that’s two. It’s catching. The first Q isn’t a wind -up, which you’re likely to have answered somewhere.
    Perhaps the CC has revealed the tip of an iceberg, upon which Mere Christianity may become shipwrecked. Or, it may act as a warning, of a hidden mass, or reveal an unmet need in the local church.
    Any thoughts? I know, I know.

    • I originally intended to keep it to five, but changed my mind when I saw how many questions I was receiving.

      Some of the questions are definitely trolling, but trolling that is related to real questions that people have.

      And, yes, there are some genuine unmet needs that are revealed here, although many of us were aware of them already.

  7. Clay says:

    Thanks for doing this, Alistair. Your responses have been illuminating, and you have avoided the virtue-signaling peevishness that usually accompanies Q&A about race and sex. You are a real treasure.

    I wonder what it would take to get some elders and churchmen to do the same?

  8. evan773 says:

    I enjoy reading your blog.

    I think it’s important to discuss the Jewish question, at least for American evangelicals. It is quite common to hear American evangelicals mention the term “cultural Marxism,” which is an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory widely peddled among the American alt-right, including evangelicals disposed to the alt-right.

    I was also intrigued by your response on the question of women being attracted to abusive, dominant men. I’ve often been curious about differences between Protestantism and Catholicism on this question. I’m a slight guy (166 cm height; 53 kg weight), and have a fairly youthful appearance. In Protestant countries in Europe, much like the US, I receive little attention from women, despite having relatively attractive features. If I draw any attention from others, it is almost always from men who identify as gay. By contrast, when I travel in France, Spain, or Italy, I have little problem attracting attention from women. In my experience, Catholic countries tend to give men greater freedom to be complex, refined, artistic, etc. The same is not generally true in Protestant countries.

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