The “incel” phenomenon involves young men angry that they cannot convince women to have sex with them. In April, a man who reportedly identified as an “incel” drove a truck into a crowd in Toronto, killing ten. While this terrorist is already lost, “involuntary celibates” can find the solution to their quandary in what may seem an unlikely location: church.
To those more familiar with the desperate locales referred to as “clubs,” or the constant rejection of soulless “dating” apps, church may seem revolutionary.
Imagine an environment with more women than men, and where women don’t just want to have a one-night stand with the attractive hunk who gets all the girls at the club. Imagine a place where one young woman may actually pledge to have sex with you — not just for a night, but for the rest of your life! Does it sound too good to be true? It’s not.
As National Review‘s Kevin D. Williamson noted, “Most congregations — and practically every church committee that doesn’t have the word ‘men’ in its title — are lopsidedly female. Maybe what gets those ladies out of bed on a Sunday morning is fire in the soul. But it’s a safe bet that some of them are there, at least in part, for the same reason you are: They are alone, and they do not want to be.”
Christianity may seem stodgy and old-fashioned, but churches are a uniquely promising environment for “involuntary celibates.” No church is perfect, but everyone in the church reads from a Bible that tells them human beings weren’t meant to be alone. That Bible also tells them to consider the “beam” of sin in their own eyes before considering the “speck” in their neighbors’ eyes.
Church isn’t a judgement-free zone, but it is an organization where every member knows himself or herself to be sinful, and looks to redemption. This means that it should be uniquely welcoming, so long as you can eat a little humble pie.
The benefits can be tremendous — and not just in the afterlife. As Williamson noted, “consider that there are women in the room who might not only be interested in dating you but who might be persuaded to make a public pledge — right there in the church — to have sex with you for the rest of your life, and enter into a legal arrangement fortifying that commitment.”
Getting to that point may not be easy, but it should be easier and far more satisfying than trying to get women drunk enough to have sex, night after night. What could boost your confidence more than having a woman pledge herself to you for the rest of your life?
Marriage may seem old and confining, but a great deal of men and women actually find it liberating. Once you “put a ring on it,” there’s no more “swiping left,” no more getting rejected at bars and clubs, no more desperate searching for the next one-night stand.
As Williamson and the New York Times‘ Ross Douthat noted, the sad truth about the “sexual revolution” is that it necessarily involved winners and losers. Sex became much more free and available for the more attractive men (whom “incel” communities call “Chads”), but less available for their less attractive counterparts.
“Like other forms of neoliberal deregulation the sexual revolution created new winners and losers, new hierarchies to replace the old ones, privileging the beautiful and rich and socially adept in new ways and relegating others to new forms of loneliness and frustration,” Douthat wrote.
Men who don’t fit into the top echelon of the sexual revolution’s new hierarchy have other options: they can join a church. Perhaps, along with a large number of eligible young women, they will find a fascinating new lifestyle and social setting: marriage and family.
American society has become increasingly lonely as men have rejected marriage and fatherhood, but these two age-old charges don’t just place isolated individuals into a social community, they also provide the one thing Americans seem to lack more than anything else these days: meaning.
As for meaning, the name “incel” doesn’t mean what these poor men think it means. “Celibate” does not refer to someone who abstains from sex, it refers to someone who foregoes marriage. “Chaste” also doesn’t mean what people think it does — it refers to reserving sex for marriage: not having sex outside marriage but having a reverent attitude toward sex in marriage (which the Bible says you should have frequently).
“Involuntary celibacy” is a contradiction in terms, but it does imply that what these men really want is marriage, not just sex. Church isn’t just the place where weddings happen — it’s also where lovebirds meet, and a place known for having more young women than young men.
Incel, what are you waiting for?