Gender Bender

There are some columns one is destined to regret. This may be an example, for I wish to write on the characteristics of the female of the species. Gender is in the air at the moment, whether it is the Pope’s Christmas message emphasising the God-given nature of gender, or the societal issues around gay marriage or the question of women soldiers taking part in close combat.

Of course, I am aware of the dangers of such a project. This was illustrated for me by two gender stereotypes which caught me out in the past. The first was that men are not good at handling or explaining emotion. This was scotched when I worked as a marriage counsellor. Typically, after meeting a couple, I would have a separate interview with each party. I found that when husbands realised that they were allowed to explain their feelings, not only did the long pent-up dam collapse but the fluency of their emotional language was impressive.

My instinct is to provide solutions. Give me a problem and, in a minute or two, I will produce my plan of action. I was surprised when my little attempts to help did not impress. I asked my wife and she patiently explained to me that, for women, problems are not there for solving, they are there for presentation. My contribution would remove the problem, or at least defuse its satisfying difficulty by implying that it could be solved rather than merely bewailed. I now confine myself to an “Ain’t it awful?” expression, and sympathise.

A variation on this is the superfluous explanation. I have, with grotesque unfairness, had said of me: “If you ask him the time, he’ll tell you first how to make a clock.” I put this down to a Jesuit education where every statement was riposted by the word “why?” Old habits die hard. There is some evidence that the very use of the word “because” relieves the listener from the need to listen to the actual explanation.

Another problem I have encountered is the assumption that when women ask for approval (do I look good in these trousers? Does this lipstick suit me?) they actually want me to make a judgment. They don’t. What they want is approval, tout court. And this is especially so if they have emphasised that I must not spare their feelings. The more the emphasis, the more unconditional is the required approval. But there is a price to pay if at some later point you let slip that you did not entirely approve. You will have committed the serious offence of not being frank, compounded by the shame caused by allowing the wearing of the wrong hat. A subtle variation on this is the “heads I lose, tails you win” question: “Which do you prefer, my green hat or my blue hat?”

“Er, er, I think the green.”

“So, what’s wrong with the blue hat?”

The claim is made that, in measuring achievement and skills, men provide the best and worst examples, while women cluster between. This seems to be verified by general experience – the Catherines of Siena  and the Hildas of Whitby tend to be rare. I have no doubt that more will appear in the future as opportunities and acceptance increase. But I do not think that a woman will head a Vatican congregation in my lifetime – though there is no earthly (or heavenly) reason why not.

Much scientific work is done by scientists on gender differences. The old idea that the embryo is gender-neutral, and converted to male by the pumping out of testosterone, is giving way to the concept of a delicate interplay between genes and hormones. And this is by no means fixed, since the action of genes can be modified through experience. The result is that men and women do have differences in their brains which would seem to lead to different psychological characteristics. But there is plenty of room for uncertainty, and it would be surprising if homosexual and transgender outcomes did not occur from time to time.

Differences in brain architecture point to women’s greater tendency to depression, and to the different ways we remember emotional experiences. Different attitudes toward faces and mechanical objects have been measured in girl and boy babies on their first day after birth.

But beyond the obvious contrast between the sexes in matters related to the mating game, many of these differences turn out to be less than we might think. Characteristics which are more marked in girls rather than boys may be listed (in descending order of variation) as preference for girl’s toys, empathy, fine motor skills and verbal fluency. Characteristics more marked in boys are: preference for boy’s toys, physical aggression, assertiveness, elementary maths. But the variation in even the greatest of these differences is no more than the variation in height between the sexes. There will be many exceptions.

Yet in honesty I must confess to a prejudice. My wife attributes my devotion to Our Lady to my firm belief that, if you really want something in any sphere of activity, you are wise to ask the help of a woman first.  I do not disagree – and I marvel at how our faith offers such a variety of ways to approach God that everyone’s temperament is suited.

Come and tell us about gender differences on Secondsightblog.net. You can always use a pseudonym for safety!

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Catholic Herald columns, Church and Society, Quentin queries. Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to Gender Bender

  1. Peter D. Wilson says:

    Quentin – re your devotion to Our Lady – it reminds me of the notice in the department office some decades ago: “Do you want the man in charge or the woman who really knows what’s happening?”

  2. tim says:

    We need a multidimensional plot. We can then plot mean positions for the sexes for each of a number of parameters. There will of course be variation about these means (and often more for men than for women, as Larry Summers got thrown out of Harvard for imprudently remarking). Start with a relatively uncontroversial one – height. Men are on average taller than women. “It needs no ghost, my lord Come from the grave To tell us this”. This (as a bulk quality, at least) is caused by heredity rather than environment. However, for almost any other quality, to claim that a difference is even partly the result of heredity rather than environment can get you into terrible trouble (and often deservedly). My wife and I knew that children were blank slates – it all depended on how you brought them up. We were therefore astonished when (pre-school) our daughter noticed clothes and our son noticed cars (since neither of us were conscious of being specially interested in either).
    I suggest that it is almost as foolish to deny that there are inherent differences – due to nature rather than nurture – as to be confident what any of them are.

  3. Iona says:

    Some statistical differences between the sexes are so great that surely they must be down to nature rather than nurture, – I am thinking, for example, of the rates of violent crime. Something like 98% of all violent crime is committed by men rather than women.

    Though I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that women are catching up.

    • Brian Hamill says:

      Isn’t this because a man strikes with his fist, while a woman strikes with her tongue? Both can be devastating, but generally speaking, the first is a criminal offence and the second is not.

  4. ionzone says:

    Man (haha), I’m not sure what we should be discussing here.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Perhaps an example of the way males and females differ in their thinking (although not always) is some of the posts on Second Sight Blog.
      I know in some cases in female company the saying will come up ‘Oh well he’s a man. As much as to say ,’he can be excused for thinking like that because he ‘is a man’
      And let’s face it ………….ladies!!

  5. Nektarios says:

    Genesis 1:26 -28 & Genesis 2:18-25
    Here we have the account of God’s creation of Man & Woman – it is an amazing story.
    We have also here, an account of why God made Woman.
    Yes I know, it is all so very familiar just what we learned in Sunday school, and it seems for many, is the limit most understand.

    But there is much more to understand in this creation story, so much in fact, many more books could be written on the subject yet.
    Consider, Man was made in the image and likeness of God. What does this amazing intimation mean to us – not a lot it seems like the Babylonians we worship the creature rather than the Creator. Hence we have all the attention given to sex male and female.
    All the confusion these days as to what a Man actually is and what a Woman actually is and here we have it all in the beginning of Genesis.
    The battle of the sexes, a feminist cliche, an invention by Women wanting equality status and
    power with men, forgetting the limits and puropose on both Man as well as on Women.
    I’ll stop for now.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Nektarious.
      Man must leave, father and mother and cling to his wife. and become one flesh. Not woman must leave father and mother and cling to her husband.Or man must leave father and mother and cling to man and become one flesh or woman to woman etc.
      What do you take that to mean-if anything. Do you think there is some reason for that. ?.

      • Nektarios says:

        St. Joseph

        As to the whys that a man must leave father and mother and be joined to his wife….Genesis 2:24 lies in the preceding verses 21-23.
        In Adam’s case, representing God’ creation of Man, God, out of Adam takes a rib
        and creates a Woman.
        So Adam declares in Genesis 2:23 what Woman is and thenwe read verse 24.

        Adam and Eve are the begining of the human race.
        Looking forward from them to successive generations of human beings, made in the image of God, then the same would be true of them.

        What do I take it to mean, you ask? That is simple enough to answer. For everyman there is a soul mate, whether the suceed in finding each other or not. Until they do, they long and look for each other until they find each other and unite and become one flesh.
        The innate distortions you mention would mean they would not find their soul mate and so never truly be united in one flesh.

  6. Vincent says:

    I have been doing some research. Very scientific I claim.

    I went to Smiths, the stationers, and looked at the magazines displayed for women. The theory is that the publishers of magazines had better be right about the choices of invitations they make on their covers. And long experience must tell them exactly what meets the female need.

    There was, as there always has been, a good deal about physical image. So ‘21 ways to look younger’, ‘the lazy girl’s diet, ‘the guilty dieter’ , ‘dieting secrets’. Interesting here to reflect that guilty dieters perform a neat circuit: feel guilty so resolve to diet; eat just as much as you did before, but complaining; feel guiltier so resolve to diet again. And once more, with feeling.

    But, and Iona will curse me for getting back to it, there was rather a lot about sex. I leave aside such special interest magazines as Diva – which appears to be dedicated to lesbians, and stick to those in the “knit your own orgasm’ class. What I saw was a great deal of uncertainty.

    ‘Have better sex’, ‘love your body and his’.’Sex, Marriage, Affairs’,’falling in love again – same man different story’, ‘heartbreak’, ‘stop holding yourself back in bed’.

    All this is rather sad. It suggests that women’s most immediate concerns are pulchritude of person, and: how am I doing in bed? This is not at all the impression I have got from female contributors to this blog. Have I got the wrong end of the stick?

    Men of course are much more sensible.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Vincent, thank you,if I can take that comment as a compliment, for us female contributors.

      Men may be more sensible,however there would be no prostitutes if men didn’t use them.
      But I do like male company I must say!

      I don’t like males showing their greasy spray tan images and showing off their muscles in magazines either.They don’t impress me at all.Well I suppose they wouldn’t in my 70s now anyway!

  7. St.Joseph says:

    Nektarios.
    Thank you for your reply and very clear explanation to my comment and question
    One thing puzzles me, so I will ask the question

    ‘Why then is it that when we disagree with same sex marriage we are thought to be homo-phobic (against the act not the person) when we put forth our beliefs..
    What God has joined together let no man put asunder.Which says to me to be doing just that..

    • Nektarios says:

      St. Joseph
      You ask, “why …when we disagree with same sex marriage, we are thought to be homo-phobic?
      There are several reasons why. (a) some Christians are homo-phobic. (b) so much of the arguments by Christians are weak and seeking only comformity to there view.
      (c) is the secular agenda, that is in the process, as far as Christian Church goes, take every opportunity to get rid of the norms, beliefs and symbolism.
      (d) the media’s presentation of homosexuality.
      (e) the liberal academic with its quasi – intellectual psycho-babble on the subject.
      (f) Lastly we have the homo-sexual lobby, who have been causing fear by labelling anyone who disagrees with them, `homo-phobic’, The homosexual lobby need to prove such allegations and even more define what exactly they mean by it. The sad thing is the law is already duped and will prosecute anyone labelled homo-phobic
      Essentially it is a tactic, a labelling, fear instilling word so homosexuals can silence any opposition to their life style.

  8. ionzone says:

    Well in terms of women’s magazines, they are the way they are mostly because of culture, much in the same way that pink has become a ‘girls’ colour’ when it was once seen as being a boys’ colour. Women are unsure and self-conscious about their bodies, and advertising has a lot to answer for in this regard – the implication is “Your fat! Your ugly! And the only way to fix that is to buy buy buy!” But, of course, the truth is never as blandly attractive as the advertisers like to tell us it is.

    • St.Joseph says:

      The same applies to the male magazines.
      The difference being,as I said in my 70s I am not impressed,but it is different for males at 70-why Is that I wonder.! I think it is not because women’s sexual appetite dwindle,its just that we have a more mature outlook on sex than the males.(Not all included of course.I think!)
      Maybe some males will enlighten please.

  9. John Candido says:

    There should be genuine equality between the sexes, mainly because there are few differences that have an overwhelming impact that would prejudice women in the vast majority of contemporary callings. The same goes for access to the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church. There are a lot of reasons that would place women Priests in an equal position to any male Priest. Greater child safety would be one of them.

    • ionzone says:

      In contrast to what the media likes to tell us, ‘paedo priests’ are barely even a fraction of the total number. Childeren are, after all, far more at risk in their own homes and schools. I do think that just allowing them to marry would solve a lot of problems but I have no problem with the idea of female priests. It’s not like Jesus ever treated women as being inferior (which is one of the most interesting things about his character). He may have chosen all male companions, but he was preaching to the people of the time, a people who (unlike many pagan religions) included everyone, male, female, slave, prisoner, tax collector, prostitute and free. The church has hundreds of female saints, why not a priest?

      After all, if Mother Teresa had been allowed to say mass she might had an even bigger influence. (I really don’t buy into the (thoroughly debunked) lies about her)

      • John Nolan says:

        Priestesses were indeed a feature of pagan religions. You might like the idea, but it isn’t going to happen in any of the apostolic Churches. You therefore have a choice – accept it and move on, or join one of the ecclesial communities which has women ministers.

    • tim says:

      Can there be ‘genuine equality’ between men and women while men remain (on average) several inches taller than women? Height is not trivial – taller people get better jobs and are more successful (aren’t they?). God, or evolution, (or as I would prefer to say, God through evolution) has provided certain differences between the sexes, even if it is not quite clear in all cases what they are. Are we to ignore these, in the cause of ‘equality’? The real (and difficult) question is, What is just?

      • John Candido says:

        Equality is not a cause. Equality between the sexes is a form of justice.

      • tim says:

        Justice is an objective (hence I would say a cause) so I don’t see what point you’re making. Objectives may clash (justice and mercy, for example). Equality is very well in its place, but this is not at the top of the hierarchy of values. If we have undervalued it in the past, we may now need to avoid overcompensating. None of this settles particular cases.

  10. St.Joseph says:

    EQUALITY. I have no wish to be equal to the male sex thank you very much I know my place!!!!!

  11. St.Joseph says:

    Just a small point.
    Our Blessed Mother was not called to be a Priest-she was called to keep all those males in their place.
    Jesus placed Her in that position at the foot of the Cross. So we woman follow her example.or ought to.
    Jesus said to St John- ‘This is your Mother. BUT to His Mother-He called Her WOMAN this is your son. He did not say Mary or Mother-but WOMAN and I take that as female’s to follow Her example!
    A mother to all Priests!. Keep them in their place.!Where they should be Celebrating Mass and the Sacraments. Holy men.As priests ought to be.But they are only human that is why Jesus placed them in the hands of WOMAN. So we females have a big responsebilty if we only knew it.

  12. claret says:

    I think God slipped up by creating woman from a rib of man. It has resulted that ever since she has regarded this as divine permission to take an arm and a leg.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Claret.
      I think that to be a very unkind remark to Our Blessed Mother..
      God chose a woman to give Him an arm and leg-in fact to give Him His whole human life.
      We owe Her that respect for Her Yes.
      Then to give Him up again to carry His Cross with His arms and legs to Calvary., to be Crucified
      Don’t forget it was for yours and my salvation as well as the for whole world.

    • John Nolan says:

      LOL, Claret! I wish I’d said that (You will, Oscar, you will … fortunately most people I know don’t read this blog …)

    • Nektarios says:

      Claret

      Yes, there are women like that, but it needs to be taken into account that God made Adam first – that was no slip up by God.
      Just think if it was the other way round and woman was created first?
      God would have probably got a second opinion! (Tee Hee).

  13. St.Joseph says:

    Just for the info females have received the same Holy Spirit as Our Blessed Mother-and lest you forget ,so did your own mothers.
    Clarets Oscar won’t be any use to him in Heaven.

  14. Iona says:

    Re the women’s magazine topics – in the 1950s, and possibly into the 60s, sex did not feature. Except on the “problem pages” (Agony Aunts), where it featured only as the cause of problems. Towards the end of the 60s there were one or two magazines which were apparently working on the assumption that women were now as “free”, as liberated and as keen as men to engage in casual sex, and wanted to read about how it could be better and how they could manage not to feel guilty about it. By the early 70s I had better things to do than read women’s magazines, a state of affairs which continues to the present. However, just looking at their front covers while waiting in queues, I can confirm Vincent’s observations that sex now seems to be a consuming interest. What I don’t know is whether women’s attitudes and interests have actually changed over the last 50 years, or whether magazines cater for women with a different set of interests.

    And by the way, when was pink considered a “boy’s colour”? – Someone said it was, – Ionzone, perhaps?

    • St.Joseph says:

      Iona.
      I think maybe magazines were around, but were kept under the counter and boys hid them from their mothers. There would be ‘no sale’ if males were not so interested in looking at them.
      Many years ago females including myself campaigned to have them removed or placed on top shelves away from young children eyes.
      No males joined in the campaign-not as I know of..
      My late husband always wore a pink linen.shirt. One time he bought some bright orange trousers linen which he wore with a turquoise shirt,(my children still talk about his orange trousers) .
      I used to play with my brothers Dinky cars and when they took them from me, I used to take the tyres off and put them in my mouth and say I swallowed them when I got the chance. I was no more than 3 yrs.
      I don’t think it matters one way or another.
      .I believe it is good to see the feminine side of a male, I think they are not so ‘chauvinistic’..I speak for myself.They probably make better husbands.

      • Vincent says:

        You will be glad to know that at least one male was active in this issue – me.

        Going into a local newsagent (some years ago) I found a display of lewd magazines at immediate eye level. Now I knew that this shop was regularly used by schoolchildren for snacks etc. So I tore up the magazines in front of the horrified assistant, and gave him my card.

        That evening I had a call from the owner of the shop, demanding compensation. I told him that he would need to take legal action in the local court, and that I thought that the publicity would be well worth it for me – if not for him. I heard no further, but subsequently discovered the the magazines were no longer immediately accessible to young.

        Result?

  15. Iona says:

    As for being unimpressed by men showing off tanned skin and bulgy muscles (St. Joseph), isn’t this a difference between the sexes, – that men are more likely to be turned on by a visually attractive woman than women are by a visually attractive man. I know there are male strippers who perform at hen parties, but I can’t believe the “hens” regard them in the same way men regard female strippers; more likely, they are pretending to, in a kind of mockery of men gazing at near-naked women.

  16. Iona says:

    I was strolling along a seashore once, as part of a mixed group, when someone remarked “Have you noticed that when men are on a beach they kick a ball, whereas when women are on a beach they collect stones and shells?” (the two genders in the group were doing exactly that, at the time).
    Puzzled over that one for a while, then realised it must be evolutionary, – in our hunter-gatherer past, it was the men that did the hunting (a more risky occupation, and in terms of the tribe men were more expendable than women) and women that did the gathering.
    Possibly a lot of differences between the sexes can be explained similarly, i.e. with reference to evolution.

    • John Nolan says:

      Educationalists now admit that boys and girls learn differently – as a result of evolution their brains are differently ‘wired’. 40 years ago this would have been regarded as heresy. The exam system, both in the subjects taught and the way they are assessed, now favours girls. Michael Gove’s attempt to redress the balance seems to have been stymied by an unholy alliance between the teaching unions (who have never been concerned with educational standards) and the LibDems.

  17. Nektarios says:

    Iona
    I don’t think any womanin their right mend goes to one of those sordid little hedonistic hen parties
    with an intellectal argument for doing so – do you?

    • Nektarios says:

      Soory Iona, for the errors, the panel is jumping up and down a bit which it does sometimes and is a bit off putting.
      Correction
      First line should read: ….women in their right mind.

  18. St.Joseph says:

    A story Dr Janet Smith told. On her CD ‘Contraception Why Not’
    When God made Adam and then Eve, He asked Adam if he was happy with her,was it all he had wished for. Adam replied ‘ Yes God she is so beautiful,but just one question,why did you make her so dumb.? God replied ‘ Well Adam if I had made her clever she wouldn’t have chosen you’. LOL!!!.

  19. St.Joseph says:

    Vincent,
    Well done you. You restored my faith in males, you had the bravery to do that ,more than what I would have had the nerve to do,.You deserve a medal.
    (That is the feminine side in you).What Jesus would have done.

  20. Iona says:

    Nektarios, I have no idea who goes to hen parties at which male strippers perform, – I just know there are such things.

    • Vincent says:

      They seem fairly normal to me. I had an excellent secretary some time back who would often go off with her friends to have a night out – including a stripper. They all had a good laugh and a bit of a booze up. So what?

      • Mike Horsnall says:

        “They seem fairly normal to me. I had an excellent secretary some time back who would often go off with her friends to have a night out – including a stripper. They all had a good laugh and a bit of a booze up. So what?..”

        Hooray! Hooray! perhaps a bit of decency still prevails on here, I was beginning to get worried about you all and your collectively gathering terrible self righteousness.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Iona.
      I can assure you it all goes on.
      Having been in the Licensed Trade Landlady of a Free House and Guest House for many many years. I saw it all happening( not the strip clubs but know all about them .
      There are two sides to this world we live in as you know doubt know.
      I have been an on looker in all sorts taking ‘note’.
      But a lot of their money was given to Charities, Church funds ,all by their own generosity, and a lot of love was shown by them to the Church
      It was understood we were a Catholic family and we were shown that respect! Lots of discussions took place and one learnt a lot about other folk.
      My children were brought up in that environment and learnt too from the experience, and still kept their faith. Thank God So when we speak about mixing with sinners my family certainly mixed with the lot..Not forgetting ourselves of course!But I am pleased to say quite a few returned to the faith by helping at fetes and dances etc.to raise funds.
      My husband although not a Catholic at the time did a lot of the encouraging for the faith to the lapsed.

      • St.Joseph says:

        Mike Horsnall.
        OK, so do you believe the same things applies to females strippers?. And the males who indulge in it, that it may have an effect on their sexuality and probably afterwards treat all women even their wives as a sex object.?
        In my experience of the females and male who enjoy looking at strippers do expect the males who they date to have sexual intercourse with them.
        It may be fun to begin with, however it is a slippery slope especially for married woman or men who feel the need to indulge in this kind of entertainment..
        There is obviously something missing in their lives that the void has to be filled with watching male or females stripping .
        What we do with our mind and body will eventually affect our soul!

  21. John Nolan says:

    Iona’s earlier point is a good one. Early man was a hunter. He had to think on his feet, and take risks. Hunting required co-operation and teamwork, but there was also a strong competitive and hierarchical element. The most successful hunter would no doubt have first choice of the women of the tribe. With a more agrarian and settled economy these ‘manly’ characteristics were carried over into warfare, the most challenging and complex collective activity of which man is capable.

    Women will always be at a disadvantage in politics, not only because of the demands of child-bearing and nurturing, but because they are not ‘clubbable’ to the extent to which men are. Most women would balk at the idea of an all-female formal dinner. Similar all-male occasions (though rare nowadays, even in the armed forces) are a different matter. There are no distinctions of dress (one white/black tie looks very much like another). Introduce a female element and the dynamic changes as a sexual element is introduced. The women dress in such a way as to look as sexually attractive as possible. Anyone who has ever been an army officer will tell you that a regimental Guest Night has a completely different atmosphere from a Ladies’ Night.

    In the last resort, men will always club together to keep women out, especially when important decisions have to be taken. They don’t want to be distracted by sex (and this applies especially to the more lecherous ones). I don’t want to overemphasize the difference between the sexes, but where these occur as a result of evolution, no amount of social engineering is going to eradicate them.

    • St.Joseph says:

      John Nolan.
      You can not overemphasize the difference between the two sexes there are too many.
      Difference is the thing-not inferior or superior.
      I hope I would never be thought of as ‘macho’.
      I like to be feminine- make up, and dress -heels -pearls- hats, perfumes,not over emphasized,not to attract the opposite sex,but to feel good in myself.
      I also admire males who do make an effort to do the same and ‘polish their shoes’ and press their trousers.Not for me ,but for themselves. Open doors for females and offer seats for them on public transport.
      Which is a lot difference to liking ‘Striptease Artists’ ( UGH.)Has the age of chivalry died.
      Mike Horsnall if you find that being ‘self righteous’ so be it!!! .

  22. claret says:

    St Joseph,
    I am amazed that you have taken a humorous comment ( an arm and a leg,) so seriously. It was meant to bring a smile not a scowl.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Claret.
      I apologise if I didn’t think that you were the kind of person to crack a joke.
      You did not give that impression , maybe you could do it more often!

  23. Nektarios says:

    We have skirted around the problem of difference,mentally, emotionally and psychologically
    without us getting anywhere near to the real point of all the differences.
    Some might say, there was the tribal set up in early man, It is still there! And this is why we have all evolved as we have. Really? While there may be elements of truth in the journey of mankind,
    it was not alway so. For example Adam in the Garden of Eden, wa not a hunter, but a gardener.

    The Fall of mankind from his original state was catyclismic! From what they were, to what they had become was very different.
    Pre – Fall man was perfect. and in relation to the Woman, perfect, and vice- versa. They both had their roles, But to imagine Adam and Eve as some primordial similarity to ourselves would not be right, accurate or correct.
    I say the Fall when it happened, produced death, it produced separation from God, and it produce a darkening of the mind, not only in relation to God, but to each other and the world they inhabited..
    They were put out of the Garden of Eden into a hostile environment, were made subject to their passions, emotions and physical limitations. Here they had to survive. It was truly awful for Mankind.

    It seems, over a short time, their memories faded regarding what like they once were pre-fall. The relationship they once enjoyed with God, and each other was mostly gone, their happiness was gone, and they were surviving and under the sentence of death.
    So what did mankind do to deal with all of this tragedy?
    They did then as they are doing now. Man began inventing, and reinventing, and reinventing, and reinventing till the present day.
    So much of what is talked of God in an invention, that does not detract of course from the God Who actually is.
    Male and Female to get along also reinvented themselves. And as most can see, most of what one thinks about oneself is an invention, and a continuous reinvention. Look in the mirror, what one sees or thinks about oneself, is an invention mostly.
    So, looking at the peripheral of things concerning man and women, we are only looking at
    a series of inventions by mankind to make sense of themselves others and the world they have come into, what they have made, and the death they will have to face.
    Thank God, He did not leave us to ourselves to perish!

  24. Vincent says:

    Nektarios, I want to put you a case. In St John’s gospel Philip said to Jesus, ‘Show us the father.’ Jesus replied, ‘He who has seen me has seen the father.’

    I interpret that as Jesus saying that mortal eyes cannot see the father directly, and the nearest human understanding we can have is what we can see and know of him.

    But what the apostles could see and know of Jesus must be an invention, in the sense that you use it. Each apostle, being a different person with a different life experience from his fellows, recognises him differently. I would claim that what we know of the things of God are expressed to us in human terms, but that merely means that they are incomplete – perhaps infinitely so, not that they are untrue.

    • Nektarios says:

      Vincent

      The disciples all had their own views about Jesus, sure but the revealing to them that Jesus
      was the Messiah was not an imagination nor a fiction nor an invention by them, but a revelation from God the Father.

      Did not Jesus say, `No man knows the Father but the Son, and no man knows the Son
      but the Father……
      We are talking here of revelation.
      Now, you have sat under the Gospel for years, but there was one day, it was very clear, Jesus was your Saviour, Lord and God, and like the disciples, you followed Him.
      God had given you faith and you believed, just like the Apostles and every true Christian
      there has ever been.

      What I was talking about, that you made your posting, was man in his Fallen state, what happened to him and her.
      what they did later, and that was to invent. That is why Mankind has many religions, many gods and so on..
      To truly know God is something spiritually discerned. Read all one likes, but it will not feed or warm one soul nor deliver from death.
      Please don’t mix up what happens in the person who is a `New Creation’ in Christ, with the workings of the soul and mind of one who is dead in trespasses and sin, in sorrow and misery with that all that brings.

  25. johnbunting says:

    On the gender difference, as with other things, we have probably all noticed that a resistance to advice seeems to apply: what I’ve heard called the ‘not invented here’ syndrome. My wife tends to be, shall we say, a little unreceptive to suggestions coming from me; as am I – I hasten to add – to those coming from her. We like to think that we have discovered something good for ourselves, rather than accepted it from someone else. So the best strategy lies in bringing the matter to the other’s attention in a way that allows them to keep the illusion of independent discovery.
    Bearing in mind the readiness of some people to complain about ‘having religion rammed down their throats’, I wonder if this strategy might be applied to the task of evangelisation; and if so, how.

    • St.Joseph says:

      johnbunting.
      Could you be a bit more specific when you say ‘the readiness of some people to complain about ‘having religion rammed down their throat!
      When would you say a situation fits that category?

      • johnbunting says:

        St Joseph,
        I’ve noticed, particularly on internet blogs – where admittedly people are apt to speak more strongly than if they were addressing you face to face – that some are very ready to use that sort of expression, and make accusations of ‘hypocrisy’, or worse, at any suggestion that believers have the right, and possibly the duty, to commend their beliefs to others. Religion, they say, should be a purely private matter, and no-one should presume to tell anyone else what to think or believe.

    • Nektarios says:

      Johnbunting

      There are fanatics that do ram religion down one’s throat, and there was a day, pity help you or your family or future if you did not comply. But Churches or individuals that behave with such fanatical strategy are not helping anyone, least of all themselves.

      I also see from your following comment, you think religion is a private affair – even that is a cliche, and it is not yours.
      I wonder if you really know what evangelization is, what an evangelist is, what an evangelist does?

      If you discover something, it is your discovery and nobody can take that away from you.
      Let me give you an illusration I have given before.
      When I was about three, I could tie the knot to keep my pyjama trousers up. However,I could not tie my show laces.
      Then one day I realized it was the same knot, from then on could tie my own shoe laces.
      It would be many years later before realized that billions of people knew how to tie
      their shoes wih the same knot.
      It is the same in the spiritual life, we come to see something we have not seen before
      and it can be life-changing. You discovered it, and it can never be taken away from you.
      It is sometime later, one comes to see that there are many millions around the world
      have discovered the same thing as you. It does not make it any the less personal.
      God is wonderful the way He works, isn’t He?

  26. Nektarios says:

    Tim
    I will leave JC to answer your specifics to him about Justice and equality and so on.
    But I have to ask, for Justice and equality to be( not just the appearing of it to be just and given to equality) do we love God and man enough? If we don’t, then we are only talking about forms of so- called justice, so-called equality which is no justice or equality, rather and unjust, dull, coerced control to the status norms (unjust in themselves).
    Again equality is a much banded about word these days, to cajole people to agree with a point of view.
    It is clear people are different, with different gifts and talents and powers, so equal in what sense?
    When it comes to the sexes Male and Female when we say quality for women, what does it mean?
    Obviously, if the sexes truly loved one another this question would not arise, were it not for the unjust abuses of women down through the centuries, by the Church, by society, by Govenments and business.
    So it is clear, the sexes seldom love, let alone trust one another.
    Will the placard waving feminist produce a true equality?
    I don’t thiink so, equality they do have, but not the sameness as men.
    Let’s say they got equality with men, will these females then become in their attitude and ensuing laws, abusive of men as some men were towards them?
    I suggest we are looking in the wrong place for the equality that men and women aleady have,
    but lies secure, safe, and has always been, in Love.
    The same applies to Justice.

  27. St.Joseph says:

    Johnbunting.
    Thank you. I have looked on other Catholic blogs and what I found was that those who use them obviously are entitled to their opinion, however if one goes on such a blogs it is to assumed that their faith will be challenged and one ought to accept that.
    Also when we are living our faith and those who oppose it we need to defend it as well.

  28. Iona says:

    Vincent (several posts ago) said: I had an excellent secretary some time back who would often go off with her friends to have a night out – including a stripper. They all had a good laugh and a bit of a booze up.

    I think that illustrates the point I was trying to make. Women will watch a male stripper for a laugh. Men watch a female stripper for sexual stimulation.

    I hasten to add that I’m not saying this makes women “better” than men. It just demonstrates a difference between the sexes.

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