“Faith, fatherhood, and masculinity” was the title of a panel at the recent National Religious Broadcasters convention. The focus was on the needs of families in today’s increasingly hostile culture.  In her remarks, Mary Eberstadt summarized the 20th century in six words, “Men are at war with God.”  She contended, “Men and women are at war with God over the first question in history, which is ‘Who gets to direct creation?'” 

She believes the major social issues of our day can be traced back to the sexual revolution.  “It loosened the bonds of family, the bonds of community, patriotism and love of community.”  As a result, Eberstadt contends we have three “crises of paternity.”  They are: “1) The crisis involving our Supernatural Father, and our relationship to Him.  2) The crisis involving our earthly fathers.  3) The crisis involving patriotism, our love of country.  She maintains, “If we understand that these three crises are interrelated, we’ll have taken one step towards starting to address them.”

Also on the panel was Nancy Pearcey, author of “The toxic war on Masculinity.” “Certainly one of the tragedies of our day is the way fathers are ridiculed and mocked in the media today,” Pearcey noted.  She gave several examples including an article in The New York Times, which said in part, “One of the most frustrating problems in evolutionary biology is the male, specifically, why doesn’t he just go away?”  Another from The Atlantic – “The bad news for dad: There is nothing objectively essential about his contribution.”

Pearcey counters such widely held sentiment regarding the masculine,  by referring to examples in modern research and data that disprove the toxic masculinity point of view.  First, she cited anthropologist David Gilmore.  He found that all cultures affirm that good men do three things: provide, protect and procreate.  Secondly, Pearcy cited research that shows, “Christian men who are authentically committed, and attend church regularly, are actually the most loving and engaging husbands and fathers.”  

Thirdly, Pearcy cited Brad Wilcox, author of “Get Married: Why Americans Must Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families, and Save Civilization,” who found that, “the happiest of all wives in America are religious conservatives.  73% of women who hold conservative gender values, and attend church regularly with their husbands, have high-quality marriages.”  Lastly, Pearcey noted that contrary to popular claims, fatherhood is not a “social invention.”  Psychologists have found what they call, “the dad brain.”  “There is a nest of neurons that are activated when a man becomes a father….. God has literally given men a biochemical boost to bond with their children.  So, the facts are in, men are wired for fatherhood.  It’s not a cultural invention.  God has designed the neurochemistry of men to be engaged and loving fathers.”  

This is all “good news” for embattled fathers (and grandfathers like myself).  Here is reinforcement for men both young and old to stand as exemplars of a godly father in an age of tragic fatherlessness.  In Psalm 10, the Psalmist asks why do the wicked succeed? Although God may seem to be hidden at times, we can be assured that he is aware of every injustice.  He sees the plight of the fatherless.  “The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless” (Ps. 10:14).  As men we can pray, “You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that men, who is of the earth, may terrify no more” (vv. 17-18).

 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families (Ps 68:5-6).