I wasn’t expecting this article to be posted until tomorrow, but what the hell!
…What if I were to tell you that this crisis of effeminate religion has already occurred, and physical culture was a major weapon in combating this?
For the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking at two concurrent “muscular religion” movements that emerged in the 19th century: Muscular Christianity and Muscular Judaism.
Muscular Christianity began as a reaction to a problem that will seem very familiar to a lot of you: in the 18th and 19th centuries, the attendance of Christian churches (in particular Protestant Churches) was heavily skewed towards a female audience—and this was almost entirely caused by the practice of preachers at that time.
As other articles on this site have pointed out, Christianity is not inherently an effeminate religion, but the practice of it, then as now, is inherently womanly: concepts such as bridal mysticism—a medieval conception essentially conceiving of the worshiper as the consort or lover of Christ, created largely by female mystics such as Mechthild—led to an increasing feminization of the religion and more women being drawn to it. The church would respond by catering further to that audience, and the cycle would repeat. It seems that, then as now, the church has always partially been a business. Note that even today, much ecclesiastical language refers to “being in love with Jesus” or the like.
Realizing that this language was utterly failing to connect to masculine men, various social reformers throughout the Anglosphere sought to inject a small portion of the “barbarian virtues”, in Theodore Roosevelt’s parlance, back into Christianity, to combine the gentle virtues and ethics of religion with a masculine physicality, camraderie, and honor. Thus we see in the 19th century the flowering of sporting organizations such as the YMCA, as sporting, particularly team sports, were seen as a way to cultivate both the masculine and feminine virtues that would create a well balanced worshiper.
Read the article here