Question: "How should Christians view Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW)?"
Answer: Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) is a web-originated social movement centered on men’s rights. Men who identify as MGTOW are typically single, straight, and focused on being who they want to be without the “entanglements” of relationships with women. Men Going Their Own Way is sometimes referred to as the marriage strike, the marriage boycott, or the sexodus. MGTOW men claim to understand the “games” women play in relationships, and they refuse to play. Their website says that MGTOW “is a statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else.” It is seen by many as a reaction against the changes that feminism has made to society.
Women and society are the major targets of MGTOW’s fight. Men Going Their Own Way believes women take advantage of men for sex and money and then “burn” them. They also believe society at large has turned against men, as evidenced by family and divorce court rulings that favor women over men. Feminists, “White Knights” (men who are chivalrous toward women), social justice warriors, the deep state, and LGBTQ advocates are all seen as enemies of any man who simply wants to “be a man.”
There are several levels of involvement in MGTOW. The most actualized MGTOW is called a Level 4. These men shun all relationships with women and the “blue-pill world” (members of their movement are “red-pilled,” and men outside of or opposed to their movement are “blue-pilled”—a reference to Neo’s choice to understand the true nature of the world in the movie The Matrix). Instead of bowing to society’s expectations of what men should do, they live on their own terms. A MGTOW at Level 4 interacts with society only as much as is required for him to survive. The lowest level of MGTOW is Level 0. Men in this category are aware of the problems with society and women yet believe these realities are worth the risk. Level 1 men reject all forms of long-term personal relationships with women, including marriage, cohabitation, common-law marriage, and any other association that might be used in court to turn him into a woman’s “servant.” A Level 2 man rejects all personal relationships with women—long-term and short-term—even casual ones. Any contact with women is kept strictly professional and to a minimum. Level 3’s have the same views as Level 1’s and 2’s, plus they refuse to produce more than is strictly necessary for society so that economic production and taxation revenue can fall drastically.
Christians know God made mankind as male and female and that marriage is God’s idea (Genesis 1:27; Mark 10:6–9). Marriage is an honorable estate, and the marriage bed should be kept pure (Hebrews 13:4). The battle of the sexes and the problems that occur within relationships are due to sin and the fact that people refuse to follow God’s blueprint for marriage (see Ephesians 5:22–33). When one follows God’s instructions and intention for relationships, nobody gets “burned.”
MGTOW correctly identifies some problems in society—the blurring of gender lines, for instance—and responds in the wrong way. The MGTOW website, as well as their presence on social media, is full of vulgar language and hostility toward women. The feel of much of it is misogynic. MGTOW also seems to have issues with authority. They want to be autonomous and free to exercise supreme authority. Their website states that MGTOW “is the manifestation of one word: ‘No.’” Rejecting modern culture’s definition of manhood, they refuse “to bow, serve and kneel for the opportunity to be treated like a disposable utility.” The MGTOW man looks out for number one, “living according to his own best interests in a world which would rather he didn’t.”
Second Timothy 3:2–4 warns us that in the last days “people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” MGTOW demonstrates this selfishness by glorifying self-autonomy and rejecting God-ordained relationships. They do not follow God’s intentions for relationships, women, and society. Many MGTOW men may have been hurt in the past; some have undoubtedly been treated unfairly, but the answer is not to embrace selfishness, cultivate anger, turn against women, and relinquish responsibility. The answer is forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
God loves women and men equally. He desires that all repent of their sins and come into relationship with Him through faith in Jesus (2 Peter 3:9). God also desires men and women to have loving and meaningful relationships (John 13:34–35; Hebrews 10:24–25). The Christian life is not a solo existence or a gender-divided venture. Both men and women are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27); we reflect Him best when we relate in a healthy, respectful manner.
Christians should view the MGTOW movement for what it is: a reflection of the human sin nature. MGTOW would like for us to respond to the inequalities men face with a focus on self-interest and apathy to the needs of women. Christian men need to take on their God-ordained roles with patient endurance. They need to love their wives unconditionally and “not become weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9).
Those who are caught up in the MGTOW movement are enslaved and devastated by sin. They need our prayers. They need to be “rooted and established in love [and] have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:17–18). It is only that love that can turn men going their own way to men going God’s way.