Remember on April 23rd, when a man in a rental van plowed into pedestrians on a Toronto, Canada sidewalk, killing ten and injuring 16? Wisely, Toronto officials resisted the temptation to immediately label this an attack of Islamic terrorism. What emerged about the perpetrator is far stranger.
Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old IT expert, was immediately arrested after the attack. Friends indicated he had, just the week prior, graduated from college with a degree in computer programing. He was highly regarded for his comprehensive knowledge of computer chips and programming and had worked several IT jobs while in school.
Friends said he had never indicated radical attitudes. Police found no involvement with known terrorist,s either in person or online. To the police he was a complete unknown. Those who knew him said he was shy and not overly social, but friendly.
However, his Facebook page indicated something else. Minassian identified himself as part of the “Incel rebellion.” This is a rather vicious online community of men who are angry that women will not have sex with them.
“Incel” stands for “involuntarily celibate.” Incel men promote a theory for why they have been unsuccessful in love, and they blame women. They say women are unfairly attracted to only strong or rich men. They also display an attitude of entitlement. It is their right to have sex.
I wish I were making this up, but I am not. The National Review, The New York Times, and The Daily Telegraph, among others, published articles on this. A Vox piece said that these are sad and lonely men, suffering from extreme social anxiety and deep depression.
A New York Times columnist wrote that this is the natural consequence of the sexual revolution. This revolution, like all others, creates new winners and new losers. In a culture that emphasizes sexuality above everything else, the sexual experience takes on a quasi-religious status. It is not just a part of life; it is essential to a fulfilling life.
This is an old story with a new twist. When you replace the greater thing (real faith) with a lesser thing (sexual experience), and when that lesser thing is not universally available, the result is human misery. When sex is god, what are the sexless to do?
It used to be in western culture that there was a special place for the confirmed bachelor. The old army officer in retirement, the widower raising a family, that uncle in the family who never married and seemed very content with his status – we were comfortable with these categories.
We saw it on television. Stephen Douglas, played by Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons, was the widower-bachelor. Uncle Charlie (William Demarest) was the former military-bachelor who cooked for the family. Brain Keith played Bill Davis, a wealthy-bachelor whose newly orphaned nieces and nephew came to live with him in Family Affair. Sabastian Cabot played the butler-bachelor, Mr. Giles French, who became the substitute mother for the crew. These were confirmed bachelors and sex was not a part of the story.
In today’s sex-dominated culture, the confirmed bachelor seems out of place. A man not married must nevertheless be sexually active – either heterosexually or homosexually. How can he not be? If he is, then something must be wrong with the man. There must be someone or something to blame. Women are the easy target.
Minassian referred to the sexually active using the slang terms, “Chads” and “Stacys.” He said the Incel rebellion was underway, praising the 2014 “virgin killer” Elliot Roger, who killed six people before killing himself. Roger left a 141-page manifesto about his frustration at not being able to lose his virginity.
Those who can’t seem to find love can’t seem to find meaning. And if a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ is taken out of the equation, where else might a man look? That some are erupting in anger and blaming women should not be a surprise. If sex gives life meaning, then a lack of sex makes life meaningless.