Revolutionary special snowflakes

October 24, 2013 § 23 Comments

In a recent discussion it struck me how pervasive the ‘special snowflake’ phenomenon is in the post-protestant West. For anyone unfamiliar, the term “special snowflake” refers to the human tendency to view one’s own self as somehow uniquely positioned to … well, to whatever happens to be the subject matter: win the hunky handyman millionaire that God intended her to have, emancipate sodomites as a basic existential category of humanity, pronounce on what the book of Revelation really really means for ecclesiology — the list of subjects is as long as the list of possible subjects. It involves seeing the rest of humanity in the present and throughout history as benighted and ignorant and unspecial, whereas our special snowflake occupies a unique place at the center of the universe.

In the particular discussion a man was claiming that Scripture sanctions polygyny: that despite thousands of years of contrary Christian tradition and praxis, this special snowflake of a man was able to see what the Scriptures really mean. “Right here right now, watching the world wake up from history”, sang Jesus Jones in the now ironically anachronistic 1980’s. This now is the age of Progress, of Revolution, of universal freedom and equality, of immanentized eschaton: the age in which the priesthood of all believers takes off its mask and reveals itself as the priesthood of special snowflakes.

§ 23 Responses to Revolutionary special snowflakes

  • You wouldn’t be referring to the article on SSM’s blog by any chance, would you?

  • sunshinemary says:

    Well, I have found the conversation productive. Previously when someone told me, “Well, the Bible does not prohibit polygyny,” I just said, “Well, okay. I guess you are right.” But I have a better understanding now of the case against polygyny and why Christians have always rejected it. I know it shocked a few people that I handed the mic to AT and let him have his say on that subject on my blog, but I find it useful to understand the argument both for and against any issue. Probably this is less useful to Catholics but for we Protestants, we have to be able to argue for the tenets of our faith ourselves because we have no authority other than the Bible. So in a way we are special snowflakes, but some snowflakes do seem to get rather blown off course.

  • sunshinemary says:

    @ malcolm

    He didn’t link to it, but I gather that is what he is referring to.

  • Prariepoly says:

    Ah the bad straw-man.

    Again, as I said if you’re deprived of deferring to subjective councils as absolute objective authority you’ve got no chance. History’s not your ally unless you’re highly selective about it, and transpose the stances proffered in the Council of Trent as the only stances both before and after.

    Christians have seen what scripture really means from when it was given to the present day, including on the topic of polygamy. Just because a hyper-gamma to omega centric institution that crutches on celibacy of its leadership is naturally going to eschew polygamy doesn’t mean that no one else was writing about them being wrong about it throughout history.

    It seems amusing you’d use that line of reasoning to support the views of an institution which has no claim to any authority or morality unless they and they only are that special snowflake that happens to have a unique claim .

    Indeed, arguing from reason, sociology, history, and theology is the very antithesis of what you’re asserting I did. It says, I have no special claim so look at the facts. Arguing from authority (which is all you’ve attempted to do) is saying that your authority is that special snowflake exempt from such menial intellectual due diligence.

  • Mike T says:

    Well, there is at least one clear prohibition on polygyny in the New Testament you cannot refute:

    2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    That’s 1 Timothy 3:2

  • Zippy says:

    Hi Prariepoly,
    Unless you are using multiple pseudonyms, you weren’t who I was talking about. But I’m sure you are special.

  • Prariepoly says:

    Hi Prariepoly,
    Unless you are using multiple pseudonyms, you weren’t who I was talking about. But I’m sure you are special.

    Indeed I do not use multiple pseudonyms, and apologize for the misunderstanding.

    I wish to pursue the poly topic only in reply to Mike, and respect you do not wish to discuss it further in your domain.

    I would like to continue the discussion of ‘is it sin or merely “Natural disoroder”‘ from the other thread (disregaurding the conversation of polygamy) because I beleive the distinction to be important and we are far closer to agreement on that topic. But if you do not wish to pick that up, again, it is your prerogative.

    2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    That’s ridiculously simple. All men are not bishops or deacons, nor are all men called to be.

    For the record I beleive each state regarding marriage to be a calling, celibacy is its own calling, and each marriage is its own calling (in the context of the discussion most men are called to only one).

    I would note that interpreting that passage in that passage in the traditional way is as much a problem for a church leader who is celibate as it is for a polygamist. To be husband of one wife you cannot be celibate.

  • Peter Blood says:

    Those of you who think you know everything really annoy those of us who do.

  • Mike T says:

    That’s ridiculously simple. All men are not bishops or deacons, nor are all men called to be.

    It establishes that men of importance absolutely cannot practice it.

    Regarding our previous conversation, the traditional Protestant take (mine) is simple. Jesus clarified that two become one flesh and that this is indissoluble. Paul expanded on this by saying that the wife owns her husband’s body and vice versa. A man cannot give that away to another woman because it no longer belongs to him lawfully. If you cannot even leave a current wife to take a new one to replace her, it is only logical that polygyny is equally impossible for Christians.

    There is also a matter of adultery in even forming the intent to marry a second wife. The blood of Christ can forgive, but it cannot transform intrinsic evil into something acceptable to God. There is no way to live with a second wife without sinning against the first wife.

  • Scott says:

    Just to be clear, “Right here, right now” was released in 1990.

  • Zippy says:

    Hah, but it was the spiritual 80’s for sure ;-).

  • Scott says:

    If there was a job entitled “alternative rock trivia know it all (1979-1991),” I would be the boss of it. I didn’t even have to look it up, and I know it was September, 1990.

  • earl says:

    “You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake.

    You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

    Really sums things up.

  • Scott W. says:

    Now there’s discussion–when did pop-music 80’s officially end? Perhaps September 24, 1991 with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind? 🙂

  • Latias says:

    I used to be a Marxist-Leninist so I was “revolutionary”. But I am a Latias and I am special and legendary (and thin, light, and fast), but TTar and red metal bugs pwns me with Pursuit!

    But people often neglect me for my more powerful brother, even though I have greater special bulk.

    This now is the age of Progress, of Revolution, of universal freedom and equality, of immanentized eschaton

    I really don’t see it. I do not see any economic or social progres anymore; most people are in actuality fungible, expendable commodities in the labor market and venal, hedonistic consumers. Also, the fall of the Soviet Union quelled any genuine revolutionary attitudes among those adversely affected by the US’ pursuits of its geopolitical interests since they cannot align themselves with a competing superpower in a unipolar world.

  • Scott says:

    “Now there’s discussion–when did pop-music 80′s officially end? Perhaps September 24, 1991 with the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind?”

    That is exactly where I draw the line. Alice in Chains and some others were first, but that one broke grunge big. From The Pretenders/Talking Heads in the late 70s to Nirvana was a pretty cool ride, but it had to end, as all good things do.

  • Prariepoly says:


    It establishes that men of importance absolutely cannot practice it.

    Not even remotely. Deacon by definition is anything but a ‘man of importance’. Bishops are, but hardly the only important men by any reasonable measure.

    That said, I would mention again that your rendering of the passage also precludes anyone unmarried, or without children from either office. I don’t know your denominational stance so you could be fine with that, but many really aren’t.

    Both offices are callings, and both have special requirements. It is irrational to use those special requirements to create any kind of general ban. It is the same as saying that because some take the vow of the Nazarene that proves that no man should ever eat grapes.

    Regarding our previous conversation, the traditional Protestant take (mine) is simple.

    Luther regarding DeHesse? Bernardino Ochino? Martain Madan for the Weslean pov?

    But its hard to look at someone using the phrase ‘the traditional Protestant take’ in a sentence seriously. You’re not referring to a homogeneous unit homogeneous take. You’ll have to at least cite a specific branches stance if you want to talk about ‘traditional takes’.

    Jesus clarified that two become one flesh and that this is indissoluble.

    This never has been, nor ever will be, a useful argument against polygamy until someone finds ‘to the exclusion of all others’ in the text of scripture. Polygamy is quite the opposite of divorce in many senses, and has no interest in dividing anyone or dissolving any unions. If you had to dissolve one union to make another we’d have monogamy all over again.

    Paul expanded on this by saying that the wife owns her husband’s body and vice versa. A man cannot give that away to another woman because it no longer belongs to him lawfully.

    The concept is authority, not really ownership. Normally I’d say thats hairsplitting but it is almost a material difference here.

    The case has been made in a number of my poly circles that this indicates a requirement for spousal connect. It is not necessarily that, but it really doesn’t matter to me if the first wife or wives have a say. My women have always been happy to give part of what is theirs when they’re seriously considering a woman we’re dating…

    If you cannot even leave a current wife to take a new one to replace her, it is only logical that polygyny is equally impossible for Christians.

    Now this one is a wow people don’t get it way of looking at things to me. If you’re a contractor and cannot break the terms of one contract in favour of another, why should you be allowed to run two sites at once just because you’re able to fulfill terms of both contracts?

    Oh, because in one case you broke your contract and caused material harm and in the other you didn’t…

    I understand that its WAY too much for most people to crack their history books and brush up on the Talmud and see exactly what these scribes and pharisees where about and what the context of Jesus’s conversation was, but this one is pretty dang obvious if you think about it impartially.

    I’ll say this, and all here should at least agree to it: Serial monogamy is like a cancer on society and the well being of women and families. You cannot let go of your responsibilities to one woman just because you want another. That’s the practice Christ was dealing in those passages.

    They have not a dang thing to do with polygamy.

    The adultery thing is another case of Oh My Lord the Context! But I’ve already posted overly long for today.

  • Prariepoly says:

    But I am a Latias and I am special and legendary If you want to be that rare you should call yourself ‘Shinny Latias’. But yeah, people prefer offensive sweepers becasue of the game mechanics…

  • SSM – I find it useful to understand the argument both for and against any issue

    Knowing what’s right is a good thing. Knowing why it’s right is better, and can better enable one to teach others. This is why I read so much crap about politics and economics, among other things.

    Just to be clear, “Right here, right now” was released in 1990.

    Hah, but it was the spiritual 80′s for sure 😉 .

    In musical terms, it was spiritual 80s – composition, basic sound, etc. But it was about the end of the 80s, at least in one context, primarily the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was looking forward to the 90s as a coming decade of freedom out from under the Soviet thumb (insert “special snowflake” interpretation here). The song also referenced Bob Dylan, who was revered by people who also thought they were the ultimate special snowflakes back in the day.

    That all said, the 90s was when the “special snowflake” mentality really took hold on a large scale in the USA, even more so than in the 60s The “vacation from history,” as it’s been called, under the Clinton Years.

    The 80s ended sometime in 1992. But the early rays of the dawning 90s appeared around 1988 or so. These things are never all that clear cut.

    Scott – If there was a job entitled “alternative rock trivia know it all (1979-1991),” I would be the boss of it.

    Well then, you sir should be listening to Night Sky Radio [ /end shameless self-promotion ]

  • John says:

    Beyond the requirements for church officers, Paul makes it clear that marriage is for a one man: “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.” I Cor. 7:2.

    Of course, snowflakes with names like Artisinal Toad, Baptismal Commode, PrarieDogPolyFreak, etc. will use interpretational gymnastics to distort such clear teachings. However, Zippy is right: the church has never taught this, though a few cults and lone gunner snowflakes have. While I understand the critique of Protestants here, it has never been a teaching of any orthodox (small “o”) Protestant tradition. Conservative Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Anglicans, etc., are all opposed to polygamy.

    I thought about writing a guest post response at Sunshine’s blog (if she’d allow it), as AT’s post was simply atrocious on many levels. I just haven’t mustered the time or energy to yet.

  • John says:

    errata: My first sentence should have ended “for one man and one woman.”

    I didn’t even address AT’s fantasies of multiple wives being forced to do lesbian acts for the husbands’s pleasure. I’m sure hours of scriptural study and meditation led to that revelation.

  • UK Fred says:

    I’m pretty sure it was a Protestant who said that if one disagrees with the interpretation of Scripture that has been held by the church for all but the last 50 years or so, then you have to consider whether God has given you great insight, or, more likely, whether you are deluded.

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